Posted by: The Swiss Frau | February 8, 2017

Common Misconceptions About Goats

Every time I see something on TV or get asked questions about goats at farmer’s markets I think about writing about some of the common misconceptions.

The most common question: Is it true goats eat anything? No, it is not true. I tell my seminar attendees that a well fed goat won’t eat “anything”. They are even fussy about hay. They prefer alfalfa or good quality grass hay and if it smells “off” or a little mildewed they won’t eat it. BUT a starving goat will eat anything. They will eat all the bark off of the trees, they will eat whatever is there. The result of a hungry goat without good hay is that they could potentially die eating the wrong things. This is where the misconception comes from. A well cared for goat that is content and fed regularly and fed quality hay and minerals will generally not be interested in anything that is bad for them.

Goats love to play with things in their mouths. This can lead to problems. We never leave a bucket hook or bucket snap in a stall when we empty buckets. They can and have gotten fish hooked on a bucket hook. They also can open most gates or unscrew things with their clever mouths.

Goats smell bad: Only breeding bucks smell bad and not everyone thinks it is a bad smell. The smell is only during the rutting season. It can start in September and is usually over with by February or March. The rest of the year they smell normal. Female goats don’t have an odor.

Goat’s milk tastes bad: If you have purchased goat’s milk from a store then yes, it most likely will taste bad. Fresh farm milk will taste no different than regular whole cow’s milk. An FFA group did a taste test with my milk and store bought cow’s milk and those farm kids couldn’t detect the goat’s milk.

You don’t need fences, just tie the goat out:  This is one of the most tragic ideas and is so common. I will never sell a goat to anyone who will even think about doing this. Let me tell you what happens when a goat is tied out. It becomes vulnerable. It is bait for any dog. A dog can kill a goat in seconds and it can’t run away. Very cruel. I know two people who told me stories of goat owners whose tied out goats were attacked by ground bees and one died and the other barely survived. Imagine not being able to run away from bees. Shoulder and leg injuries are common in tied out goats who get tangled.

Goats are dirty: A goat loves cleanliness. It won’t purposely even step in anything dirty given a choice. I have seen my goats step over a puddle on the floor. They love clean bedding and will start rolling around in a freshly cleaned pen. It is very rare when milking that I would find any mud on teats and udders. Somehow they manage to keep themselves free of mud. Their droppings are dry and a well bedded goat will always be clean. It would never bed down in a dirty spot if it has a choice.

Goats are hardy and easy to keep:Yes, and no.Some breeds are hardier than others. Goats need a well educated and qualified owner. They aren’t disposable. Every goat deserves a knowledgeable owner. Goats hate a draft, snow and rain, they need good shelter. Goats need yearly vaccinations, quality feed, good fresh water, a vet that really knows goats, excellent fencing, just to name some of the basic things. Goats need a steady and stress free life. Stress will kill a goat as sure as a disease or accident. Goats need owners that are vigilant, observant, and well educated. I offer at least 2 free goat seminars a year. All the basics are covered and it is a good way to find out if goats are for you. I prefer to sell goats to those who have come to my seminar.

Seminars offered each fall. Times are flexible. They usually are a morning with a potluck lunch, good fellowship and opportunity to see demonstrations. Send me a message if you can think of any other goat misconceptions or have a goat question.







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