Goat Terminology


Banding: a method of castration by placing a rubber band around the scrotum above the testicles; blood circulation stops and the testicles wither and fall off; this method hurts and may cause infection; common

Buck: a mature adult male goat able to breed

Bottle Jaw: a characteristic symptom of severe haemonchus contortus (barperpole worm) infestation; the goat's jaw, throat, and head swell and bloat; worm immediately upon sight, as a goat may die as quickly as twenty hours after displaying this symptom

Buckling: an immature male goat, usually less then 5 months old

Burdizzo: a method of castration by severing the cords to the testicles without breaking the skin; best done on young kids; no risk of infection

Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio: the amounts of calcium and phosphorus in a total ration of feed; recommended to be 2:1

CAE: Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis, a goat virus similar to AIDS in humans; often other diseases or abnormal situations are mistaken for CAE

CC: Cubic Centimeter, same as ML; 3CC and 3ML are the same thing in shots 

Chevon/cabrito: goat meat

Coccidiosis: an oxycyt that destroys the lining of the small intestine causing diarrhea and death; (also known as cocci); it is treated with sulfamethoxazole medications

Colostrum: the first milk full of antibodies for the kids, essential to their life

Copper: the most important mineral for goats, (excluding pygmies); deficiency results in unthriftiness, poor feed efficiency, anemia, growth retardation in kids, and heightened susceptibility to parasites; the level of copper goats need will kill other livestock, so goats shouldn't be fed a general livestock feed or mineral, and goat feeds should be kept secure from other livestock

Crossbred/Cross/Experimental: the result of mating a buck and doe of different breeds

Culling: the process of removing undesirable animals from breeding operations

Castrate: to inable a buckling or buck from breeding; there are several methods to do this; see banding and burdizzo

Dam: the mother

Disbudding: the practice of preventing a goat from growing horns by burning the horn buds on a young kid before the horns begin to develop; a hot iron is used; cannot be done on a kid older than a month, and is usually done at three weeks of age

Doe: a mature adult female goat

Doeling: an immature female goat, usually less then 5 months old

Drenching: the oral administration of liquid or gel medication

Enterotoxemia: a toxin in all healthy goats (clostridium perfringens type D), that multiplies with great stress to cause stomach cramps and death; ET can emerge from severe illness or pregnancy

Estrus/Heat: period of time when the female is sexually receptive to the male; usually 24-36 hours

Flight Zone: maximum zone of comfort or security of an animal; ideally, you want an animal without a flight zone, meaning, when you approach normally, they won't run away

Floppy Kid Syndrome: disease caused by a deficiency of selenium, Vitamin E, or both in newborn kids, resulting in weakness and inability to stand; characterized by leg joints that can't support the kid; FKS kids may not be able to nurse, grow weaker, and die; can be easily prevented by supplementing the dam with selenium during pregnancy

Freshen: to come into milk; meaning, when a goat starts to produce milk

Gestation: period of pregnancy beginning at conception and ending with birth (142-152 days)

Grafting: fostering a kid onto a doe that is not its natural mother; the process can take from five to seven days

Hypocalcemia: a calcium deficiency; highly common in freshened does; often the cause of ketosis and pregnancy toxemia in lactating animals; can cause death in lactating animals

IM: intramuscular; a shot given directly into the muscle tissue

Ketosis: a metabolic imbalance resulting from when the body takes energy from its own fat supply; distinguished by large amounts of ketones in the urine resulting in a sickly sweet smell; most often the cause of vitamin or mineral deficiency; common during pregnancy and lactation where protein, vitamins, and minerals are not given in the correct amount; can result in death

Kid(s): a baby goat of either gender

Kidding: the time when a goat gives birth

Lactation: period of time when a goat is producing milk

Maiden doe: a doe that is pregnant or has given birth for the first time in her life; usually have one kid

Mastitis: inflammation of the mammary gland (udder) caused by bacterial infection, resulting in reduced milk production; contagious; milk produced during a mastitis infection can be curdled or laced with blood; if left unchecked, can permanently damage or destroy the udder, and possibly kill the doe

Milk Replacer: artificial milk substitute fed to kids; not recommended as the only source of nourishment for growing kids

Orifice: hole in the end of a teat; a 'good orifice' refers to one that is easily milked, that is, a large one

Pregnancy Toxemia: metabolic disease of pregnant does generally caused by diet/mineral deficiency during late pregnancy; not the same as ketosis but often both terms are used interchangeably

Probios: oral medication reintroducing living organisms back into a goat's rumen to encourage proper digestion; commonly used after antibiotic therapy, pregnancy, or sickness

Rumen: the large first compartment of a ruminant's stomach containing the microbial population capable of breaking down forage and roughage

Ruminant: group of animals that chew their cud and characteristically have a four compartment stomach; goat, cow, sheep; (a llama is a "false ruminant" with only two stomachs)

Sire: the father

SQ/SubQ: subcutaneous; a shot delivered in the gap between the skin and muscle

Trace minerals (TM): minerals that are required in very small amounts

TM supplement: a feed product, usually sandy in consistency, that provides necessary trace minerals to an animal when consumed; essential for herds that are in poor climate or are given hay and grain feed only, such as corn

Urinary calculi (kidney stones): metabolic disease of male goats characterized by the formation of stones within the urinary tract; caused primarily by an imbalance of dietary calcium and phosphorus

Wether: a castrated male goat

White Muscle Disease (WMD): disease caused by a deficiency of selenium, Vitamin E, or both causing degeneration of skeletal and cardiac muscles of goats; see Floppy Kid Syndrome

Yearling: a one-year-old goat 

Tips and Tricks



Treat a goat like they treat other goats.  Head goats express dominance in three simple ways:  taking over the food, rubbing less dominant goats, and making other goats get out of their way.  I've found that it's easiest to gain respect from an animal by using their own language, so I treat my goats like they treat themselves.  I push them when they refuse to get out of my way or won't relinquish the food.  There is nothing wrong with that.  They understand.

Behave like everything is yours and thus yours to give.  Not theirs to take whenever they want.  This is a big deal.  They must give up the food when I want it, because it's mine.  I let them have the grain, and when I don't want them to, I take it back.  It's my barn to be in and when I say they can't go in, they can't.  Dominant creatures have control over everything, and you have to be the same way.  That means:

No favoritism with food/affection/shelter.  I treat everyone equally.  I am #1 and they are all #2.  I don't know about the rest of you, but my animals are jealous of each other when I'm around.  To maintain peace, you must be the mediator, the common link, which means that you cannot treat another creature better then any of the others.  Of course, some animals, for example, pregnant and lactating ladies, will need more feed and attention, but that is a different situation. 

Bribery is good.  Animals are driven by their stomachs.  Want them to love you?  Give them treats, but of course, they are yours to give, so you give them on your own time.  I make my animals wait and stand still before I put their food down.  My goats love radishes, raisins, molasses, pistachios, and sunflower seeds.

Favorite spots.  Most goats love having their chest, shoulders, and the sides of their necks rubbed.  Other sweet spots are around the horns and ears (which are hard for them to scratch), and the sides of their faces.  Some goats don't like having their faces touched though.  I start my kids out by rubbing their shoulders and graduate to their backsides, tail, and flanks before touching their heads.



Loose mineral.  All goats should be supplied with a proper loose mineral, free choice.  A good loose mineral supplement has a Copper/Phosphorus ratio of 2:1 and a Calcium/Phosphorus ratio of 2:1.  Not enough copper can be deadly in all goat breeds, except for pygmies because they are sensitive to copper.  It should be no more than 15-20% salt.  Sweetlix 16:8 MeatMaker is widely accepted as the best.  Other popular brands are Purina, Tractor Supply Company brand, and Golden Blend.  Every herd is different and may not like the mineral you chose.  Trial and error is sometimes necessary.

Selenium.  Black Oil Sunflower Seeds contain selenium and easily soluble fiber.  Selenium isn't exactly overwhelming in my area, and my goats love sunflower seeds, so I give it to them in their feed and as a treat.  Selenium deficiency can lead to weak joints in newborn kids, among other things.  It is recommended to have injectable selenium (BoSE - prescription only) or Selenium-vitamin E gel on hand for pregnant does and young kids.  Pregnant does should receive doses of selenium twice during their pregnancy to ward off abortion, premature kids, and floppy kid syndrome.

Calcium.  Every pregnant or lactating doe needs huge amounts of calcium in order to be able to produce milk and to keep their own bodies functioning properly.  The best method is to feed good alfalfa hay, but that is terribly hard to find in my area and expensive.  So, I have my preggers Posture-D supplement every day while pregnant or lactating.  (Hide the pill somehow, because they won't eat it voluntarily.)

Pelleted feed. Goats that aren't lactating or pregnant don't need a concentrated feed as long as they have good browse and hay available.  Lactating and pregnant goats need the added energy and vitamins.  I mix 16% goat feed and alfalfa pellets in a 3/4 to 1 ratio.  Preggers get 2-4 cups of the mixture a day in the last two months of pregnancy.  Be careful with the level of protein in the feed.  Never go over 18%, as that is damaging to the kidneys, results in obesity, and may kill them years ahead of their time.


Animal Relationships:

Llamas.  Whatever you do, don't put a stud llama in with a herd of goats with kids.  The result will not be pleasant.  Other llamas however, including gelded males, coexist quite well with goats.

Horses.  Horses and goats get along famously.  Just, the horses must be fed where the goats can't get to them.  Either goat injuries will occur because the horse will retaliate, or the horse won't get any feed.

Bucks.  Never leave a buck in with your ladies year round, no matter how little space you have available.  You will never know when to expect kids, drastically increasing your mortality rate.  Your ladies will also suffer because the buck will always be chasing them and they'll keep having back-to-back pregnancies.  Your does will die much sooner if you keep your buck in year round.  Now, having the buck with the ladies for a month to make sure they're all bred is fine, but longer then that is detrimental.


Medicines and Worming:

Chemical Worming.  This is a bone of contention with goatherds, because goats become resistant to chemical wormers so quickly.  A chemical wormer cannot be used more than once annually, and a herd should never be wormed together.  Goat worming should be done an individual basis if you are using chemical wormers.  This is not the case with herbal ones.

For chemical wormers, dose 3x the recommended amount.  A 100 pound goat should receive 300 pounds worth of wormer, due to their fast metabolisms.  A goat should receive a dose every ten days for thirty days in order to kill all of the worms, since chemical wormers usually only kill adults.  I recommend horse wormers, or for serious cases, Ivomec Plus.

I only use chemical wormers if there is no other option, like bottle jaw, an infestation of the barberpole worm.  Bottlejaw can kill a goat in as little as twenty hours, so speed is necessary.  If I need speed, I use a chemical wormer.  That has only happened once.

Herbal Worming.  As said, goats become resistant to chemical wormers almost immediately, negating their effects.  However, that is not the case with herbal wormers, which most commonly use garlic or wormwood.  It is difficult to overdose them and in the case of the wormer I use, most goats love it, making the task of worming so much easier.  I highly recommend herbal wormers as a cure and preventative.  They are also cheaper.

The wormer I use is the wormwood system from Molly's Herbals. http://www.fiascofarm.com/herbs/mollysherbals.php  It is designed to cure and prevent worms, and fortify the goat's immune system as well.  It can be fed by drenching, topdressing feed, or dosage balls.  I make dosage balls, but instead of rolling them in slippery elm bark, I roll them in more of the wormer powder.  They work like a charm, and can be used on all other species of livestock, as well as chickens.  You can find more information on Molly's website. 

In order to check for worms, gently pull down their lower eyelid.  The membrane should be a healthy red/pink color.  If it's pale, they need worming.  This is called the Famancha test and can also be used in sheep.

Infections.  Should any of my goats have an infection, I use penicillin G procaine.  This is a rare occurrence.

Apple cider vinegar.  ACV kills lice, so I'll sometimes bathe my goats in ACV and then Ivory dish soap to kill lice and improve their coats.  It works very well.  Also, if you suspect your goats of developing kidney stones, ACV in their water will dissolve the kidney stones.  ACV has also been used as a cure for anemia when drenched in large amounts.



Breeding age.  I recommend not breeding does until they are at least 14-18 months old for meat breeds, and 24 months for dairy breeds.  You can breed earlier, some go by weight instead of age, but I see it like this.  Yes, a thirteen year old girl can have a child, but her body is not ready for it.

Bucks.  Choose your bucks to compliment your does.  If you have a short doe, get a tall buck.  Most importantly, chose a kind buck.  You do not want to have to mess with a two-hundred pound testosterone flooded buck with a bad disposition.



Horns.  For meat and dairy goats, you cannot register a doe unless she has no horns.  (Disbudding is usually done at three weeks old with a hot iron.  Disbudding is not the same as dehorning.)  I understand this, as horns are dangerous and can get caught in a milking stand.  Thing is, a goat's horns are their cooling system.  In hot weather, if they don't have their horns, they will be boiling and miserable.  Saddles, our only hornless goat, always has it hard during the summer.  In cooler states, horns don't matter, but in states like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, your goat may die of heat stroke without horns or lose condition because of the heat.  It's a matter of preference, but in hot states, I recommend you keep the horns.

Hoof trimming.  A goat's hoof should be as vertical as possible.  I like to trim when their hooves get to a 35-40 degree angle.  Some goats approach this point sooner then others.

Castration.  There are many methods of castration.  Banding is popular, where a rubber band is put around the scrotum and it cuts off circulation to the testicles.  The testicles then die and fall off.  I, personally, think this must be excruciating.  You can also have a vet cut the testicles out of the sack, but there is risk of infection.  My preferred method is the burdizzo.  The burdizzo severs the cords going from the body to the testicles without breaking the skin.  It will hurt for only a few minutes and eliminates risk of infection.  You can easily do it yourself if you have the tool.  A burdizzo shouldn't be used on a buckling older than four to five months, as the cords are large and may not all sever.  The recommended age for a burdizzo is between 6 weeks and three months.

Castrate no earlier then three weeks, because the buckling's urinary tract isn't fully mature and may result in kidney stones, difficult urination, infection, and possibly death.

Make a Free Website with Yola.