I hope that this website can be helpful to new goat owners as well as experienced breeders. I am by no means an expert but I have learned a LOT in my years of raising goats and I hope to pass on some of this knowledge to others. I hope to occasionally have some other experienced breeders make some post for the website to add to the quality of the information. Please remember that all the information here is simply my personal opinions and beliefs, this is not the only way to raise goats. It is simply the way I choose to raise them.Also since all my goats are CAE and CL free, I do not pasteurize the milk before feeding it to the baby goats as I do not believe in pasteurizing the milk I drink.
I am not a vet and cannot diagnose illnesses, You should consult your vet for appropriate treatments, trying any treatments found on this website is at your own discretion and risk, GOAT CARE 101 IS NOT RESPONSIBLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Buying new goats
Here are some tips when bringing new goats onto your property safely. Of course the mode of transport is the most important. Never haul a goat in a open crate in the back of a pickup as it is a very good way for them to get pink eye or a upper respiratory problem. These tips are mostly what to do AFTER you get them home. You can haul them in a pickup if you cover the crate or pen they are in so they are protected from the wind/sun etc.
First, NEVER buy goats from a untested herd! You do not know what diseases they could have that could contaminate your existing goats. Always make sure the herd you are buying from has tested and is NEGATIVE for CAE (Get a copy of the test, do not just take there word for it) and is clear of CL or any other abscesses. I always look at the rest of their goat while I am there and will not buy from them if I see any signs of illness or open sores.
Second, always quarantine new goats for at least 3 weeks before letting them come in contact with your existing herd (If these are your first goats I recommend you keep them in a small pen away from where they will be permanently because they will shed a lot of worms in the first few days/week that they are there and you dont want them re-ingesting them). This means that they do not even come in contact with your herd through a fence until the quarantine period is over. It's always a good idea to introduce at least 2 goats at a time into your herd instead of just one, they are less likely to be bullied and have a better chance of fitting in faster than a single goat would.
Third, when goats have been transported (even if it is only 20 min they are still leaving the home and herdmates that they are used too) there immune system is very compromised due to stress. This is the perfect time for them to come down with what is commonly called "Shipping Fever" which is most commonly upper or lower respiratory infections. It is a good idea to give your new goats some Vit B complex and probios to help them fight off any illnesses from the transport.
Forth, if they are at least 6 months old test your new goats within the 3 weeks time for CAE, even if they were tested the day before you got them it is always a good idea to make doubly sure that you are not risking your own herd. I like to give them a week to settle in before testing to make sure the test will not be thrown off by them being stressed.
Fifth, it is very important to get a fecal sample tested at your vet as soon as possible after buying the goat/s, this will show you exactly what you are dealing with as far as parasites and what you need to deworm with if any worming is needed. All goats have worms but you do not want them to have too many, the stress of transporting will often cause a rise in their worm load, this doesn't necessarily mean they had too many worms when you got them just that there immune system was compromised during the move and let the worms to take over. This can cause anemia and even death if not taking care of right away.
So take a stool sample to the vet and see what you are dealing with right away and take care of it, that way you know you are starting fresh with that goat. You can either follow the goat around with a plastic bag until it poops or you can put a rubber glove on and get a few balls of poop that way (the former is the method most preferred by the goats, lol) Also, goats from different farms have different worms and the new goats could infect your existing herd with a new worm that they do not normally have and you would have to re-worm everyone to get rid of it. That is why quarantining is so important.
Lastly, I try to make sure that no other goats are in the quarantine pen for 3-6 weeks after it has been used by the new goats as they can pick up worms and other thing from the new goats and it would have been a waste of time to have quarantined them in the first place. I also try to feed and pet the new goats last so I do not spread germs to my existing herd during the quarantine time. I also have visitors step in bleach water when coming onto my farm to prevent the spread of diseases.
You can never do enough to ensure the safety and health of your herd. Always follow your gut instincts. If you don't feel right about the health or quality of the herd of animals you are considering, pass on it. There have been many times I have driven up to 4 hours one way to look at some goats and had to politely pass on them because they were not what I was expecting. It is better to be safe, than sorry!
Also if you are buying bottle babies put a pinch of baking soda in their bottle for the first few days after you get them to prevent stomach upset. It is a good idea to always put some baking soda in 1 bottle a day while you are bottle feeding as this will help prevent bloat.