Are you sad? Lonely? Depressed? Wonder what it all means? Crucially, are you finding it hard to meet members of the opposite sex? Then you need a goat.
A goat is a pet, a sympathetic friend, always glad to see you (especially if you come bearing treats – the main objective of a goat’s waking hours is to get treats) pretty to look at, and, if all goes well, will present you with little replicas of themselves followed by healthy milk from which you can make yummy cheese.
Contrary to popular belief, they don’t smell. Well, not strictly true, male goats do smell, when they are in the mood for luuuurve, but females – no, females are dainty creatures which smell less than the average dog. Also contrary to popular belief, they don’t eat just any old thing – although if they get into your garden they will make a bee-line for you most treasured, most expensive plants and eat them with gusto.
The little-known fact is that goats are babe magnets – he babes and she babes. Absolutely everyone falls in love with a nice goat – especially if it has a cute baby running alongside. Just check out the goat fan pages on FaceBook – filled with lovely ladies and handsome guys cooing over their goats.
So first things first, what do you need if you are going to keep a goat?
Although there are more than a few people who keep goats as house pets, this isn’t a route that you want to go. Much as you may love your goat, you really don’t want her jostling for space on the sofa. (And believe me, goats love to snuggle up and watch TV).
What you need to keep a goat
You need a decent, well fenced paddock which give her space to play. In fact, because two goats are much nicer than one, space for two goats to play. You can find all kinds of cool goat playground ideas on line, so be prepared to build a caprine jungle gym. They really do love to climb, run and jump, so make sure you have an excellent fence.
It’s a well-known fact (among goats at least) that they are made of sugar and so they will melt in the rain. At the sign of the first drop of water, they will head for cover at lightning speed. Goats have thin skin and mustn’t get wet, or they will get sick. They need a day shelter, and if you live somewhere cold, and warm place to sleep at night. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just so long as it’s draft proof and dry. It also needs to be clean, so mucking out the shelter is going to be added to your job list. (The resulting poop and straw mix is great for the garden.)
Feeding the goat
If you have just one or two goats, then buy ready mixed goat feed from your nearest supplier. You also want to offer them fresh green stuffs – shrub and tree branches are good. Don’t allow them to snack on too many sweet things – raisins are a healthy occasional treat.
Goats have dainty hooves, and you’ll need to learn how to trim them to keep them in healthy shape. This is easy, and most goats are very compliant when it comes to pedicures. Grooming can be simple – just a regular brush with a curry comb – or complicated, involving shampoos and trimming – you are going to need a friend to help with this! Most goats need no more than a regular brush, if that.
If you have a female, sooner or later she is going to want to breed. When the time comes, it’s best to take her to a local buck, unless you’re serious and want to breed on a regular basis, in which case, you might want to keep your own buck. You can generally tell when your lady goat is in the mood – she’ll get a lot more “talky” and restless. That mood doesn’t last for more than a day and a half or so, so it’s time to jump in the car and get her to her guy!
The gestation period for goats is five months. When the time is near, make sure that the goat in waiting is kept inside with clean straw, fresh water and food. She will generally manage all by herself, and present you with (generally) a pair of twins. At this point, be prepared to fall totally in love!
Once the babies are a week or so old, you can start taking your share of milk from mom. Goat milk is delicious, and very healthy. A good goat can give half a gallon or more a day.
This is of course just a brief guide to keeping goats. They are intelligent, friendly, sweet natured, and will absolutely endear you to right thinking members of the opposite sex!