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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have done a variety of research and are now ready to obtain our first goats. We have a variety of options, but am looking to hear some advice from experienced owners. We are looking to start a small dairy herd for our own family and a few friends. Our thoughts are that we would like to have 2 does in milk, with the ability to breed and maintain our herd.

The person that we are going to purchase the goats from currently has:
1 yr old buck
2 yr old doe [who has successfully kidded without concerns but has never been milked]
4 6 month old bucks
2 6 month old does

So the questions is, if you were going to be starting a small homestead herd which would you choose to purchase and why?

There are definitely a number of options available, but we are unsure what option would be best for our situation. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration!
 

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Unless you are set up and ready to deal with a buck I suggest just does and purchasing a buck in the future. The adult doe who has kidded before is a nice way to start off a kidding season, she will be a seasoned mom and that will help make your experience that much easier. Beings she hasnt been milked before that challenge of learning to milk yourselves as well as teaching her could prove more then you are ready for BUT not always.

the 6 month olds should be ready to breed in later fall/winter. First Fresheners (FF) dont always give as much of a milk yield as when they have freshened a 2 or 3rd time, but can be a good starter.

Have you looked at other herds or are you sure you want to buy from this particular seller? Do you know if they are CAE tested?

As to the buck option - if you dont have access to a buck to lease for breeding then getting your does in milk will be impossible without owning your own. That said, remember a buck needs his own place away from the does. A young 6 month old buck may or may not be ready for breeding come fall.

You also want to make sure the buck you choose comes from a clean herd (CAE tested?) as well as good milking lines. Any buck can service a doe but if you want kids in the future to sell as milkers themselves (or to replace your does, add to your herd etc) you will want the milking ability to be there. Always breed up, dont breed down.
 

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Owner of 4 La Manachas.
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I agree with Stacey pass on any buck for now till you have some experiance. I would also pass on a doe that has not been hand milked in the past. You have alot to learn and learning on a doe that has never ben milked will be very difficult. If the herd has not been tested for CL and CAE pass it by. Ask for proof in paper writting and breeder that has dome the testing is happy to show you the proof. Take you time and shop around. A good breeder will work with you and show you how to milk, casterate and dehorn. They should do this if you are new. If all they want is your money then walk away. If they do not test Run away. If they tell you they have a clean herd so they do not test run faster. You do not need rejects from a breeder that is looking to get rid of problems, and you not knowing makes an easy target. You need healthy animals since you will be drinking the milk. Do not settle for less. They do not have to be registered but should be tested. Even if you pay for the testing yourself before buying.

So with all that said do not pick your first goats but take time to visit many places. Talk to many breeders and if you can attend a show. Although the last is not nessascry. A goat does not have to cost a few hundred dollars to be a great homestead milk goat. But again you want a healthy goat with a breeder willing to help you if you need it. Having a good relationship with the breeder is just as impotant when you are new to goats. Good luck on you search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One of the bucklings is a Toggenburg.
Two of the bucklings are a Saanen cross.
One of the doelings is a Saanen cross.
One of the doelings is a Nubian cross.
One of the bucklings is a Alpine.

Thanks for the advice! Please keep sharing your thoughts they are greatly appreciated.
 

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Great advice given :D...nothing to add but to say..best of luck on your very exciting new adventure
 

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The words Homestead Goats really does single out a certain type of goat. The type that I breed actually. Goats that can milk well on much lower protein and utilize different food types. Goats that can maintain well even through lean times. Ones that browse in the rain and cross the creek to do it. My dads goats in the '70s gave us a gallon a day on nothing but brush, grass hay, and alfalfa pellets. Those goats are what I am recreating.
Make sure that you buy your goats from someone who is managing their herd similar to the way you want to and their goats still look shiny and healthy. It makes it much more satisfying when they preform to expectations.
 

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I agree with all that's been said. I'm not very experienced yet, but learning lots:) I didn't do all my research before buying my little herd, however I just got all my breeding stock tested and they are all negative for disease...... So that is a BIG relief. Just take your time, and get to know who you are buying from. Best of luck to you in your new adventure:) All those breeds seem to be good milk producers.
 

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I don't see why they shouldn't have a buck if they have a pen. They really are not hard to deal with, I have never had any problems with them.
But I would get some does and a buckling (don't get a buck if you are not comfortable with them)
 

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I agree Lacie, in fact I've had more troublemaker does then bucks. Actually, when I started the change over to purebred quality goats last year, my buck was the first thing I tracked down and bought. His 2 does will be joining him this August. I will be searching for one top quality LaMancha doe next year.

I am keeping my very best 2 homestead goats though and will use the purebred bucks to keep trying to reach my ideal.
 

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They always say "the buck is half your herd" which is entirely true, can't have babies or milk without a buck.
And my does have always been the ones with attitude, I have never had trouble with my bucks. I have found cross breeds are more mellow than the purebred ones.
 

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If you don't get started with a buck, how can you start your herd? 50% of your herd would be missing! If the circumstances aren't right, then you don't have to, but I would go for it if you can. How else can you get 'experienced with bucks' if you don't have one? Starting with a young buck will be great. They are easier to work with and you can start getting in control sooner. Bucks aren't impossible to care for as some may imply. I have been raising/been around bucks since I was 10 years old. They are, however, harder, smellier, and larger than a doe is.

And for the does, you can maybe get the older one and a younger one! The others pointed out great ideas about learning to milk the older one. As for the breed, I would read up about breeds and find where your interest lies. There is a certain breed for everyone ;)
 

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I have to admit I really don't have any issues with buck and buckling. Yep, they are smelly, and I would make sure of city limits restraints etc, but yes they are 50% of your herd. I had to get my own since I don't have a farm near me. You do have to have a separate living area for them, please don't run them all together, well you can but you are going to go nuts, because then you have to guess on due dates, like I've been doing this season. Not fun!! Just a suggestion if you do go with getting a buck:)
 

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My bucks are gentle sweet and easy to handle...BUT if you only have a few does it is not cost effective to keep a buck..feed him and his companion for a year for 2 minutes of his time.( a companion is needed to keep your buck company since it is not good practice to run them with your does..)...with that said, I like having my own, I know what he can do, and the kids he throws and his health condition..so each needs to weigh what is important to them. Also when chooseing your new goats its wise to first know where you hope to go with them...Although it is good practice to get the very best you can afford...family mikers do not have to be perfect, small flaws that dont effect their quality of life do not matter...if you hope to show, then pefection is more important, do you wan to make cheese?? Soap, and so forth...knowing what you want from the girls helps you choose...Also knowing the breeds...Saanen are super docile, easy to manage, high milk producers, low butter fat and the larges dairy breed, Lamancha have tiny ears (which I love, some do not) produce large amounts of mik and a bit higher butter fat then Saanen, Nubian are popular, mouthy bossy pushy goat,,but I adore mine...good butter fat longer heat season...so knowing the breeds heps you find a fit for your family...some folks can not handle a goat with tiny ears...others wont stand for a mouth goat..Saanen are solid white...some need eye candy lol....once you know where you are going and what you love in a goat..then you will find the perfect fit
 
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