05-13-2008, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: No. Utah
Re: Pack goats
Feed: that's an old myth- goats are very intelligent and inquisitive and like to mouth stuff. Anyhting you are working with. And they will eat a plastic sack and it could kill them- but as far as food goes no.
I want a strong healthy animal- basically an athlete. Up to 2 years of age they get
a daily supplement of flaked corn or Corn oats and barley or beet pellets. But between my 3 goats during the cold months they go thru about a bale or so of hay a week.
The secret is the Calcium to Phosphorous ration- 2 to 1. You want wethered goats- no male stink and promotes growth. But the castration can cause problems, especially if done before 6 months of age. Basically Urinary stone and can kill or at least be a really ugly deal. You need to keep that above ratio pretty close to 2 to 1 and it helps. Too much protien and that throws it out of whack but you also want protien up to 2 years of age to promote that athletic growth. They will turn their noses up at food you would think would be like steaks to them at times. Part of the time I feed a pure grass hay and part I feed a hay with weeds and a little alfalfa in it- but not pure alfalfa.
Shelter: at least 3 sided shed out of the wind. I built a shed with a sloping roof to the back. I put a barn style door on the one side and a half door on the other. The half door is on the top half with rubber mats that hang to keep out the wind and rain but let air circulate. The mats can be folded up out of the way on nice winter days. They floor is 1/2 covered with a pallets so they are off the ground.
Weight- You really don't want any weight on the goats until 2 years of age. They grow to 4 years and top out and live for 15 or so. At 1 1 /2 years you can put the saddles on them to hike with but really not much weight in the panniers until 2- thier spine and bones are still growing. After 3 or so they can go with 1/4 thier body weight depending on how fit they are . At 2 mine were carrying 15#. Just like us old men if we don't keep in shape they aren't going far or carrying much. My goats are 180# plus- my buddy has one at 2 that's 200 plus. I would say with the shape they are in they could carry 50# but 40# a piece with 3 goats is more than I can use in a week.
Except for unloading and starting out- depending who is around I don't use a lead rope. There isn't a need to. If they are imprinted on you then you are the lead goat to them and they won't leave you. Raising them from a month on is the way to go, you can get an older goat which hopefully is imprinted on humans that could be trained as a pack goat but a goat raised by you will have a much higher percentage of being what you want. I do not high line or tether them at night though many do. They won't leave. They have never been more than 10 yards from the tent at night ever. A water spray bottle is your training tool. They will get into stuff- they are as smart as a dog and all have differnt personalities for sure. But a spray in the face with the spray bottle a couple of times and they won't ever do it again. They train pretty quickly.
They are enjoyable personable animals that sometimes amaze you because what they did took some type of thought process to do.. Once you get it down they are very easy to deal with. I started out with them in a 70 x 70 fenced area with no grass and had to feed daily. Because of them ( to a point ) I live on a pretty decent spread with a acre of pasture just for them now in a Paradise. I can honestly say that I don't think my wife and I would have taken that leap with out having them. I know with in a year I will be building a 40 x 40 metal garage with stalls on the side for them.
Ernest Hemingway -
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."