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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to the goat world and am finding this whole pack goat thing really intruguing. We have a registered Nubian doe (will kid in May) and a Toggenburg cross doe(w/ feinter), initially intended to be a paddock mate to our Nubian. I read on another site that Nubian crosses make good pack goats. I'm thinking about using my Tog mix with a Nubian buck to see what kind of pack animal it might make, although it would probably be smaller than a Tog / Nubian cross.We live in Tennessee, so would likely be using them (down the road) for hiking / backpacking trips in TN and AR, with an occasional hunting / fishing trip out west as me and my best friend get closer to retirement.

Anyone with experience have any thoughts on this?
Thanks
 

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Re: east coast pack goats?

At the risk of irritating Nubian fans everywhere, I would never recommend breeding to a Nubian for a serious packer. I have owned hundreds of pack goats over many years and I can count the number of "passable" packers with Nubian ancestry on two fingers. Granted, I am hard core when it comes to goat packing. I expect them to carry weight all day every day in some very tough country. If you are just doing it as a hobby and plan on some day hikes and easy stuff around home then yes they will probably work out fine for you. If you plan to do any serious packing in tough terrain with the goat carrying a heavy pack all day then I'd stick with the proven Swiss Dairy Breeds. Toggs, Alpines, Obers, Saanens and even Lamanchas can be great. I'm not saying that any Nubian breeding is bad only that it must be added into any breeding program carefully and the performance of your young pack stock evaluated carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: east coast pack goats?

Rex and Ohio,

Thanks for the feedback. I freely admit I'm a real newbie to this.
Since I live in relatively flat land(Ozarks and TN mountains are NOT "real" mountains), I'd probably only be using them around here and possibly on a western hunting trip once in a while, certainly not like you do. The people we bought our Togg mix from have a bunch of registered Toggs, so perhaps I could do something more along that line when the time comes. Since I don't have any bucks, it's pretty much open. What prompted me to look at a possible nubian was that I saw on another web site that Nubian crosses did make good pack goats.

Rex- can you be more specific about what undesireable qualities you see in the Nubian crosses?

Thanks- I appreciate you taking the time to educate me!
CZ
 

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Re: east coast pack goats?

OK, you guys are determined to get me in trouble with the Nubian crowd.....lol

First I'd like to say that not every goatpacker out there gives good advice. Its human nature to stick with goats, or any product for that matter, that you have always had if it does the job. But many times there are better options if the person would open their mind to that possibility. In other words.... many folks have had a couple of goats and made assumptions based on their limited knowledge that is simply not true on the broader scale. That is why places like this Forum are so nice. You can read everyone's experiences and formulate your own opinion based on a much broader knowledge base.

So back to the Nubians. The only negative I have, well OK a couple of negatives. One is that they are noisy. Their cries can be loud and obnoxious. Not all of them are but enough that I don't want to chance having to hear it every day when I walk outside.

The main complaint I have is work ethic. They are large and well muscled but I have only had two Nubian crosses that worked "acceptably" well. Any bonded goat will romp along on day hikes carrying light loads. I have seen plenty of Nubians that worked fine for this type of packing. What I'm talking about is them carrying heavy packs in tough country all day long. Maybe even several days in a row. The Nubians I have had experience with grind to a halt when it becomes work and don't want to put out any extra effort. Even the two I mentioned above were slower on the trail. I have had Nubian packgoat prospects stop, lay down, refuse to get up, turn back to the truck and just plain refuse to take one more step with the weight on them. I have had Nubian kids lay down when trying to teach them to lead and refuse to get up. They weren't tired they were just lazy. How can you get a goat in shape if it won't even push itself a little?

My experience isn't with just one or two goats. I have had dozens of Nubian and Nubian crosses in the early years and to a goat (with the exception of the two previously mentioned) they were lazy slugs when they had to carry weight and actually "work" at it.

I have had every major breed with the exception of Boer goats. I know sweetgoatmama has had some great success crossbreeding Boers with other breeds and everyone I've talked to has been happy with their work ethic. All he main Swiss Dairy breeds have worked well. Some Saanens can be lazy but I've had several awesome ones too.

Now the disclaimer....lol If you want, or already have Nubians and plan to do easy hikes then by all means use them. Just be aware that most likely they will not put out a lot of effort. If you have found the holy grail of Nubians and have one that works hard on the trail then count your blessings and know you have something special. The simple truth is that if you plan to breed a goat specifically for packing then why waste your time on a breed with such a poor track record. If you just HAVE to have a Nubian cross I'd strongly recommend crossing them with a high energy Alpine or Ober. Maybe you'll get lucky.
 

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Well Rex, I've had one Nubian - Alpine mix so I'm the expert ;-)

Actually, on our first hike when the boys were only a few months old, we had to cross a brook, only 1/2" deep but wide enough that a single bound would not get over. Everyone went over fine but Curley who bleated while we walked away. Then after going around a corner and waiting, I went back and he had actually left the water and backed up to where he could curl up under a ledge.

So he was less panicked about being left alone than he was about getting his toes wet. He was the only one that would lie down. He quit a couple times and would lie down, but he was small enough that I could grab him by the scruff and lift him back up.

One hike My Ober mix quit on me, but I was pushing real hard with a load. After a break he jumped back in. And my pure Alpine joined another group that was sitting down and resting, and wouldn't get up until they had all left. Same tough hike as with the Ober.
 

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Ken Brayton had an awesome Nubian. He was the goat up exploring while all the others were sitting around gasping for breath. But, they do tend to be ditzy blond types whose work ethic is questionable. I've seens some really great nubian packers at the rendies over the years. A few of them were really hard working does.
The crosses seem to be all over the place. The one thing I have found is that there seem to be no mediocre nubians, either they are really good or they won''t hardly work at all. Togg, alpine or
Ober crosses may work out well. DOn't know till you try it. You do get size from the nubian cross, but whether it's worth the chance you'll have to decide for yourself.
 

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i think its interesting that the nubians seem to have a lazy gene but i havent really heard of that in any other breeds. i mean you get the lazy goat occasionally but nubians seem to be anit-pack goats :lol: ha ha!
i want to get a nubian doe for milking. just because i've never had one and they have some beautiful coloring. so maybe i'll try a nubian as a packer some day... who knows?
 

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I've used several nubian and nubian cross goats for packing. Here is my experience:

The one 100% nubian I had was a good worker. He was a bit noisy, however, and somewhat "goofy". But he never refused what I asked of him. I never put a really heavy load on him, so I don't know how he would have done with that.

I have 2 50/50 nubian/boer goats (brothers). One of them is my favorite. He is a very willing worker, light or heavy load. The other one sometimes (not always) lies down and tries his darndest to avoid even being saddled. It is quite annoying when he does this. Once saddled and loaded, he does fine, even with a heavy load.

I have 2 goats that are 25% nubian, 25% boer, 50% saanen (brothers). No complaints with these two. They are big, strong, go-getters. One is a bit more friendly than the other.

I have 2 goats that are 25% nubian, 25% boer, 25% alpine, 25% saanen (different mothers, same father). One is on a par with the previous two goats discussed, though not quite as large. A good goat. The other takes after the one 50/50 that sometimes does not want to be saddled, but this one doesn't lie down--he runs away. Once caught, saddled and loaded, he does not refuse to work, and he is quite a powerful goat.

I am of a patient nature, and I don't go packing with them all that often (2-3 times per year), so I am willing to put up with the bad habits of the 2 nuckle-heads.

Happy trails,
Tim
 

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Hmm... sounds like I got lucky with my Nubian cross. Cuzco is about the quietest goat I've ever encountered. Even when he does "baa-aa" (which is very seldom), he has a super-soft voice. His biggest problem is that he's skittish, but I attribute at least some of that to the fact that he was not handled at all until I got him and he never really bonded with people. He got very nervous around dogs after one chased him off a cliff and lost him his horn. He never even bonded much to Phil and I until he moved into our back yard when he was five years old, so it's hard to know whether his personality quirks are more nature or nurture.

But I will say this for him: he's not remotely lazy. We don't pack with Cuzco often, so when he does, the poor goat is usually out of shape for the load and the distance. But he won't quit. I've seen his sides heaving, his eyes popping, and his tongue hanging out, but he keeps on a-comin'. I have no doubt he'd stagger along till he dropped if we didn't give him a break now and again. It must be the Alpine in him. ;)
 

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I can attest to Nubians being loud.

I broke my youngest son from screaming.
I told him I could not tell if it was him or the goat. LOL

the goat was hollering and I stepped out the door
wanting to know if Jason was OK. tee hee. I knew
it was the goat.
 

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I have no experience with pack goats, I came here to learn that part of goat keeping.

I have had Nubians, Oberhasli, Alpine, Boer, Saanen, Toggennbergs, Pygmies and curently have La Mancha.

My nubians were sweethearts! And they were good milkers.
But strangely, it had a taste, that no amount of adjusting their diet could remove.

The La Mancha's and Saanen's milk tastes like milk... no after taste.
You mentioned kidding, so I assumed you are going to put an udder support on the doe and take off... fresh milk just looking for a mountain stream to cool it! :D I didn't notice if the Alpine or Oberhasli had an aftertaste, I had them at the same time as the Nubians, and back then, I thought all goat milk had a after taste.
It wasn't until I specialized in only La Mancha that I noticed, no aftertaste.

Sizewise, my nubians were the largest goats in height, but the togs were more massive, more muscular, and more stubborn.

Then again, I have a 9 month old La Mancha Buck, who keeps getting out, and I spot him on the roof of our hahsa... makes us look like hillbillies to have a goat on the roof... sheesh.
If he gets out after this latest repair, he must be flying! But, he is stubborn, he just does not want to stay in his pasture, even with the girls! He is friendly, and sweet, and an escape artist.
 

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Rex,

How are those Nubian - Feinting mix goats working out?

With the Nubian laziness and the feint, when they go down, do they just stay there? ;-)
 

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It would stand to reason that Nubian milk would have
a after taste. Nubian milk is higher in cream. And cream
is fat. And fat has more flavor.
Comparitively. Nubians are our Jerseys. Saneens are our Holsteins.

I do love the nubians colors. Very pretty. But will never own another
one because of their vocal tendencies.

I recently had the opertunity to taste Ober milk. And I was very pleased with it. no after taste.
 

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I keep telling my goats:

I am going to post a sign... La Mancha's are quiet!

It must often be individual. I know my nubians were no louder than these La Manchas.

I don't need a doorbell, anyone pulls up, and the goats sound off. Walk out the door where they can see ya, and the goats sound off, get near feeding or milking time and not show up and the goats sound off.

I think these La Mancha's right here, have the biggest mouths of any goat I ever met! And La Mancha are known for being quiet...
 

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Any further thoughts on this? Updates?

I hope to add several kids this year and start training the ones I have asap.

The two breeds I have the most experience with are Saanens and Nubians. I hear many good things about Alpines and Togs and a little on the Obers.

I also hear a lot of good things on the Boer crosses, mostly on the 25% Boers.

The two breeds I am most inclined to are the Saanens and Alpines, and am wondering about using a Boer cross on them.

Thoughts?

I appreciate this site, wish I had found it much sooner.
 

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I remember being at the rendez-vous in the Werner Mts. and hearing some nubians go on and on- I don't remember any other goats there making that much noise. They are sweet as can be, but seem noisier to me than the other breeds in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just checked this after being away for a while. After having kids (two bucklings) from my Nubian doe, they're very different. One is very vocal, the other only hollers when separated from his mama. We're weaning them now and he hollers for a few minutes at first when being separated, even though he's with his brother or the little Toggenburg / Feinter cross. Our Nubian doe is very quiet, so I'm thinking although by breeds some are more vocal than others, it ultimately comes down to the individual animal's personality.

I can tell one thing, the one little guy we have is an absolute tank, thick neck and much heavier body than his brother. If I end up keeping one to try to teach to pack, it will be him, plus he's the quiet one.

On the milk- our doe got mastitis in her right side and it's only producing about a pint a day, but I've been averaging 7 pounds a day from her left udder. Too bad, her mother and grandmother were both champion / star milkers. If she were producing 100%, I'd be getting in excess of 12 pounds a day out of her. And yes, the milk is very creamy. I'll make my first batch of yogurt tonight, looking forward to that!
 

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I am just getting into the packgoat thing, but I have a 6 month old Nubian doe that I have been traing. I have put a dog pack on her with nothing in it really and she has covered quite a bit of ground. She has crossed rivers or creeks with hesitation but has done it. I have a 4 week old weather Nubian/Ober mix that I am looking forward to seeing how he does. It is purely recreational packing but I am having fun. My Nubian is noisey though. Last night we were camping and I had to tie her right by the tent or else she would cry. I think she will do better when the other goat can come, but my black lab was right by her but that wasn't good enough. She didn't make a peep all night after I put her by the tent so she could see where I was lol. I may have started with something else if I had it to do over again, but it is what it is.

Cody
 
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