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Hello everyone. I am from Indiana. I have lived in Michigan and California too. I have hunted and hiked with guides that used packgoats. I have been around dairy goats. Indiana is as you might suspect very bucolic and growing up here I have had contact with many types of domesticated animals. I am here to learn the whys and wherefores of using packgoats and maybe even getting into goat carts for running errands in my little town. As I think of questions I'll post them. Here is my first.....
I've read that the larger dairy breeds are the best and that wethers should be used. Is this true?
Second question is about goat carts, is two or a double harness the limit on how many goats can pull together?
Thanks ahead of time for your help and guidence. H.I.
 

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Hello from Indiana, we use draft goats all the time. Most people say wethers are better for packing and harness work because they are bigger, but the majority of our working goats are does. My personal opinion is does are easy to train because they are more willing.
We use four in harness quite often as well as three abreast or a unicorn hitch ( two wheel goats and one leader). Goats are great to train and easy to work with.

Happy Driving!

Bambi
www.draftgoats.com
 

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HoosierInfidel said:
As I think of questions I'll post them. Here is my first.....
I've read that the larger dairy breeds are the best and that wethers should be used. Is this true?
Welcome to the Forum!

Does and bucks for that matter are fully capable of packing. Bucks, for obviously smelly reasons, are rarely used. Does are willing and make great packers except for the udders. A doe in milk can damage the udder by banging it on trail obstacles so not many people use them unless they are not in milk or happen to have a high tight udder on a clean trail.

The main issue lies not in whether does and bucks will pack but with the land managers who are worried about feral populations getting started. That argument is a moot point when using wethers and one less obstacle for us to over come when introducing pack goats to new land managers. If someone were to loose goats capable of reproducing it could have far reaching consequences on land use restriction for us well into the future. Most of us realize it is much better to police ourselves than to risk restrictive regulations. Besides, the larger size of the wethers means more gear at camp. ;)
 

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Welcome to this forum....

We use mostly wethers for packing but also some does but not on a regular basis.

I don't use the does for packing when they are pregnant or in high lactation with kids beside them - so this would be one point you have to figure out for yourself. If you want to breed with the does, too, you have to make accomodations and take into account periods during the year when you can't work them or have to work them less. Does with big udders are also at risk for udder injuries when hiking through backcountry.

Aside from the reasons Rex stated it's more important to find a goat or goats with a good working ethic, good health and a conformation that can cope with the task of carrying a load or pulling a car (strong feet, strong bones, etc.)

With does I have found it to be a bit more difficult to use the standard saddles available because they are smaller than the weathers and also tend you change shape during the course of a year more drastically when you use them for breeding, too.

Re. how many goats you can put together for pulling a cart: I have a picture of 12 goats pulling a cart and the "goatman of America" used about the same number of goats or more to pull his waggon. You have to consider, though, that using more goats will equal in the exact amount of pulling force:

1 goat can pull up to 2 times it's own weight BUT 2 goats don't equal 4 times their weight because if you use more than one animal for pulling you experience "mechanical hindrance" that causes the power of the working animal to drop the more animals you put together in a hitch.

From 100% working single it will drop to approx. 92% in double team, 85% with three animals and 78% in a team of four.
 

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In my opinion does are the easiest to train, obviously you would not work a milking doe. My working does are all retired milkers or non producers.

I do not understand the "mechanical hindrance" theory. Our use of multiple pairs completely disputes this theory. The amish use a rope and pulley system for multiple pairs to even out the pulling power. Most teamsters (people who drive the animals) understand that it is their responsibility to make sure each animal is pulling their share.

Happy Driving !

Bambi
www.draftgoats.com
 

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Hello Bambi,

it's not about animals that don't pull their share. It's about the power that's lost in transmission, through lines, eveners, shafts, andwhatnot. My English isn't good enough to explain the physics behind that.
 

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Does can be spayed and for some people, can be cheaper than having ongoing UC problems.
The cost of spaying is much less than even one UC procedure and is not as life thrreatening. Depending on where you go, intact animals are usually a bad idea on public lands, especially if there are sheep populations to worry about.
 

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There's gona be an Ohio rendy this summer. There is an Ohio Packgoat Club on Facebook run by Wendy Hamman.They had a rendy two years ago that was a great success. If you need contact info email me and I'll try to get her on this list to post info.
 
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