Supplies for the Goat Barn
We would consider these items the very basic supplies for goat care of Nigerian Dwarfs. We believe you will want to have these basic care items before you bring your new weaned kid goats home. Believe me, this very basic list will grow as your goats grow and you see what you need and what works for you.
The first items you'll want to acquire is the feeding dishes, hay feeder, water buckets, mineral feeders and salt holder. There are plenty of choices in quality and prices in feed stores and online so check pricing if you want to save a few dollars!
Here are the feeders we like to use and we like these water buckets. Goats love fresh warm water & a lot of it. We refill their water buckets at least twice daily and some days, three or four. (Goats need a lot of water for their rumen to function properly and they will not drink dirty or soiled water! )
Mineral Feeders: There are a lot of choices when it comes to mineral feeders for goats. Here are the style of mineral feeders we started out with and still use along with our homemade homemade feeders.
We really like this relatively inexpensive hay feeder for the goat stalls we found at Family Farm & Home about a year ago. They are well made and they have helped with hay wasting. They are easy to move and would be great to take to shows.
Be sure to shop around for these - Amazon lists the one we purchased for around $55.00; We purchased ours at Family Farm & Home ( Stores in Michigan, Ohio & Indiana) for $25.00 each on sale (the everyday price is around $30.00);here is a link to Blain's Farm & Fleet offers them for $34.99 - with stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa & Michigan. (Blain's will ship items at a reasonable cost. )
You'll need to pick up a good pair of hoof trimmers, a hoof pick and a foot rasp to keep your goats feet trimmed. You can find trimmers priced from $17.00 to around $50.00 a pair.
The ARS 140DXR Hoof Trimmers are considered the gold standard. They run about $40.00 a pair. (You can find them here.)
You'll want to pick up a couple of brushes, a curry comb and a pair of scissors for trimming hair. Goats love to be brushed - a couple of mine do anyway!
Feed and Needed Supplements
You'll need to provide your new little ones with a good source of second cut grass hay that they have available to them at all times along with fresh, clean water. (An orchard grass & timothy mix make a nice hay for goats.) Make sure the hay does not contain any dust or mold which will make your goat sick.
TIP: Never say you are looking for a good quality grass hay for your goat, say it is for your show horse. Most people believe goats can and will eat anything which of course is not true.
Goats need good quality hay to keep their rumen healthy.
You'll want to get a good all around pelleted goat feed (if its not pelleted the goats will eat their favorites and leave the rest.) that has a balanced ratio of 2:1 (2 calcium and 1 phosphorus). This is a very important balance needed for your goats diet. Pelleted feed is also a great way to give your goat some medications and supplements by mixing them into their feed. (See Feeding Our Goats)
Use caution feeding pelleted feeds - goats should only be fed a maximum of 1% of their body weight in supplemental grains and when lactating, a maximum of 1.5% of their body weight.
As an example, a 60 pound non-lactating goat would receive only 0.6 pound in supplemental grain per day. Large amounts of grain can cause a drop in their rumen pH and a decrease in their rumen motility (acidosis) which can cause a goat to go "off feed", diarrhea, and death in severe cases. High grain diets can also contract pulpy kidney disease (also known as Clostridium Perfringens Type D).
Feeds can be either medicated or non-medicated so you need to read the labels on the feed bags.
Calcium helps with bone development, blood clotting, the nervous system, heart function, muscle function, milk production and cell interactions. At times of gestation and lactation, a goat needs calcium to prevent "milk fever" also referred to as "hypocalcemia". (See my recipe on making Magic Milk for pregnant does.)
Phosphorus is necessary for general body function, fetal development and production of milk. Deficiency can result in slow growth, failure to thrive, and decreased appetite. If phosphorus is not balanced, it can lead to urinary calculi.
It is important for your goat's health to feed a "goat-specific" feed to ensure proper nutrition and balance. As an example, for our lactating & milking does, we feed Kalmbach All Natural Milk & Meat Pellet and for our young goats and weaning, we use Kalmbach Game Plan 18 Starter Developer. By reading the label, you can see what the ratios and feed ingredients are.
Minerals - You'll need to give a free choice goat-specific mineral in addition to the hay and feed. We use Sweetlix Minerals 16:8 Check here to see if your area is deficient in Selenium; Michigan, like a lot other counties and states, is deficient and therefore we supplement Selenium. The other mineral for goats is made by Manna Pro and can be found at stores like Tractor Supply.
Salt Lick/block - We like the Himalayan Salt licks. You can find them at a lot of stores a lot cheaper than online for horses and they even sell them for deer. Don't confuse a salt lick with supplemental mineral needs - they are two separate needs.
Baking Soda is another important "supplement" you need to provide free choice for your goat. Goats will eat sodium bicarbonate or "baking soda" to help them with an upset stomach - it helps balance their rumen. We buy the big bags at either Costco or Sam's Club for about $8.00/bag.
This is what we think the absolute, bare minimum requirements that you will need to begin taking care of a newly acquired goat.
As a side note: Make sure you ask the seller to include a small bag of their feed if you cannot get the same feed so you can gradually switch their feed by mixing a little of the new stuff into the breeders feed and a pat or two of hay so you can switch them over without to much upset to their rumen. The last thing you want is a sick little one!