Goat Husbandry

I began working at Mountain Hollow Farm, I had absolutely no knowledge
whatsoever about goats. I knew they were cute, and that I had almost passed out
once in a vet tech class in which one was being operated on. That is as far as
my experience went. Here I am roughly seven months later, and I feel pretty
adept at caring for these fascinating creatures. Working here has also given me
the confidence to delve into buying dairy goats of my own. However, none of
this would be possible without hands on experience and a mentor.

can attest that there is nothing like doing it yourself. I could’ve read all
the books in the world and not gained the sort of knowledge I did by actually
being around and caring for the goats on a daily basis. One of the best ways to
learn is by getting a goat on the stand. If we have to move all of our goats
into a new pasture, it makes sense for us to catch them one at a time and get
them up on the stand.
            We start out by weighing them, and checking their eyes
according to the FAMACHA scale. Depending on their score, we may or may not
worm them using an oral drench. We will check their hooves to see if they need
trimming. And if there is any sign of hoof scald, we follow up by cleaning out
the hoof and squirting penicillin between the toes. We conclude by checking
them for mites and lice. If there is any evidence of either, we treat them with
Cylence. Go through this routine enough, and you’ll know a lot about goat

on work is not all there is to it though. We try our best to use a rotational
grazing system. Goats are browsers and prefer being in pasture that would be
considered overgrown by most. Some people shoot for leaving their pastures
fallow for a year. However, most farmers do not have enough land to make that
practical. We aim to keep our goats in each pasture between 3 and 4 weeks. Keeping
this schedule reduces the goat’s exposure to parasites, and also keeps us from
feeding an abundance of hay.

are different husbandry techniques for different breeds as well. For instance,
we are more diligent about checking our cashmere goats for mites and lice. These
little critters damage the cashmere crop by chewing on it. Our dairy goats
receive more grain than our cashmeres, due to their high milk production. Each
breed has its individual quirks and requirements. If you spend enough time with
any of them you’ll eventually get the hang of it, but it helps to have an
expert around!
Thanks for reading,

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