Learn all about Goats


Truths and Myths about Goats

‘Goats smell’. In general, female and neutered male goats do not smell. Entire males, particularly in the breeding season can smell offensive but only to humans. Female goats find the smell very attractive! If a goat smells and it is not breeding time then management issues may be to blame.

‘Goats are dirty’. Goats are actually fastidiously clean! They keep themselves very clean and are not keen on getting wet. Again, if goats are visibly dirty then management issues may be the cause.

‘Goats eat everything’. Goats are very inquisitive creatures and as they don’t have hands, they use their mouths to investigate novel objects. They are actually quite fussy eaters and prefer to browse on trees, shrubs and weeds. They will not eat washing or tin cans and are more than likely investigating a novel object with their mouth rather than attempting to eat it!

‘Goats are destructive’. Goats are naturally a herd animal; they prefer to live with other goats and are generally unhappy if forced to live in solitude. A goat kept on it’s own may well become destructive and try to escape by breaking through fences and gates, but this is only to try and find other members of the herd and it is not just being destructive for the fun of it.

Learn to Care for Goats

Goat husbandry involves all of the things you do to manage the goats, including:

  • Where you keep them
  • How you control their movement
  • The ways you protect them from adverse weather conditions
  • How you manage their interaction with other animals
  • How to provide important routine health care tasks



There are 9 lessons in this course:

1. Nature and Scope of Goat Production
• Introduction and History
• Biological Terminology
• Uses of Goats and Goat Production
• Goats Breeds Overview
• Introduction to Farm Systems
• Keeping a Buck
• Truths and Myths about Goats
• Goat Psychology
• Social Structure

2. Goat Breeds and Breeding
• Dairy Goats
• Saanen
• Toggenburg
• British Alpine
• Anglo-Nubian
• Fleece Goats
• Angoras
• Cashmere
• Meat Goats
• Boer Goats
• Spanish Goats
• Savannas
• Kiko
• Myotonic
• Goat Skin
• Black Bengal
• Garganica
• Pet Goats
• Australian Miniature
• Nigerian Dwarf
• African Pygmy
• Feral Goats
• Selection and Breeding General Objectives
• Reproductive System Anatomy
• Puberty
• Breeding Season
• Flock Mating
• Pen Mating
• Hand Mating
• Reproduction Control Methods
• Synchronisation of Oestrus
• Out of Breeding Season
• Superovulation
• Artificial Insemination
• Genetics and Selection
• Understanding Genes

3. Feeds and Nutrition
• Feeding
• Forage
• Hay
• Haylage
• Straw
• Wild Plants
• Concentrates
• By-products
• Minerals
• Feeding Strategies
• Feeding for milk production
• Feeding for meat production

4. Health Management
• Health Problems
• Ecopathology
• Signs of Good Health
• Bacterial and Viral Diseases
• Clostridial Diseases
• Johne’s Disease (Paratuberculosis)
• Listeriosis
• Soremouth
• Slow viruses
• Parasites
• Accidents, Emergencies and First Aid
• Control of Bleeding
• Tear wounds or lacerations
• Electric Shock
• Snake bites
• Fractures
• Poisoning
• Abortion and Genital Processes
• Chlamidiosis
• Q Fever
• Listeriosis
• Leptospirosis
• Toxoplasmosis
• Ketosis
• Digestive Problems
• Bloat
• Choking
• Acidosis
• Respiratory problems
• White Muscle Diseases
• Pinkeye
• Urinary Calculi
• Mastitis
• Metritis
• Sanitary Policy of Infectious Goats
• Choosing a Vet

5. General Husbandry - Housing, Fencing, Grooming
• Space Requirements
• Housing and Fencing
• Grazing and Pasture Management
• Free Range
• Intensive Confinement
• Combination System
• Grazing Methods
• How Much Grazing
• Other Areas That Can Be Utilised For Grazing
• Hoof care
• Disbudding
• Dehorning
• Tattooing
• Vaccination
• Worming
• Grooming and Hair Care

6. Kids and Kidding
• Hygiene during delivery
• The delivery
• Parturition/Birth
• Care of a neborn kid
• Early feeding
• Weaning
• Castration

7. Dairy Production • Milk Production
• Lactation Curve
• Quality and Composition
• Compositions of goat's milk
• Protein
• Fat
• Lactose
• Ash
• Vitamins
• Factors of variation
• Breeds and production systems
• Age and lactation number
• Different types of cheese

8. Meat and Fibre Production
• Fibre Production
• Mohair
• Annual Management of Angora Flock
• Mohair Production
• Cashmere
• Annual Management of a cashmere flock
• Cashmere Production
• Meat Production
• Management of meat flock
• Slaughter terminology
• Carcass quality and grading
• Leather production

9. Goat Farm Management
• On the Farm - Buildings and Structures
• Goat shelters
• Farming production systems
• Keeping records
• Goat Management
• Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
• Farm Safety
• Duty of care (employer and employer duties)
• Lifting and manual handling
• Protective Equipment
• Dealing with chemicals
• Storage and disposal of chemicals
• Handling tools and machinery
• Safety Audit
• Marketing your products
• Advertising your stock
• Where you can sell


Course Duration:  100 hours


 WHAT DO GOATS EAT? (an extract from the course)

Goats eat around twelve meals a day (similar to other ruminants). Supplying goats with increased quantities of highly desirable food, does not tend to result in increased food intake. Overfeeding can be more of a problem than underfeeding as it will lead to obesity and digestive problems.

Goats tend to be more selective than sheep about what they eat. They learn browsing behaviour and their feeding habits tend to be affected by what they are exposed to in the first year of life. As they are so selective they can be very wasteful feeders, sorting through material for the more palatable and digestible material and leaving the rest. They are very curious about the smells of leftover food in cans or boxes, therefore, they may try different foods once, but will not eat inedible material, food that has been dropped on the floor or poor quality hay.

They do not prefer a bitter taste but they do have a high tolerance of bitter tastes. Dairy goats will not milk from eating grass alone. A diet based on good quality roughage in the form of hay and an additional concentrate of crude protein into food can result in increased food intake, and increased milk production. As goats aren’t naturally “concentrate” feeders, they need to be taught since they are kids. If you feed them too much, they are very likely to become fat; therefore, the ration must gradually increase as they grow older. For a pregnant doe it is good to increase their ration during the last 2 months of gestation because their metabolic rate is higher. If their diet is not well balanced at this stage, “pregnancy toxemia” (twin kid disease) and “hypocalcaemia” (milk fever) can occur.



Goats are more efficient ruminants than cattle or sheep, eating things which other ruminants will not. They eat mainly grasses, but will graze on a wide variety of plants. They particularly like oats, barley, Lucerne (alfalfa), sunflower, linseed, corn, silage.



Dry matter intake (DMI) is the first limiting factor in feeding goats. The DMIs of adult goats can range between 3 and 5% of body weight e.g. 2-3kg DMI for a 65kg goat. It may reach 7% of body weight in peak lactation. Forage is an important component of the diet and should provide at least 60% of the intake. This can be provided by allowing the goats to graze or browse or by providing conserved material such as hay. All forage should be of good quality as goats will not eat dusty or moldy material.



Grass hay is common although Lucerne or clover hay may also be used. Goats in general prefer stemmed, leafy hay. For many goat keepers, hay will provide the basis of the diet through the winter months.



Haylage is a grass crop which is cut, harvested, and stored for feeding farm animals. It is made from the same crops as normal hay, but with higher moisture content. If made and stored correctly, this method significantly increases the food value and decreases losses for the crop. If stored incorrectly there is a danger of secondary fermentation occurring leading to listeriosis.


Normally used for bedding but can form part of the diet. It is very low in digestible protein so should be fed in conjunction with an alternative protein source but can replace 15-20% of the normal forage dry matter. It is digested at a slower rate than hay so the voluntary food intake is much lower. Goats find oat and barley straw more palatable than wheat straw. Pulse crop straws such as peas can also be used. These have a higher level of protein than the cereal straws and goats find them more palatable.


Wild plants

A wide variety of wild plants and deciduous trees are safe for goats to eat. It is best to avoid evergreens and the dried leaves of fruit trees. Rhododendrons can also be poisonous to goats.



Although adequate forage may be sufficient to provide a complete diet for goats, they may be supplemented with concentrates. They are especially useful when extra protein and energy is needed in the diet such as when goats are growing, pregnant, lactating or producing fibre. They are also and important supplement in cold weather and to boost calcium and phosphorous levels which may be low in forage.

Concentrates may be provided as whole, rolled or processed cereal grains such as oat, barley or maize. These may be combined with a mixture of flaked or crushed soya bean to increase the protein intake.

Most owners may feed a mixture of forage and commercially prepared concentrates. The energy and protein content may vary from 12-18% crude protein and the amount fed will depend on the quality of the forage and the weight of the animal. An example would be that a large adult male goat would eat a daily ration of 2kg of moderate quality hay and 800g of a 14% goat concentrate mix. The concentrates should be fed as several small feeds during the day and preferably with the hay.



These can supplement forage and includes feed stuffs such as sugar beet pulp, brewer’s grains and distiller’s grains. Grain by-products can also provide a cheap and palatable source of protein. Sugar beet pulp can also be used providing a digestible source of fibre but needs to be fed with an additional protein source. Beet pulp should always be thoroughly soaked overnight as otherwise it will swell in the gut and cause digestive upset.



Goats should have access to a mineral block. However, if they are being fed entirely on a commercial coarse mix, additional supplementation should not necessary.




Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]