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Rulton's Goat Farm

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Goat Kids

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THE KID AS A PET

Kids have bright amber eyes topped by alert silken ears, and their soft tiny bodies simply beg to be hugged, especially by adoring children. BUT, do remember before you keep a baby kid, the cute stage does fade and frequently "Nanny" or "Billy" becomes a bore, and is tied to the roadside and forgotten.

However, if you DO earnestly want to keep a goat for a pet, and intend rearing it from birth, there are many essentials that must not be forgotten.

If it is a male, or ´billy, it is important to have it neutered by a Veterinary Surgeon at about 12 weeks of age. Males which are not neutered can be very aggressive, and are always extremely bad-smelling.

With a tethered goat there is a tendency, particularly with children, to tease the animal. This MUST NOT be allowed or it will make the animal unhappy and it will become very aggressive.

If the kid has been taken from its mother in the bush, it may still need colostrum, which is the milk the newborn must have in their first few days in order to survive. Artificial colostrum has been used very successfully on many farms resulting in the survival of many lambs and kids that would otherwise have died.

Cow colostrum is of some benefit to young orphaned kids in the first day of life to provide some of the antibodies. This is the recipe:
1 dessertspoon (10 mls) of sugar or glucose
1 teaspoon (5 mls) of cod liver oil
1 beaten egg
1 pint bottle (600 mls) of cows milk (goat milk preferably if obtainable).

Give six ounces (175g) of this mixture four times daily for the first 48 hours, after that period the kid may be fed on cows milk, giving two-thirds milk and one-third warm water. For the first week maintain a four-hourly feed programme of 6 to 8 ounces (175 - 225 g). In the second week the kid could be given three feeds with an increase in fluid.

It will not be long before the kid will determine how much milk it needs, but dont give more than a pint (600 ml) at a time. At the end of six weeks it could go on to two feeds a day. The time limit for milk feeding is up to the owner, but for the kids sake a period of at least two months is desirable.

In pedigree herds kids are sometimes kept on milk feeds for six to eight months to promote growth and strength. They also receive a daily ration of dairy meal to build stronger animals. As stated earlier in this pamphlet, the pet owner can substitute this with left-overs from the kitchen - crusts of bread, vegetable scraps and stale biscuits are all treats to the goat, but remember not to overdo those foods rich in carbohydrates.

Remember also the most cherished foods - branches from trees and shrubs, but take note that the following common plants and shrubs are poisonous to goats: Rhododendron, Oleander, Geraniums, Daphne, Caster Oil plant and Privet.

Goats can make wonderful pets - but ONLY if you are sure you want them, and will care for them as a member of the family.

NOTE: Whilst the well-cared for tethered goat can enjoy a good life, it is only fair to say that goats which are able to free-range, preferably in the company of other goats, are happier animals. It is, of course, still necessary to provide suitable shelter and food as outlined.