Greetings and Questions

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by Iceblink, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Iceblink

    Iceblink New Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Hello Everyone! I'm so glad I found this forum, I've been lurking for a while, and I've already learned so much.

    I am still in the research stage of 'goat mothering' and I have a few questions...(for starters=-)

    1. My eventual plan is to have a pair of does mainly for milking and pets. Is only 2 goats enough company? I really won't have the space for more, but if they won't be happy....

    2. I was thinking as a goat newbie that maybe it would be best if I were to buy a bred senior doe and a meat whether (company for her), and once the doe kids, keeping a doeling (assuming she has one). I thought a senior doe would probably have an easier time giving birth, and would be used to being milked, ect. Would her daughter be enough company once the wether is gone?

    3. I could breed them alternately so I would have milk most of the time, but not too much.

    4. I've been reading about Nigerian Dwarfs (can I say that? Is the plural dwarves?). I've read that they are sweet, small and won't overwhelm me with milk. Also they cycle year round. But since I wouldn't be showing, I could also have a mixed breed.

    I would appreciate any critique-ing of my plan, and any suggestions.

    Thanks, Amy
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    welcome Amy! :wave: So glad you are asking questions :greengrin:

    Yes you can have just two and they will be quite happy

    The only "problem" I can see with your plan is that if you want to milk the dam and keep her daughter, unless you bottle feed or are willing to tape her teats, weaning the daughter while still getting milk for yourself is near impossible. But if you do bottle feed or the teat tape works (special tape) you will be golden (as my dad would say ;) )

    Yes Nigerian Dwarfs are wonderful for around the year milk --- although I personally have not tried this. I love the breed, though milking them is totaly different then milking standard dairy does. Not impossible just a different technique.

    Mix breeds can be easy to aquire as well as fit the bill for someone just looking for pets and milkers. but I suggest you dont go to a sale barn to find goats. And a boer mix doe probably wouldnt be a good choice.

    You may find some really good deals right now or in the spring for dairy goats who are older that need a new home due to a farm needing to downsize. THe economy is going to make selling goats hard so you should have a good chance at finding some nice animals.

  3. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    welcome ... :wave: glad you joined us..... :)
    yes....... 2 goats is enough .......if that is all you can have....If the doe has a daughter will be good company for her ,,,when the wether is gone.....

    As for senior does ...any doe at any age ....can experience problems here and there....sometimes kids come out ...the wrong way.. and you need to help... other odd stuff can happen as well....but ...this can happen to any doe at any age...
    You never know....some do not have any problems at's give and take ....with the does :)
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Owner of 4 La Manachas.

    Oct 17, 2007
    East Tn
    :wave: Hi Amy,

    You sound alot like what we are planning here but I am going to do it with Lamanchas. I was thinking of NDs but they are expensive to get good ones and right now way too small for us. My dog grew up to big and she plays with our neibors calves.

    You will really want to check around on getting a SR doe. They can be had but are not cheap. What my hang up is now is when it comes to breeding time. With no close males around that means I will have to have one or travel to one. Having a male around is not something I want as I do not have the space for another pen. By the time they would be ready to bred all males would be sold so I could not just buy one right before breeding either. I am checking into the AI but for FF it seems best to go natrual, so I am still stuck with travel or buying a male kid to raise to breeding age. Something to really think over as I do not want to do to much line or inbreeding and we do not have many choises here anymore after last year. There is more planning the more I read, this is not like owning a dog or cat. You can not just up and take them to a kennel to leave town. Also most vet work you will be doing yourself unless you find a vet that knows goats.

    All I want is two for milk but we can handle 4 which I guess I wll breed up too. Then after that I will be selling all kids and with times they way they are that might be easy or it might not. Well, good thing is kids and SR does will not be availble till spring so we both have lots of time to work it all out. :thumbup:
  5. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Welcome Iceblink! Sounds like you have a very good plan to start with!

    Nigi's will give a good amount of milk and with 2 to start with, they'll be very happy far as keeping a doeling from one of your originals, it is tough to wean, I did that this past year, what I had to do though was not only tape my does teats I had to pretty much cover her whole udder to discourage the kid...also, what really helps is to separate the kid at night so you can get a full 12 hour fill before milking in the morning.

    I usually breed select does to kid around the same time so as far as having milk year round, I still do...though I am still milking a pygmy/nigi doe that freshened in February and won't be bred due to age, she still gives me almost a pint a day, which for just 2 of us is plenty as well as what I froze at my 3 girls 2 months fresh each doe was giving 2 quarts a day...thats with 2x a day milkings, frozen milk is just as good as fresh, though the longer it's frozen it tends to separate so thats what I use for making cheese, fudge , ice cream and soap.

    Goats are such loving creatures and they conform very well to whatever schedule you have as far as milking, feeding etc.
  6. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    Welcome from Idaho :wave: Glad that you found us and are part of our family!!! :grouphug:

    I love that you are coming for advice and asking questions before purchasing! That is just awesome and responsible, because as mentioned - it is not like picking up a puppy or kitten :wink:

    I think the others really covered everything that you are talking about. But I do agree that it is VERY hard to ween a daughter off of the momma if you are wanting to milk. I bought 2 Boer crosses that were mother daughter and 4 and 2 years of age respectively. They were the only 2 goats these people had. Well, about 4 months after purchasing them, and both were newly pregnant - I caught the 2 year old nursing off of her dam - :hair:

    I agree COMPLTELY with Stacey on NOT purchasing from a sale barn, and please, please make sure that you look into a "clean" herd of goaties, meaning that she has been tested for CL and CAE. (I know this is a pet peeve - and not everyone agrees with me on this). BUT, if you are planning on starting with only 2 goaties, the cost is sooooo minimal to have the tests run (I think total would be about 30.00 for the first goat - 15.00 for the second if mailed at the same time to WADDL) That it really is worth it. Especially if you want to use the milk raw, sell kids, and you never know - Get more goats :slapfloor: !!!

    I really truely do commend you for the questions, and as you are thinking - don't be shy - ask away!!! That is what we are all here for!

    Oh, how much milk are you wanting a day? If you are looking for more then 2-4 cups a day on average, maybe look at a kinder, mini nubian, mini mancha, or something like that - just a thought.
  7. Iceblink

    Iceblink New Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was wondering if I could pen my goats (mom and daughter) seperately at night, milk in the morning, and let them go together all day and not have to milk at night. Does anyone do this?

    Edited to add: Would letting the daughter nurse off the mom during the day form a habit like you said?
    Does anyone ever 'trade' doelings? Could I trade my girl (still assuming I get one) for one from someone else and head off that whole issue?

    Also, honestly how hard is it to sell kids? Especially if they are not purebred? If I had a larger goat, I could breed her to a boer male and raise the kids for meat, but with a NG doe she would be to small, right? Are there any meat minis? Probably not around here anyway. I just want to make sure ahead of time that I can deal all the aspects of goat raising.

    If I bottle feed my little girl, will that make her more friendly? I would love to try goat packing, agility, ect.

    Has anyone here clicker trained their goats? My dog and I have done all kinds of fun training stuff, and I even clicker trained my chickens. (Remembering that they ARE still chickens)
  8. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    I have personally not milked any of my does that still have kids on them. Either the kids were pulled for bottle babies for people or I got the Alpine in milk.

    As far as meat kids, you could do that - but only breed a boer to a standard size doe. ND are WAY to tiny for a Boer and that is asking for trouble. The only "meat" goat that I know of that is smaller, is a pygmy, but to me, there is not enough there to worry about - meat wise.

    I personally only really milk my standards. I have a couple of them that I milk and freeze the milk or sell the milk.

    Where are you located and maybe other members can tell you how the market is for selling kids is. I am on the Idaho / Washington border, and last year I had NO problem selling any of my kids. Matter of fact they were sold before being born or within a week afterwards. But I have quite the variety going on - LOL! Boer X, Alpine X, ND, Pygmy, Nubians. and Black Belly Sheep.

    I know that the minis are usually easier to sell as pets then standards, but standards are easier to sell to people looking for milk and becoming a little self sufficient - in my experience at least :greengrin:
  9. Iceblink

    Iceblink New Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Thanks for your advice Kelebek.

    I just moved to Nebraska.

    We really don't need very much milk at all. 2-4 cups a day would be more than enough unless I got really into cheese-making.

    Oh, I have a couple more questions: Does anyone here make goat butter? Did you have to buy a seperator to do it?

    Besides looks, is there any reason goats have beards?

    When you shave their udders, does it tickle? Do they mind very much?

    What do you use to brush them? I was thinking a Zoom Groom would work, what do you guys think?
  10. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas

    Personally I have never shaved their udders, never brushed them out, and Liz, I believe, would be the one to ask about butter and cheese!!!
  11. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Hey, thanks for the recognition Allison! :love:

    Iceblink....I do make alot of cheese as well as butter.....and I can't afford a separator so I do the "let milk sit and skim" process...with 3 quarts from the morning milk, after sitting 12 hours I can skim enough off and freeze it, I repeat this until I have a quart of cream in the freezer...usually takes a little over a yes, goat cream butter is very possible and I usually can get 2-3 pounds made in a month.

    As Allison said....never ever breed a Nigi or pygmy doe to a larger breed buck...although it's possible you will lose your doe due to the kids being way too big for her to deliver. It would be like breeding a male German Sherpard Dog to a Mini Poodle....not a healthy combo.

    If thats all the milk you are going to use, the Nigi's or even a Nigi'/pygmy cross would be best for what they produce...Kinders are Pygmy/Nubian crosses( Pygmy buck bred with Nubian doe)....they stay on the small side but are not as large as a purebred Nubian...and they are also used for meat and milk, though the milk production would be a bit more because it is a cross of a larger dairy breed.

    Grooming, well....I have been known to use my own hairbrush on my does....I find that a bristle brush works better than a "pin type" brush....makes them so soft and shiny.

    Hmmmm.....I'm sure with perseverence you could "train" your goats though I do think the majority of goat owners will agree with me on the fact that "our" goats have trained us! :greengrin:
  12. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    just wanted to throw in my two bob.

    When I have something in milk that I want to milk out (not very often) and is still suckling kids, depending on my schedule at that time I pen the kid/s separate overnight or during the day, then milk out either morning or night, and let them back together. Works well, I only have to milk once and I dont have to supplement the kid/s

    I hope that made sense ...
  13. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    yes i have penned the kid at night and milked in the morning. I have only done this for up to 3 months and then the kid/s I wouldnt know if you will want to do that for a whole year as the doe is in milk :shrug: or you could dry her off after 6 months to ensure the doeling does get weaned.