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  • Sunset Knoll Nigerians

Favorite links for a growing herd.

I thought I would share some of my favorite links to help point newer goat owers in the direction of very usueful information that I wish I had known about those first few years I was getting started and growing my herd.

General Care & More: Here are some links to some YouTubers or Bloggers who have already devoted years to providing valuable information to the goat community. There's no sense in proving yet another take on it so instead, I share their hard work with you.

DIY Milk Stand Plan: This is the best, easiest to follow plan I've found for a milk stanchion (stand). Just remember to reduce the height of the headgate for Nigerians (I think I reduced it by about 5-6") and if leaving this outside, consider pressure treated wood. I would also recommend replacing the 2x2 that holds the feed bowl (Part J) with a 2x4, it will provide more support for the over-the-fence style feeding bowls and prevent the bowl from falling when a goat is being naughty (ask me how I know!).

Over the fence feeders can be found at most local feed/ranch stores. Here's an example of one: Tractor Supply 5qt Feed Bowl

DIY Hay Feeder Plans: I made some single-sided feeders from this plan using "horse panels" from local farm stores (Wilco/Coastal). I think the biggest draw back to this style is that the panel causes rubbing on the bridge of the nose which results in hair loss and calluses. I really like the keyhole feeders (or slant rail feeders) that the goats stick their heads into and eat the hay off the built in bottom BUT when having kids around they LOVE to slip into the hay side. This results in lots of wasted hay and an increase in internal parasites due to them defacating on the hay. Not ideal!

I'm updating this to add that I have since changed to something similar to a "key-hole" style feeder. I saw an inspiration post where someone used Cattle Panels and decided to try it. I was going through the hay and could see it all over the ground from the girls pulling out mouthfuls and dropping it everywhere. So far, I hardly have ANY waste on the ground and thanks to the smaller sections on the bottom positioned just right the tiny kids I had at the time never found a way inside the feeder. Admittedly, it took a couple of trys to get the height right so the big girls weren't choking themselves trying to reach down and just right so that the small kids had a hard time getting over/under the bottom rows and could also reach their heads through. Photo to come soon since I can't seem to find the one I thought I already took! Fecal Testing Labs: Most vets provide fecal testing, but if you're having trouble finding a cost effective solution there are mail-in alternatives! Please note that you want the freshest sample possible which, for me, means following the goats around with a Ziplock bag and a Sharpie to mark their name on the bag! After that, in the fridge it goes to keep any worms from deteriorating until I can get to the post office. Ain't farming classy?!

Blood panels (serology) for CAE, CL, Johne's, Brucellosis, Q-Fever, Pregnancy, etc: As is with fecal testing, many veterinarians will draw blood for you and send off the samples for testing. For those of you who prefer to draw your own blood (see video above) or have someone who can do it for you at a reasonable cost, here are some labs to submit those samples to.

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