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Care & Maintenance of your Hooved Friends:

Goat Care

Goat Facts for New Owners
By: Sherry Johnson, "Dwarf Digest" editor.

Each farm has its own management techniques. This information is offered as a basic guideline that can be modified. Techniques change over time, so it is important to read current goat publications, and books in order to stay educated about the care of your goats. The phone numbers for catalogues and other references currently available are listed at the end.

1. Goats are herd animals, and cannot thrive alone. They must always have another goat as a companion. They form a life long friendship with their companions, and will mourn for their companion if separated. A wether (neutered male goat) can be used as a companion for a doe (female goat) or a buck (male goat). Other herd animals can be substituted such as a calf, horse, or lamb, but two goats are always better than one.

2. Goats are intelligent and can be trained. Examples of treats that can be fed are apple slices, peanut shells, pumpkin slices, raisins, carrot slices, cabbage slices, and greens such as kale. Sometimes goats can be overly friendly. They can be trained to stop chewing on clothes or hair by blowing in their face. However when taming a shy goat, it is necessary to allow them to interact this way in the beginning.

3. It is essential that the newborn kids drink their mother's colostrum the first 24 hours. It is sometimes necessary to help a mother at birth by drying amniotic fluid off a new born with a towel, and then placing the kid under her teat. Hold the kid there and make sure that it nurses. If for some reason, it doesn't nurse within an hour after birth or if the mother rejects the kid, then the colostrum needs to be milked out, and the baby needs to be bottle-fed the colostrum. At this age, they will only drink about an ounce at a time. They need to be fed at least three times a day for the first 2 weeks. The red Pritchard nipples that are available at Caprine Supply or Hoegger Supply Company are a good size for Nigerian Dwarfs. If the kid is too weak to nurse, then it will need to be tube fed. A veterinarian or experienced breeder can help with this.

4. If you bottle feed a goat kid, and you have trouble getting the kid to take the bottle there are a few helpful tricks that can be used to help the kid nurse. Make sure the milk is warm. Milk temperature is especially important to very young kids. A goat's normal temperature is around 102 degrees, a few degrees warmer than human temperature, so it should feel slightly warmer than your skin to the touch. Be sure to shake the bottle to get out any hot spots. Try forcing the kid's mouth open, pushing the bottle in and cradling your hand around the goat's mouth to hold the bottle in place. Rub the top of the goat's head with your chin. This simulates the dark warmness of the belly of the mother to a baby goat. If the kid has trouble getting any milk after 12 hours, try adding a teaspoon of molasses to the mild. Expect them to eat around 6-8 oz. 3 times a day until they are 8-12 weeks old. They can be weaned using warm water bottles with a teaspoon of molasses.

5. Always pasteurize goat milk that you use to bottle feed to prevent the transmision of CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis) unless the dam is tested negative and your herd has tested negative for CAE. To pasteurize the milk, using a candy thermometer or dairy thermometer (available in goat catalogues) and a double boiler, heat the milk to 165 degrees and hold for 10 seconds. Then set the double boiler pan in the sink or in a mixing bowl full of water. Colostrum is treated differently than milk. It is heat treated rather than pasteurized. The sensitive immune proteins in colostrum can be destroyed but to kill pathogens, heat to 135 degrees in a double boiler, and hold at that temperature for one hour, carefully monitoring it the entire time that it is heated. Don't let it go above 135 degrees.

6. The types of tests for disease that are available that can be taken by veterinarians are: CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis), CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis- abscesses), Johnes "wasting disease", TB (Tuberculosis), and Brucellosis.

7. Vaccinations need to be given on a regular schedule. If the dam had a CD/T (clostridium perfringens C and D type/tetanus) one month before giving birth, the kids will gain immunity through her colostrum to tetanus and to enterotoxaemia (a fatal disease that the clostridium perfringerns vaccine prevents). The immunity will last for the first 8 weeks of the kids' lives. If the dam didn't have a vaccination, then it is necessary to give the kids a tetanus shot before disbudding or wethering. Vaccinate the kids at 8 weeks, and 12 weeks if the dam was vaccinated. If she wasn't vaccinated, then give those kids a third vaccination at 16 weeks. Vaccinate on an annual basis after the initial shots.

8. The best way to be accurate with deworming is to periodically take a stool sample of each goat to a veterinarian or vet school. This is done by collecting the sample in a paper cup, then storing it in a plastic bag marked with the goats' name in the refrigerator until it can be delivered to a vet. Deworm according to veterinarian prescription. Blanket instructions cannot be given for deworming because every area has its own types of parasites, each goat has its own parasite load, and some areas have parasites that are resistant to worming medications. Wormers are not approved for goats, so a veterinarian needs to prescribe the proper amount of medication. If records of the samples examined are kept, the breeder can take into consideration using the goats that are resistant to parasites in their breeding program. If a vet is not available, consult Dr Patton, head of the parasitology lab at the University of Tennessee for advice at [email protected]

9. Goats need hay, browse, and small amounts of grain daily. Fresh grass can be used a source of roughage. Fescue grass can cause does to dry up and should not be planted in pastures. Alfalfa, mixed grass hay is good for lactating does. Never use moldy hay with goats. Keep the hay up off the ground if possible to prevent goats from walking on it and soiling it. Take caution however, because hay racks can be a potential danger for broken necks if a goat gets butted from the side, gets hung in the hay rack, or gets caught in baling wire that hasn't been off of a bale. Feed goat chow as a supplement to add necessary vitamins to the diet. Horse feed is too high in copper, and sheep feed has no copper. Adult goats need 1-2 cups of feed a day, depending on size, maturity of the goat and whether or not they are being milked. Kids need less feed. Throw out feed that isn't eaten. Overeating, such as gorging on an open bag of feed is very dangerous, and can cause death by enterotoxaemia. Keep feed away from goats in a covered plastic container to prevent mold growth. Goats are browsers, not grazers like sheep prefer scrub on the forest floor to grass. They will browse on plants such as ivy, blackberries, honey suckle, and they love fallen, dry leaves. Tame goats follow you on walks in the woods, and will stay close by as you walk without a leash. Each herd of goats has a Queen goat that the herd has chosen after head butting challenges. In the wild, the Queen decides when to move to new grazing area, and the herd follows. Walking the Queen goat on a leash in the beginning will help insure that the goats stay close by until they feel safe in the new territory. Cherry, rhododendron, and most landscaping plants are poisonous to goats. When planting grass pastures for grazing, contact the extension office in your area for suggestions of grass types. Rotation of pasture is the best method for insuring a healthy pasture and low parasite loads in goats.

10. Loose minerals, and white salt are a necessary part of a goat's diet. White salt can be bought at feed stores. Loose goat minerals need to be ordered. A source for minerals is Nutritional Supply. This company also supplies other excellent supplements such as kelp, and powdered yeast, which are very high in vitamins and minerals. Sunflower seeds can be added to the feed. Cattle, sheep and horse salt blocks don't work for goats. A goat can't get the proper type and amount of minerals from a salt block. Use only loose minerals. Diatomaceous earth can be added to the feed as a mineral to help control parasites or rubbed on the goat to control lice. Baking soda (just like the kind found at the grocery stores) can be set out to help neutralize the excess acidity that develops in a goat's rumen caused by eating grain.

11. Bucks and wethers need ammonium chloride added to their diet to prevent urinary blockage by calculi- a painful type of condition that can only be corrected by surgery. Some feeds such as Nutrena products add this to the feed. Ammonium Chloride can be ordered as a supplement from Hoegger Supply if you are unable to find a feed that has ammonium chloride in it. Adding vinegar to the water occasionally is said to help prevent urinary blockage. Overfeeding grain causes crystals to form in the urinary tract. It is believed that waiting to wether a buck until he is 4 months old when his urinary track is mature helps prevent blockage. Bucks need to be separated from does at 7-12 weeks to prevent accidental breeding. A buck should have a companion buck or wether with it and not be alone.

12. Goats run for shelter with the first drop of rain. Goats don't like to get wet! They need a clean, dry, draft free, well-ventilated shelter from the elements and if there is a danger of predators, they can be locked up at night. Use a gravel or cement based floor with an inert mineral agricultural lime spread over it. Parasitic fly control can be ordered from Peaceful Pastures and released in the barn to control flies. In the winter, cover with straw or shavings (hardwood or pine, not cedar.) Clean frequently with a pitchfork to prevent a heavy muck build-up. Goats like to sleep off the ground. Sleeping benches can be constructed in the barn for the goats to sleep on. Goats handle the cold and heat well.

13. Predators can be a threat to goats. Stray dogs, neighborhood dogs, family dogs, coyotes, even hawks could all be a potential danger to a helpless goat. If there is a danger of predators, then the goats can be locked up at night in a shelter. Livestock guardian dogs can be used such as the Great Pyrenees for protection but be aware that they do require training when they are puppies.

14. Tethering a goat can be dangerous. If it is necessary for some reason to tether a goat, it is best to supervise the goat while it is being tethered. A goat that is tethered is helpless against predator attack, and could be strangled by the tether. The best solution for containing a goat is to build a small temporary pen.

15. Disbudding can be done at 10 days to 2 weeks of age. Anesthesia can be deadly to a goat, however isoflurine (available only at a veterinarian office) is safe to use with goats. It is a gas that is administered with a mask that is placed in the goat's face. It can be used to sedate the goat, and prevent pain while disbudding. Many goat owners learn how to disbud a goat on their farm with a disbudding iron. If the goat is not disbudded at an early age, and the horn bud comes through, it is more difficult to disbud. Scurs (small growths of horn grow out of the horn area after disbudding) can occur if the root of the horn is not completely burned out by the disbudding iron. Surgery by a veterinarian is done if the goat already has horns. The surgery is not recommended, it is traumatic and requires a long recuperation with a head wrap. Disbudding them also helps prevent the goats injuring each other in close spaces. Goats are not likely to ever butt a human, but it is advisable not to play with the goat's head when interacting with the goat so as not to form bad behavioral habits with the goat. It is difficult to keep horned goats with disbudded goats.

16. Goats need to have their hooves trimmed every 1-2 months. They can develop lameness and foot rot if their hooves aren't trimmed regularly. The best trimmers available for the Nigerian Dwarf are the orange handled trimmers available in Hoegger Supply and Caprine Supply. Hoegger Supply offers a box called, "Nanny Manicures" that illustrates hoof trimming. Have someone demonstrate correct hoof trimming to you. Having rocks for the goats to climb and gravel paths helps to wear the hoof down, so that hoof trimming doesn't need to be done quite as often. Nigerian Dwarves' coats are clipped for showing. Also, goats can be clipped in the summer to deep them cool and bug free. NDGA sells a video that demonstrates how to clip a goat.

17. Goats prefer clean water, and will refuse soiled water. Lactating goats need lots of fresh water. Keep the water and feed dishes clean by washing with vinegar frequently. Apple cider vinegar can be added to the water. In the winter, and after giving birth, goats like warm water with a little molasses added to it.

18. The Nigerian Dwarf is considered to be a miniature dairy breed. It is important to understand the breed standards that are ideal for the breed for conformation. It is important to strive for these standards when breeding, so that the breed is improved over time and faults are eliminated. A dairy goat needs to be able to withstand the years of breeding, pregnancy, milking or nursing. The ideal bone structure will give her a longer, healthier life. To understand the conformation that is ideal for the breed, it helps to read the Judges' Training Manual. This is available through NDGA (Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association).

19. Goats are sensitive, intelligent animals. They love attention, especially from young children. Goats are born wild, not tame. To tame a goat, it helps to be present at the birth, so that the goats can imprint on humans. If the kids are not bottle-raised, and tame goats are preferred, then they need to be handled frequently each day until they are tame. Taming a goat makes a life-long friend.


1. Caprine Supply catalogue, 1-800-646-7736 or order on line at www.caprinesupply.com

2. Hoegger Supply Company catalogue, 1-800-221-4628 also on line ordering available

3. AGS registry address: American Goat Society, Inc. www.americangoatsociety.com

4. Nutritional Research Associates, 1-219-723-4931, (goat minerals and supplements available)

5. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, 1-888-784-1722 (to order pasture grass seed and other supplies)

6. NDGA website: www.ndga.org has registration forms, Breeder's Directory, information, virtual goat shows, and other info

7. Jeffer's Animal Supply Catalogue, 1-800-533-3377

8. ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association), P.O. Box 865, 209 West Main St., Spindale, NC 28160, www.adga.org

Preparing for your NEW GOAT's Homecoming:

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PREPARING  for your new GOAT!

 Goats are very social, curious, loving, hardy creatures, however, if they are to become ill, it will often-times be after a ?big-stress? event. 

 Some ?stress? events to a goat are wethering, disbudding, weaning, feed- changes,  changing homes, and even the drive in the car to the new home .  Stress-induced illness can range from sniffles to diarrhea,   therefore, we want to make your new goat?s move as comfortable as possible.

 Your goat will come to you with all it?s preventive medical care complete (at 8 weeks old), healthy and free of defect.  I recommend the following to reduce the goat?s stress level while transitioning to it?s new home:


~Plan for it to ride in a sturdy, large, dog-carrier preferably inside your car/suv. 

~Line the carrier with newspaper as a ?wetness barrier? and then place thick straw or hay on top for cushion. 

~Buy/bring along a tube of Probios (good bacteria to put in rumen in times of stress) and I will help you give a large dose to ?calm? the stomach-lining and help prevent stress.  You can buy Probios paste at any feed/farm store, or on Jeffers.com and it?s a staple you will need when owning goats.  It?s between $8 and $11 depending on where you buy it and which brand you choose.  Just be sure it has the dose for goats/cattle on back so you don?t get the ?horse? version by mistake.

~Bring a collar you?ve chosen for your new goat to help guide him /her out of the crate when you arrive home.

~Have your pen or stall ready for him/her  upon arrival home.  Take the goat out of your car and directly into the pen or area which will be their home.  If you have a shy goat, it?s a great idea to have help,  and LIFT  the entire crate out of the car and into the pen.  This will let your goat ?walk? out into his new surroundings rather than yanking,  and pulling him out when he?s afraid.

~Have clean straw/bedding down, FRESH, cool, water, a small bit of goat chow,  and good grass or brome hay for him to munch upon as soon as he gets to his new environment.

~If you have small children who are eager to ?play? with the goats, try to have them give the goat a couple of hours to acclimate to their new environment, before extreme handling/juggling them around.  If they must handle right away, have them be VERY gentle and hold the goat in a sitting and calming position and talk softly to it.  After a good night?s sleep and time to get used to it?s new surroundings, your goat will then be more ready to ?bond? with you and it?s new Family!

 ~Watch for signs of illness until you really get to know your goat:  Signs of illness include diarrhea, coughing, standing alone, head pressed into the wall, crying out, not getting up, not eating.

BELLE STARR FARM CARE REGIMEN: Care and Health of your Nigerian or Pygmy Goat:

**NOTE**  I am not a veterinarian.  Any and all Care and Health information on this page is a guideline ONLY and what I have discovered works  best for me and my herd.  In no way is it guaranteed or the one EXCLUSIVE way to care for/treat goats.



We feed all Nigerian and Pygmy does approximately 3/4 cup per Purina  Goat Chow  feed per day.  We feed in two troughs between about 20 goats and feed  16 cups ....making it actually .80 cups per day per doe.  Of course, they don't all get the same exact amount as some are larger and some are more aggressive (little hogs!) but on average, it would be .80 or  a little more than 3/4 cup per day per doe.

The thing to watch is that they all seem to be in "condition" meaning not too fat or thin, and that each goat at least gets to get "in" to the trough.  If you have a goat that's especially weak or bullied, or really thin, you may want to pull that doe out and feed it separately 3/4 to 1 cup of feed per day.   ***FAT is NOT determined by a big full rumen, but by the amount of skin/fat you can grab above the elbow of a goat.....there should be some, but not excessive amounts.  There is a body condition chart somewhere in my notes which I will publish when I find it here in a bit.  You could search under BODY CONDITION chart on the internet and I'm sure could locate a guideline.  I just want to stress that a well-developed rumen is large and full, and does not NECESSARILY mean a goat is "FAT."  We don't want folks erroneously starving their "fat" goats who really aren't fat, but just have  good, healthy rumen.

We also use  Ammonium Chloride to help prevent urinary calculi (stones) in the bucks and wethers.

FEEDING KIDS:   We feed kids (weaning to 6 or-8 mos.)  kid-ONLY stall made with combo cattle/hog panels and by cutting a hole in the panel small enough that only kids 6 or so mo's and under can fit in.  This way, they are able to eat without the larger does  pushing them out of the fray.  For growing kids, I offer about a cup per day per kid, and cut back if they start looking like Budha-bellies!  For instance, by 8 months or so, they are probably only getting 3/4 of a cup which is their adult ration, and eating with the adults then since they can no longer fit in with the tiny kids and hog all the food.

You may find you need two kid-only pens to accomodate different age groups of "kids."  I just zip tie one at an angle to the corner bars of our stalls (it forms a triangle shape) and feed in there.  Of course, you need to make the holes small enough that only little bitty babies fit in the triangle and then the entire KID stall is a regular stall with cattle panel surrounding it completely and in the door from the outside, you make a hole in the panel large enough for even your largest babies to fit (6-8 mo.'s).  Then you place the next panel up against a corner of the "kid-only" stall, attach it with ties or baling wire or U-nails and then cut an even smaller hole in it to funnel through only the "tinies." 

FEEDING BUCKS:  I feed bucks same as doe kids until they reach about 8 months of age, and then lower their feed to around 1/2 cup per buckling until a year.  I make sure they aren't getting too large in the tummy.  If they would happen to be extra small, I would give them a handful more  feed.  I DO NOT FEED ADULT BUCKS PELLET OR GRAIN except as a TREAT since they tend to be really lazy and get really fat quickly.  They do have FREE-CHOICE BROME or mixed GRASS hay though, and FREE-CHOICE Sweetlix minerals.   Place their hay source far from their sleeping area to encourage them to walk around and get exercise. 

I mix ammonium chloride into the buck's minerals to prevent Urinary Calculi.  I get it from Hoeggergoatsupply.com.  It comes in 2 lb. bags for $4.95, and can be added directly to the loose minerals either by spoonful or completely mixed into the 25 lb. bag of mineral at the rate of 25 lbs mineral:  1 lb. ammonium chloride. 


                                             Belle Starr Farm Kid Schedule:

Vaccines, Worming, Copper, Disbudding, Wethering, Hoof Trimming:


3-5 weeks:                  ____Disbud (no tetanus antitoxin since going on Mother’s immunities from her booster shot of  2cc CDT Bar Vac she received 30 days out from kidding (actually on 120 day bred)

                                     ___ Copper Bolus


4 weeks: or                ___Worming Zimectrin Gold ½ cc   ORALLY **THIS IS HORSE WORMER  Jeffers.com

                                     ___CDT Bar Vac  #1    of     2 cc’s  (under arm sq) *SQ means subcutaneously or under the skin only……not in the muscle.    Jeffer.com or any farm store

KEEP  CDT vaccine Refridgerated from purchase until completely used.  When you prepare the vaccines to administer use 18 or 20 guage 1” needles and draw the vaccine into the syringe, and let warm to room temperature before giving.  Never re-use needles or put a  needle which has been used back into the bottle the vaccine is in.

                                    ___*If NEEDED………Cocci Treatment  Sulfadimethoxine 40% injectable  ****Caprinesupply.com or Hoeggergoatsupply.com or a veterinarian.  1 cc per 10 lbs. Day 1, then 1cc per 20 lbs on Days 2-5 for PREVENTION or 1cc per 10 lbs all 5 days for TREATMENT.       YOU GIVE THIS MED ORALLY EVEN THOUGH IT says “injectable”


7 weeks:  or 21 days Later    ___Worming ½ cc Zimectrin Gold orally

                                                      ___CDT Bar Vac #2 of     2 cc’s (under arm                                            *___Cocci Treatment  (if needed)

                                                      ___Hoof Trim


7-8 weeks                          ____ Wether w/ band method or surgical by veterinarian, then wait one week to wean.  Wether at night and then buckling can nurse and sleep.   No tetanus antitoxin since you’ve just given CDT shot # 2.

                                             ____ Begin weaning from bottle if bottle fed


10  weeks:                        ___ Weaning from bottle or if dam-fed,  mother will start to do it herself

                                               ___Worming ½ cc Zimectrin Gold orally

                                             * ___Cocci Treatment  (if needed)


6  Mo.s                                  ___Hoof Trim

                                                ___Copper Bolus again *especially if you have any issues/problems w/ Cocci, worms


1 YEAR and annually thereafter      _____CDT Bar Vac BOOSTER  2 cc’s (under arm sq)                                    

                                                                      _____ Copper Bolus  (according to weight)

                                                                       _____Worming  1 cc – 1.5 ccs depending on weight

                                                                       _____Hoof Trim


120 Days Bred Doe:                          ____CDT BOOSTER to boost KIDS immunities 2 cc SQ under arm Based on 150 day pregnancy                            


Day of Kidding:                                   ____ Deworm Mother Doe to pass immunity onto kids w/                                                                   Zimectrin Gold 1.5-2.0 cc orally



At around 1 week, start eating hay

By weaning, they need to be eating grain

Earliest Weaning is 6 weeks, preferable Weaning is 8 -10 weeks


Feed:  Brome or Mixed Grass Hay Free CHOICE (out at all times if there is no forage (weeds/leaves).  I give hay all winter and most of summer since we don’t have a great deal of grass on our property.  Having hay around to eat also helps the goats to remain full (or satisfied) and eliminates the desperate need  to eat wild things which could be poisonous (cherries, peaches, Johnson Grass 1st few weeks after a freeze………..etc.) .  The thought is that they won’t eat poisonous things if they are NOT starving. 

Alfalfa Hay or Alfalfa Pellets to does only  several times a week ….Can give bucks/wethers Urinary Calculi.  Do NOT give Bucks/ Wethers ANY alfalfa hay.

NOTE alfalfa is NOT necessary for does UNLESS pregnant In the last mo. Or 45 days or so,  and while milking.  If not milking or pregnant, (Dry and Open) a doe will do fine with just free access to hay/grass/forage (weeds and such) and supplementary grain a couple times per week (optional)  or daily (optional) at the rate of 1/2 to 3/4 cup per feeding. Most importantly, good loose minerals.  SEE MINERALS below:

A pregnant doe needs normal feed until 100 days bred, then slowly increase grain ration and add in Alfalfa Hay or pellets until grain is doubled (right under or at 2 cups) by day of kidding.  DO THIS SLOWLY!  Continue feeding extra grain and Alfalfa until kids are of weaning age (around 8 weeks)   In fact if you have access to excellent quality alfalfa hay, no additional grain is needed, but I still give more anyway since kids begin nibbling at it with their Dams at mealtime.

 Purina  Goat CHOW (under 1 cup per day per adult doe) NOTE:  Non-milking, Non-Pregnant does over a year need NO grain if given good grass hay and browse, but if you choose to feed grain, do not give over  ¾ or so cups to non-pregnant, non-milking, does close to or over a year old.  It is not necessary and packs on the extra weight making them less healthy.  Give Weaned Kids around ¾ to 1 cup also.  Pregnant does….normal feeding until 100 days bred,  then SLOWLY give a little more grain & ALFALFA HAY FREQUENTLY!     After kidding, you should be at/around  just under 1.5 -  2 cups grain per day to support nursing and her own body’s caloric needs and alfalfa hay or pellets.

You will need to add a little more as her babies grow and start eating grain too.  The maximum I give nursing kids and mother together when they are big enough to eat significant amounts of grain (over a month), but still be nursing…… is 3 to 3.5 cups……if the kids eat more together than the 1 to 1.5  extra cup,(***NOTE FOR ONE KID: only add ½ extra cup, TWO KIDS: 1 extra cup, THREE KIDS: 1.5 extra cups, FOUR KIDS….MAYBE  2 cups) (NOTE****THESE ARE ESTIMATES ONLY THAT WORK FOR MY HERD*****not an EXACT SCIENCE)   that’s okay, because the Mama is on the downhill slide to weaning, and she doesn’t need that much grain if she doesn’t need to produce FULL milk potential.  The more grain the babies consume (while still being under a dangerously excessive amount) the less milk they need, the less milk the mama needs to make, the less grain she needs for herself.  That is just my thinking.  It’s not scientific, and you may find other advice that personally fits you better.  This is just what has worked for me since I’ve been breeding.

Sweetlix Meatmaker Mineral 16:8  FREE CHOICE ….see link below for info.

I use Sweetlix, but Golden Blend Minerals are also good, as are Manna Pro Goat minerals….just depends on what your local farm store carries or what you’re willing to order online.  Minerals for goats are very important to get them the COPPER they need.  Copper reading should be a MINIMUM  of 1750 ppm on the mineral bag tag, and have a balanced calcium/phosphorus ratio of 2:1.  Read your labels so you’re not wasting your money!   Goats also love minerals and think it’s like a daily treat!   Give  it in small portions ¼ cup or so per goat per day so that it stays fresh.  They tend to waste it if you put out a bunch and it get’s stale or wet. 


is VERY important in the health of goats which is why adding minerals is like giving your kids Flintstones Vitamins or making them eat an apple a day!  Copper deficiency in goats is VERY serious and can make their hair fall out, make them anemic, make them more susceptible to heavy and sometimes deadly wormloads and coccidia loads, give them scours, make them more susceptible to colds and pneumonia,  and lower their fertility.   


OFFER  Baking Soda   FREE CHOICE  (for upset/overfull rumen and bloat)

NOTE:  you can find this at Walmart in larger than baking boxes in the Laundry aisle or in summer in 5 lb. bags in the "pool" aisle.


Sick Goats Symptoms are/include:  stretching neck all the way out while laying on side on ground, huddling alone in a corner away from herd mates, coughing (other than while eating Alfalfa Hay), runny eyes, crusty eyes, runny nose, non-pelleted feces (runny or creamy other than the first couple of days mustard baby poop…..this is NORMAL!),  Arched back while standing alone indicates a stomach problem,(worms, cocci, entero)  grinding teeth indicates pain, Drum-tight swollen bellies….especially left side being larger than right indicates stomach troubles (could be bloat or entero).  You’re never going to know what every symptom means, but the identification of a problem is the key.  You then can refer to a book, or webite or your Veterinarian to help you solve the problem, but at least you know what to look for.  Goats are very hardy, and rarely act “sick” until they are VERY sick.  Lots of goat ailments sneak up on you, and a healthy goat can be a dead goat the very next day if signs aren’t identified, and treatment rendered. 

A lot of Vets don’t focus  a great deal on goats, so educate yourself via books and internet websites:


What is Normal for a Goat?

Basic physiological norms for goats:

·         Rectal temperature is in the range 101.5 to 103.5 degrees F

·         Pulse rate is in the range 70 -80 beats per minute

·         Respiration Adult Goats- 10-30 per minute

·         Respiration Kid Goats 20-40 per minute

·         Rumen Movement 1 – 1.5 per minute

·         Estrus (length of heat cycle)–12 to 36 hours

·         Heat Cycles– 20 to 23 days

·         Breeding Season –July to February   **For Nigerian and Pygmy goats is year-round

·         Gestation period is in the range 145 to 160 days ( typically 150)

·         Puberty (depends heavily on breed) but can be as early as  just 2 months for pygmy bucks, later for other breeds. 2 mos to 18mos (depending on breed)

·         Rumen development for kids - fully developed rumen functions at 1 yr of age. 

·         Lifespan Bucks – The average is around 8 years but up to 12 years

·         Lifespan Does – The average is around 11-12 years and up to 20 years

·         Growth from Birth to Maturity is 2 years


Some of my recommended sites are:                                Some easy/beginner medical solutions are:

 Goat-link.com   (Health & Care & great diagrams/pics)   Probios Paste.  for goats & cow

 Fiascofarm.com (Health & Care)                                            are sick, stressed, off feed or    (Health  Care)                                                                                 have diarreah.                                                          
Tennesseemeatgoats.com     (Health & Care)                       

kinne.net/articles.htm  (Health & Care)                               Pepto Bismol  for diarreah                                                                                                           scours  5-6 ccs orally several times

Dairygoatinfo.com            (Q&A Forum)                               per day until resolved.  NEVER

Jefferslivestock.com            (supplies)                                    USE IMMODIUM!!!  Stops GUT

Hoeggergoatsupply.com         (supplies)                              ***WILL RESULT IN DEATH

Caprinesupply.com                 (supplies)                                 Adults can have 10 ccs  several have                                                                                        times per day of PEPTO or Mylanta 

meadowbluefarm.com/fyi.shtml  (Health & Care)      Kids 1 mo – weaning 5-6 ccs everal

                                                                                                times per day.

                                                                                          Newborn-3 weeks 2-3 ccs every 4-6 hours

More Easy/Beginner Medical Solutions:

Baking Soda paste (baking soda and water) …..any time you suspect a kid has stomach problems like Bloat, Floppy Kid, etc.   NOTE:  I have used this for a brand new doeling who couldn’t stand up because her legs were too weak………….it helps with coordination somehow as well as was told to me by the “Goat Lady.”    Mix the paste up and put it in a baby’s mouth on your finger or out of an eyedropper.  Make sure to give them time to swallow, before giving more.  There is no exact amount, but I gave a 4 lb doeling around ½ - ¾ teaspoon full.

Here is an entry on a PYGMY Goat website explaining their unfortunate situation and how Baking Soda is a GOOD REMEDY:   From Hundred Oaks Farm Pygmy Goat Website:

One of our few losses to date was due to what we later identified as Floppy Kid Syndrome.  We had a 7 day-old male that would not feed, and was too weak to stand.  Our vet gave him antibiotics, but we lost him 4 days later, even though we brought him inside, bottle fed him, and did everything in our power.  It was a very tragic loss for us.  Researching this later brought me to an obscure article about losses in very young goats.  A seemingly healthy animal would suddenly go limp and die, for no good reason.  It turns out, to put it in the simplest terms, the kid would develop an extremely acid stomach (only 1 of the 4 stomachs would be functional at this age), and would not be able to digest its milk.  The answer: baking soda in solution with water.  We have had the 'fortune' to prove this theory several times, when one of our kids can't eat.  In just a few hours after treatment (and warming in the house), they are as good as new.  You can read more about this at Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  It is very important to administer treatment as soon as you notice lethargic behavior.  Death can occur very suddenly, as new kids don't have any energy reserves.  The baking soda solution will not harm your kid at any age.  If you want to share this information with your vet, please, do not hesitate.

Goat Nutri-Drench:  description from Jeffers.com

Goat Nutri-Drench:   Energy burst for weak newborn kids .  Provides a rapid source of energy, vitamins A, D and E, trace minerals, amino acids and glucose to the bloodstream in minutes. Increase survivability of lambs and kids, prevents nutritional deficiencies and stimulates the appetite of ketotic animals and gives stamina on show day. Orally give 1 oz (30 cc) per 100 lbs. Repeat every 8-12 hrs as needed. For newborns: give 4 cc (2 pumps) as soon as possible after birth.

Available at Feed/Farm stores or online at Jeffers.com, Hoegger.Com, etc. , this is a HIGH Energy, HIGH Vitamin, EASILY and quickly absorbed to bloodstream, liquid to be given for any time a goat is off-feed, being moved (shipping fever), developing cold symptoms, being weaned, given antibiotics; fighting Diarreah (Scours)  NOTE:  Can be combined w/ probios, baking soda, Pepto, Antibiotics……will not counteract or harm.    I have used for a bottle baby which WOULD NOT take a bottle, and thus was getting basically NO calories in a day.  Used 2 x per day until I got her on the bottle.  

VET RX:   description from Jeffers.com  Note:  I have not used this for respiratory, but if left untreated, ear mites can ruin your goats’ ears (cauliflour ears) so I have coated the inside of  goats who seem to have ear problems, Symptoms include shaking their heads constantly, twitching or scratching ears……

            For all breeds of goat and sheep with respiratory infections.

Adults-give 3 drops in each nostril 4 times daily for 3 days.
Kids & lambs-give 2 drops in each nostril 3 times daily.

To eliminate ear mites, coat inside of ear and repeat treatment daily for 3 days.

Triodine 7 :  For cuts, abrasions, dipping newborn kids’ umbilical cords and hooves to prevent bacteria (It cauterizes them)…………  Needs to be 7% or more Veterinary Strength iodine; not just human type.  Available at feed stores or definitely Jeffers.com or Valleyvet.com

NOTE:  The Sulfadimethoxine 40% doses BELOW have changed:  PLEASE NOTE NEW DOSES.  THEY ARE IN RED:

Sulfadimethoxine 40% injectable:  This is my preferred treatment/prevention  for Coccidiosis.  Available at feed/farm stores and some online places (Jeffers.com, Valleyvet.com, Caprinesupply.com) this is a concentrated version of all the other Dimethoxine products out  there (Dimethox powder, Dimethox solution 12.5) .    You do NOT inject this in GOATS.  Give 1cc per 5 lbs orally for TREATMENT for 5 days.  Or 1 cc for 5 lbs. Day 1 and then 1 cc per 10 lbs. Days 2-5 for PREVENTION.  NOTE: I DON’T USUALLY TREAT PREVENTATIVELY FOR COCCI……I SAVE THE MEDICINE FOR WHEN I SEE SIGNS OF COCCI and treat then.   Signs are scours, hunched back, teeth grinding, off feed;  YOU REALLY NEED TO TAKE  A STOOL sample to a Vet to confirm Cocci, but if it’s suspected (all the signs and under 4-6 mo’s old) you can treat at TREATMENT dose listed above and see if after 5 days, it has remedied the scouring.  Only give Pepto Bismol the first couple of days to allow the stool to return to it’s unmedicated fashion to notice if it’s pelleted again (in balls) or still mushy or runny.  If still mushy or runny after 5 days TREATMENT w/ Sulfadimethoxine 40%, GO TO A VETERINARIAN!!!! 

Zimectrin GOLD Horse Wormer Paste:   Feed/farm store or online, this wormer is safe for all life cycles and stages, and treats stomach worms, lung worms and tape worms.  Safe during all stages of Pregnancy.

Dose as follows:  .5 cc tiny kid (30 days, 60, 90 day worming)

                              1 cc kid up to a year

                              1.5 regular sized doe

                              2.0 large doe or buck  

 **NOTE These doses are estimates ONLY and what works for me.  Use of Zimectrin Gold in goats is what they call OFF LABEL use and there is actually not a set formula .

NOTE**  Put it in a syringe to get the cc’s or ml’s…………the NOTCHES on the HORSE WORMER tube are for HORSES and are GRAMS; NOT CC’s !!!  DO NOT GIVE STRAIGHT FROM HORSE TUBE!

 Pennicillin:     G Benzathine(long acting)  & G Procaine :  Topical infections, large cuts, difficult birthing,  Enterotoxemia,  

DOSE:  3-5 ml per 100 lbs SQ.  Give 5 ml every 24 hours for adult sick goat, every other day for adult goat w/ skin problems.    A 20 lb 2 month old goat w/ skin problems would  get 1 cc loading dose, then ½ cc SQ every other day  3x (example)   STORAGE:  Refridgerate but do not freeze.


 Pennicillin:   Procaine 300,000 IU:    For infections from injuries, bites and after difficult birthing.

DOSE: Kids - 1-2ml SC (SQ) for baby goats (8-25lbs), 1 or 2 times daily.
DOSE: Adults - 6-10 ml SC (SQ) for adult goats, 1X or 2X daily.
You can double recommend maximum dose on first injection, then divided daily dose and inject every 12 hours for 2-3 days, then 1X daily thereafter.

STORAGE: Refrigerate (36°-46°F, 2°-8°C). Protect from freezing. To prevent procaine toxicity, keeping procaine penicillin at proper storage temperature and following shelf life recommendations are reccomended to avoid any degradation of the product.

BiomycinAka La200  Pinkeye directly in eye out of needleless syringe or respiratory ailments, colds, etc. hoof rot, hoofscald 

DOSE:  4.5 cc/100# twice 3 days apart,     OR  

3.5cc per 100 pounds given once a day for 5 days or 24 hours after symptoms subside.  You can give a loading dose of 3.5cc every 12 hours moving to 24 hours on the 3rd shot.

For treatment of Pink Eye: administer a couple drops oxytetracycline directly into the eye as well as giving the injections.

  • Milk withholding time: 12- 18 days
  • Notes:
    • Do not confuse this drug with Tylan 200- it is NOT the same medication.   NOT FOR PG DOES.  DO NOT mix with Pennicillin.

Tylan 200:  Works when Penn/Biomycin don’t ………..kind of a 2nd attempt: Bacteriostatic Effective against gram positive bacteria + Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Rickettsia. I've used at doses as high as 20-30mg/lb (10+ ml/cc per 100 pounds) in both adults and kids.

Tylan 200® - 200mg tylosin per ml, Tylan also comes as Tylan 50 (50mg tylosin/ml), check bottle for strength and adjust the ml rate.
Tylan 200 is NOT the same as LA-200.
DOSE : (FOR Tylan 200 ) 1.5-2.0 ml SC(SQ) for baby goats, 3.5 to 5.0ml per 100 pounds [7-10mg/lb] for adults, one time daily

Nuflor:   Vet Prescription ONLY ………..good for PNEUMONIA, UTI problems, Dose 5-6 per 100 lbs. every 3rd day (usually only need one shot, sometimes 2)  Administer SQ w/ 18 gu. Needle.  It’s thick and it burns!

STORAGE:  NO need to refridgerate

Per my Veterinarian, it is SAFE during Pregnancy

Tetanus Antoxin :  anytime a goat gets a cut or open wound that tetanus could invade.  Deadly and painful death.  Take it seriously!  And use ANTITOXIN; not TOXOID for a wound. It’s an over-the-counter product for short-term protection against Tetanus and tetanus-like infections.  Comes in single-dose vials.  Each vial contains 1,500 units. 

DOSE:  The vaccine maker, Colorado serum,  recommends using one 1,500 unit vial per goat regardless of size/age for prevention and higher levels (3x and higher) for treatment.   Available at Jeffers.com or any farm store

STORAGE:  Refridgerate

CDT ANTITOXINWhen you suspect a goat/kid has the beginning of Entero or FLOPPY Kid Syndrome……Signs include not eating, standing alone or running up toward Mother, but then not eating.  Tight, bloated stomach.

Give KID:  (example 10 lb…3.5 week old kid): 

1.       CDT Antitoxin 12 cc’s (6 orally drenched  and 6 divided into two 3-cc injections and put in each side (SQ)

DO THIS EVERY 4 hours until you get a result (goat up and alert, drinking from Mama…..moving around)

On a really sick baby, do this 3 times to FLUSH toxins even if baby is looking better

2.       Strong Antibiotic to clear infection from toxins .5 cc Nuflor SQ  every other day to a 10 lb kid.  May only need to do once.  Just go by results.

               OR PENNICILLIN: 

OTHER ENTERO TECHNIQUES I would combine with the above treatment (from article by Sue Reith)

3.      Pepto Bismol to coat the stomach 5-6 ccs

4.      Probios to add good bacteria          4 ccs

5.      Banamine  ¼ cc injected SQ to kill pain and cuts inflammation caused by toxins as they do their damage to gut walls

6.      BoSe ½ cc orally to stimulate  the body’s own immune system so it can get better while you help it from the outside

7.      Baking Soda 1 tsp mixed w/ water to make paste or drench (orally) to reverse  acidosis created by the toxins as they destroy intestinal walls.

FYI: Whatever else you do, do not substitute dexamethasone for Banamine, as it will shut down the immune system while reducing the inflammation

READ THIS ARTICLE ON ENTERTOXEMIA:  This is a commonly misunderstood condition which is FATAL if not treated:  THIS IS WHY  WE give the series of 2 CDT Bar Vac vaccines  and follow up with a booster of 2 ccs every year in the Spring!! DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR ANNUAL BOOSTER SHOTS  to counteract Entero. 





NOTE ON NEEDLES:  I use 18 gauge or 20 gauge, ¾ - 1” needles for most all medicines…………..I used to always try to use 22 guage since they are smaller and seem like they’d hurt less, but for thick meds (SULFADIMETHOXINE 40%, COVEXIN, BIOMYCIN, NUFLOR) they are too small to really administer the meds and take much longer, or sometimes, blow off the luer slip kind of needle from the syringe……….wasting both the meds and terrorizing your goat, and making it necessary to “guess” at how much actually got into the goat’s system to re-do the shot!

HAVE 1cc (up to 100 lbs)  Epinephrine ready to administer IM upon signs of Anaphalactic Shock after giving an injection: SEE LINK:   http://goat-link.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=102



Nigerian Dwarf goats can breed year round and have a 145-155 day gestation period.  I have found in my experience that it tends to lean toward the earlier number, but is also determined by how many kids the doe is gestating, and a variety of other factors.  Still, I prepare for a 145 day bred birth, and then sit back and relax until it actually happens.  With the mother 30-45 out from kidding date, you give her a 2cc booster of CDT and a worming which begins working to provide the kids with immunities after birth for the first couple of weeks.


******These are the very basics written to help you navigate through goat care on a basic level.  I am not a Vet.  These are a guideline only, and based on what has worked in the past for me.    For any serious illness, or if you’re uncertain or unable to perform immunizations, or treatments, PLEASE contact a Veterinarian.  Your pet’s life may depend on it!


Copper Bolus: 

Adding copper to a goat's diet is very important, and can prevent many ailments caused by copper deficiency.  We bolus (inject a pill with a pill popper from pet store) down the throats of all our goats every 6 months.  The pill dissolves in the goats' stomachs, and the copper "needles" (they aren't actually needles.....they look like tiny pencil lead) stay there providing a source of copper for approximately 5-6 months.  The guidelines we use to dose and administer are below: 





Use Copasure 25 Cattle bolus from Jeffers.com, or farm store and empty gelatin capsules from health food store or online in various sizes 000, 00, 0, 1, 3……………and break down  according to weight.  Use a dog pill popper from pet store or vet to bolus mini goats (Nigerians, Pygmys)


Begin at 1-2 weeks of age with smallest size and bolus every 6 months


Helps with scouring, Coccidia, worms, immune systems, fertility; prevents copper deficiency.







WEIGHT:           CAP SIZE:    AMT:               DIRECTIONS:


100 lbs and up        000        -----               Fill both sides full and try to keep it all in while closing


80-90 lbs                    000     4 gm              Fill Large half Full, plus a pinch or two in small half


60-70 lbs                    000     3.12 gm         Fill large half to 1/8” below top


45-60 lbs                    00       2.5 gm           Fill to about top of large half


40-45 lbs                    00       2.08 gm         Fill to 3/8” below top of large half


30-40 lbs                      0        1.78 gm         Fill to very top of large half


25-30 lbs                      0        1.56 gm         Fill almost to top of large half


20-25 lbs                      1        1.2 gm           Fill to top of large half


16-20 lbs                      1        .83 gm           Fill to ¼” below top of large half


10-15 lbs                      3        .63 gm           Fill almost to top of large half





NOTE:  I will be adding to this segment of the site until I've covered all the basics to maintenance and health.  It may take a while..........so check back often~

Velvet Roan says......"what are ya feedin' me again?"



We test our herd for CAE & CL - and maintain a completely closed herd.  Results are as follows:

April 2015 - 1/2 herd random checked: all NEGATIVE!

April 2013 - 1/2 herd random checked:  all NEGATIVE!

May, 2011 - WHOLE Herd checked:  CAE/CL FREE

May 2010. --  WHOLE Herd CAE/CL Free

**NOTE:  We use WADDL as our laboratory for our testing.





CHECK out Prairiebellecandle.com for all things Goats Milk Soap and Handmade Toiletries and wonderful Hand-poured Candles!

2010 AGS Nationals in Sedalia, MO:  We attended w/ Cowgirl, Calamity, Kate, Silver, Sweet Pea and 6-Gun.  Cowgirl was 3rd in her class of 16 and Calamity was 4th, Silver was 7th.  Very Fun! and educational!


816-380-4688 or email me at [email protected]



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