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Detailed info on Pigs & Goat Care including Bottle Babies

We work very hard to keep our animals happy and healthy to the best of our ability and it is very important that they continue to have a good life when they leave Briar Rose Farm. Please read carefully as the following applies to all my sales. I may add and change this information as my experience grows so please come back at any time. We are ALWAYS learning!!!  I also want to say that what works for us may not work for you and that is ok. This information is simply a reference among many available to consider as I found it difficult to find much info about goats, pigs or guinea pigs when I first started so wanted to share some of what I've learnt along the way. I embrace diversity :-)

It couldn't be more true; different strokes for different goats so please seek and gain knowledge wherever you can and from as many sources as you can. I am constantly changing ways of doing things when I learn new skills and techniques and meet new people.

I will help and support as best I can but ultimately you must be responsible for your own animals and seek to learn the skills required for their care as my first responsibility must be to my family and own animals.  

Please don't be a stranger, if you have questions I am happy to provide ongoing assistance to the best of my ability, just please keep in mind I also work and have a young family so may not always be able to be contacted immediately. If unsure call you vet or you can seek counsel from members on the MGA or other groups which is why I recommend becoming a member even if its just socially to be in the loop. Being a member of groups will allow you access to so much support and advice, its well worth joining in order to have that wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. 

 If you require further help in the future I have the following services available on site:

- Vaccination $5

- Worming $5

- Dis budding $25 each kid 

- Castrating free providing buckling is young enough

 

IMPORTANT: Check that you can have goats or pigs with your local council before committing to them.

 

Sales are not confirmed until a 50% deposit has been paid. Deposits will be retained if default on the sale occurs. I will assist in re-homing any of my goats should the need arise as much as I am able. We need to be mindful of bio security risks though so sometimes I cant always take them back once they've left us.

FEEDING OUR GOATS

Our personal preference is oaten hay and lucerne hay when available and affordable. They are supplemented with a mix of chaff/grain depending on the available grass and quality of it, weather conditions and stage of their breeding/milking cycle. Branches and veggies are given as often as we can. The Aussie minis do extremely well on pasture and a bit of hay, with limited supplement grain over the Spring/early Summer months. The rest of the year however hay is fed fresh every day or a round bale is available for 24/7 access and grain is also fed out most days. We try not to overstock our property though which allows for good quality browse most of the time. Winter and Autumn are much more demanding seasons on the goats and they are given more protein in the form of grain/pellets. They won't browse much in wet weather so they are fed inside during rainy days. Mineral blocks are always available. And copper blocks added to their drinking troughs.

 

***Lactating dairy does need to be on a grain mix of at least 14% protein to be able to perform and not drastically lose condition. They are production animals and to be able to perform at their peak require the best feed you can possibly afford. Once a milking doe has lost weight I can't begin to tell you how difficult is is to get weight on them whilst they are still milking so look after her needs right from the start, they truly  give you everything they possibly can at the expense of their own health so need to be supported. Lucerne is their preferred hay with oaten also available. We also rug the majority of our milkers to help them through the coldest winter months so they weren't expending additional energy staying warm. We are in a very wet and cold valley. The Lauke goat mix is my fav at the moment for the milkers.

Our grain mix changes depending on availability but often consists of the following (WARNING: bucks and wethers are given grain as a treat only or if extra weight is required and it is fed very sparingly. It can be bad for their health if given too often with lucerne hay if the phosphorus/calcium ratio isn't correct by building up stones in their Urethra which can prevent them from being able to urinate and can ultimately be fatal. Roughage in the form of oaten or cereal hays, veggies and branches is a much safer option for the boys :-)

- un-pasteurised apple cider vinegar with garlic

- rolled, steamed or cracked barley

- cracked maize

- cracked oats

- cracked lupins

- Seaweed meal

- Soybean meal

- Lucerne chaff

- rough cut oaten chaff

- sulphur

- sun flower seeds and sunflower oil

- molasses

- Livermol

- Copra

- cod liver oil

- speedi beet

- copper sulphate (very carefully added as too much can be lethal but it is an important additive if your in Copper deficient areas)

Amount of feed is increased or decreased to accommodate the number of goats I have and the condition they are in. My aim is to keep them in good healthy condition but not fat. Daily observation of the herd is vital to adjust their diet promptly to maintain their good health as there will often be one or more that needs a little boost whilst another may need to be put on a diet. It is imperative to intervene with drenching or treatment of illness promptly before significant weight loss occurs. A great aid in deciding when to drench is sending fecals off for analysis to see exactly what your current situation is. Sites like worm boss Australia www.wormboss.com.au/ provide a wealth of helpful information.

Goats require dry scratchy fodder to stimulate their rumen (stomach). In the wild they browse and mainly consume trees/shrubs/bark etc as they have a higher mineral concentration than grasses. Their roots go down much deeper in the soil to bring the plants the nutrition they need and in turn the goats will pick and choose what they also require. We provide our stock with a variety of different lick blocks and loose minerals.

Depending on the season and conditions the goats preference to which one they really prefer changes. Please avoid any blocks with Urea added. The basics are:

- Olson's Peak 50 protein block for lactating, pregnant or weaning stock has also been very favored by my herd

- Local fodder store specialty blend of loose minerals inc seaweed meal, dolomite, copper, calcium, magnesium is my #1 choice and the goats love it!

- Copper algcide blocks are added to their water trough (please make sure you do not add these if you have metal water containers) as their is evidence that it assists with worm control which goats can be very susceptible too, and also assists in better coat condition. They are given the option of plain water also so that they can take what they need. Certainly in our herd we have observed the goats choose the water container with the block in preference to the one we also offer without depending on the season.

- In addition to the above we also have on offer with varying success Bastlec Horse blocks and Pre lamber blocks.

 

At every opportunity please give your goats and pigs fresh produce. You can even make a garden specifically catered to your mini goats. The following is an example of just some of the feeds I have had good success with and is by no means limited to:

- Olive branches, pumpkin, rose bush, willow, oak (avoid the acorns which can be toxic), bark, most native trees and shrubs, spinach & silver beet, broccoli, peppercorn branches, salt bush, sunflowers (limit these as they can be very oily but the goats will gorge on them and it makes them shiny), corn stalks, kale, blackberry and raspberry cuttings, wormwood, carrots and dried bread (limited and best fed dried out) is a favourite treat along with Weetabix (small very special treats only), passion fruit and wisteria vine clippings, banannas, apples, carrots and oranges.

*** remember that sudden changes to diet can upset the stomach so make any changes in small amounts to avoid loose poo or any toxic reaction.

 

Be careful with stone fruit (ours love pitted peaches and nectarines though) and their leaves (we've fed branches fresh with no problem in the past but not once its wilted as they turn toxic fast) and totally avoid rhodedrendrum, bulbs, avocado, sugar gum and most household garden ornamentals if they leak a milky or jelly like sap although there's some exceptions here too. For a full list of poisonous plants please please research on the web it is not worth taking the risk of poisoning. If your not sure if its safe DON'T FEED IT. 

FEEDING PIGS

Fresh milk, pig grower mix of grains, fruit & veg with no mould and access to pasture make for happy pigs. Do not feed pigs meat, or anything thats been in contact with any meat as it is a legal responsibility of yours and its also a massive biosecurity risk. Water is so important for these guys and they try to break nearly everything so ensuring a constant clean supply is really important. They like a mud wallow in warm weather and need draught wind proof shelter. They love straw and hay that they can nest in too, the thicker the bedding the happier they'll be. Please report any sickness in you animals to your local vet and or PIRSA www.pir.sa.gov.au to ensure any serious outbreaks of diseases and sickness can be contained.

BOTTLE BABIES

 

Initially when they leave the property most of my minis ones will be on approx. 500-750ml per feed 2 times a day. DO NOT INCREASE THESE AMOUNTS & OVERFEED YOUR BABY! There is no need to exceed 1.5 liters a day on these little stomachs. If they are still hungry provide browse to help their tummies get a good start! Overfeeding with a bottle, and I assure you most kids with tell you they are still hungry after guzzling their bottles, is the quickest way to cause gut problems which can result in scouring or bloat or DEATH. If they are still hungry after their bottle give them some hay, chaff or suitable branches like willow or rose to much on. Another vital point is DON'T CHANGE THE MILK FORMULA as it will cause scouring in most cases and make your baby very sick unless done carefully. I feed milk warm erring to the cooler side. If you are adamant you want to change the formula, although I don't recommend this - do so very very slowly by adding it to their current mixture and slowly increasing the new feed and decreasing the old. NO SUDDEN CHANGES. Fresh water must be provided at all times.

We use either fresh goats milk or Full cream powdered milk from our local human supermarket. We do not use or recommend formulas sold through fodder stores.

 

I also recommend you provide a general goat mix heavy in oaten chaff and cracked grains to your growing bubs to stimulate the rumen stomach. Only put out a small amount of the mixture so its not fouled or wasted each day. Old grain can sour and ferment quickly and make for sick kids if not removed. This must be supplied fresh daily from around 1 week old to help them transition onto solid feed as they slowly begin the transition off their milk. Its vital to provide a good diet to gain strength and grow to their full potential.

 

If I encounter a bottle babe with  the runs; and if scourban is not available I will use a junket tablet that you can get from the supermarket and a dose of bio boost or you can use a yakult. If this doesn't fix the problem after missing a milk feed I will remove the milk for 24 hours only and feed with Vytrate (electrolytes) served warm and mixed to the instructions on the sachet or bottle and then repeat the drench. If their poo doesn’t become more solid by the following day please contact me or seek vet assistance  as babies can go downhill very quickly if they become dehydrated and when babies get stressed which can sometimes occur with change of home/surroundings it can sometimes cause coccidosis which requires prompt antibiotic treatment (baycox is very effective) to successfully treat. Taking a sample of their poo will quickly ascertain if this is what the baby is facing. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns with your baby, I will do my best to help. I have also added small amounts of slippery elm to the bottle with some success but find the junket and bio boost works much better. Scourban is my first choice if available though. 

 

***MOST IMPORTANTLY*** Keep you baby warm dry and above all clean. Dirty or wet housing will quickly deteriorate the health of your kids and can lead to coccidosis, bacterial infections and worm burdens. Change bedding regularly and don't feed them directly off the ground, use buckets and be careful that their water supply is also clean and not too deep so they can't drown. Be careful they can't get caught or tangled in anything as they are very inquisitive and like to explore, climb and jump. And never leave babies unattended with dogs. They will need to be kept safe from foxes too until they are at least 6 -12 months old and big enough to defend themselves.

 

WARNING: If babies get sick they can go downhill extremely fast and if they become too dehydrated with diarrhoea you should seek medical attention by a vet ASAP! Offer electrolytes warm to encourage fluid intake in these circumstances. Try not to put your animal under high levels of stress, sometimes transport can be enough to start the imbalance, its just something all goat owners need to be aware of, if your unsure please seek advice.

DO NOT feed water straight from the bottle it can cause bleeding and irritation.

GUIDE FOR 2 MINI KIDS

The following is just what I feed my bottle babies in general, please increase or decrease amount of milk depending on how many babies you have. Please note that the below volumes are for 2 babies. I leave a minimum of 4 hours between every feed to ensure it is digested properly.

1 week old ~ 3- 4 feeds per day

750ml warm water 3/4 cup of full cream milk powder added split between 2 bottles. Often little ones won't drink a full bottle for me in the first couple of days, and that's ok providing they feed strongly at every feed. They will increase the volume as their tummy grows don't force them if they are lively and growing well. Once the come off the bottle thats it for that feed and any additional milk is saved for the next feed.

2 - 8 weeks old  ~ 2 feeds per day

750ml-1.5ltrs warm water depending on size and appetite of baby. Powder added at a rate of 1/2 a cup to half a litre than split between 2 bottles

8 – 12 weeks old ~ 1 feeds per day

1.5 ltr warm water, 1 1/2 cup of full cream milk powder added split between 2 bottles

12 weeks plus no more bottles :-)

NEVER EVER GIVE KIDS WATER FROM A BOTTLE! IT CAN CAUSE BLEEDING INTERNALLY. IF THEY ARE THIRSTY THEY WILL LEARN TO DRINK FROM A BUCKET IF ITS CLEAN AND AVAILABLE.

PRODUCTS WE USE

Our basic medical/care kit contains:

- Thermometer

- hoof trimmers (goats need their feet trimmed every 8-12 weeks)

- electric dis-budder

- aloe vera gel

- Worm drenches currently in use; Dectomax. We try to only worm individual animals as required and get fecals through our local vet when needed to assist with identification of parasites as we want to limit the resistance of our herd to drenches> We are trying to rotate our paddocks in a better way and use different species within them to attempt to lower worm burdens too. Q drench is our quarantine drench and ivermectin and Alben are also drenches we've used.

- Vaccination currently in use; Glanvac 6, we choose to vaccinate every 6 months

- We also choose to vaccinate our herd against Johnes Disease with the Gudair vaccine

- Pestene powder for lice control or Exostad pour on

- Lubricant

- Hospital grade disinfectant

- Baby wipes

- Scourban

- Probiotics such as Bio boost

- Revive paste for weak or sick kids

- Opticlox (for pinkeye and for any infection in a cavity such as an infected ear tag)

- Betadine/Iodine

- Cetrigen spray

- Vytrate electrolytes either in the individual dry packs or concentrated liquid

- Syringes both for injecting and drenching so we have various sizes

- 22 gauge x 3/4" (0.70 x 19mm) needles

- Palastart Colostro-immune feed supplement if you dont have a good source of fresh colostrum

- Baycox for coccidia treatment 

Junket tablets from the supermarket

- Inject-able vitamins; VAM, Vitamin C, B Complex, Vitamin B1, B12, ADE

- Antibiotics, Albamycin and Anti inflammatory Metacam(only administered under veterinary advice)

- Castrating rings

- Towels

- Tweezers

- Scissors

- Castor oil for bloat and constipation

- Bi carb for tummy upsets 

- Gauze/vet wrap

- Andis and Wahl clippers for show prep BLADES 3F for thick coats, 10 for udders, feet and boy bits and 5 or 7 for the overall finish

- Dairysal for dry udders

- Copper blocks for plastic water troughs

I hope you've found this information somewhat helpful. Like I've said before though what works for us won't work for everyone so keep a very open mind and don't be judgey if others do it differently. :-) Happy goating!

 

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