Absent Jack Acres

Navajo Churro Sheep, Scottish Highland Cattle, Pygmy Goats, Guinea Fowl and more

For the first time goat owner

In working with first time goat owners, there is always that first year full of questions and uncertainty's.

Just getting started is tough enough so I have started a hand book that I am hoping to make your first goat owning experience a good one.    

I invite you to highlight and print the below hand book.  Missed spellings and missed words included, correction will happen as I find them or as you help point them out to me. 

It is written with the intent of helping you get started and as a guide not a bible.  The suggestions and comments are my own and from our personal experiences being an owner, breeder and Pygmy goat fancier.

Feel free to send me additional information and corrections via the contact us option on this site.





Written by me; for you in '09 so you can learn to enjoy your kid goats from the beginning.


Your new kid goat need all the following basics;

Good Clean Feed – Feed choice grass hay and browse.  No need for expensive alfalfa all the time; but a good clean mold free hay or pasture with lots of variety is the best.

Clean water – Full access to clean water is a must, pygmy goats drink a surprisingly large amount of water for their size.

Basic Shelter – Protection from rain, wind, hot summer sun and winters fury; they may not use it when you think they should but that should be their choice.

Protection – A good fenced area where they can play without threat of dog or other attacks.

Companionship – Goats need other Goats – Please have more then one; they will thank you.

Your time and attention – Be a part of your goats daily routine; note commonalities so you can better notice potential problems if your goat becomes ill.  Be proactive in their care, some goats won’t tell you when they are not well they simply slip off and isolate themselves from the group and by then it is too late. 


Let’s start with where are you going to keep your kid goat now and later? 

A). If you have goats already then you know the importance of slow introduction to the herd.  Be sure that you have isolated your new goat for 6 weeks in a space not connected to your current herd as our veterinarian recommends to be sure that the change of feed and water is accepted and that your kid is healthy and not carrying anything into your current herd.  Use this isolation time to get acquainted; it will allow you a little bonding time.  

B). If these are your first TWO kids you need to make darned sure about their safety. Little kids are very susceptible to dogs, large cats, wildlife such as coyotes, fox and even some large birds of pray.  So making sure that nothing can dig under, jump over or walk through to get to your new babies.  Hard wire 4x4 square or horse safe panels 2x4 squares, a dog kennel with minimum gaps works very well.  Make the area large enough to play but small enough for you to get acquainted; they are going to need to know where their food and protection comes from. 


Housing for kids:  Now that you have a well fenced safe pen, kennel or enclosure for your new kids let’s think about a house.  Pygmy Goats need shelter; they are not fond of rain as their ears stick out and grab rain drops.  They also need shade from the intense summer sun and also a place to snuggle in during those very cold winter days when the snow and wind just won’t quit.  Consider a simple wooden dog house; plastic is okay but they will chew on it and also plastic can get very hot and very cold during the seasons.  You do not want something that is too big like a horse stall in the barn.  A simple bottomless A-Frame structure as shown on out web site http://absentjackacres.webs.com/ or a basic wooden dog house works perfect for a couple of goats to snuggle down in bedding hay for winter or bare ground in the summer helps cool the body during hot days.  Face the opening to the East.  Be sure to keep it clean and fresh from wet and soiled bedding and you will have a happy goat house.


Okay you now have a pen and shelter.  Now think about how you are going to feed your new kids and eventually adult goats!

1. You’ll need a water tube that they can reach. 

2. Dry place to store your hay (not a tarp). 

3. Hay Rack of some sorts to conserve your hay. 

4. A container to protect your grain from mice, bugs and mold. 

5. Feed pan or hanging tub for grain. 

6. A mineral dispenser. 

7. A baking soda dispenser.

Water tubs are easy, a simple low bucket can serve as a water vassal; if it appears that the bucket is a bit tall you can place a cinder block next to the tub for a little step up so they can reach.  Be sure to keep it filled so they don’t have to reach down into the bucket for a drink.  A 5 gallon white bucket is not a good idea.  Make it safer by cutting it down to about half with a saw and smooth the edges to make more kids safe water tub.  Think about winter time and plan to get a heated tub too, this is ensure good hydration during the cold weather.


Dry place for hay means a shed, barn, hut or clean chemical free space that the rain can’t get to.  Goats may have four stomachs but they are not tolerant to mold like cows are.  Clean dry hay is an absolute must.  Do not store your hay in the same space as your goats have access to for play, goats urinate and defecate at liberty and if your goats have access to the hay storage you will have nothing but bad hay.  Save yourself money, vet bills and aggravation but not allowing them in the hay areas of your property.


Hay feeders are easy!  You can create a hay feeder with a few simple items. Some scrap fence panels and a few pieces of 2x4 or parts from an old pallet can be re purposed in making a hay feeder fit for a goat.  See our web page http://absentjackacres.webs.com/ for more ideas on hay feeders on the Recycle & Re-use page.  We have converted a bunk bed, an infants hospital crib, a broken futon and scrap items and a barrel into hay feeder all of which were either free or only a few dollars for extra parts like screws or clamps to make them solid and safe.  You want a feeder that they can not climb into and have to work a little to pull hay from it; creating less waste. 


Grain should be stored in a mold free place A heavy duty steel or plastic trash can works well for a bag or two of grain. Don’t buy a pallet of feed on sale when you have two tiny goats you will end up with moldy grain and very sick or dead goats.  One or two bags, such as oats or a good quality goat chow is all you need at one time.  NO ALL STOCK and NO SWEET FEED intended for cattle or horses.  Go cheap and healthy as long as you have free choice goat minerals with copper, you really do not need anything but clean oats or barley to keep them happy.  With breeding stock as we have our grain tubs contain a mix of 2 parts Kent medicated goat chow, 1 part alfalfa pellets and 1 part oats and they always have free choice minerals with high levels of copper and access to a salt block as well.


Feed pans are simply a wide enough dish for two or three faces to battle for position and eat.  Several trays will save you from a lot of head butting and it will allow the lowest herd member a chance to getting his or her share or grain ration.  If you have the money you can buy the small hanging tubs, they work great and hang them from several locations not too close together so everyone can race around and snack out of each tub.  We have 30 goats, I have 35 feed tubs; this way everyone gets some.


Free choice minerals are a must.  Year around your goats need so much more then you think and most of us have learned the hard way that this could have prevented a huge issue or prevented a death in the herd.  A loose mineral with high levels of Copper and a solid white salt block for your goats will help keep them in fine order. A high ppm (parts per million) copper content is something you should be sure it has; 1250p.p.m. or more is the best.  If they have access to it they will take what they need when they need it.  We also offer free choice of a mineral tub in our herds but the tub does not contain salt or copper but has other things such as iron, B12, iodine and vitamins they can use.


Mineral dispenser for free choice can be a hanging tub in a dry place that the goats can access 24/7 and be sure to include a separate small tub for baking soda in the same area.  There are several ideas for dispensers out on line, make something simple and keep it full and dry.   As for a plastic 100 pound mineral tub from Tractor Supply; if you have two tiny goats a giant tub is silly but in a herd a rack can be made from simple components or you can purchase a kit from us on-line http://absentjackacres.webs.com/ Store – The mineral rack will help reduce the issue of goats standing and urinating in your investment.


Your kids need room to play!

Goats love to play.  If your goats are well fed and happy they will play, race and act silly much like human children.  Goats that do not play mostly as young are focused on something else like food, illness or stress.  Consider space to play, thing to climb on such as logs, spools, huge rocks anything.  All but the fainting goat breed like to jump on something at any age.  Happy goats will spend much of their time at play.  Spools are great and most often free from your local power company and they come in a variety of sizes to make an interesting play ground for many games like king of the mountain, tag and hide and seek.  But remember safety first, cover holes, remove staples and protruding nails, anything that could possibly cause injuries or catch a fast moving hoof.  Think about it as if your human kids were going to play on it.  Make it safe first!  Never allow your goats to jump on automobiles or equipment.  Creating bad habits you can not break later will only make you angry as your goats mature.  Where ever your goats live they should be allowed to have “Everything” in that area so keep that in mind when fencing a pasture or play space.


Goats are herd animals

Goats large and small need other goats to play with, snuggle up to and socialize with in order to stay emotionally happy.  If you do not currently have goats it is not wise to have only one.  Bad behaviors are from people thinking they can make a dog out of a goat, they are NOT dogs.  They can be taught tricks, become great companions, walked like dogs and in some cases be house broke to a point.  Do not create a behavior or habit with them as a kid that you are not going to want as they become adults such as butting, jumping or nibbling fingers; someone is going to get hurt and normally it is the human.  You can teach them to be respectful but it starts when they are babies.  We do not over socialize our kids, they are a bit wild when young as we have found that taming them may take time, but they also do not see us as equals.  So your wild baby from Absent Jack Acres will required your time, patients and understanding to tame and build trust but you will find that they will be nice, never head butt and should never bite because that behavior was never allowed here.


Medical & Grooming care

Grooming is important for your pocket book as it is for their well being.  Your goats feet should be trimmed every 8 to 10 weeks or so.  A pair of trimmers can be purchased for a price but a good pair of inexpensive sharp shears will work for the first year.  After that you will need something a bit more stout to trim the growth of the hard outer wall.  Trim the feet fairly flat but don’t cut the sole as you may make them bleed.  We have all done it; but try to avoid the bleeding as you will be placing them back on the ground and in bacteria that may cause problems later.  A small amount of cayenne can stop the bleeding quickly.  Good feet in the goat world is like good feet in the human world; they can affect our entire body when they hurt so be good to your goats feet.


Happy Goat Vitals:  

Normal Temp:  Rectal 101.5 to 103.5

Pulse:  70 to 80 per minute

Respiration:  Adult 10 to 30

                     Kids 20 to 40 


Teach your goats to enjoy brushing.  This time is more for you then them, you can carefully inspect your kids and adults for injuries, skin problems and creates a great bond of trust.  As the summer temperatures rise you will be able to help them remove their winter under coat, cashmere and save them from stress and reducing the damage they can cause to your fences as they will attempt to remove it themselves. Goats are not prone to ticks like sheep seem to be, but we do use frontline spray (off label) on our herd a couple times a summer when placing the herd out in the tree line.  Plus our guineas held reduce the need for tick medication too by seeking and eating ticks and other unwanted bugs.


Worming should be done as needed.  When the gum’s become light or pale pink or the poop out put is not pellet like you may need to worm.  Soft poop can come from a change in feed or new bag of mineral so think about that issue too before you administer medications of any sort.   Routine worming is not recommended.  Worms can develop a resistance this way.

You can worm your goats with several on the market wormers like Safegard, Valbezan or Ivomec oral sheep drench.  Do not rotate wormer.  Continue the same wormer for at least 6 months to a year.  Changing each year is acceptable but ALWAYS DOUBLE THE ORAL TREATMENT !!  Most instructions on the wormers are measured for sheep.  Sheep and Goats both have a 4 chambered stomach but for some God given reason sheep do not seem to carry the same levels of worms as goats, doubling the dose will insure complete control of internal parasites.  You won’t hurt them by over treating when it comes to worming.  You will save yourself a future battle from super worms by doubling the dose.  Also another option is to use an injectable wormer called Ivomec-Plus for cattle.  Ivomec-plus is injected under the skin (SubQ); it slowly kills any internal parasite that your goat may have.  For more information on the use of this product go to http://www.goat-link.com/ and search wormers or Ivomec-Plus. Or talk to a knowledgeable goat veterinarian.


If you have an emergency issue!      

Please do not go on line and ask a chat room!

If you need emergency help ask someone or two people but not a chat room.  Chat rooms on line can bring you a hundred different answers and can sometimes serve to confuse you even more, taking you further away from the cure.  I have one main “On-Line” source for answers to very hard questions.  The Goat Lady on the http://www.goat-link.com/  site has helped me through several very unpleasant situations and with great success and support.  She loves, lives, breaths and knows goats.  I love my chat people but it is nearly impossible for a group to know your situation and one on one is best.  If you have a goat smart veterinarian, call him or her with the issue.  We unfortunately do not have very many goat smart veterinarians in this area so our research and making mistakes was unavoidable.   


I want to make sure that you understand how I feel about my goats

Any goat is a big responsibility, no matter what breed they are and no matter where you buy them from.  All I ask is that you be fair to them and yourself.  If you can’t give or honestly don’t have the time or resources to feed, house, protect and properly care for one of my beautiful pygmy goat kids please do not buy one from me or anyone else.

I see far too many goats that have been injured, starved and neglected at the sale yard just because someone thought it would be fun to have a baby goat and then it grew up.  It’s true, they grow up.  Don’t injure, neglect or starve them for it.  They don’t deserve it so Please don’t do it!  There are petting zoos and farms all around that you can go visit and then go home to your daily grind.

Think about what your responsibilities are going to be once you do buy a goat.


Thank you,



Absent Jack Acres

Bellwood, NE.


This resource was written as a reference guide and helping hand book to get you started in the fun world of goats. 

Do your studies, know what you are getting into and please be good to your new kids, they need you to care for them!






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Sheep Is Life

Dine' be Iina; The Navajo Lifeway

The perfect place to learn "hands on" just how importantl the Navajo Churro Sheep breed was and still is to the Navajo People. learn about shows, art sales, classes and seminars and plan to join them for an annual Sheep is Life celbration coming in June, 2011.


Happy Goat Vitals

* Normal Temp:  Rectal 101.5 to 103.5

* Pulse: 70 to 80 per min

* Resperation:  Adults  10 - 30

      Kids  20 - 40

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Mineral Tub Racks

Does it bother you when the goats stand in the mineral tub?

It drove me crazy to know that my

hard earned money was being urinated on.

Stop it for the most part by using a

mineral rack stand (patent pending)






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