Goat Health & Handling
A goat got stuck by putting its head through a hinge joint fence, around the star post and back in the hinge joint.          Kids get badly tangled or strangled in Horse Feed Net bags.          A goat was found dead with its back leg stuck in its own horns.          Goats get trapped in Fences, under self feeders and logs.


Goat Health - Scouring

Usually the first sign we notice when a goat has a problem is Scouring.  This can be attributed to many causes and worms are the first thing to spring to mind. I would not advise new breeders to immediately run for the drench gun. Overuse of drench can build up resistance. The goat may have got stuck in to something tasty which did not agree with it. Over feeding on lush pasture, sudden change in diet , increase in grain, molasses or other rich food can all cause scouring.  If the Breeder has a drench plan and uses it properly worms can be eliminated and other causes found. Advise on the treatment of Internal and External Parasites can be obtained from The Rural Lands |Protection Board (RLPB ) and the Department of Agriculture.

Hoof Trimming

Goats are cloven hoofed and the horny tissue grows continuously and needs regular trimming. We would trim hoofs at Knocknagulagh Boers every 2 Months. Goats running on concrete or hilly country with rocks would not normally need as much attention as those in paddocks.  A pair of well sharpened Foot Rot shears are required for this job. The goat needs to be put in a goat handler, tied securely or held by another person.  You must stand with your back to the goat as if shoeing a horse. Lift the leg at the pastern with one hand leaving the other hand free to cut the hoof. You must then cut off the outer horny growth, level with the rest of the hoof, cutting away from you towards the toe of the hoof. It will then be necessary to cut the heel down to the same level. Now make sure the goat is standing well balanced on all four feet. Remember a lame goat is a poor grazer and will spend a lot of time lying down whenever it should be growing. Its conformation may also be permanently altered if the hooves are not trimmed.  

Horn Nipping

Horns grow to a point at the end and this sharp point must be kept trimmed off.  Pointed horns can mean serious damage to other goats in the mob and even to the breeder when handling. We have been able to do this with Foot Rot shears.  

A Boer Buck climbed up on hind legs into a pine tree, and managed to hook horns in Lower branches leaving him dangling in mid air doing the dog paddle!!



Tattooing and tagging

When you have many goats kidding almost at the same time, (this is especially so in Embryo programs) it is important to put your Numbered tag on the ear of each goat as soon after the dam has had time to Bond to the kid. Sometimes Mums do get mixed up as to which kids are theirs!!  Boer Goats in Australia must be tattooed for identification purposes. A Fullblood Boer Goat born at Knocknagulagh Boers in 2002 would be tattooed as follows. Left ear, looking to the front of the goat, KNGF . The right ear 205W. KNG is the unique Stud prefix allocated to us by the BGBAA and the F means the goat is Fullblood. 205 is the number we have allocated to that goat (usually same number as ear tag) and the W represents the year of birth with W representing 2002. We use Tattoo Pliers that allow sufficient space for letters to tattoo both ears. Cattle marking ink is used to rub into the pierced ear tattoo. Wear gloves and clean goats ear with Meth Spirit before tattooing. Again the goat must be held securely so it is unable to pull its head away causing the ear to rip.

Goat Handling

Goats are clever, and quickly learn where they are supposed to go in yards, if the breeder uses the same pattern of movement, each time the goats are handled.   Be it on your own back, however, if you treat the goats harshly or use over aggressive dogs during yarding. 

Goats do not behave like sheep and should be handled quietly and without force using only quiet ,well trained dogs. The goats will run through gates of their own accord, and after a while just can't resist the open gate. So with a little patience you can get the whole herd were you want them without really trying.  A new breeder must remember also that a goat can climb, crawl and even jump. In a Race some will jump over the top of the mob and escape walking over the other coats. They can also turn in very narrow spaces so a working Race must be built in a V shape, thin enough that the goat will not be able to turn against the flow of goats through the race.