The most important thing in showing a livestock project is to know the rules. Before you buy your goat, before you build your facilities, before you buy anything know the rules. Does your show have a tooth rule? Most shows require the baby or milk teeth to be present when a market goat is shown. Does your show allow horns or does the goat have to be disbudded. Goats can be dehorned, but it does set them back quite a bit, and takes a long time to recover. Is there a weight limit on your show (minimum & maximum)? Don't buy a goat that is going to be too big or too small for your show. Who is the judge going to be? Different judges have different preferences.

Goats are herd animals. You need to raise them in herds, or at least have two. Goats raised by themselves seldom finish out well. If you can only purchase one show wether, try to purchase a pet or companion goat. Once you have a reputation for good management some breeders will loan out doe kids to use as companions while you are feeding out your show wether.

Goats need very minimal facilities. Good fencing is real important. Goats are great escape artists and can climb or crawl through just about anything. Cattle panels with 4"x4" openings make great goat pens. They are easy to install, sturdy, and make a nice looking fence. A long narrow pen is preferable over a square pen. This gives the goats more room to run. Also, be sure to have a small chute or catch pen at one end. Children should be able to catch the goats without assistance. In South Texas goats need minimal shelter. They just need a place large enough to get out of wind & rain. If the goats are slick sheared extra protection needs to be provided the first few days. Either a blanket or a heat lamp will suffice. Make sure a heat lamp is plugged in where the goats can't chew on the cord or start a fire by pulling it down. The Goat Club Guide has some suggestions in planning your facilities.

The most important ingredient in a feeding program is clean water. Water troughs should be cleaned daily to provide fresh clean water. If you goat doesn't get enough water, he will not gain weight. Also serious health problems such as urinary calculi can result. Automatic waterers work great and can be purchased for $20-$30. They are easy to clean, and provide clean fresh water 24 hours a day. Feed troughs come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. The best troughs are made so goats can not stand in their feed and contaminate it. Troughs need to be easily cleaned and moved from one spot to the other. Troughs that hang on the fence are great for market goat projects.

There are many resources for information on goats. The Internet is a great place to learn about goat projects. Mail order catalogs often contain short management articles that are helpful. Your extension office should have (or be able to get) all the extension service documents, most of these are also available online. Howard College in Big Springs put on a goat camp every summer, as well as Texas A&M in College Station. The instructors are the who's who of the goat industry. Prairie View A&M has a goat workshop every summer. Youth can apply for a grant of a free doe kid. Local breeders are also a great place for information. Most are willing to teach for some help with the daily chores. Offer to help tattoo in exchange for teaching you their method.

Just remember happy goats are healthy goats. Provide toys such as barrels or spools for exercise. Most goats need to be forced exercised also. Whether you use a track, a chariot, or a dog, goats need to be run short periods of time. Treadmill & tracks are great resources if you have access to them. Remember short fast distances build thick muscles. Minimize stress and watch your goats everyday. Watch your goat eat, drink, and urinate. Goats that are off feed or water are usually in the early stages of a problem. If you must change feeds during your program, do so gradually, quick diet changes can result in acidosis, and even death due to enterotoxemia. Provide toys and exercise to prevent boredom. Have fun and enjoy the fastest growing market project in the nation.

    Suggested Equipment for Market Wethers
  • Halter & Lead or rope halter
  • Collar or halter to show
  • Snaps to tie goat
  • Blanket or cover - for after clipping
  • Drench gun or syringe
  • Hoof Trimmers - use regularly
  • Small Clippers for trimming**
  • Hanging feeder & water bucket to take to shows
  • Tack box
  • Large Animal Clippers, Blower & Shearing Stand**
    **(Most FFA & 4H clubs have this equipment available to their members)

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