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Goat Care Basics

When caring for your a goat you own--or one want to own--here are 15 goat care basic items you need--and 6 plants to avoid.

Basic Goat CareGoats can be incredibly sweet and impossibly insolent. But no matter how independent and hardy they appear, goats need some basic care and attention. (Check out these 6 toxic plants!)

So if you're thinking of adding goats as companions or as a way to add income to your farm, take some time to learn more about goats and basic goat care.

There's so much more to know, but here's are some basic items you'll need to take good care of your goats:

15 Goat Care Necessities

  1. Quality hay and/or balanced concentrated feed

  2. Feed tubs or mangers

  3. Water containers

  4. Minerals that are goat-specific for your area

  5. Hoof trimmers and styptic powder

  6. Brush

  7. Collar and lead

  8. Shelter, shed or barn

  9. Bedding material

  10. Secure fencing

  11. Goat care and veterinary reference books

  12. First-aid supplies

  13. Dewormer

  14. Syringes, needles, vaccines

  15. Kidding supplies, if needed

6 Toxic Plants
Goats aren’t immune to toxins if they ingest too much of the wrong plant. 

A good guide to poisonous flora--like A Guide to Plant Poisoning of Animals in North America, by Anthony P. Knight and Richard G. Walter--can help you identify the worst offenders.
Here's a quick checklist of six plants to keep out of your goat's eating areas:

1. Rhododendrons/Azaleas: All plant parts contain toxins that can cause vomiting, colic, paralysis and coma.

2. Mountain Laurel: Signs of poisoning include salivation, colic, vomiting and weakness.

3. Water Hemlock: Symptoms of poisoning include teeth grinding, increased salivation and seizures.

4. Poison Hemlock: A lethal dose can bring on respiratory failure in a few hours.

5. Death Camas: Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, weakness and staggering.

6. Choke Cherry: The toxic seeds, bark and leaves—especially when wilted—can cause breathing difficulty, confusion, convulsions and sudden death.

Excerpted from "Browse Buffet" by Cherie Langlois. Read the full article in Popular Farming Series: Goats.

Excerpted from "Caprine Care" by Cherie Langlois. Read the full article in Popular Farming Series: Goats, a publication with in-depth information for those who own or would like to own goats. Buy one online or call (800) PET-BOOK (738-2665).

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Goat Care Basics

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Reader Comments
I am wanting to start raising goats. Could someone help me by telling me a list of some of what I will need to get started?

Jinean, Louisville, KY
Posted: 1/13/2015 12:26:33 PM
Hi Christy,

We're glad you found this information useful. Please do share it with your 4H kids, and let them know that you found the information here!
Hobby Farms editor, Lexington, KY
Posted: 9/29/2010 6:26:08 AM
Oh this is great! Can we use this in a 4H meeting about goats? It's simple and I think the 4th graders won't have a problem understanding it. Just need to find photos of the "Toxic Plants" and see if they are in our location.
Christy, Mt. Hermon, LA
Posted: 9/28/2010 1:14:13 PM
April, Centreville, VA
Posted: 7/11/2010 8:26:29 PM
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