New, from Minnesota

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by sandyj, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    Hello everyone! I just heard about this forum from backyardchickens.com. I have been thinking about getting a couple of goats, but have many questions. I would like a goat for the milk. It does'nt have to be pure bred and I don't want to spend alot of money. Are there better goats to have over other kinds? We have 3 dogs. How do goats do with dogs? Is it best to get a goat that is already being milked, or is it better to get a pregnant goat? If I get a pregnant goat, she could have up to 3 babies. Correct? As I said, I think there should be more than one to keep each other company, but 4 goats may be too many on our city lot. How often do I need to milk? I live in Minnesota and it can get very cold. What kind of housing should it be. If it is insulated and plenty of hay, do you need heat? My friend has chickens with no heat and no problems. I've heard several opinions on goat milk, to absolutely discusting to it tastes like cows milk. What gives? What size should the housing be if there are 2 - 3 goats. I suppose it depends on the size of the goats. Maybe smaller goats are better than larger breeds. I live in the city of St. Paul, but have been told if we have a permit, we can have goats. Please advise.

    sandyj
     
  2. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    Well, Hello from Idaho :wave: Glad to have your here!!!

    Goaties can have 1,2,3,4,5 or even 6 kids at a time, but the common is 1 or 2 sometimes triplets!!

    It really depends on what type of goat as to how much milk you would like per day. If you are wanting more then a quart a day, you would want a standard size doe. If you are wanting a quart or less a day, then a mini would be good. You do always always want to have at least 2 goaties at a time though. Typically a person milks twice a day for the most milk. You can milk once a day, but you will not receive as large a quantity of milk.

    As far as a pregnant goatie vs. a milking doe - usually does in milk are more expensive then unbred or pregnant girls - but not always.

    As far as what the milk tastes like - it depends on the goat, the breed (for butterfat content) and what the doe eats.

    I hope that I got everything - but if I missed something please let me know
     

  3. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    So what is the best thing to feed and what should we not feed. Do they eat anything like chickens do? sandyj
     
  4. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Welcome Sandy :wave: :wave: Glad you found us.

    I just wanted to tell you hello and welcome. I can not even begin to answer any questions about milk goats because mine are all Cashmere.

    As for the dogs, All the dogs are different so if you are not sure, I would make 100% sure that the dogs can not get to the goats because they will kill a goat faster then anything.
     
  5. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Welcome Sandy! Goats are particular and will not/should not eat just anything...there are alot of toxic plants out there that will sicken or even kill a goat. Nigerian Dwarfs are miniature dairy goats and have a high butterfat that attribute to the sweet tasting milk they give....as far as space goes the larger the area the better, they do need room to get exercise and really should not be confined to small quarters. Nigi's can give 2 or more quarts a day if milked 2x a day and a good goat feed, minerals good quality hay as well as abundant water is provided.
     
  6. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Welcome from AL :wave: We look forward to hearing more from you on the forums!!

    Nigerians are my fav! And like Liz said, alot of people like them for milking because their milk has a higher butterfat content than some other dairy breeds! Whichever breed you decide to go with though, we really look forward to sharing the "goat owning experience" with you :hi5: Welcome to TGS!
     
  7. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Minnesota
    Welcome!!
    Its great to have another Minnesotan here! To answer most of your questions..
    Goats and dogs should be introduced gradually, I know some people would trust their dog in with their goats 100%, but alot don't.. Are you're dogs small or big? How much milk are you looking to have each day? At their peak many good large breed dairy goats can produce over a gallon a day. Goats are herd animals so you should have more than one, two would be fine. I've heard of goats having up to six kids, but thats more common for smaller breeds of goats. I would recommend a doe in milk over a pregnant doe, especially if you're unfamiliar in the birthing process. Many people milk twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon (5-8). We milk at 7:00 in the morn, and 5:00 in the afternoon. We do not have heat in our goat shed but we have extension cords so we have light. Heated water buckets are recommended. Our first goat was a Nubian, and her milk tasted like cows milk, only better. We gave some to a friend, who's husband has been a dairy cow farmer all his life, he didn't even know the difference. Tastes in milk varies by breed. Nigerian Dwarves and Nubians have higher butter fat than most, as compared to, say an Alpine. Alot of people say goat milk tastes nasty, but thats usually only if the doe is in with the buck. The bucks give off a strong scent in breeding season.

    As for feed, we give ours good quality alfalfa, goat minerals and baking soda, and clean fresh water available at all times. If you go to a Runnings or Mill Fleet & Farm, they usually carry Nutrena Goat Feed, which is what we feed ours. I don't know if Nutrena is available where you are in MN, I know it isn't for alot of places.
    Hope that helps some!
     
  8. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    Amos,
    I glad there is another from MN. Thanks for answering. 1st off, we have 2 german shepards and 1 chiuaha mix. We usually drink about 1 gallon of regular store cows milk per day. I think I would like smaller goats, maybe nigerian dwarf. I've heard they can be really good milkers. How long can I expect a goat to have milk? I like the idea of not having to heat the housing everyday. Much less expensive in the long run!
    sandyj - st. paul, mn
     
  9. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    A goat will give as much as you take..if you have 2 does that freshen about the same time, and you start to milk them 7-8 weeks after the babies are gone, you can expect to get at least 2 qts a day from each doe when milked 2 a day for at least 3-4 months, they do slow down in production the longer they are fresh.My Bootsie is a pygmy/nigi cross and has been fresh for just about 11 months, I went to once a day milkings with her in October as she had slowed down from 1 1/2 qts a day to just under a quart and now is giving just under a pint with once a day milking so they will go as long as they can to please you but to continue the optimum production you would need to stop milking about 2 months after they are bred again so they can get ready for new babies.

    As far as housing, a nice draft free shed is what they need to keep warm with lots of dry bedding....it doesn't get as cold here in PA as it does there but mine started out with a 10x10 shed....which also included hay and grain storage( this was for 3 goats) now I have 9 and they are very addicting, as well as being a reason for DH to build a bigger barn..lol
     
  10. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Minnesota
    If you want a gallon a day, year round, I would get two full size dairy goats. If you go with Nubians, you can have one bred in late September-October, and the other in December - January, as you probably know, the gestation period is five months. Nubians tend to have heat cycles in the fall and early winter.
    Or, if you get several Nigerians, they have heat cycles year round.
    For our two current milkers, the first one has been lactating for a little over 8 months, and the other 6 months. We are about to dry off the first, and will dry off the second in another month or so.

    If you pull the babies for bottle kids, you can start milking about three days after the birth.

    I know of several Nubian breeders in MN, but I don't really know of any Nigerian Dwarf breeders, although I've seen a couple for sale here and there.
     
  11. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    How big do nubian goats get? I need something fairly compact on my regular St. Paul city lot.
    I'm open to any kind, unless they get quite large. My thought is, if they are smaller, I could have more. sandyj
     
  12. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  13. eliya

    eliya New Member

    Welcome Sandy! I'm not real far from you - I'm near Eau Claire WI. I have family that lives in the twin cities.
    It sounds to me like you would like MiniNubians. They can milk almost as much as a full sized Nubian on about half the feed and take up less space and are easier to handle. :leap: I just love my MiniNubians. :love: My goats live in a three sided unheated shed and do fine. As long as the shelter is dry and not drafty the goats will stay warm. My MiniNubian does milk anywhere from 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon a day. They aren't as small as Nigerians so are easier to milk, but they also don't get as big as the Nubians. Some Nubians can weigh 200 lbs! My does are usually around 90-100 and stand 24-26 inches at the shoulder. My goats are fed a grass/alfalfa/clover mix hay. They have free choice minerals and of course water. I only feed grain the the milking does. I have a custom mix that I have mixed up at the local feed mill.
    I'd be glad to show you my goats and set up if you'd like to visit sometime. I'm guessing you are about 2 1/2 hours from me. I probably won't have any goats available this year as I have so many deposits in already, but I'd be glad to help you learn first hand about the goats.
     
  14. MissMM

    MissMM New Member

    645
    Oct 22, 2007
    McGregor, MN
    Greetings from the deep freeze about 2 1/2 hours north of you Sandy! I don't have milkers so I can't help you much there. I've got fiber goats not due to kid until this April. I don't have a heated barn & can't imagine milking goats when it's been single digit temps or lower for the last month..... grrrrr

    Let us know how the goat thing in town goes. What little I know of the Ramsey County area has me a bit concerned about how it will turn out for you, but as long as the ordinances allow you to, go for it!
     
  15. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    Eliya,

    On average, what does it cost to feed 2 mini nubians? Will the milk you get from them average out to be the same cost as buying regular cows milk? How much does a 50 lb bag, or whatever size you get cost, and how fast would a goat go through this food. What does the milk taste like? Cows milk? I heard that nigerian and pigmy goats milk is sweeter and creamier??? I just want my kids (excuse the pun) to drink the goat milk, like they go through the cows milk. Someday, I'd love to take you up the the offer to "show me the ropes!!! I love all animals and have many, but the farm animals really interest me. I have always said, I am a country girl who happened to be born in the city.
    I think getting a pregnant goat would be exciting and alot of fun. I just don't know how much different delivering a goat would be compared to humans. I am a nurse and have done some "doula" work in the past. Seeing a baby (any type) born is the best gift I could have.

    sandyj
     
  16. sandyj

    sandyj New Member

    13
    Jan 5, 2009
    Eliya,
    Two more questions. I was just on you're website. What beautiful goats. I don't see any horns. Do these goats not have any? What is a wether goat?
    sandyj
     
  17. eliya

    eliya New Member

    Thank you!

    We disbud all our kids at 3-10 days old so they don't get horns. Horns can be dangerous on domesticated goats as they can get stuck more easily and they can hurt you accidentally. I had some with horns years ago, but after having my legs scraped up (always by accident, but still...) etc, I decided it is much better with them all disbudded.

    Wethers are fixed males. They make great pets as they don't smell like a buck does and are cheaper than a doe.

    Feed cost varies a lot of course depending on where you buy your feed. I have 16 does in my barn that go through 2 40 lb bales a day. They are all pregnant. That would mean about 1 bale per week for 2 does if I did my math right They don't need much grain - I think when milking my does each get about 2 lbs of grain a day. I'm not sure on that number as I don't weigh it. They just get to eat while I milk them. :greengrin:

    The milk is GREAT! It doesn't taste too much different that whole, fresh cows milk. If you join my Yahoo group, you can read some information I just posted about milk and what affects the taste of it. Just about everyone who has tried the MiniNubian milk from our farm loves it. Even people who have had milk other places and hated it, liked the MiniNubian milk. If you come out, I'd be glad to let you try some.

    Most of the time, goats deliver just fine with out any help, but I like to be there anyway. Kidding season is my favorite time of year! :stars:

    I think I got all your questions. If not, let me know!
     
  18. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Minnesota
    Sandy, the store bought milk that I've seen in the stores is much more expensive than cows milk. I believe, if I remember correctly, half a gallon of goats milk is about $6.00. If your family consumes that much milk, you will definently be saving money by having your own milkers. The hay we buy (good quality) is usually about 3.00 a square bale. If you go through a bale a week.. if I remember correctly theres about 51 weeks to a year.. thats a bit over $150 a year. I have no idea how much the milk costs that you buy, but I'll asume its $3-5 a gallon, so you'd be saving quite a bit. Of course thats not including feed for those does, but you would be benefiting even more since it is goats milk.
     
  19. grandmajo

    grandmajo New Member

    352
    Oct 14, 2008
    Pioneer, Ohio
    Welcome to TGS, Sandy! Glad to see that you're jumping right in with the questions and learning as much as you can.
     
  20. ArcticGoats

    ArcticGoats New Member

    170
    Jun 9, 2008
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Hi! Welcome to the GoatSpot!

    I am new to goats (got them last July) and wanted to welcome you and say that goats are really fun! We are enjoying ours alot! (I have 4 cashmere wethers). So, I don't have any milk advice but did want to add some advice regarding hay. Be sure to plan out how much you will need and where you will get it, and, how you will store it. Around here, local hay is not available from the feed store - they have ghastly expensive stuff from out of state - we stocked up for the winter with local stuff but you have to have a place to put it all and keep it dry for the winter and while we planned it out - it is a consideration! :greengrin:

    Good Luck! :sun: