GoatDairyLibrary.org          A database of materials for the commercial goat milk producer
Table of contents 


Building/Planning  A-L

Building/Planning M

Building/Planning N-Z




Diseases A-B

Diseases C-E

Diseases F-K

Diseases L-O

Diseases P-Q

Diseases R-Z

Diseases Misc.



Medical A-D

Medical E-M

Medical N-R

Medical S-Z

Milk Production  

Nutrition Categories

Nutrition General

Nutrition Grouping

Nutrition Links

Nutrition Rations


Producers Tips  



Seminar Notes

Settng Up

Value Added.

Producer tips: Good ideas for day to day chores

Bottle Holder  (Red River Farm)

You can use shoe holders to store baby bottles.  They hang over a door, and you can put one over the top of another to save room.  This shoe holder (from Wal-Mart) is made of mesh, so the bottles dry right away.  Store the bottles upside down to keep the dust out.

bottle holder

Colored Leg Bands (Red River Farm)

Leg bands made of colored duct tape are an inexpensive way to identify goats that have problems, are dry, are on antibiotics, need different feed, etc.  The tape doesn’t stick to the goat’s hair, but stays on the leg for long periods.  You can buy rolls of colored duct tape at Walmart near the paint aisle.

Cut two pieces of the same color tape.  

Tape 1: Cut a piece of tape the same diameter as the goat’s leg, and lay sticky side up on the table

Tape 2: Cut a piece of tape 1 “ longer than Tape 1 and lay it sticky side up on the table.

leg bands
Now, turn Tape 1 over and place it on top of Tape 2, matching up the left end of each piece, so sticky sides are together.

It should look like this:

Place the tape around the leg of the goat snugly, with the shorter tape next to the leg.  Use the exposed sticky end of Tape 2 to seal the tape to itself.

leg tape around leg     leg tape done

You may use more than one colored band on a goat.  You can write on these bands with  a dry mark before you put them on the goat.  For example you can mark the date when the antibiotic milk withhold ends, or the expected due date, or # of kids expected according to the ultrasound.  You can decide what significance each color tape has in your dairy.  Here’s our color scheme:

Red: Antibiotics.  Dump milk. (Write the date when withdrawal period is over so you can send a test with the milk hauler to make sure the antibiotics are our of her system before you ship the milk.)

Blue: Means the goat has mastitis, is sick or has abscesses.  Keep her away from the other goats and milk her last.

Green: Newly fresh.  (Write date delivered) Extra feed.

Yellow: Dry goat. 

Purple: Bred (Write the date she was bred and the expected due date on the leg band.)

If you have goats that chew off the leg bands, use colored cable ties from the hardware store instead.

leg cable tie

Cut the end off short, and file or sand the tip to smooth it.

Dehorning (Judy Remo)

The directions for dehorning always say to keep the iron on until it forms a copper ring.  This is not adequate and will cause scurs (horns) to form, in spite of your effort.  Her procedure: Hold the iron on to the count of 10.  Press and twist the iron around the horn cap area.  (On a buck, burn it twice.  Once the regular way, they move forward and do it again.)  Pick the horn cap off.  If you have done it right, you will see some skull.  Spray with blue cote.  If puss forms at site later, wipe off and put on salve to keep it moist.

Goat control with a spray bottle (Red River Farm)

We discovered by accident that our goats move forward if we stand behind them and spray warm water toward them with a spray bottle.  This makes herding very easy.  All we have to do now is to get out the bottle and they move forward.  We don’t even have to spray the water any more.   We have spray bottles handy in every area of the barn and in every building on the farm.  It works great for our goats.

Grain feeder for kids (Red River Farm)

If you are having trouble getting kids to eat grain out of a bucket or pail, try a grain bottle. You can buy fancy calf grain feeder bottles for about $17.00 each, or you can make a cheaper version yourself for about $7.50.  Go to Fleet Farm and buy a calf grain bottle nipple (2 for $7.00), a plain plastic calf milk bottle with a screw on top ($2.00), and a calf bottle holder (red metal holder that clamps over a fence or a two by four so you can hang it up ($4.00).   

Cut an 8” piece of scrap two by four. Cut two x 1 pieces of scrap wood.  Put the two small pieces of wood on either end of the two by four, matching the sides of both pieces, and glue them on like this:  grain bottle bracket

Now attach the whole thing to the wall with long screws, so that the little pieces of wood are between the two by four and the wall, leaving a little pocket in the middle where you can hang the bottle holder.  Set the height of the wood bracket so that the kids have to reach up to put their mouth around the nipple.  Cut out the whole bottom off the bottle.  The grain will be loaded through this hole.  Put the bottle back in the holder so that the slit in the nipple is vertical, and fill the bottle with calf starter grain.

grain feeder holder bracket Bottle holder rack in wood bracket        Bottle is in bottle holder         Nipple slit should be vertical

Because kids instinctively eat with their necks extended, they feed better off this bottle feeder than they do by putting their heads down into a bucket.  Do not feed hay until the kids have been eating grain for some time.  Grain develops papillae in the rumen, which help the kid digest hay later.  If those papillae are not developed, and the kid eats only milk and hay, they will never be able to digest grain, and will be sickly.  The grain you feed them as an adult will be wasted.  Their health and milk flow will be directly affected.  Keep the bottle filled with grain all the time.  If it is empty, they will chew on the nipple and will wear out the nipple faster.  If you keep it full and they get grain when they want to, they stop chewing on the nipple. You may need to make several brackets of increasing the heights so that as the animals grow, you can move the bottle up higher.

Homemade Incubator   

You can make an incubator with a blue plastic food-grade drum, one of those inexpensive lamps with a metal shade that they sell at farm stores, and a scrap of two by four a little longer than the width of the barrel. 

Cut a square hole in the front of the barrel, low enough on the barrel so kids can get out easily, yet high enough so you can put some bedding in there to keep them off the cold bottom of the barrel.  (One producer said they make the hole 9"x14")

Make a hole in the top of the barrel to thread the lamp cord through.  (Some producers make a small hole, just big enough for the end of the cord to pass through and have the whole shade inside the barrel.  Others cut a larger hole, a little smaller than the size of the shade, and then just rest the lamp shade on top of the barrel.  If you use the second option, you will need to wire the lamp to the barrel so it stays put.)               

If you are putting the whole lamp inside the barrel, then thread the lamp cord up through hole in the top of the barrel and pull the cord up until the light is near the top of the barrel, but not touching it.   Wrap the cord around a two by four a couple times, and tape the two by four securely across the top of the barrel. 

Use a regular lightbulb.  A heat lamp bulb is too hot, and the babies won't stay inside. 

Make sure that if older goats get into the area, they can't chew the cord.  One way to protect it is to slit an old hose lengthwise and slip that over the part of the cord they can reach.  Another way would be to run the cord through a scrap of PVC pipe and duct tape the cord to the pipe at the end nearest the lamp.

Links to goat incubators

How to make moveable pens and gates in a wooden building (Red River Farm)

In our big open wooden sheds, we put heavy duty screw eyes all around the walls at the height of the cattle panel fencing (52” high), and then directly below that, 6” from the floor.  Then we take our cattle panels to the place we want a pen, and attach the panel to the wall by clipping it to the screw eyes.  It is easy to move the panels to change the size and shape of pens or to remove them altogether when you want to clean the barn.  We also use the clips to clip fences together at corners and to attach fences and gates to the sides of our industrial shelving feed bunks (see these under “Plans”). 

moveable pensbitsnapBitsnap

Leg braces (pipe insulation) (Red River Farm)

Buy the gray Styrofoam pipe insulation tubes.  It comes in 4-6 ft. lengths and different diameters, and can be cut with a sharp knife. 

Choose a diameter larger than your goat's leg.  It is slit open on one side, so you can get it around the goat’s leg by opening that slit and sliding it over the leg. Put duct tape around it to hold it on.

       leg brace foam with tape

Leg braces (venetian blinds) (Judy Remo)

Take apart an old plastic venetian blind and keep the slats.  Cut them into kid leg size pieces.  Wrap the leg of the kid with cotton padding, then put a slat on the front and the back of the leg.  Tape around the leg with breathable tape.    

               leg brace-ven.padding                                    leg brace ven.slats                                  leg brace ven.

Front view with padding     Side view with padding and slats.        Side view with padding, slats, tape

Umbilical cord dipper    (Judy Remo)

Put your iodine for dipping umbilical cords in one of the plastic “milk sample” bottles that your trucking company provides.  You can carry it in your pocket.  It has a good cover that doesn’t leak, and it is just the right size for dipping umbilical cords.

Put the bottle of iodine over the umbilical cord and push it up tight to the abdomen.  Shake the bottle a little to make sure the iodine goes all over the entire cord.  Remove the bottle.

Taping teats shut  for CAE prevention (Judy Remo)

Babies tend to be born whenever you leave the barn, so if you want to prevent babies from sucking on the mother goat, for CAE prevention, use duct tape to tape the mother’s teats shut just prior to the birth.

Cut two pieces of duct tape twice the length of the teat plus 2 inches.  (Example: If teat is 4 inches in length, the piece of tape must be 4” + 4”+ 2”= 10 “ long.)  Lay them on the table sticky side up.

Tear each piece in half lengthwise. Lay them on the table sticky side up.

teat tape 4 pieces

Cut a 1 inch piece off of one end of each piece of long tape and put one of the short pieces sticky side down on top of each long piece, (which are laying sticky side up), centering the small piece in the middle of the long tape.

tat tape 4 on top

Have someone hold the goat.  Put a piece of the tape on one teat, with the little piece of tape facing the bottom of the teat end, leaving a slight gap between the tape and the teat end.

teat tape 1 on teat

Repeat on the open sides of the teat too.  Then the entire teat end is enclosed:

teat tape 2 on teat

You may want to wrap another piece of tape or two around the other tapes to make sure they stay on.

teat tape complete

Repeat process on the other teat.

Thawing Frozen Plastic Pipes (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Activities)

Frozen water pipes are a real aggravation. If the waterline starts near the pressure tank, it should be easy to uncouple the plastic waterline. A smaller diameter pipe, e.g. or 3/8 inch, can be placed inside the larger water pipe and advanced to the location of the frozen section. This is usually where the pipe goes under a driveway or under a high traffic area. These areas freeze deeper due to the lack of snow cover. A stiffer 3/8th. inch pipe, such as the Plasco air tubing (Thermal Ease), is preferable to the more common inch black poly water pipe since heat will make the black water pipe limp.

The end, which will be placed in the larger bore waterline, should be cut on an oblique angle or sharpened like a pencil to create a point. The use of the 3/8th.air tubing will permit passage through a standard 1-inch connector should one be encountered.

A small submersible pump such as those used in fish ponds, which pump 50 to 100 gallons of water per hour, are readily available from many local suppliers, e.g., G.S.W. 1/6 HP Model 306630 (115 volt, 60 cycle, 8 amp). Many of them will have garden hose fittings and you will need to find the appropriate fitting(s) to attach to the end of the or 3/8th. pipe.

Warm water is placed in a bowl, bucket or suitable reservoir directly below the entrance to the waterline. The smaller line is advanced to the blockage and the water pumped from the reservoir down the smaller pipe. Water will flow back down the one-inch water pipe and into the reservoir. This allows for a continuous flow of warm water to be directed at the blockage. The smaller pipe should be able to be advanced at the rate of about an inch a minute when using warm water. Connections within the waterline will prevent the advancement of the larger inch poly pipe. However, the 3/8th inch air hose, when pointed at the end will pass through the standard 1-inch in-line connectors. 


Waterer, 10 gallon drum for 100 goats (Van's Fencing)

portable watering tank  barrel insidebarrel pipe

10 gallon drum with the top cut off, at a height high enough so goats can’t defecate into it.

Bolt on metal pipe with a Hudson valve inside the bucket.

Screw on hose with male end of Plasson coupler on end.

Hose hooks up to water source.  In the barn this could be a faucet. 

In the pasture, this could be a Plasson coupler in a black plastic pipe water line.

As the goats drink, the Hudson valve allows more water to enter.

To keep the goats from chewing the hose, run it through a larger diameter PVC pipe before hooking up to the float, and attach the PVC to the tank.

Make sure to scrub these weekly with soap and bleach to keep the tank from getting full of algae.  Rinse well.

See the Plan section for more directions on making this water barrel.

White board for temporary birthing record in kidding area (Red River Farm)

Birthing is a very busy time.  In the shuffle it is easy to lose track of baby goats.  A large white board in the birthing area allows us to quickly write down which does birthed on which date, and how many kids she had, whether they were bucklings or doelings, whether they lived or died.  All of this information is transferred to the breeding and birthing record sheet when things aren’t so busy.  When we have them recorded on the sheet, this part is erased.  

1). Write the number of the mother. (Example: #28 )

2.) After her number write B for buckling and D for Doeling and put how many of each. (Ex: #28  2 B, 1 D).  If they are born dead, draw a line through the total number born, and put a new number for how many are still alive.  (Ex: #28  2B, 1 D)

3) We don’t give the cull bucklings numbered tags since they are sold at two days.  If we keep bucklings for breeding stock, they are assigned the next consecutive buck number and date of birth. (Ex: B1  3-13-11, B2  3-14-11) and the tag is hung around their neck with nylon rope.. 

4) We tie a colored nylon rope (use a different color each year so you know at a glance how old they are) around the new doeling’s necks and put the full-sized goat tag on it (using the next consecutive number in the herd .)  She will keep the tag for the rest of her life.  

4) Make a separate list of the doeling numbers and their birthdates. (Ex: 124, 12-03-05) on the white board, as this will remind you of their age, for changing diet, or giving shots etc.

5) If any of them die later, draw a line through their number on the board and throw their neck tag in a bowl on the counter until you have time to record their death on their file card.

6) When you have a lull in birthing, fill out the birthing log.

7) When you have time, make each doeling (and bucklings that you are going to keep for breeding stock), a file card with their number on the top tabl.  (You can buy tabbed index cards at Office Depot, item #800-755-091, 3” x 5”, ruled, 1/3 cut, 50 to a pack $1.89.) 

Index card

Put them in a file box so they stay clean in the milking parlor.  We mark down vaccination and dehorning dates, illnesses and treatments, and other information on this card.

If they die we write the date of death and what they die of and then move their card to the back of the file box. 

If they are sold, the date of sale and name of buyer are written on the card and the card is moved to the back of the card box.

These cards are invaluable for filling out the herd inventory at the end of the year for taxes. 

(Note: After recording this information on the birthing sheet, and making a file card for each doeling or buckling you are going to keep, you can erase the birthing list off the board.  Keep the list of the doeling numbers on the board for quick reference.)

White board for easy record-keeping in the milking parlor (Red River Farm)   

We use a large “white board” in our milking parlor to keep track of the goats.  We keep lists of dry goats, mark who is in heat, who has been bred, etc.

white board
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