Over the years, I have discovered there are many different "styles" of raising goats. And, a lot of it depended on what animal you had raised last. Years ago when you got a goat or got into several or more goats, you had very few people to turn to for help in raising them. The dairy goat people were a big help for a lot of the now meat goat people. They pushed for more information and more research on goats before us meat goat people came so strongly on the scene and for this I give them a big thank you.
But, letís got back to the many "styles" of raising goats. A lot of people, when they first get their goat or goats, operate on past experiences. In other words, what they had raised last they applied to the goats. A goat breeder told me once that a family showed up at her farm with a car full of children, looking for another goat to go along with the one they had. And, to make sure the goats would get along, they had brought the goat with them.
Out of the car rolled a herd of children and one goat. The goat breeder did a double take at what she saw. The goat had bows on its horns, itís hooves were painted with a fashionable nail polish, and it had a rhinestone collar on with little bells attached and above each flashy hoof were bracelets. Behind the goat came a couple of very stylish poodles. Guess what the family had been raising first before getting the goat?
The father hopefully asked the breeder that if they got another goat for company for the first, could they keep the goat out of the house now? She sincerely answered, "I doubt it," watching the mom and children ooohing and awwwwing over her goats.
Another fellow who raises hogs said his goatsí pasture ran up against the hog pens where he had a long concrete trough that he fed his hogs. Every day he went to the many dairy stores in the area and collected their out of date milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, etc. He brought it back and loaded up a special machine that would mash these cartons, wringing the products out, and pumping it into the trough for the hogs. Yep, you guessed it. One day a passing goat got curious and took a taste of what the hogs were eating and liked it. Soon the whole herd was eating with the hogs and basically getting hog fat. He said his goat herd stayed quite healthy, but he did notice that they didnít drink water any more.
Another fellow raised beagles (rabbit dogs) for a long time before he got his first goat. Not really knowing what to do with the goat, he set up a dog house and tied the goat to it, like he did his beagle dogs. When he took his beagles out rabbit hunting, he let the goat go along. Pretty soon he had the best trained rabbit goat in the area. When the goat was through running with the beagles and they all came home to rest in the shade, the goat would lay with the dogs and pant along with them after a very successful run.
So, how did we get started in goats, not having a clue as to what we were doing? At the time, we were into show horses, training, lessons, the works. Donít know if we were any good at it, but we did it. We got a few goats to clean the place off. What did I do? I immediately taught them to lead, trot at my side, "whoa" on command, and went to a great deal of trouble to halter break each and every one. Oh, and to stand quietly to pick up their feet and have them cleaned and checked every day. Made sense to me. Some other friends was into dog grooming and showing horses at the time. They thought it vital that their goats be thoroughly groomed, clipped, and have regular conditioning shampoos and wear goat blankets through out the year, even though they did not show goats.
Of course, when you start getting into 50 to over 100 goats, the above just isnít possible, unless you can hire a lot of little goat grooms to help you. Now, I am thankful our goats are "bucket" trained. Need to lead a goat? Stick a feed bucket in front of their nose and have them follow you. Need to lead a whole herd of goats? Let them see you carrying a feed bucket and take off running like your life depends on it, because it does. If they catch up with you, better throw the bucket up in the air to distract them so you can escape.
So we all have different "styles" of raising goats. Sure, weíve learned more about worming, feed, shots, etc. for the goat, but that original "style" that we started out with is still a little with us. As show horse people, we still are a little more labor intensive with our goats then other breeders, just because thatís what we are use to with horses. If you still are raising poodles as well as goats, well, Iím sure those bows on your goats still look great.