Maintenance for Goats

Goats require daily and seasonal care. If you decide to have goats on campus, you need to ensure that there is somebody committed to giving them food and water twice a day, every day, including weekends and holidays. If you are going to be milking your goats, you also need to have a person committed to milking twice a day, every day, at the same time, regardless of weather or time of year. Goats are not a part-time commitment. This can’t be stressed enough – if you decide to get goats, you need to have a reliable person or team committed to their care.

There are also some seasonal tasks for which you’ll need to be prepared.

Fall (September-December)

  • If you’re milking, this is breeding season. You’ll need to arrange for a visiting buck (I don’t recommend keeping your own buck). Gestation is five months, so goats bred in November will kid in March. Avoid breeding in September or October, to avoid delivery in the coldest months of the year.
  • If you’re milking, examine your does’ udders for mastitis or injury.
  • Test stool for worms, and deworm if necessary.
  • Trim hooves.
  • Vaccinate for tetanus and enterotoxemia (unless your vet recommends a different schedule).

Winter (December-March)

  • If you’re milking, dry off your does 60 days before the arrival of the new kids.
  • If you’re expecting kids, give does vaccine boosters 3-5 weeks before kidding.
  • Check for lice, and treat if necessary.
  • Trim hooves.
  • Vaccinate any goat kids per the vet’s vaccination schedule.

Spring (March-June)

  • If you had goat kids, de-worm your does two weeks post kidding.
  • Supplement goat kids with bottle-feeding, if doe has died or if kid is growing too slowly.
  • You may receive advice or pressure to debud your kids’ horns. DON’T DO IT! This is unnecessary and abusive. You can read more about this here:
  • Monitor stool for worms, and treat if necessary. Trim hooves.
  • Check and repair fencing.

Summer (June-August)

  • Vaccinate any kids at four, eight, and twelve weeks (or as recommended by your vet). Deworm at six to eight weeks.
  • Check herd for lice, other external parasites, ringworm (a fungus). Check stool for worms. Treat all as necessary.
  • Monitor and treat herd for flies. Trim hooves.
  • Supply clean fresh water at all times. This is always necessary, but particularly important during hot Texas summers.