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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to all things goats! Whether you're seeking a beginner's guide to dairy goat keeping, eager to dive deeper into the essentials of getting started with a dairy goat herd, or expanding your goat-keeping knowledge, you've come to the right place. Our 15 years of experience holistically raising Nigerian Dwarf goats for our hobby dairy farm has given us a great deal of information and insights and we are happy to share with you to make your experience with Nigerian Dwarf goats as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Explore our FAQs to gain valuable knowledge that will empower you on your goat-keeping adventure. We also share our daily experiences on Instagram so be sure to give us a follow if you you're looking for micro-learning opportunities... and also cute baby goats!experiences

This page is under construction- scroll down for q&a. 
If you don't see your question listed here, please contact us and we would be happy to answer it.

Are your goats tested for communicable diseases?

Are your goats registered?

Do you allow visits to your farm before we commit to a reservation?

Can I purchase just one goat?

How much do your goats cost?

Do you offer any sales or discounts?

How much is a reservation?

How do I reserve my goats?

Do I get to pick which breeding(s) my kid(s) are reserved from?

What payment methods do you accept?

Do you vaccinate your herd?

What vaccines and wormers will my baby goat have received?

Do you offer a health guarantee?

Does the purchase price include disbudding and wethering?
What do you feed your goats? (Adults and babies)

Will my baby be bottle trained? Dam raised or full time bottles?

Can I bottle feed my babies? And how do I go about doing it?

How old will my baby goat be when it's read to come home?

What is required to transport my baby goat(s) to their new home?

Can I buy bottles and/or fresh goats' milk from you?

What formula do you recommend?
How are names chosen for the baby goats?
Can I visit my baby goat before he/she is ready to come home?

What kind of goats do you sell?

Is owning a livestock guardian dog (LGD) required to purchase goats from Red Rooster?
What happens if I have to cancel or postpone my reservation?/Is my deposit refundable?

Can I return a goat to you in the future?

Do you offer stud services to does purchased from Red Rooster?

What are your sales policies?

What questions should I ask a breeder?

What should I look for to ensure my babies are healthy?

Should I vaccinate my goats?

Should I get boys or girls? Or one of each?

How do I integrate a new goat(s) into an established herd?

What do I need to do to set up a milking herd?

What characteristics are the most important when buying quality dairy goats?

Do registrations matter?
What do I need to know before I bring a goat home?

How do I know if my property is zoned for goats?
Should I buy goats with or without horns?

Can I register or show a goat who has horns?
What does it mean if a goat is polled?

What is the best time of year to buy a goat?

How are goats with dogs?/Can I buy a goat as a companion for my dog?

What do I need to know/have to care for my new baby goat?

What do goats eat?

What kind of housing/shelter/fencing do goats require?

Can I have goats in a small backyard?

Can I bottle feed my babies? And how do I go about doing it?

How often do goats need their hooves trimmed?
Can I remove a goat’s horns after they have grown in?
How often do we need to trim our goat’s hooves? 

Do goats need to be bathed?

Do goats need their ears cleaned? 

How long until the scrotum falls off a wether after banding?

What should I do to care for my wether after banding?
Do I have to milk my goat if she’s a girl?

What vitamins and supplements do goats require?

Do goats need vaccines?/ What vaccines do goats need?
How to treat goats for parasites - internal and external.

How hard are goats to keep? Do they require a lot of maintenance?

Will my goat run away?

How many goats per acre?

How to contain a goat with good fencing?

Does my goat have worms?/How to treat my goat for worms.

Does my goat have bloat?/How to treat my goat for bloat.

Does my goat have lice/mites/fleas?/How to treat my goat for lice/mites/fleas.

Does my goat ave mastitis?/How to treat my goat for mastitis.

Does my goat have a cold?/How to treat my goat for a cold/respiratory infection.

How do I care for goats in the winter?

Does my goat need heat?

What is a doe?/What is a female goat called?
What is a wether?/What is a neutered goat called?

What is a buck?/What is an intact, breeding male goat called?

What is a kid?/What is a baby goat called?

What does disbudded/dehorned mean?

Why are goats' horns removed?
What does polled mean?

What is the poll of a goat?

If I have doe (female goat), do I have to milk her?
Do bucks (male goats) stink?

Are goats noisy or loud?

What is the difference between Nigerian Dwarf goats and other goats?

Do goats have horns?

Do goats climb trees?

Do goats have udders?

Are goats ruminants?

Are goats smart?

Are goats kosher?

Are goats good pets?

Are goats and sheep related?

Does my goat love me?

What is the average lifespan of a goat?

How big are goats?

What are the breed standards/characteristics for Nigerian Dwarf goats?

What is the smallest goat breed?

How much space do goats need?

Can my goat live with my chicken?

Can I get a goat as a companion for my horse?

Should I get two goats?

How many goats do I need?

What is the best way to transport goats?

How does goat milk taste?

Are Nigerian Dwarf good for meat?

Are Nigerian Dwarf goats good for milk?

Are Nigerian Dwarf goats friendly?

Are Nigerian Dwarf goats aggressive?

Do I need to own a buck to breed my does?

Does Red Rooster Ranch offer stud service?

How do I decide which buck to use with each doe?

How do I use adga.org to create a breeding plan?

How many times a year is it safe to breed a goat?

What are your goat birth kit essentials?

What vitamins or supplements do breeding goats require?

Do I have to breed my does in order for them to produce milk?

How can I know and predict the color genetics of my goats?

How do goat genetics work?/Eye color, colors, and polled genetic breakdown.

How many babies can one doe have at once?

How long is goat gestation?

How does goat milk taste?

Are ND goats good for milking?

When can you start milking a goat /ND?

How often do goats breed?

Can I breed related goats?

When can I breed my young goat?

What size is safe to breed my yearling goat?

How do I train my goat to be milked?

How do I safely dry up a goat in milk?

How do I bottle-train baby goats?

Can I milk my goat while she is nursing her babies?

How much milk do goats produce?

Is raw goat milk safe to drink?

What can I use raw goat milk for?

Can I feed raw goat milk to my dogs/puppies?

What is DHIR?

What is milk testing?

What is linear appraisal?

Should I sign up for LA?

Should I host LA or find a local herd?

Do I have to LA all of my herd?

What are these numbers and symbols on my goat’s papers?

What is the value of registering my goat herd?

How do I keep good records for my herd?

How do I track breeding and due dates for my dairy goat herd?

Buying & Reserving Goats from Red Rooster Ranch

Are your goats tested for communicable diseases?

Yes, all of our adult goats are tested for CAE, CL & Johne's and have always been negative. 

 

Are your goats registered?

Yes, all of our adult goats are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association, ADGA. Each doe and buck kid sold will come with the required paperwork for registering them with ADGA. The BUYER is responsible for any registration fees unless otherwise agreed upon with Red Rooster Ranch. We currently are covering the cost of registration and transfer for those customers who have their ADGA membership. More information on how to get started with ADGA can be found here. 

Do you allow visits to your farm before we commit to a reservation?

Unfortunately, no. We are unable to keep up with the demand for visits and have made the difficult decision to limit farm visits only to animal pick-ups. We have an extensive history of honest sales and healthy goats. Customers picking up their goats will be scheduled for a 45 minute appointment that can be used to ask us questions about goat keeping. If more time is needed, we do offer mentorship appointments. 

Can I purchase just one goat?

Yes and no. If you already own goats, then yes, you can get just one at a time. However, if you do not, we you will need to get two. Goats are herd animals and MUST be with other goats or they will not thrive. They can become so lonely and stressed that they die. Any reputable goat breeder will confirm this fact. Breeders willing to sell single goats are not considered reputable and are setting you and the goat up for failure. We do not recommend doing business with such breeders. More on purchasing goats.

 

How much do your goats cost?

Wethers (castrated males) are $250 while bucklings and does range from $550- $700. Registration paperwork is included with the sale of bucks/does and fees are the responsibility of the buyer. See discounts below.

 

Do you offer any sales or discounts?

Yes! We offer the following discounts:

*$50 off each goat for 4H members currently enrolled and active in a goat project. We will require written verification from your project or

club leader. 

*Two Buck Chuck Discount: Buy one buck and get the second at the wether price. This is to encourage a companion for bucks as they too need to have their own herd and cannot be permanently housed with does. Read more about keeping a mixed gender herd. 

*ADGA Members: Registration and transfer fees are waived for active ADGA members. Read more about how to get started with ADGA.

*ADGA Performance Members: These discounts are on a case by case basis and begin at $50 per goat. 

How much is it to place a reservation?

An unborn doe or buck kid is $100 to reserve, and wethers are $50. To reserve a living kid or adult, 50% of the sale price is required to hold the goat until pick up. This is applied to the purchase price of the goat and is not refundable. Deposits are like cash and must be submitted as such. Deposits marked "goods and services" will be rejected and must be resubmitted. It is free to be on our waitlist but paid reservations will take priority. 

How do I reserve my goat(s)?

Please complete the reservation request form to begin the process of reserving a kid(s). Once we receive your reservation request form, we will contact you with instructions on how to submit payment, etc. You can visit our Kidding Schedule to see what we have planned!

The last several years, almost all of our kids were sold before they were born. We strongly recommend placing a paid deposit to reserve your kid(s). The first step is to complete the reservation form as it answers all of the questions we have to help us match you with the best goat(s). Once we have received your form, we will reach out and give you instructions on the next step.

Please review our sales policies to address any further questions. Prices and availability are subject to change without notice. Until pregnancies are confirmed, we retain the right to change bucks used.

Do I get to pick which breeding(s) my kids are reserved from?

Wether reservations are filled in order of deposit dates. Does and bucks can be by specific breeding or by general trait and/or time frame and order of deposit dates.

 

Deposit dates will trump reservations on specific breedings. For example, if we do not have enough kids to fill a general reservation placed on January 1, a specific breeding deposit placed on February1 will get bumped to fulfill the earlier reservation. We work very hard to ensure we are as fair as possible to everyone but cannot predict gender and/or viability of the kids due. We use ultrasound scans to get an estimated count of kids in each breeding and this is what we base our reservation availability on. We take reservations conservatively so that we can do our best to fill every one based on the requests.

 

We reserve the right to keep any and all kids from any breeding regardless of any paid reservations. In this event, or any event that prohibits us from fulfilling our end of the reservation, we will offer a refund or the option to roll over your reservation to another breeding or season. 

What payment methods do you accept?

Deposits can be sent electronically with the final balance due in cash at pick up. Venmo and Zelle are our preferred payment methods but we can set up payments via credit card or PayPal with applicable fees applied. Checks are not accepted.

 

Do you vaccinate your herd?

We do not routinely vaccinate our animals. We have made the informed decision that our risk factors for vaccine preventable diseases are, at this time, lower than the known risks associated with vaccines. Please discuss vaccines with your vet.

 

We do not recommend giving any medications, especially vaccines, in the first week of bringing home a new animal. Any possible reactions could be confused with normal transition stress and we feel it's important to be able to discern between the two.

 

What vaccines and wormers will my baby goat have received?

All baby goats will receive coccidia preventative medicines (Toltrazuril 5% or the like) at 3 & 6 weeks. It is advised for them to receive an additional dose at 9 weeks. We will send buyers home with a dose or doses if the kid(s) leave before 6 weeks. 

We do not recommend giving any medications, especially vaccines, in the first week of bringing home a new animal. Any possible reactions could be confused with normal transition stress and we feel it's important to be able to discern between the two.

Do you offer a health guarantee?

Yes! All Red Rooster Ranch animals are guaranteed healthy at time of sale. We are happy to have goats checked over by our vet before sale at buyer’s expense. Should the vet find the animal unhealthy, the buyer’s money shall be refunded or another goat offered.

We do not recommend giving any medications, especially vaccines, in the first week of bringing home a new animal. Any possible reactions could be confused with normal transition stress and we feel it's important to be able to discern between the two. 

Does the purchase price include disbudding and wethering?

Yes to both! Goats will be disbudded prior to 2 weeks of age at the expense of the Red Rooster Ranch unless otherwise agreed upon by buyer and noted in the sales contract. Red Rooster Ranch does not guarantee against scurs (small horn growths). If the buyer does not want their goats disbudded, this must be agreed upon prior to the birth of the goat(s) and payment in full will be due at the time of birth. Goats marked and sold as "polled" (naturally without horns) are guaranteed against horn growth. What are polled goats?

Male goats who are castrated are referred to as "wethers". This can be done non-surgically by the banding method or surgically by a licensed veterinarian. Each wether includes banding by Red Rooster Ranch in his fees. However, we do not ever band before 8 weeks and strongly recommend it be done between 12-16 weeks. Buyers are responsible to bring back their goat(s) to Red Rooster Ranch for banding or contact their vet.

What do you feed your goats?

Baby goats under 3 weeks old are fed only fresh, raw goat milk with access to alfalfa hay to practice eating. They are with their mamas during the day and will start eating hay, water and minerals with her. We feed mamas #1 or "first cut" alfalfa, water and free choice, goat-specific, loose minerals. We use Sweetlix Meatmaker minerals. Only goats in milk are routinely given grains. DO NOT FEED YOUR GOATS CHICKEN FEED.  Red more on feeding goats here.

Will my baby be a bottle baby or dam raised?

Both! Around 10 days old, we bottle train all of our kids giving them a morning bottle each day while allowing them free access to their moms all day. Babies are only pulled from mom and fed bottles100% in cases where it is absolutely necessary. Bottle feeding instructions can be found here.

 

We require them go home by 3-6 weeks because this facilitates a very special bond with their new family. After 6 weeks, if left with mom, they revert to being wild monsters! In the 14 years + of raising goats, bottle training and early separation from their moms has been a game changer. They are less stressed and more bonded to their new families. They are also now able to have milk for as long as their new parents are willing to do bottles! Typically, babies are weaned between 8-10 weeks and sent to their new homes without being bottle trained. This is extremely stressful for everyone!

Can I bottle feed my babies? And how do I go about doing it?

All of our kids are sold "on the bottle" unless there are circumstances that prevent this from happening. Over the years of buying and selling goat kids, it has become abundantly clear that bottle babies have a different temperament and are much more friendly. Most of our buyers are looking for friendly, easy to handle goats and the obvious solution to this is to sell all babies bottle trained and by 4-6 weeks old. Bottle trained babies also benefit from milk for much longer than kids weaned at 8-10 weeks in order to go to their new homes.  

 

Are you wondering if bottle babies are right for you? This detailed overview of feeding schedules and requirements is a good place to start to see if bottle babies are a good fit for you. 

Bottle feeding is going to give you a huge payback for your time in their temperament. We bottle train all of the kids but unless there are special circumstances, they stay with their moms until they wean/go home. The ideal age to get them is 3-4 weeks old and then bottle feed 2-3 times per day. This makes for very friendly but well-mannered goats. Some people want them while they are fully dependent on bottles. In this case, we usually wait about a week to make sure they are developing well and really ready to go home. 

How old will my baby goat be when it's ready to come home?

Boys must go home by 4 weeks and girls, by 6 weeks. We do this because under 6 weeks old the kids are still quite receptive to bottles. We do give them daily morning  bottles, but as they get older and begin to eat more hay, bottles become less enticing. Bottle feeding is by far the best way to bond with your new baby goat. The ideal age is 3-4 weeks old. They are just beginning to eat and digest hay so they aren't as dependent on milk but still LOVE their bottle time. If you want a super friendly goat with that notorious "bottle baby" personality, we recommend one week or after they are disbudded. 

What is required to transport my baby goat(s) to their new home?

They will be little, really little!! Most kids weigh around 7 lbs at 3-4 weeks. The very best way to take them home is to bring a friend or two and carry them home on a lap. Alternatively, a small or medium dog crate will fit two babies under 6 weeks old but it must fit INSIDE your vehicle. WE WILL NOT RELEASE KIDS TO RIDE HOME IN THE BACK OF A TRUCK OR TRAILER. Adults must be in a secured crate or trailer.

Can I buy bottles and/or fresh goats' milk from you?

Yes! Bottles are $7 each. Please let us know how many bottles you would like to purchase so we can make sure we have enough on hand. One or two bottles per baby is plenty. We will send babies home with about a 1/2 gallon of fresh milk per kid. If we have more available at your pick up, we can arrange to send extras home with you.

What formula do you recommend?

We do not use formula so we can't recommend any particular brand over another. This article goes over basic bottle feeding instructions as well as milk suggestions.

 

How are names chosen for the baby goats?

Every year, we pick a theme for our registered goats' names. This is the name that will be on the goats' registration papers and must be approved by us, fit within our theme and be unique. You can call your goat anything you would like; this is known as their "barn name". However, we do require approval for registered names. Wethers (neutered boys) do not come with papers but we still love to see everyone play along with the theme! Past themes have been 80's pop culture, classic literature, European history, plants/flowers and of course, food. 

All goats born at our ranch will have the herd name Red Rooster at the beginning of their name. We like to add the sire's initials and then the unique name. This name must be 30 characters or less. For example, "Red Rooster MD Maverick" is born to the herd Red Rooster out of Maximus Decimus and is called Maverick. Occasionally, we will offer kids born at nearby ranches and those herd names may differ. 

Can I visit my baby goat before he/she is ready to come home?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate visits to the ranch prior to your pick up date. We do our best to send you pictures and videos as well as post on our Instagram page. We do our best to answer texts and emails checking in on individual kids but we are not always able to give personal, daily updates. 

What kind of goats do you sell?

We sell Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are miniature or "micro" dairy goats similar in size to a Pygmy goat. Their size is comparable to that of an average Labrador Retriever and weigh around 80 lbs full grown. Nigerian Dwarf goats are bred for their rich and sweet milk with the highest butterfat content of any goats' milk. Cows' milk is typically 4% and most goats' are at 6%; while ND's are between 6-8% making their milk more like half and half and very sweet. Breeders often choose Nigerian Dwarf goats for their herd because of their beautiful colors and super fun personalities. 

We do not offer pygmy goats for sale at this time however, Nigerian Dwarf goats make excellent pets and are the most popular of the mini goat breeders because of their beautiful colors and outgoing personalities. 

Is owning a livestock guardian dog (LGD) required to purchase goats from Red Rooster?

No, but we do strongly recommend having them if you can. Goats are very vulnerable to predators and having a trusted LGD on patrol 24/7 is priceless peace of mind.

 

What is an LGD? Livestock guardian dogs are specific breeds of dogs bred over thousands of years to bond and live with their flocks and herds as protection against predators. They are extremely maternal and protective by nature with very strong instincts. LGD breeds posses little to no prey drive unlike herding breeds. The most common breeds are Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds. We have 4 Anatolian shepherds and they are worth their weight in gold.

What happens if I have to cancel or postpone my reservation?/Is my deposit refundable?

Deposits are non-refundable except at the sole discretion of Red Rooster Ranch. We typically allow for one postponement of a reservation without penalty. Deposits are forfeit if you are unable to complete your purchase within these two seasons. If we are unable to meet your reservation, we will refund you or offer you a roll-over into our next kidding season.

 

Paid reservation holders receive higher priority access to our knowledge and support leading up to kidding season. This type of access would normally be available only through our paid mentorship program. 


Can I return a goat to you in the future?

Not usually. We have a very tight bio security system and usually do not allow returns. We are absolutely willing and ready to help you find a wonderful home should you need to re-home your goats for any reason. We understand that life changes happen and will support your change without judgement. 

Do you offer stud service for does purchased from Red Rooster?

No, we do not offer stud service at this time. 

What are your sales policies?

We have outlined our policies on this webpage

Buying Goats in General

What questions should I ask a breeder?

The most important thing to look for is a breeder who produces healthy goats. You will want to ensure they have done bio security testing on their entire herd and enact sound quarantine practices. If you are buying goats for your own breeding/milking herd, be sure they have ADGA registration papers for their breeding stock and that you receive either a signed, original certificate or a registration application at the time of sale. You will want to find breeders who align with your practices and values. Ask 3 goat breeders their opinion and you'll get 10 answers! Everyone has their own way of doing things but only you will know what methods you are most comfortable with. Check out our Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to Buying Goats for a more detailed look at questions to ask prospective breeders.

What should I look for to ensure my babies are healthy?

When picking up your kids or adult goats from your breeder you will want to look for signs of respiratory or digestive issues. Poo should be solid and their back end free from crusted on feces. This is a sign they have recently had diarrhea. Any discharge from their eyes or nose should also be noted and addressed. If your kids are under 8 weeks old, you will need to bottle feed them. Ask your breeder to demonstrate the baby's bottle feeding proficiency either by video ahead of time or at the pick up appointment. We also strongly recommend treating for coccidia at 3, 6 & 9 weeks using Toltrazuril 5% or (a generic brand). There are some effective and trusted herbal worming protocols that we also have used and can recommend: Mollies Herbals and Land of Halavah. 

Should I get boys or girls? Or one of each?

This is the question we get asked the most from new goat owners. Are girls, “does”, or castrated boys, “wethers”, better for pets. (Let’s just state right now with no hesitation that intact males, “bucks”, are NOT good pets and should not be considered. Intact males of most livestock species can be aggressive, and in the case of goats, STINKY. You would be setting yourself, and your beloved pet up for failure.) We don't recommend getting one of each or a breeding pair as they will each need their own same-sex companion(s). Read more on picking the right gender(s) for your herd.

How do I integrate a new goat(s) into an established herd?

Space is the key. If your herd is in a big open area with plenty of space for the new goat(s) to retreat, bullying should be at a minimum. However, there will be a long period of time where the bigger, older goats will be boss-man-boss and the younger ones will be submissive. As they grow up, this can change. You may see some head-butting and conflict as your babies get bigger and decide they want to move up in the ranks. 

 

The main danger in bringing in a new goat, no matter the age or size, is the rest of the herd allowing the New Kid(s) to eat and drink. The best way to do this is to give the new goat(s) somewhere safe to eat on their own. With babies, you can do this by giving them a separate area that has an access small enough that the adults can’t get in. This gives them a completely safe space to eat, drink, rest, etc where they can’t be bullied but they can still go in with the rest of the herd to snuggle and play. This is essential in a smaller pen situation. 

 

There are hierarchies in every animal group. The "pecking order” isn’t a cliche for nothing! In goat herds, not much is different and Top Goat can change as the herd ages and develops. As in any animal group, as long as someone is willing to submit, there are generally no injuries. It’s when two or more decide they want to fight for that leader position even if it means getting bloodied. We typically let them work it out so long as no one is being injured.

 

Should I vaccinate my goats?

This is a hot topic and a very personal choice. We do not vaccinate our herd as our risks of disease are lower than the risks of the vaccines. Talk to your vet about risks in your area and weigh them out against the risks of each vaccine. The only typical one given to goats is the CDT.

What do I need to do to set up a milking herd?

If you're considering starting a milking herd of goats, you're embarking on a rewarding and sustainable agricultural endeavor. Owning your own dairy goats can provide fresh, nutritious milk and dairy products while offering a fulfilling farming experience. The first step is to select the best breed of dairy goats for our situation and then to find a reputable breeder. Sometimes, this is the same step. Having local breeders to work with can be a deciding factor in choosing your dairy goat breed. 

 

Before bringing them home, you would need to establish a weather & predator proof home for them on your property. We strongly recommend becoming members of the American Dairy Goat Association aka ADGA and registering your herd  name. ADGA could also be helpful in finding reputable breeders in your area to acquire your foundation breeding stock. Read more about getting your hobby caprine dairy started.

What characteristics are the most important when buying quality dairy goats?

In general, you want to find herds that have proven that their goats can produce milk and have desirable traits for dairy goats. Many herds participate in showing, linear appraisals and milk testing to prove out their herd's value. Each herd has their own goals and desirable traits they work towards but all agree that a solid dairy goat has a well attached udder and has easy to milk udder/teats.

Do registrations matter?

Yes! Registering your herd is the first step in building credibility however, not every registered goat is correctly bred and healthy. A lot of buyers will only buy registered goats so it's prudent when starting out to only buy from registered herds. We use ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) and love their online system that allows us to access our account and herd information as well as register and transfer goats all online. They also have an in-depth genetics data base that allows anyone to access registered goats' pedigrees as well as plan out breedings. For more information on how to get started with ADGA, check out this article. 


What do I need to know before I bring a goat home?

Before bringing a goat home, it's crucial to understand their specific needs and responsibilities. First, consider your local zoning and ordinances, ensuring they permit goat ownership. Goats require weather and predator proof housing as well as proper fencing to prevent escapes and access to suitable shelter and fresh water. Additionally, be prepared for regular healthcare, including vaccinations and hoof care. Finally, research the breed that best suits your needs and climate, and understand that goats are social animals, so they thrive with companionship. More information on getting ready for your new baby goat. 

How do I know if my property is zoned for goats?

To determine if your property is zoned for goats, start by checking your local municipal or county government's zoning ordinances and regulations. These documents often outline the specific land-use rules for residential areas. Look for information on keeping livestock or farm animals, which should indicate whether goats are allowed. If zoning codes are unclear or you have any doubts, contact your local zoning or planning department for clarification. They can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding livestock regulations on your property.
 

Should I buy goats with or without horns?

Can I register or show a goat who has horns?

Goats with horns are accepted in the major registries but not permitted in shows. Another consideration is that some appraisal judges will not work with goats with horns during the appraisal session.


What does it mean if a goat is polled?

A polled goat means they will not grow horns. The polled gene is dominant meaning if a goat carries the polled gene, it will express and the goat will not have horns. Some goats are mistakenly disbudded and mis-registered making it seem like they have a hidden or recessive polled gene. There is such a thing as a polled scur that can occur when a small bit of horn grows. This usually happens when the kid is over 8 weeks old and is easily distinguished between a scur and an actual horn. Actual horns will be prominent by 4 weeks old. Note that the term "poll" also refers to the top of the goat's head. A "white poll" means there is white on the top of their head and nothing to do with their horn status. 

What is the best time of year to buy a goat?

Nigerian Dwarf goats can breed all year round but most kids are born in the spring, January - June. If you know you want kids, find your breeder and get on their reservation list as soon as possible. Many reputable breeders are sold out of their spring kids before the kids are even born. Other breeds of goats only breed for spring kids.

How are goats with dogs?/Can I buy a goat as a companion for my dog?

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is, do goats get along with dogs? Our goats are raised with dogs but they don’t love them all. Our LGD's (livestock guardian dogs) are loved and trusted by the whole herd. Our labs and the other small dogs are tolerated but often the goats will charge at the smaller dogs to keep them away from the herd, especially their babies. 

 

Each dog gives off a certain energy and the higher energy dog breeds may make the goats nervous and/or stressed. The goats may try to run the dog off, possibly injuring the dog. Or this fearful behavior may be returned by the dog resulting in injury to the goat.

Dogs are predators and goats are prey. Period. Dogs should never be left alone with goats, especially babies, until they have proven to be 110% trustworthy. Even a dog wanting to “play” can chase and scare a goat literally to death. We highly recommend having a professional dog trainer evaluate your dog's behavior around the goats prior to allowing them together. 

 

Goats should never be acquired to be companions with a dog or dogs. They all may eventually get along just fine but it is not an appropriate pairing to do intentionally. We will not sell any single goat to a home that does not have an existing goat herd.

Goat Care & Keeping

What do I need to know/have to care for my new baby goat?

Whether you're a farmer, a hobbyist, or simply an animal lover, you're going to want to give your baby goat the best possible start in life. This article goes into detail about what we recommend prior to bringing your new baby goats home.

What do goats eat?

We all think of those iconic goats chewing on a tin can when we think, "what can goats eat?" However, goats actually have very specific dietary needs and restrictions. While they can and will eat weeds, this alone is not a suitable diet and you will have sick goats on your hands very quickly. We have written a very detailed article about what goats need and what we feed our herd. 

What kind of housing/shelter/fencing do goats require?

Goats require protection from the elements and predators. Here in our area, we have coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, raccoons, and even bears. We employ two livestock guardian dogs, or LGD’s, who are on patrol 24/7. This is a predator-friendly way of protecting our animals (and humans!) without having to harm the predators. Read our comprehensive guide to building predator and weather proof housing for your goats

Can I have goats in a small backyard?

While our miniature goats are small and do not need as much space as larger livestock, they still require sufficient space to run and play. Goats penned in small spaces 100% of the time are not as healthy and happy as those who have the freedom to roam. More importantly, usually, people with “small backyards” are not in areas zoned to legally have livestock animals. Goats are not considered pets by most cities. You will need to contact your local zoning commission to see what your property is permitted to have.

Can I bottle feed my babies? And how do I go about doing it?

Are you wondering if bottle babies are right for you? This detailed overview of bottle feeding schedules and requirements is a good place to start to see if bottle babies are a good fit for you.

Bottle feeding your new baby goat is going to give you a huge payback for your time in their temperament. We bottle train all of the kids but unless there are special circumstances, they stay with their moms until they wean/go home. The ideal age to get them is 3-4 weeks old and then bottle feed 2-3 times per day. This makes for very friendly but well-mannered goats. Some people want them while they are fully dependent on bottles. In this case, we usually wait about a week to make sure they are developing well and really ready to go home.

How often do we need to trim our goat’s hooves?

Trimming a goat's hooves is an essential part of regular care. The frequency of trimming depends on various factors, including the goat's age, breed, diet, and the environment in which they live. For example, goats who are kept on a rocky, hard ground will need fewer trimmings than goats kept on sandy soils. In general, most goats require hoof trimming every 6 to 10 weeks. 

Do goats need to be bathed?

In general, goats do not require regular bathing. Some people who handle and snuggle their goats, especially when babies, like to give them a bath every week or so. But as a whole, their coats are designed to shed dirt and debris naturally. Additionally, frequent bathing can strip the natural oils from their hair and skin, leading to dryness and potential health issues. There are situations where bathing may be necessary such as a show goat, a sick goat or a goat who had a messy delivery. Spot cleaning and even shaving are good options when a goat needs to be cleaned up for medical or health reasons such as blood or feces on their coat. If you do deiced to bath your goats, be sure to use the most natural and gentle shampoos available and gently blow dry them all the way to their skin to prevent a chill.

Do goats need their ears cleaned?

Goats typically do not require regular ear cleaning. However, there are specific situations that may necessitate ear attention. If goats show signs of excessive scratching, head shaking, or dark discharge, it could indicate the presence of ear mites or ticks, prompting the need for cleaning. Additionally, ear infections or the buildup of earwax might require gentle cleaning, especially if signs of redness, swelling, or unpleasant odors are observed. In such cases, using a goat-safe ear cleaner and seeking veterinary advice can help address these special situations effectively.

How long until the scrotum falls off a wether after banding?

When banding a male goat (wether) to create a castration effect, a strong rubber band is typically used to cut off the blood supply to the scrotum. The scrotum will then atrophy and fall off over time. The process usually takes a few weeks, but the exact timing can vary. In most cases, it may take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks for the scrotum to completely slough off after banding. During this time, it's essential to monitor the goat for any signs of infection or complications. Ensure that the goat is kept in a clean environment to minimize the risk of infection.

What should I do to care for my wether after banding?

Caring for a wether (castrated male goat) after banding is crucial to ensure a smooth recovery and minimize the risk of complications. The first 24 hours are when the goat is the most uncomfortable. You can ask your vet or breeder for pain management. We have started to give banamine as a part of our banding procedure. There are also now banding rings with slow release pain medication available! When you get your wether home, provide a clean environment and monitor for complications. As they tissue dies, it will begin to separate from the healthy tissue. This is when it is important to inspect the scrotum daily to ensure the tissues stay healthy. We recommend spraying it with Vetricyn daily to help prevent infection and speed healing. 

Do I have to milk my goat if I get a girl?

Goats are mammals and like all mammals, only females make milk and they must give birth to make the milk. It is very easy to keep does (females) without having to milk them. There are rare exceptions to this rule. Some female goats will develop what is called a precocious udder and produce a milk like substance. This is indicative of a major health problem and should be treated by a veterinarian. 

 

We also highly recommend all goat owners acquire a milk stand regardless of the gender or purpose of their goats. It is essential to be able to contain your goats to provide them with  necessary care. Hoof trimming, medication/vitamin administration, examination, bathing, blood work all require a restrained goat and the best way to do this is what a milk stanchion. Be sure to use the stand often and teach your goats to feel safe by giving treats in the stand.

General Goat Questions

What is a doe?/What is a female goat called?

A female goat is called a "doe". Some may refer to a female as a "nanny" but this is not the technical term used. A young doe may be referred to as a doeling or a yearling. Her first time having babies, she will be referred to as a "first freshener".


What is a wether?/What is a neutered goat called?

A neutered male goat is called a "wether". Many breeders will list all of their male kids as bucks and then designate which ones are available as wethers. Some breeds use wethers as meat goats however, Nigerian Dwarf goats are not efficient meat goats and most wethers are sold as pets or companions. 

What is a buck?/What is an intact, breeding male goat called?

An intact male goat typically used for breeding is called a "buck". Some people call their intact male goats "billys" but the correct term is "buck". A baby buck may be called a "buckling". 

What is a kid?/What is a baby goat called?

Baby goats are known as "kids" and is where we get the term "kidding around" as baby goats are so playful. 

What does disbudded/dehorned mean?

Disbudding means to remove a goat's horns using heat to cauterize their horn area. This is usually done very young, under 2 weeks old. Dehorned means to have their horns surgically removed. There has been a trend to use clove oil or banding rings to remove horns and both of these methods are dangerous and painful. 

Why are goats' horns removed?

Dairy goats are generally disbudded or polled as horns can cause severe damage to udders. Dairy goat breeds may not be shown if they have horns but they can be registered. It is a personal preference to leave or remove the horns. We have chosen to disbud all of our goats as we have found it to be a safety issue for us and the other goats to leave horns intact. 


What does polled mean?

In goats, the term "polled" refers to the absence of horns. A polled goat is one that is naturally hornless, meaning it is born without horns or the genetic potential to develop them. The condition is inherited through genetics, and goats that carry the polled gene will not grow horns or "express" the polled gene. Goats can not carry the polled gene and not express it. If you find that you have a horned goat producing polled offspring, it is likely due to a polled parent being mistaken for horned and needlessly disbudded. Polled kids can develop scurs. Scurs are not true, fully developed horns; instead, they are residual, small, or misshapen growths that may appear on the head of an animal that is genetically polled.

The polled gene is sought after in Nigerian Dwarf goats as disbudding is and dangerous and unpleasant procedure. It is common for a disbudded buck to still grown scurs and require maintenance to prevent the scurs from growing into his skull. We have come to prefer our bucks to either be horned or polled as the scurs are ugly and typically result in future injuries. 

What is the poll of a goat?

The poll of the goat is the top of the head. A commonly used descriptor on a goat's registration form is if they have a "white poll" which means a spot of white on the top of their head. 

If I have doe (female goat), do I have to milk her?

Goats are mammals and like all mammals, only females make milk and they must give birth to make the milk. It is very easy to keep does (females) without having to milk them. There are rare exceptions to this rule. Some female goats will develop what is called a precocious udder and produce a milk like substance. This is indicative of a major health problem and should be treated by a veterinarian. 

 

We also highly recommend all goat owners acquire a milk stand regardless of the gender or purpose of their goats. It is essential to be able to contain your goats to provide them with  necessary care. Hoof trimming, medication/vitamin administration, examination, bathing, blood work all require a restrained goat and the best way to do this is what a milk stanchion. Be sure to use the stand often and teach your goats to feel safe by giving treats in the stand. 


Do bucks (male goats) stink?

YES! Bucks have musk glands on the top of their head and release a strong odor during "rut", usually in the fall. The rest of the year they have a distinct smell but only if you are quite close to them. Wethered goats should not have this "buck" smell. If they do, it's possible their castration was incomplete and you should consult your vet for an exam.

Are goats noisy or loud?

Interestingly, a goat's noise level has a lot do with their personality and how they were raised. We have some lines of goats who are very vocal and some who are very quiet. Even within the louder groups, they really are only vocal when it's feeding time. The exception may be a doe (female) when she is "in heat" or "flagging".

What is the difference between Nigerian Dwarf goats and other goats?

Nigerian Dwarf goats are a distinct breed of miniature dairy goats, and they differ from other goat breeds in several aspects. Size is the most distinguishable difference as they are about half the height and weight of standard breeds. This makes them well-suited for smaller farms and urban homesteads. ND's tend to be more colorful and have more playful personalities. The closest breed to a Nigerian Dwarf is the Pygmy goats. Pygmies are a miniature meat breed and have different color patterns typically. 

Nigerian Dwarf goats also have the sweetest milk of all the goat breeds as it is the highest in butterfat! They do produce less than a standard goat but they also eat a lot less making them the choice for a lot of new goat farmers.  

Breeding & Milking Goats

Do I need to own a buck to breed my does?

You do not need to own a buck to breed your does but you will need to find a breeder who either offers stud service, stud leasing, or semen sales. If you opt for the latter, you will also want to find a reproductive vet w/ AI (artificial insemination) experience.

 

Many breeders, us included, do not loan out or lease their bucks because the risk of bringing in disease far outweighs the income generated by these agreements. If you are fortunate enough to find someone willing to share with you, be sure to see a bio security blood test with all negative results for CAE, CL, Johnne’s and Brucellosis. The owner of the buck will likely ask for these results from you as well. Be sure results are recent, within 6 months.

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