Keeping yourself and your meat goat safe includes making sure buildings, pens/lots, and equipment are well maintained and in proper working order. The facilities you use to house and work your goats should be designed for ease of entry and exit, well-ventilated, sturdy, and safe for you and your animals.
Keep buildings, alleys, and lots neat and tidy. Remember: Slips, trips, and falls cause many injuries when working with livestock. Make sure you have a place to put all your supplies, equipment, and feed and keep all of those items in their proper place. Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Don’t allow manure or feed to accumulate in alleyways or chutes.
Meat goats are often called “escape artists” They are excellent climbers and because of their natural curiosity can easily find weaknesses in fences and handling systems. To ensure they stay in their pen, fences and gates may need to be higher and stronger for goats than for sheep.
Keep mechanical equipment clean and well maintained. Clean and sanitize grooming tools regularly, not only to keep them operating properly, but also to remove any bacteria that can spread disease or infection. Be extra careful cleaning clipper blades because they are sharp.Inspect electrical cords on clippers and blowers often. Replace cords that have exposed wires. Make sure the clipper blades are sharp. Clipping with dull blades presents a safety hazard to you and your meat goat. Use only electrical outlets with three-pronged receptacles. If outlets are located outdoors, make sure they are waterproof and have ground fault circuit interrupters to keep you and your meat goat from getting an electric shock. Maintain good lighting for indoor and outdoor areas where you will be working with your meat goat. Lighting should be bright and not create shadowy areas. Goats will be hesitant to go from a brightly lit area to a dark shadowy area. Keep fences, gates, doors, etc. repaired. Replace or repair equipment that doesn’t work. Gates that are hard to open can cause muscle strains or can pinch you if you have to push hard and they open or close unexpectedly. Wire ties or nails poking out of fence boards can cause scrapes or puncture wounds – to you and your meat goat. Choose equipment that will help make working with your meat goat easier. A blocking stand with head restraint helps hold your goat while you groom and allows you easy access by elevating the goat to a better working height. Some blocking stands allow for variable table heights making it even easier to groom the goat at a height that is optimum for the person grooming.
Set up a practice show at a project meeting to practice show ring safety. Take the Meat Goat Safety Assessment Quiz at www.ylsp.bae.ksu.edu (link is external)
Evaluate the safety of your livestock facilities using the Safety Audit Checklist. Make note of potential dangers and work with your parents to correct the dangers. Visit and evaluate project members’ facilities with an eye on safety preparedness.