Management & Care
Tips and tricks
Goats' hooves need to be trimmed on a regular basis. Goats who spend a great deal of time on pasture may only need to have their hooves trimmed twice a year. Goats kept in a dry lot need to have their hooves trimmed every four to eight weeks.
While horns are a useful tool of self-defense for range animals, they can be dangerous and a nuisance to other goats and their handlers in a confined setting. If horn removal is desirable, it is best done when goats are less than 10 days old. Horn removal on older kids and mature animals requires the assistance of the veterinarian.
Buck kids not intended for future breeding purposes should be castrated. This ensures that they will not be able to impregnate does in the same pen and prevents the development of the undesirable characteristics of mature bucks. Young bucklings can get a doe pregnant as young as 90 days old.
Goats may be vaccinated against various diseases. Advice of veterinarians and local goatkeepers should be sought as to which diseases are likely to be encountered, such as caseous lymphadenitis and enterotoxemia.
The Canadian Goat Society maintains herd books for most breeds of goats, with the exception of Boer goats, which are registered by the Canadian Boer Goat Association. Registered goats are required by law to be tattooed. This is done in the ear or tail web with tattoo pliers and identifying numbers and letters approved by the registry.
Ear tags are often used as a means of identifying individuals in large herds. Alternately, ear tags are sometimes strung onto collars and neck chains. This method is often preferred in dairy herds. Special crayons and paint sticks may be used to temporarily mark individual animals.
Itching and hair loss are often indications of lice, which can be observed in the hair coat upon close inspection. Various louse control products are available, from powder to injectable treatments.