Goats

Breeds We Have

We have two breeds of goats here at Olive Tree Farm; Molly and her daughter are an Andaluz breed and Bambi and Nibbler are Murcian Reds.

What They Eat

Where to start…. We give them commerical goat food, but also supplement it with greens from around the farm. They are particularly fond of bamboo. We also give them olive branches, which we tie up on string as goats like to stretch up. They also enjoy fennel – though that is only given to non-pregnant goats. They also enjoy a variety of weeds, alfalfa and hay.

Housing

These guys live in a posh garden shed, but generally goats have an open-fronted shelter that is positioned out of the direction of the wind. They can cope with cold and heat quite well – they shelter to avoid the rain, wind and sun.

Breeding, Artificial Insemination & Kids

Breeding: When we are ready to breed the goats, we bring in a buck (male goat) for 2 weeks.

Billy the Buck

To find out if the doe is pregnant, we squeeze the teats – if you get a waxy substance then she is getting ready to produce milk.The pregnancy takes 150 days from start to birth. When she is ready to have the kid, she will show some signs:

  • She will pace a lot, and paw at the ground or bedding
  • There is white vaginal discharge (in our experience, you can see this up to a week before the birth)
  • Her tail lifts up
  • She appears restless: rises and lies down frequently
  • Smells the ground and may curl her upper lip
  • Looks constantly behind her, and licks or bites her sides
  • Hollows out: from the side, hollow areas above the back leg under the back
  • Elevates her front end by standing on something with her front feet only
  • Bottom of her belly starts getting lower to the ground
  • A pinky-red vaginal discharge will appear (again, in our experience, about 24hrs before the birth)

Here is a chart that shows you how to check that the kid’s head is in the correct birthing position:

goat birth position

Artificial Insemination: First of all I would like to point out that we do not artificially inseminate our animals..If you don’t want to borrow a buck for a couple of weeks – or have no means of doing so – you can go down the artificial insemination option. There are a lot of helpful links on Google that will take you through the whole process – though it is advised that you have a professional do it for you.

Kids: We try to be there for the birth, just in case anything should go wrong. Once born, we generally keep an eye on the young to make sure they are getting enough milk and that the mother is producing enough. Mum tends to look after her young well; though you may need to help cleaning the baby off by rubbing them vigorously with straw. As the kid starts to wean off mum, we add a milk pellet supplement to her diet.

Care & Maintenance

The goats are cleaned out weekly during the summer, and a lot more frequently during the wet winter months. They are exercised at least once a day: this keeps them fit as well as offers them more weeds to munch on during the walk.

emma with goats.jpg

We also keep an eye on their hooves, making sure that they do not ingrow into the foot. Finally, we de-bud the goats to rid them of their horns – they like to headbutt and it is the best way to keep them from injuring each other.

We also milk the doe daily, keeping the baby separate from her during the night. From Molly (the andaluz), we get about 1-1.5 litres per day.

 Illness, Problems & Treatments

After looking into and researching all of the common diseases that can be found in goats, it is hard to pin-point what I should list here on the website, and I loathe to miss anything out. So, to give you a hand, here is a website that contains everything you need to know on the common diseases and treatments for goats!

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