I'm often asked how hard it is to take care of a goat. Its actually more complicated than you'd expect. In some ways they are such hardy beasties. They can live very happily in -20 degree weather, as long as they have access to a shelter when needed. They grow adorable furry coats which seem to keep them warm enough. Its usually more of a problem keeping their water thawed, than keeping them warm in winter. They are ruminants and have 4 stomachs. If you've ever had stomach issues - imagine the possibilities if you were dealing with 4 of them - each with a different function?
One of the things that never gets old, is seeing reactions when we tell people that we raise goats. Without exception, it makes people laugh, smile and feel good. They want to hear the stories, see pictures and know more. It seems that there are a lot of people who dream of getting goats one day and I'm all for it - if you're sure of what you're getting into. There is nothing more fun and rewarding and sometimes more heartbreaking and difficult, than raising goats. It's hard to be in a crappy mood when you're surrounded by these gentle, inquisitive, opinionated little creatures.
Keeping the gut balanced is critical to the health of a goat. And figuring out the right mix of feed, grains, nutrients to keep it all on track feels pretty close to rocket science sometimes. It's taken me 6 years to find a mix that I'm happy with - and even so, I'm always working to improve it.Then there are vaccinations. Just as in humans, vaccinations are meant to avoid a whole raft of potential ailments, many of which are specific to goats. The lovely complication is that very few medications are made specifically for goats. There just aren't enough of them to warrant the drug companies developing goat-specific meds and vaccines. So we goat owners are left to figure out how to adapt meds made for sheep, cattle and sometimes horses (or even people) for goats. Furthermore, because goat metabolisms are much faster than most of these other animals, doses often need to be doubled, tripled or sometimes even quadrupled to be effective. But not always. So you see the tricky waters we goat people sometimes have to navigate.
There are loads more things to think (and worry) about when you live with goats. And I'm always learning and they're always teaching. And no matter how hard it is, what heartbreaking thing has happened, there isn't a day I'm not incredibly grateful for the love and happiness they generate at our place.
So after reading this, if you are STILL interested in raising goats - don't hesitate to send me an email. I'm happy to discuss goats all day long.