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Management​ & Care

Tips and tricks


Find a Vet

Exciting news! Alberta Goat Association is very proud to have taken part in helping create this invaluable resource. AFAC has developed a Veterinary Database that is up and running on their website! You can search clinics in a radius of up to 200 km from your location and even make your search species specific. We can now help you take the guess work out of finding a clinic that will work for you.


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 Meat 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.

Kid Feeding Goats

How to Buy a Goat

Be sure to choose a reputable breeder. Ask around locally to ensure your breeder's reputation, and ask to look at both the breeder's animals and their records. A good breeder has healthy, sound animals and their records will show how well their herd performs.

Avoid the sale barns, as oftentimes people dispose of their cull goats here. Shop around and compare how goats are managed at the farms you visit. Start slow, and be patient, but plan to buy more than one goat because they are social animals.

Ask questions:

  • Why is the goat for sale?

  • How old is it?

  • If a dog, has she kidded before?

  • What were the results?

  • Is the goat registered and if so, what are the bloodlines?

  • Is there a history of diseases in the herd?

  • Any disease history in this particular goat?

  • Is the herd CAE-free?

  • Is the herd CL-free?


And observe and examine your potential goat. Your goat should have a solid walk with no limp. Her hooves should be healthy and not smell bad (could indicate hoof rot). Her eyes should be alert, bright, and clear, and when you gently pull down her lower eyelid, it should look pink or red. Her coat should be healthy and smooth, not rough or dull. Her teeth should be sound with a solid bite. On mature does, her udders should be smooth and well-formed.


Here are some signs of ill health in a goat to be aware of:

  • thin body,

  • big knees,

  • abscesses,

  • rough coat,

  • limp or unusual gait.

When you first bring your goats home, make sure to keep them separate from the existing herd for at least a month, so that you're sure they aren't going to bring any parasites or diseases into the rest of your herd.

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