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Please note some of the information found on this page may be specific to the Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats we raise here at FussBudget Farm

Welcome to the world of goats

With proper care and socialization you will undoubtedly love them and they you. Goats are social, friendly, inquisitive and have distinct personalities some of which are very charming.

Keep in mind they can and do get very loud. They want your attention and they want food, even if you just fed and petted them. Mine BLEAT & BAAH the minute they see me or think I could have walked by a window and yell incessantly at dinner time. I know their voices and can tell you who is hollering at me even before I see them.

It is not recommended to house bucks (intact males) and does together. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are not seasonal breeders, does cycle about every 21 days year round. Bucklings reach sexual maturity very young; as early as 8-10 weeks of age.

Goats are herd animals, a single goat is a bored, lonely and sad goat. For this reason, we will only sell in pairs or to someone who already owns goats.

Wethers (neutered males), especially; make excellent pets and companion animals for either bucks or does.

Bringing Home Your Kids

Transportation can be stressful and wreak havoc on their little systems. We send our babies out with a bit of Pro-Biotic paste to keep their rumen on track, but in some instances it may not be enough. Leaving their Mom's, sibling's, friends and joining a new herd can lead to stress that weakens their systems and leaves them open to worm or Coccidiosis bloom. If you notice them go off their feed, water or changes in their poop, i.e., diarrhea instead of pellets; you may want to consider a trip to the vet for a fecal exam.

Basic Necessities
• Clean Water
• Good Quality Mixed Grass Hay; Free Choice
• Secure Fencing
• A Clean, Dry - Well Ventilated - Draft Free Shelter
• Goat Formulated Loose Minerals; Free Choice
• Another Goat for Company
• for more once you are hooked ;)

Fencing, Feeders and Water

I have heard it said that if a fence won't hold water it can't contain a goat. Ours is more to keep predators out than our animals in, they seem to like it here and haven't tried to escape.

Our fencing is 4' 2X4 welded wire fencing, with electric top and bottom of the outside. We also run electric on the inside bottom wherever doe and buck pens share a fence line. Each paddock has at least one 6' gate, so I can get my lawn mower through. Yes, lawn mower. I have to mow their paddocks a few times a year. No, they don't graze it down to a nub like sheep would.

Goats can be really rough on fencing. They will lean in and rub against it to scratch. To reinforce the bottom of our fences we use 12" yellow plastic tent stakes every few feet between the t-posts.

They prefer to browse over grazing. We mounted our barrel hay feeders so they would be stretching their necks and looking up while eating. While kids are still growing you can set a couple concrete blocks for them to stand on until they grow into their surroundings.

Goats poop indiscriminately so keep this in mind when hanging waterers and feeders.

For water we hang buckets high enough that they have to stand with their front legs on a block to drink, this keeps them from pooping in it and fouling their water. The same, with the baking soda and minerals.

Soon I'll post pictures and links to our square bale hay feeders and portable shelters.

Feed them, they are starving! Just ask 'em.

First, I should let you know I don't measure when I am cooking for my family. Similarly I don't measure when feeding the goats. I feed once a day an hour or two before dark.

To each bucket I add:

A good double handful of Manna Pro High Fiber Chopped Hay
(a blend of timothy, oat and alfalfa hay, with a touch of molasses)

A hand full of Chaffhaye (fermented alfalfa)

And a sprinkle of DuMOR or Purina Goat Feed* (pellets)
Dry does probably a cup, Bucks maybe 2 TBSP
Pregnant does get a bit more
Milking does get as much pelleted feed as they want while on the milk stand in addition to their supper
*Medicated when the does aren't in milk

They always have clean water and mixed grass hay available. Every few days we add a touch of Ammonium Chloride to our boys' water to stave off Urinary Calculi (urinary-tract blockage)


We have tried almost every suggested treat for our goats. Watermelon, bananas, graham crackers, corn chips, marshmallows...they don't like any of them. NONE. The only thing we have found that ours like besides their pelleted feed is Manna Pro Start To Finish Apple (Horse) Treats. I don't like the treats marketed for goats because they are pellet sized and hard to dole out when being mobbed by a bunch of greedy goats. The horse treats I mentioned are small and soft enough that I feel comfortable giving them to our goats.

Health and Wellness

• Normal Temperature: 101.5 to 103.5˚ Fahrenheit (Rectal)
• Heart Rate: 70-90 beats per minute
• Respiratory Rate: 12-20 breaths per minute
• Rumen: 1 to 3 contractions per minute
• Estrous Cycle (Heat): Every 18 to 24 days, or 21 days on average
• Gestation: 145 days
• Average Lifespan: 12-14 years

Our herd has been tested and is free of CAE (Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis) & Johnes Disease.

A few of the biggest worries are worms, coccidiosis, bloat, stress and pneumonia.

Boys have the added concern of Urinary Calculi (urinary-tract blockage). Overall calcium: phosphorus ratio of feed should be somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1 for bucks, but especially wethers.

*Pregnant & Lactating does require more calories, so ours get grain while pregnant or in milk.

One month prior to kidding does receive CD&T booster.

Kids are disbudded, tattooed, receive coccidiosis treatment - sulfadimethoxine (Albon), de-wormed and get their hooves trimmed before leaving our farm. At 6 and 10 weeks they receive their CD&T vaccination and booster.

About every 4-6 months I give my adult animals:
• Fortified B Vit Complex 2 cc IM (the fortified B has thiamine B1)
• Vitamin ADE & B12 Gel 5 ml orally
• Selenium & Vitamin E Gel 5 ml orally
• Pro-biotic Paste 5 ml orally

• Yearly CD&T vaccine booster. You can buy the vaccine at most local farm stores.

• Copper bolus as needed

• Baking Soda; Free Choice

A few other things to consider are:
• Hoof care (regular trimmings)
• Fecal tests to determine worm load and type of de-wormer to use
Coccidiosis treatment and prevention
• Watch for signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies
• Familiarize yourself with which plants are toxic to goats

Nigerian Dwarf Breed Standards
• Doe Height: No more than 22.5” at the withers
• Buck Height: No more than 23.5” at the withers
• Ears: Medium length, erect and alert
• Color: Any color or combination of colors
• Face: Straight or dished

FussBudget Farm's Goat Supply and Medication Check-List (.pdf)

Recognizing the Signs of a Sick Goat

Goats are a special mixture of hardy and fragile.

Some things to keep an eye out for are:
• Isolating themselves from the herd
• Teeth grinding or pressing their head against wall or fence (signs of pain)
• Not eating or drinking
• Reluctant to stand
• Runny eyes or nose
• Changes in feces; either clumpy or loose
• Limping or staggering
• Not urinating or straining to urinate

The Not So Fun Stuff

Our kids are disbudded at just a few days old. It is without a doubt our least favorite task related to our animals. Horned goats cannot be shown. We do not show our goats but our customers may want to. We choose to disbud as a safety precaution because Nigerian Dwarf's horns grow straight back and are at eye level for children or when bending over them.

Horns that regrow after disbudding are called scurs. Scurs can occur even if disbudding was done correctly. Does and wethers can get them but they seem to be more prevalent with bucks, most likely due to higher levels of testosterone. Some suggest doing a figure 8 burn on bucklings. We did it one season, never again. Three out of seven bucklings got infections at the burn site.

Scurs are usually not attached to the skull.  In this case they might get knocked or rubbed off and may not grow back.

There are several methods of wethering (neutering) bucklings, we have chosen the banding (elastration) method. Our boys are wethered at 10-12 weeks and fully up to date on their CD&T vaccination. When neuthering a male of unknown vaccination history it is advised to give Tetanus Antitoxin prior to the procedure.

We use green tattoo paste and have two sets of small animal tattoo pliers. One is set up with our ADGA assigned herd-identifying tattoo, which goes in the goat's right ear. The left ear gets the preferred letter designating the year of birth – “L”-2019, “M”-2020... and the goat's identifying number for instance M1, M2, M3...

Blood Draws (for disease testing)

Most commonly we use 3cc syringes and 20 ga x 1/2" needles. I prefer Luer Lock over the slip type for giving shots.

IM - Intramuscular
SQ – Subcutaneous (under the skin)
1cc = 1ml

Checkout my Resource page for links to informative articles, books and forums.

If you are active on Facebook, there are several really great goat groups.
Here are links to just a few: