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Keeping Goats

Keeping goats has become increasingly popular among lifestyle block owners, small-scale farmers, and even urban dwellers looking for a sustainable and rewarding hobby. These multi-purpose, charming animals offer not only a source of fibre, fresh milk and meat but also companionship and endless entertainment. Some rate goats to be as intelligent as dogs, and knowing exactly what you want of them but calculating what is in it for them! Whether you're considering adding goats to your farm or just curious about the ins and outs of keeping them, this guide touches on everything you need to know to raise happy and healthy goats.

Boer Goats

Boer Goats commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown heads, with long pendulous ears. They are known for their superior meat quality.

Getting Started

Before diving into goat keeping, it's crucial to do your research and consider several factors:

  • Purpose
    Determine your reasons for keeping goats. Are you interested in dairy production, meat, fiber, or simply as pets? Different breeds excel in different areas, so choose accordingly.
  • Space
    Goats need adequate space to roam, graze, and exercise. A well-fenced pasture is essential to keep them safe from predators and prevent them from wandering off.
  • Shelter
    Provide a sturdy shelter to protect your goats from extreme weather conditions, such as rain, wind, and cold. A three-sided shelter with proper ventilation works well for most climates. Shop Appletons Goat Shelter
  • Feeding
    Goats are browsers and need a diverse diet. They enjoy grazing on grass, shrubs, and weeds but also require supplemental hay, grains, and minerals to meet their nutritional needs. Shop Weston Rumen Nuts
Dairy-Goats.jpg__PID:828f1ec2-4647-4321-84bf-776a500e2173

Most dairy goats in New Zealand (probably about 80%) are Saanen, a breed that originated in Switzerland. The NZ commercial dairy goat industry didn't begin to develop in earnest until the 1980s

Choosing the Right Breeds

There are numerous goat breeds to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and suitability for specific purposes:

  • Dairy Goats
    Popular dairy breeds include Nubian, Saanen, Alpine, and LaMancha. These goats produce high-quality milk, perfect for drinking, cheesemaking, and soap making. Dairy goats are placid and intelligent and hand-reared kids make good pets for children. They typically produce 3 to 4 litres per day of milk. Buying a milking doe with a good milking record is the surest way to get good productivity. If you are buying a goatling, the productivity of its mother and sisters will give an indication of how much milk you can expect.  
  • Meat Goats
    Originally bred in South Africa, Boer goats are renowned for their fast growth and superior meat quality. Other meat breeds include Kiko, Spanish, and Myotonic (fainting goats). The generic name for goat meat is Chevon, however in New Zealand it is simply called goat meat.
  • Fibre Goats 
    Angora and Cashmere goats are prized for their luxurious fibre, used in making mohair and cashmere products. Angora goats are among the most friendly and sociable small farm animals around, and those involved in angora goat farming thoroughly enjoy their daily interactions with them.
  • Dual-Purpose Goats
    The Arawapa goat is a small, light-framed, dual-purpose goat. Arapawa goats have distinct patterned faces, which are long and narrow, with dark brown or black-striped facial markings. Does and bucks are horned, with the does’ horns sweeping up towards the back, and mature bucks’ sweeping up and back, curling outwards. Breeds such as Nigerian Dwarf and Oberhasli, are also versatile and suitable for both milk and meat production.

Basic Care and Maintenance

Once you've acquired your goats, proper care and maintenance are essential to their health and well-being:

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  • Feeding 
    Good quality forage will satisfy almost all the nutritional needs of dry does. Goat pasture should include a variety of leaves, branches, weeds and tough grasses to supply essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Provide a balanced diet consisting of good-quality hay, fresh water, and a commercial goat feed formulated for their specific needs. Avoid feeding out foods toxic to goats, such as rhubarb, chocolate, and certain types of plants.
  • Housing
    Keep their living quarters clean and dry to prevent the spread of diseases. Provide ample bedding, especially during colder months, and ensure proper ventilation to minimize respiratory issues.
  • Fencing
    Invest in sturdy fencing to contain your goats and protect them from predators. Electric fencing or woven wire fencing with small openings is often recommended.
  • Healthcare
    Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian and keep up with vaccinations, deworming, and hoof trimming. Learn to recognize signs of illness and address them promptly.

Reproduction and Breeding

Breeding goats can be a rewarding but challenging endeavor. Here are some essential tips:

  • Breeding Season: Most goats are seasonal breeders, with the breeding season typically occurring in autumn. Keep track of your goats' heat cycles and plan breeding accordingly.
  • Buck Selection: Choose a healthy, well-built buck with desirable traits to improve your herd's genetics. Consider factors such as conformation, temperament, and pedigree.
  • Pregnancy and Kidding: Provide proper prenatal care for pregnant does, including vaccinations, nutrition, and monitoring for any complications. Be prepared for kidding season by having a clean, warm birthing area stocked with essential supplies.
  • Kid Care: Carefully monitor newborn kids for signs of health issues and provide colostrum and milk replacer if needed. Ensure proper nutrition and shelter to help them thrive.

Keeping goats can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for both beginners and seasoned farmers alike. They are useful for clearing undergrowth as they will eat almost anything. 

Appletons-Boer-Goats

They have an inquisitive and determind mind and need to be firmly teathered or penned. By understanding their needs, providing proper care, and fostering a healthy environment, you can create a thriving goat operation that enriches your life and provides valuable resources for your family. Whether you're seeking fresh milk, tender meat, or simply the joy of goat companionship, these versatile animals are sure to bring endless delight to your homestead or backyard.

Appletons Boer Goat

Wild Goats | New Zealand

Goats were introduced to New Zealand in the early days of European settlement for food, the establishment of a commercial fibre industry, and for weed control on developing land. Those that escaped, or were deliberately released, thrived in the country’s grass hills, forests and scrublands. New Zealand’s native plants are particularly vulnerable to damage from browsing. Wild goats inhabit various regions across New Zealand, spanning both the North and South Islands. Particularly dense populations of goats are observed in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, and Otago. 

Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter

Goat Shelter | Appletons

$1,499.00
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter

Stock Shelter | Appletons

$1,299.00
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston

Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston

$43.00
New season meadow hay, not fumigated, stored in our hayshed.
Meadow Hay, Good quality, delicious rabbit and guinea pig feed. Organic and locally grown, clean, quality hay
Meadow Hay - 50L Volume Carton
New season meadow hay, not fumigated, stored in our hayshed.
Meadow Hay, Good quality, delicious rabbit and guinea pig feed. Organic and locally grown, clean, quality hay
Meadow Hay - 50L Volume Carton

Meadow Hay | 50L Cardboard Box

$15.00
Leafy, tightly packed and good quality Lucerne Hay. This season's cut
Lucerne Hay. We do not fumigate our hay. It is cut and baled in the paddock and stored undercover in our hayshed.
Lucerne Hay boxed on the day we send it. We take a slice from a bale and box it so it's fresh, quality hay, tightly packed
Leafy, tightly packed and good quality Lucerne Hay. This season's cut
Lucerne Hay. We do not fumigate our hay. It is cut and baled in the paddock and stored undercover in our hayshed.
Lucerne Hay boxed on the day we send it. We take a slice from a bale and box it so it's fresh, quality hay, tightly packed

Lucerne Hay | 50L Cardboard Box

$18.00
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter
Appletons Goat Shelter

Goat Shelter | Appletons

$1,499.00
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter
Appletons Stock Shelter

Stock Shelter | Appletons

$1,299.00
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston
Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston

Rumen Nuts 25kg | Weston

$43.00
New season meadow hay, not fumigated, stored in our hayshed.
Meadow Hay, Good quality, delicious rabbit and guinea pig feed. Organic and locally grown, clean, quality hay
Meadow Hay - 50L Volume Carton
New season meadow hay, not fumigated, stored in our hayshed.
Meadow Hay, Good quality, delicious rabbit and guinea pig feed. Organic and locally grown, clean, quality hay
Meadow Hay - 50L Volume Carton

Meadow Hay | 50L Cardboard Box

$15.00
Leafy, tightly packed and good quality Lucerne Hay. This season's cut
Lucerne Hay. We do not fumigate our hay. It is cut and baled in the paddock and stored undercover in our hayshed.
Lucerne Hay boxed on the day we send it. We take a slice from a bale and box it so it's fresh, quality hay, tightly packed
Leafy, tightly packed and good quality Lucerne Hay. This season's cut
Lucerne Hay. We do not fumigate our hay. It is cut and baled in the paddock and stored undercover in our hayshed.
Lucerne Hay boxed on the day we send it. We take a slice from a bale and box it so it's fresh, quality hay, tightly packed

Lucerne Hay | 50L Cardboard Box

$18.00
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L
Green Nylon Stock Water Trough 9L

Large Green Nylon Water Trough 9L | Ideal for Stock

$69.95
Green Nylon Animal Water Bowl 5L
Green Nylon Animal Water Bowl 5L

Green Nylon Water Trough 5L | Perfect for Poultry & Animals

$59.95
Black Nylon Animal Water Trough 5L
Black Nylon Animal Water Trough 5L

Black Nylon Animal Water Trough 5L

$74.95
Stainless Steel Animal Water Bowl 3.5L
Stainless Steel Animal Water Bowl 3.5L
Stainless Steel Animal Water Bowl 3.5L
Stainless Steel Animal Water Bowl 3.5L

Stainless Steel Water Trough 3.5L | Perfect for Poultry & Animals

$69.95
Wood Shavings | Bedding
Wood Shavings | Bedding
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings | Bedding
Wood Shavings | Bedding
Wood Shavings | Bedding
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings | Bedding

Wood Shavings | Bedding

$10.00
Straw | 50L Cardboard Box | Bedding
Straw
Straw approx. 50L volume
Straw | 50L Cardboard Box | Bedding
Straw
Straw approx. 50L volume

Straw | 50L Cardboard Box | Bedding

$15.00

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