By Stefanie Hildmann

• Part two

GOATS become increasingly popular as helpers on properties, keeping weeds at bay.

In my article in the June 8 edition, I focused on the importance of a balanced diet for our little friends. Their nutritional needs are particular and, if not met, lead to health issues, especially parasites.

Before we bring these beautiful animals onto our properties, we have to do some homework. Goats are classed as livestock, not as pets, which bears legal consequences. So, before you consider purchasing goats, look into the zoning of your property and see if it is legal for you to have livestock. If in doubt, check with your shire.

Any property, which keeps livestock has to apply for a Property Identification Code (PIC) with the Department of Agriculture.

PICs get issued online free of charge. Every livestock transaction must be registered with Meat and Livestock Australia(MLS) and recorded with a National Vendor Declaration (NVD). Animals must be tagged, quoting the PIC of origin, once they leave the property where they were born.

And here is a bit more homework. Please make sure that you buy your goats from a reputable source. We have two notifiable diseases in goats here in Victoria. One is John’s disease and the other Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE). These are both incurable and fatal illnesses. A blood test before a sales transaction is standard, easy and prevent a lot of distress later.

Getting animals that are used to human contact and have been handled well is hugely beneficial. It makes your life so much easier when trimming feet, checking teeth, etc. Whether to get animals with or without horns is worth some consideration, especially when they live in close contact with smaller family members like children and dogs.

Horns can get tangled up in fences, collars of other goats, bale twine – you name it. So, goats with horns need to be checked on very regularly and helped out of various predicaments more often than you think.

It all sounds cumbersome, but once the goats are on your property, this is all but forgotten. They bond with people and become excellent companions.

I got a bit distracted in the preparation of this article by the arrival of two sets of goat twins within two hours just some days ago. Mums and bubs are well and get into mischief often – and keep reminding me they are excellent climbers and very, very curious.

If you have more questions about goats, please do not hesitate to ask me at hello@stefaniehildmann.com.

Workshop

I will run a workshop for successful goat keeping in Foster North on July 10, from 10am to 3pm. Please send your enquiries to hello@stefaniehildmann.com.