Most studs usually sell their babies that they don't want to breed from as bottle babies...Why?
Because they make great pets!
Here at Samittar Mini Goat Stud, we have two breeding herds that have babies twice a year. We are breeding to achieve the best possible genetics for Miniature Goats - this can take many years and many generations to get to the desired size with good strong healthy animals.
Our goats are in good sized paddocks of natural and planted pastures, are also fed a good balanced diet using our own premix of minerals & vitamins and are never nutritionally challenged so grow small from genetics not lack of good nutrition.
Due to having a continuously growing herd, we need to sell off babies that we cannot use in our breeding program each season. We have found that by putting the babies onto bottles they attach themselves to humans easier and therefore can be sold at a young age on the bottle to be part of a new family. Most babies, if left on their mother, don't tame down as well as bottle babies.
When babies are sold they come with a little bag of goodies including a bottle, some powder to get you started and lots of information to keep them healthy and happy with their new families.
We only hold babies when they have had a non-refundable deposit paid on them. The deposit asked for is half the total price of the baby. The reason it is non refundable is that I have learnt people are more serious about buying their baby if they put on the deposit. In the past I have held babies only to have people say they have changed their minds, this no longer happens. So please be sure before you buy. Also, if we are asked to hold your baby for a while then we will ask for an agistment fee as we usually are bottle-feeding a lot of babies which is time consuming.
I usually put the babies on the bottle at a couple of weeks old and I do not let them leave this stud unless I am happy with their drinking patterns. People do need to realise that if you put an early deposit on a baby to hold it you may not be able to pick it up right way, as I said I will not let it go till I am happy with its drinking and health which of course is best for the baby and the new owner. Being animals I cannot predict how soon you can pick them up, this needs to be understood. There is no sense in being in a hurry to have them home only to have health issues arise.
If you do buy early and they are drinking fine you also need to realise I feed them 4 times a day at the beginning, then after around a week of good drinking an eating some I cut it back to 3 feeds a day. Each animal is an individual so is treated as such this keeps him or her in good health. They usually drink very fast so it’s not that it takes a long time to feed them, just you need to work out how much time you have to feed them. Please again consider all these things before buying.
The best way to take your baby home is using 2 laundry baskets one on top of the other, then tied together. In the bottom one place a towel and they will travel happily that way for hours. We have taken goats on many trips that way, even weekends away when they can't be left alone at the bottle-feeding stage. We teach them to walk on a lead like a dog. They’re always a hit!
If you live a long way from us don't worry, goats get transported all over Australia by dog transporters at very reasonable prices and arrive in good condition.
Some good tips for keeping your baby healthy and happy are:
Remembering these little guys are looking at you for love and protection as they would their mother so you have to understand that you and your family are Mum! In saying that, as Mum, you will need to realise they will need to be on the bottle for just over 2 months of their age. I find that around that age they are starting to eat fairly well and should be down to one bottle a day. I judge each baby as an individual and sometimes have had them still on one bottle a day at 3 months, (but that might be because they are my sooky baby, you have to watch they don't take over your heart).
Another good idea is having a woollen baby jumper on hand for those very cold days/nights. You can pick these up at a second hand clothing store is a good idea to have 2 on hand so you can wash one and have one on them. Remember, for a boy you will need to tie it up underneath. I learnt that one the hard way when they kept getting wet!
When you come to pick up your baby they will only be about 13" high and very cute. I have sold many babies from photographs and have not had an unhappy customer yet. We will send more pictures if you want to see different angles/features but as we are a Registered Stud, we will not let you down by selling you a goat that is not what we say or would not suit your family. I am very particular where my goats go to at any age and if I think you are not ready for a baby goat or I feel you haven't thought about the responsibility you are taking on then I will try and talk you out of it. People must realise that they are very much like dogs and need a family that care about them. Goats can live up to around 20 years, so please consider this before you buy.
Bottle babies need to be kept warm and dry. When you first get your baby, you will have to have a warm dry place for it to sleep. Of course this won't have to be big, but they will grow and we recommend a dog kennel, as they won't outgrow a medium one, they can snuggle up inside it. You can have straw as bedding which they will probably eat a bit but one bale would last you a long time. They will need a small enclosed area as bottle babies, as they grow they are fine in a medium back yard but like a dog they need stimulation so please go play with them or take them for walks cause 'goats just want to have fun'!
If your new baby gets sick, please call us for advice straight away. If your animals seems quiet or different to when you bought him, then call us. If your animal gets sours (runny poo) call us. Always ring the stud that you bought the animal off before anyone else as they know their animals and may save you a lot of money. My husband and I have worked hands on in the animal health industry for many years and are very used to the diseases that can face young goats. My husband is also well versed in animals nutrition so what we don't know, we have many contacts in the industry that are right on top of every subject.
First thing you will need to look at is, are they warm? Please make sure they are brought in by the heater if they get unwell as cold bodies give up. When we sell babies they are in good health and on the bottle well. We have hardly ever had a scours problem if our information is followed but if you do have this issue when you take them home, call us. It maybe a simple thing like too much milk powder, which is easily fixed by cutting the powder amount back. Stress is the main reason many animals die when sick so keep them calm and warm. Don't panic but be aware.
When taking on a Bottle Baby please understand there are risks. These babies are young and sometimes the untrained eye may not pick up early signs of illness, keep in contact with the stud you buy from. I sell all my babies in complete good health and after they leave my house with my instructions I cannot be held accountable for an illness of a baby. Your environment is different to mine and stress plays a major part in baby’s health I will advise you completely but as all animals are sold in good health, cannot be held responsible. We give you some vitamins & minerals for their bottle at pick-up. We make up a mix of Dolomite/Vit.C/Salt/Sulpher and any other good min. I have it on hand and put it in containers in the paddock for them to eat as they need. Animals are smart and know when they need to have those minerals in their diet. Make sure the vitamin mix doesn’t get wet or it’s no good.
Why wethers (desexed males), make the best pets.
Another question people ask why we mostly sell wethers (desexed) boys as pets and not girls. Simply put, wethers make great pets! These guys have been marked so there is no need for them to think about seasons, mating, being smelly, or any of the things that go along with that. They just think about you and having fun with their family. We hardly ever sell baby girls as since we are on a breeding program, we keep the girls for future breeding. They make fine pets also but usually cost more as they are stud breeding stock and truly it's not necessary when there's lovely natured wethers available.
Horns or no horns that is the question.
Here at Samittar Mini Goat Stud we used to disbud our babies (which means they will not grow horns) but not anymore. The reason we did this was that we thought it had to be done as we were led to believe goats will butt you with horns and it makes them safer. RUBBISH. Over the years we have let a few go through with horns I have to say I have absolutely not found any of my goats use their horns against me. The fact is that they can butt with or without horns, as they have really hard heads. I never let them push against my hand or leg in play and so they never do that to me as adults. I have bred well over 100 goats, including many bucks, and never had them disrespect me. They are very smart animals and will spoil as any child would, so with knowing who to respect it can be that simple. The pictures to the right show you disbudding but you can't hear the screaming or smell the burning skin and hair. My teenagers don't hang around when they hear we are going to do the horns. I wouldn't do this to my children. It’s so cruel and unnecessary.
Goats, like all animals, will have ones more dominate than others. Again I have not had a trouble with horns in my big groups. If you are not going to be around your goats with horns much then don't have collars on them and don't have them in paddocks with hinge joint fencing as in both cases they can get stuck with their horns. I have a friend with a major dairy and she has does with huge udders in small areas so she said horns would be an issue, but for me even with Mini Milkers I have not had an issue (remembering they don't get huge udders).
I am thinking that one day animal committees may stop this disbudding practice and I will not be sad to be told we can't do it, as goats are born with horns, (like dog breeds that are born with tails), but people don't like them so they are taken off.
We never play rough games with our goats and for that reason I have full-grown goats that are safe for everyone. Don't teach your goats bad habits and regret it later, like children they will learn from you. None of our goats butt us because we simply don't encourage that play ever. There are plenty of fun ways to play without butting so remember if your little baby goat is pushing on your hand and you think its cute are you going to like that game when it gets bigger? You wouldn't let your puppy chew your hand off or pull on your clothes. Don't teach it as a baby they won't play it as an adult, simple!
We get asked if you need 2 goats. I will never try to sell you 2 goats if I think it’s not necessary just for a sale. I have sold a few goats to be friends for a dog when people don't want 2 dogs. Goats get on fine with other animals (please introduce slowly). Most dogs get on fine with miniature goats; they play and have lots of fun together. These babies here are raised with cats, dogs, chooks, turkeys, donkeys, cows and children but as each animal is new to them, they need to meet them slowly. When they see no need to be scared of the above list, they will bounce around and steel your heart.
If you have young children that will play with them regularly or you are home a lot then one is fine. Just like a dog, they love company. Goat’s love life so don't change that for them! If you think that you haven't got the above stimulation for them then definitely get 2. They don't have to be the same age, it’s just easier if you can buy 2 at the same time and they will be the best of mates.