I spent the last week finalizing preparations: I ran a single-stranded hot-wire about dog-nose high around the OUTSIDE perimeter of the 3-acre pasture. Because I didn’t plan to start out with a guardian animal, this was a defense against coyotes or marauding dogs.
I also needed to get my little truck ready to transport them home. I’d learned that goats can become sick after the stress of being transported, and I wanted to make the 90-minute trip as easy on them as I could. Goats are content only in a herd, so you need to start with at least two. Having herd members with them during transport makes the trip less stressful as well. My kids each would be about the size of medium-size dog when I brought them home. A couple of large dog crates would have worked well if I’d had them. I didn’t, so I built a wire cage to fit in the back of my truck. I built it so that it would come apart and lay flat to be store in the barn between uses. Installed in the pickup bed, I covered it with a tarp, and filled it with straw bedding.
The day finally came to bring them home. The breeder had penned them up the night before. I helped her hold them while she tattooed their ears. Then one by one, she put them in the goat stand and showed me how to trim their hooves. My fainting goats would need less hoof care than many breed but it would still be important to keep them trimmed 3 or 4 times a year.
She gave me a 1/2 bag of goat food. I planned to pasture feed them, but she encouraged me to use a handful of the grain to get the goats to come to me when I needed or wanted to handle them. She also urged me to buy either a mineral block or loose minerals made especially for goats (not for "sheep and goats", just goats), as goats often need extra copper in their diets. I started out with loose minerals but the dang chickens ate it almost as fast as I could put it out, so I switched to a block and that has worked well. The goats nibble on it when they feel the need.
At home, they were reluctant to leave the truck, so I lifted them out, one by one, and placed them near the goat shed and the water trough. I sat in a lawn chair nearby to watch what I’ve come to call “Goat TV.” Within an hour, they were browsing on the weedy pasture, frolicking together, playing King on the Mountain on an old overturned trough, curiously checking out their surroundings and me, and just being kids!