Goats are easy to care for and your goat raising endeavours will be highly successful by keeping in mind a few guidelines... First, make all feed changes slowly, in increments over a period of days, this gives their rumen microflora time to adjust to new feeds and eliminate potentially serious digestive or bloat problems. Most of their diet should be hay or browse, think of grain or concentrate feeds (grain, pellets, etc.) as "candy", to be limited. Grain is often not needed except by milking does, and growing kids, as long as good hay is provided. And, goats are "browsers" not "grazers", meaning they would prefer to eat brush, oak leaves and branches, rose bushes and such rather than graze your lawn as sheep would.
Because of this trait, many are used from brush control.Here in California, some areas are thick with poison oak. When my milkers have had access to this irritating plant as a regular part of their diet, I noticed that after some months of drinking their milk that I was no longer affected by the irritations typical of contact with poison oak. In fact, I could tromp through the stuff and handle it with no affect whatsoever. Through the milk consumption, I had developed a strong immunity to it.
And about "good hay", your does will need an all-you-can-eat diet of high-protein hay, such as alfalfa, to achieve optimum milk production and keep their condition up. Goats, as most animals, consume about 4% of their body weight daily in feed. Grain can be fed to milking does at the rate of about 1# per head per milking. Some may require more, but be wary of overfeeding. We have found that the sweetest milk, with no off flavors what so ever is achieved by feeding "A&M", or ground alfalfa with molasses meal on the milking stand, free choice, and then pen-feeding grain after milking to the group at the rate of 1 lb. of grain per head per feeding. An additional advantage of this feeding system is that a person slow at milking (i.e. your relief milker or neighbor) cannot overfeed the does to keep them quiet on the stand since their grain will be fed later.
Garden scraps and weedings are fine to toss in the pen, just don't over do it suddenly, and add unusual feeds (such as a wheelbarrow full of weedings, etc) AFTER they have full bellies of their usual hay. And NEVER feed fresh bread, it's a sure fire way to cause serious bloat, or scours at the least.
Clean, clear water is a necessity at all times. In summer's heat, be aware of mosquito larvae in the trough, either dump every few days or put goldfish or mosquito fish in it. Salt is best fed as loose salt, though blocks will do. If you provide a variety of salt, such as trace-mineralized, sulphur, and plain you will find that they prefer different salts at different times. Let them choose as needed, and your herd health will be improved.
Be sure to give salt to your kids, too.Kids need milk for at least 8 weeks, preferably longer, as long as they are growing. If bottle feeding, be wary of overfeeding and causing diarrhea. Simple diarrhea, from too much milk, can be stopped by giving them a homemade "kaopectate" mixture as follows: In a 1 quart mason jar, fill half way with water, then add 8 heaping tablespoons of clumping cat litter (just plain bentonite clay), 1 teaspoon of pectin and mix with a hand-held high speed mixer. This is the same as the old time kapoectate which you can't buy anymore. Growing kids also need all the high quality alfalfa hay they will eat.
We also feed a 20% dairy pellet increasing from a handfull per kid on up to about 1/2 pound per head daily.Your doe kids can be bred at the first time when 7-8 months old, and weighing at least 70 lbs. We find that you will get a more productive first-freshener (first time milker) if they are bred instead as yearlings, having had more time to grow and mature. However, breeding as kids is advantageous for determing their udder quality and shape a year earlier than breeding as yearlings, thereby saving a year's worth of feed if the animal isn't destined to stay in the herd.
Dust as needed for lice with diatomateous earth or pyrethrin louse powder. The first tell tale sign of a louse problem is the observance of your animals itching themselves. Their haircoat will show little itch marks or roughed up hair here and there, and often chewed hair patches over their withers.
Vaccinate for tetanus and Clostridium perfringens types C & D, AKA "overeating disease". We use "Bar Vac CD + T" . Ideally, give 1-2 months before your does kid (this would be their annual booster) , and to your kids at weaning (2 doses, 1 month apart).
A selenium shot is needed in some areas, especially where there is excess molybdimum in the soil, such as California's central coast. This protects from "white muscle disease".
Due to their picky eating habits and dislike of eating soiled hay off the ground, goats carry a reduced worm load as compared to many other species of livestock. Deworm with Ivermectin, Valbazen (if not pregnant), diatomateous earth other de-wormer of your choice.
In regards to housing, a simple shed will do for protection in mild areas, more protection in severe winter areas. Be sure it does not open to the direction of your prevailing storms and wind. Be sure it does not open toward the bottom of a steep hill, as at night cold air travels downward and there will be a constant draught.
Provide shade for hot days. For one or two goats, a pen 16 ft x 16 ft. made of welded wire cattle panels (not with bars, rather a "grid" of heavy wire) is adequate, with a shelter inside. We try to make pens which can be easily cleaned by a tractor with scraper.
Predators: Build your fences with the thought of keeping out dogs and coyotes. Welded mesh cattle panels (grid type, not bars) 5' high are good for pens. Keep an eye out for digging attempts along the bottom which could allow entry of a predator. We keep bells on our goats to be able to hear disturbances. My favorite bells are the Swiss, tuned-in-harmony brass bells, which have a crystal clear ring clearly heard for some distance. Loud bells can also be a noisy deterrent to predators. When we lived near mountain lions, the goats had to be locked in a barn at night, and any outside pens had to have wire roofs as well.Also, goats don't like to get wet, as a general rule. Nor do they like to walk in puddles. Kind of cute, really..