Before buying a goat make sure you are all set up for your new family members. Shelter and dog proof fencing are a must. You will also need a PIC NUMBER, This is a property identification code and is a requirement by law if you are going to own goats. You will need to get in contact with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and they will look after you. You will also need another goat because goats don't do well on their own and require another goat for companionship.
Sometimes people want to buy a goat as a friend for their dog and while they possibly will buddy up with them I would never recommend it and wouldn't trust ANY dog alone with a goat (trained livestock guardian dogs are the exception). I have heard horror stories of the friendly family dog that grew up with the goats and the family comes home to find all of the goats dead. Not worth the risk in my mind, if you want a companion for your dog perhaps think about getting another dog.
Goats need shelter from the rain and wind so they will need a shelter of some sort and a dog proof fence.
If you are buying small babies chain mesh is good fencing with a plain wire strained along the top and bottom. (wedge tailed eagles have also been known to prey on baby goats so beware) For older goats the ringlock dog or dingo mesh is good about 1.2 metres high with plain or barbed wire strained along top, middle and bottom. You will also need somewhere safe to lock them at night with electric fencing around the top of the fence and around the bottom to stop dogs digging underneath the fence. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOW GOATS ATTRACT DOGS, ALL IT WOULD TAKE IS FOR A NEIGHBOURHOOD DOG TO GET OUT. ALWAYS BE PREPARED WITH GOOD FENCING...BETTER TO BE SURE THAN SORRY.
At Windy Ridge we dam raise our babies as we believe it's best for the babies and the mothers. The babies are left on their mothers until about 10 weeks of age and then we give them 2 weeks to settle without their mums before they go to their new homes, so they are ready to go at about 12 weeks of age and will have been wormed and had their vaccinations by then.
We have found that by gently and gradually weaning them by placing the babies in a pen next to the mothers where they can sleep next to each other is a much less stressful way to wean, rather than taking tiny babies from their mothers at such a young and vulnerable age. The stress put on the mother when her small babies are taken away is cruel and unwarranted.
When the babies go to their new homes they will be fully vaccinated and debudded.
Vaccinations should be done every 6 months and their hooves trimmed roughly every 6 weeks which is very easy to learn. They will also need to be wormed when needed as goats are more prone to worms than other livestock.
Bottle babies can be more people oriented but can also be quite clingy compared to the dam raised babies. Some dam raised babies are more stand offish to start with especially any that have had to travel a great distance to get to their new homes, but if you put in the time and effort they quieten down more and will become part of the family....the time you put in will be worth it.
At Windy Ridge we give ongoing support after you take your goat home to help you settle in with your new family member.
Be warned! Goats are addictive!