Activities with goats

Information about the approved activities that may be carried out using goats in schools.

Goats – introduction to activities

As required by the Animal Research Act, the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee have prepared a list of approved activities. These activities are those that may need to be carried out in the school setting and have been deemed appropriate, when carried out by a person with the appropriate skill and experience and educationally justified.

The activities have been organised into categories 1-5. The category reflects the potential impact on the animal and requires a greater justification and expertise of those carrying out the activity. Visit Categories of activities for further explanation.

Taking measurements from goats

Goats – non-invasive measurement

Approved activities Category
1. Body weight 2

2. Body condition

  • visual assessment
  • condition scoring
  • ultrasound




3. Growth 2
4. Body proportions 2
5. Pulse or bloodflow 2
6. Respiration 2
7. Skin temperature (non-invasive) 2
8. Age by dentition 2
9. Scrotum and testicles (palpation) 2

In order to weigh goats they will need to be walked through the race and onto scales or led onto scales. Routine weighing is generally done to:

  • Monitor growth rates
  • Match nutrition required with nutrition supplied
  • Provide data for analysis and planning.

Collecting samples from livestock

Goats – collection of samples

Approved activities Category
1. Wool/hair 2
2. Milk 2
3. Faeces & urine (non-invasive) 2
4. Faeces (invasive) 3
5. Measurement of body temperature (invasive) 3

Samples can be collected with goats standing in a race or on the lead.

When collecting faeces and urine samples, gloves should be worn and hands washed after completion of the activity.

Image: Taking a blood sample for brucellosis testing.

Goat husbandry practices.

Goats – husbandry

*The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act describes the legal ages for the following goat husbandry practices:

  • Castration – less than six months of age
  • Dehorning – less than one month of age.

If any of these husbandry practices need to be done to goats older than the prescribed ages, the operation must be carried out by a veterinarian using pain relief and haemorrhage control.

**Goats must be suitably identified applicable to the production system and current regulations.

*All citizens in NSW must comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA)

**All goats must be tagged in accordance with the NLIS

Approved activities Category
4. Ear marking/tagging of livestock 3
6. Hoof paring: sheep, goats & alpacas 3
8. Shearing of sheep & goats 3
12. Milking 3

22. Castration of kids

  • elastrator
  • knife
  • emasculator




34. Disbudding of calves and kids 4

Routine husbandry activities for goats include:

  • Internal parasite control
  • External parasite control
  • Vaccination
  • Identification (branding, ear tagging, tattooing)
  • Castration
  • Hoof trimming and paring
  • Milking.

The facilities required to safely and competently carry out these husbandry activities will vary with numbers of goats held, flight zones of individuals and activity to be completed. Equipment appropriate for the activity and in good working order must be used, e.g. an elastrator for castration.

Castration and ear marking or tagging are usually carried out together. Vaccination is typically carried out at this time. When carrying out several operations on the one animal at the one time, plan the operations so that the operation causing most stress is performed last.

These operations should be carried out by a skilled person only. Castration should be carried out to all male kids, other than those kept for breeding purposes, before the kids are 4 – 6 weeks of age. Entire bucks will cause management problems and will tend to fight as they reach puberty.

Castration should not be undertaken during extreme weather and should be planned when fly activity is minimal. Good hygiene practices should be practiced in relation to facilities, hands, handling and instruments. Disinfectant should be used and changed frequently when numbers of kids are being castrated.

The incidence of tetanus, as a result of infection from castration, can be limited by ensuring does have been routinely vaccinated and that kids are vaccinated when castrated.

Kids should be separated from their mothers for the shortest possible period of time and monitored afterwards. It is advisable that operations such as castration, and other operations with a potential for complications, not be carried out just prior to school holidays when monitoring may be less constant.

Disbudding is the destruction of the cell layers around the horn buds. If correctly done, the animal will not grow horns as it grows. Disbudding should be carried out to kids during their first week of life and by an experienced operator. Care should be taken when disbudding young bucks as damage can be done to the scent glands which are located near the horn buds.

Ideally disbudding should be carried out during cool sunny weather when fly numbers are reduced. Protection from tetanus, caused by disbudding, is gained by ensuring that the doe is vaccinated at least two months prior to kidding and the kid has had access to colostrum.

Castration and disbudding have the potential to cause pain and distress and school staff should consider the use of pain relief for the animals undergoing these procedures. The use of suitable pain relief should be discussed with a veterinarian who is familiar with goats and advice can be accessed at Flyboss – Pain relief – frequently asked questions.

Movements of goats into NSW must be recorded on the NLIS database. Goats must not be moved within NSW unless they have an approved ear tag in their ear. Approved ear tags are printed with the property identification code (PIC). They can be either breeder tags (coloured according to the year of birth) or post-breeder tags (pink).

All goats must be tagged before they leave the property on which they were born. This tag should ideally be the breeder tag in the correct year colour. A goat can only have one breeder tag. If a goat bred at your school has lost its tag, it must be re-tagged with either your school breeder tag or your pink post-breeder tag before it leaves your school.

If goats that have been purchased have several different tags, you can choose to tag them all with your pink post-breeder tags. Each time a goat moves to another property it may be given the post-breeder tag of that property. This means a goat can have several post-breeder tags.

Sheep and Goat NLIS

All schools must comply with NLIS requirements.

Angora goats should be shorn twice a year by a shearer experienced with goats. Adequate shelter, feed and water must be provided for goats off-shears. Particular care needs to be taken if cold, wet and windy weather is experienced soon after shearing.

For goats, hoof paring needs to be done often. To avoid taking off too much hoof and causing bleeding or damage, the horn of the hoof should be cut back in several stages. Ensure the foot stands level and cut the sider first, then the point of the toe and the head. Very overgrown hooves should be cut back gradually by trimming at weekly intervals. Trimming the hooves after wet weather or heavy dew when the hooves are soft increases the ease of the job.

Image: Trimming the hooves after wet weather or heavy dew when the hooves are soft increases the ease of the job.

It is essential that all aspects of milking employ high standards of hygiene. This includes cleaning all equipment, washing hands, washing and drying teats and disinfecting teats after milking. Milking provides the perfect opportunity to check the health of the doe’s udder each day and recognise any early signs of mastitis.

Goat breeding activities.

Goats – breeding

Approved activities Category
27. Artificial insemination 5
28. Semen collection 5

29. Pregnancy detection

  • external ultrasound
  • rectal
  • rectal ultrasound




The development and administration of an assisted breeding program requires the input of a veterinarian or suitably qualified and experienced technician. If the teacher or farm assistant wishes to demonstrate the collection of semen and/or artificial insemination to students, they must first seek approval from the SACEC to demonstrate these category five activities. This approval is conditional upon the operator being able to demonstrate appropriate qualifications and experience.

If the teacher wishes to allow students to watch a veterinarian or registered technician demonstrate the collection of semen and/or artificial insemination to students, they do not need to seek approval from the SACEC. The SACEC considers the veterinarian or registered technician is suitably qualified and experienced to demonstrate best practice.

A high success rate in artificial insemination is generally only achieved by an experienced and qualified operator.

The timing of joining or insemination should be managed to align with feed availability for the does and kids, and to reduce the weather risks for kids. Management practices should minimise the stress on does to reduce pregnancy toxaemia and other metabolic diseases. Kidding does should be placed in sheltered paddocks, with quality feed and should be monitored but with minimal disturbance.

Goats and kids are often predated upon by dogs and foxes. The risk of predation must be reduced by using appropriate strategies that may include:

  • Fencing with upgraded security such as increased height, foot netting dug into the ground or electrification
  • Using a guard animal, e.g. alpaca(s) to live with the does and kids
  • Shedding does and kids
  • Carrying out a baiting program in conjunction with the Local Land Services
  • Moving does and kids to more secure locations

Humane treatment of sick, diseased and injured animals.

Goats – euthanasia

Approved activities Category
Slaughter/euthanasia of stock 5

Where an animal has become so sick, diseased or injured that recovery is unlikely or undesirable on humane grounds, euthanasia must be arranged with a local veterinarian.

Humane killing of animals must not be demonstrated to, or carried out by, students unless it is required:

  • To achieve a curriculum outcome or competency, or
  • As part of veterinary clinical management of an animal, under the direction of a veterinarian.

Students are permitted to watch a post-mortem of an animal provided there is no disease risk posed.


Goats may be sold privately, at auction or consigned to an abattoir.

Carcases must be disposed of in accordance with local council regulations.

It is illegal to kill any animal and sell the meat for human consumption unless it has been slaughtered and prepared in a licenced processing facility.

Keeping clear and accurate records

Goats – record keeping

Teachers who use animals must keep clear and accurate records of:

  • The number of goats owned or kept at the school
  • Identification of individual animals (ear tag number or name)
  • The dates and sources of acquisition of each goat
  • Disposal details and dates for each animal
  • Diet details for goats kept in intensive conditions with no access to grazing
  • Complete breeding records
  • The dates and types of husbandry practices carried out
  • The name, dosage, batch number, expiry date, withholding period and dates of any chemicals administered
  • Any accident, illness or injury involving school animals and the veterinary treatment provided (if required)
  • Any significant occurrences that adversely affect the welfare of school animals, such as vandalism, dog attack, outbreak of disease etc.

The type and format of the records maintained will vary from school to school and be dependent on the number of animals kept, number of staff involved in maintaining the records and the layout and location of the school farm.

The minimum requirement is a daily diary that is accessible to all staff that are involved in the care and use of the animals.

Where there are several staff members involved in the care of animals it is essential that there is a mechanism for each staff member to document notes about the general health status of school animals and that these notes are available to all other staff members who may be involved in animal care.

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