So, first of all, it seems very clear to me that management at every farm is different. We all feed different amounts of different foods, breed at different times, wean at different times, ect., always different. I will just give you a little insight on the way I do things here so that if you are new to the goat world you have a little direction until you find your own path that works best for you.
I do my goats feet every month usually the first of the month. Some will need it more than others. There is usually some hoof that needs to trimmed off at this point and the hoof needs a good cleaning out anyway. I include the bucks feet in this too, even during rut, he needs to be taken care of. I wear a buck suit, which mine is a reused green pilot suit, with gloves and then I am completely covered and do not worry about my cloths smelling like buck. I have done goats feet that were very neglected and have learned that if the hoof can grow long enough to grow around and get dirt trapped in it as it grows that the bacteria in the dirt can make holes in the hoof and start foot rot. In this case I would soak the foot with Dr. Naylor Hoof N’ Heel at the tractor supply and Jeffers Jeffers link . Then I would spray it with Dr. Naylor Blu-Kote. Try to get any dips of hoof that look like a potential dirt trap cut off the foot while trimming. If you start to get into pink skin for white hoofed goats you are about to draw blood, so stop. Black hooves are my preferred color hoof as they do not seem to bleed as easily, however they do not look pink before blood so you have to know when to stop from experience and carefulness. Cayenne pepper powder is a great blood stop to have on hand. They do sell blood stop powders at Co ops or some people use corn starch. If you are trimming little babies feet be careful and only take off a little, they are much easier to damage and much softer. Young goats under one year hooves will seem to grow much faster than the older does, and bucks in rut hooves grow a lot as well, non pregnant goat feet seem to grow more than non pregnant, ect. Please take care of your goats feet, they need to walk good for all their life, and unless they are running around in the desert with rocks and ridges to wear their feet down, chances are they depend on YOU to take care of their feet. I notice that if there is a main area of management that is neglected that it is feet, that is why I chose to do this subject first.
I breed about hald of my goats each year and milk some of them through instead of breeding them. I dry up the ones getting bred when I wean the babies. Then I dry up the ones I milked through when the babies start being separated in the spring. I know everyone feels different about when goats should be bred for the first time. But after speaking with a long time dairy goat owner that has been to the west and seen many more farms than my self, along with books and articles, I decided that I will breed my doelings the first year. Preferably when they are 8 months and 70 pounds or more. I have done this and I pray for twins for that first timer because the single baby will likely be bigger and will be harder to push out. I do not feed to much extra to keep the babies from growing to much and getting too big, feed management can be a little tricky indeed. I make sure I can be there to help that first timer as well. I am actually sure to be there for all births, but if I had to pick any to make your priority it would be first fresheners, especially one year olds. It is hard to keep a dairy goat until two to freshen without them getting overweight. We do like to show our goats in a few local shows, but the reason we have goats is for the milk, so it would make no since to me to hold them dry until two years old. I will breed a buck starting at 5 months old, but very limited, and would use one at least 7 or 8 months if I had one around instead. I will not turn a young buck like this loose with lots of does and expect them all to get bred. I would only breed him to one doe per day preferably. Two at the most if I had no other option. I like to take a doe to a buck and let them breed once, then take her back a couple hours later, then repeat the next day if she is still in heat. Three times in one day is the most I do for one doe. I do not leave them together so that the buck does not get wore down chasing her. Because lots of does will cycle close together and you are bound to need that same buck to service a few other does all in the same week. Feed him good during this time of breeding and start to up his food a little a couple weeks before you plan to breed. Rut takes a lot out of a buck, take good care to give them proper nutrition and shelter.
Milking and Feeding Time:
I already made a blog post listing my feeding program and will not go over that again. I know everyone is stuck on the 12 hours apart milking and feeding program, but I do not take part in this system. I like to feed and milk on a schedule that works for MY house. I feed and milk in the summer at about 8:30am and 6pm. I will feed twice during the winter and milk once, milking in the morning at about 8:30am and feeding again in the afternoon before dark at about 4pm. As long as you are consistent do what works for you. I will separate babies starting at three weeks old, from older does not yearlings, to start milking the dam in the morning. I will then leave the baby with her all day and put the babies up at about 8 at night in their own stall. I will wean the babies from their dam at 5 months old into a separate area where the babies are no longer with the dams. They will stay separated until they no longer try to nurse, this could take several months, every goat is different, you never know when it will be. When I am milking I do not like to use harsh chemicals, I use a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar in it and spray it on the teats and wash with a cut piece of towel that I can wash and dry and reuse. I do not sale milk so I use a very natural approach, I do not know if milk sales would require something more strict.
Here in the dirty humid south we have to worry about the barberpole worm parasite load, and more. Please visit wormboss website and learn the life cycles and how to keep the loads down. I have no desire to be worming my goats with chemicals all the time, I do not think this stuff is good for them and do not know how long it really stays in their system. I will use a dewormer if necessary, but I would do rotational grazing or use a dry lot to keep from having to. All chemical dewormers have withdrawal days for milk and those are listed on the fiascofarm.com website. Take yourself to a famancha work shop and get a card and learn how to read a famancha score. This will help you with the barberpole worm only though. I have my goats in dry lots and I have a 6 acre pasture of woods and brush. I keep the does in their area, and in the time where leaves are growing, I take the herd to the woods pasture and I let them browse for a few hours , then I bring them back up to their dry lot at the barn. Do not let goats browse wet pasture early in the morning, make sure the dew is dry before turning them out. Do not let goats graze grass to lower than 4 inches tall. Do not let goats graze when rainy and wet. Goats were meant to be browsers not grazers, so they do not have a good tolerance to worms and can acquire a heavy worm load quickly. I do my own fecal samples or famanchas and know when I need to deworm. I also know dewormers do not always work. Also most dewormers are not meant to be a one time use and done, because they only kill adult worms and you have to repeat the worming to catch the next adults and sometimes again. Most worming for barberpole worm is to do it , wait 10 days repeat, wait 10 more days repeat. Or if there is a light load you may get by with two doses 14 days apart. Deworming rates are based on the weight of the goat and seeing how unaccurate a weight tape can be compared to a scale, I highly suggest a scale before deworming, I use this one pet scale link . I have read many times that safeguard does not work and is a waste of time and money, so I have never tried it. I do not like the injectibles, they seem to hurt the goat very very badly.