Farm -[PREP]-[ECON]-[FOOD] Nigerian Dwarf Goats, who's with me?!

BadMedicine

Would *I* Lie???
We had a short experiment with Goats about 10 year ago at my brothers mini-farm. Angry full size momma alpine kept blindsiding and eventually killed two of our mid-size wethers. Ended up selling her kids and the last wether..


So I was looking for a couple wethers to mow my lawn and keep things lively around here. GF loves goats, and I put on add on the local goat page, $50ea for a couple wethers. This lady contacts me, she's got two proven Nigerian does that don't get along well with her dog and kids. $100. Deal! Does usually go for $200ea here! I had to pay $40 to have them driven from Nikiski, which is about a 4 hour drive from here, but they has arrived!

Now, reading all about them and watching youtubes, they have higher milk fat at 6-10%, a better conversion ration, and require less than half as much space/ & feed as a full size. Score!

It's mid June here (not sure what month it is where you're reading :D ) and it will be getting cold out in September and pretty dang cold by October/November usually. I mean, not crazy, but probably not a great time to have kids. But, what if Armageddon? I mean, wouldn't it be a good idea to have at least one goat in milk this fall, 'just in case" teotwawki? It's a 5 month gestation. They say most breed them in November/ december for spring babies. Both of these girls have had triplets on their last birthing. Nigerians rarely give one and often 3-4 kids.

Another cool thing about Nigerians is they go in to heat every 28 days, year round. Instead of just once a year like other goats.

Who has Nigerians? Who has had babies in the winter to stay in milk?

Pros and cons I haven't mentioned? Anything else I should know?

Looking forward to this new adventure. TIA!
 

tiredude

Veteran Member
I like midgets in anything ...... its like really fine swiss cream on your coffee in morning......mean little bastards but I like em.....

To answer your question .....i will eat cabrito...... but will not raise it.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
My Nigerians stayed in milk for a long time - almost a year. The trade off, is you are not getting a lot. The ones that set records and get impressive sale prices are pushed, and can also come with some big vet bills - personally I think the calcium fluctuations can be hard on their small bodies.

They still eat plenty when not in milk, and they get loud and annoying if something isn't to their liking, or if they are just in heat. Make sure you have a milk stand from the start, because you need it to trim hoofs. They need copper, and minerals. You will probably need to supply extra copper separately. Even though they are little, they still can be headstrong, and hard on stuff. I had one doeling I simply could NOT keep fenced. Ones like that can really test your patience. Have a butcher you know you can call on short notice, if necessary or be prepared to do the deed yourself. Not easy mentally to butcher a cute little goat. They can be mean to eachother, so you need to look out for that and be ready to re-partition the barn and pasture into smaller lots.

Also, plenty of people will tell you their goats are Nigerians, or mostly so, because that is what is in demand. Don't be trusting. If they are not keeping pedrigee and milk records, that goat should be inexpensive. Might be a good goat, but don't just buy from the first farm that you find w/o at least exceptional recommendations. Learn to evaluate proper udder shape, topline, jaws, and feet.

Get at least one GOOD book on the subject. Not everything important is on the net, and you may not have the connection when you need the info. That said, IIRC, Fiasco Farm was a good website.
 

Seeker22

Veteran Member
There is someone offering three nannys and a buck (Nigerian Fainting Goats) here in the area. I am trying to decide whether I want to get into Goats or not. Hearing they are aggressive and mean to each other makes me want to scrap the entire thing. I want milk and I want something to spin for yarn, but I don't want the drama it will take to get those things.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Wouldn't access to a mineralized salt block take care of that?
They need more than most other animals. They loose fertility if they don't get enough, and it has been explained to me (I'm not a vet) that you almost can't give them too much. Mineral blocks don't contain that much copper, because copper toxicity is a serious issue in almost every other animal, inc. humans, and sheep, which goats are closely related to.

You can reportedly see copper deficiency in goats if the hair around the eyes is scarce, and also missing at the tip of the tail, making the tail look like a fish tail.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
There is someone offering three nannys and a buck (Nigerian Fainting Goats) here in the area. I am trying to decide whether I want to get into Goats or not. Hearing they are aggressive and mean to each other makes me want to scrap the entire thing. I want milk and I want something to spin for yarn, but I don't want the drama it will take to get those things.
Angora goats will give you fiber (mohair - angora wool is from the bunnies, yes, confusing). I don't have any experience with them. They seem to have quieter personalities, from what I've observed at another farm. I don't know anything about the fainting goats, or how that cross would milk.

They aren't always mean to eachother, but it is common enough. Sometimes two does will be good friends. I purchased a doe several years ago that enthusiastically greeted another doe in the pen upon arrival. Turns out they had been friends at their previous place (both bought from the same lady), and remained close buddies until one died.
 
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West

Senior nut
Ours are mixed pygmies-nigerian dwarfs, they are picky eaters so don't get your hopes up to much about them eating your grass or mowing your yard.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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Wouldn't access to a mineralized salt block take care of that?
Faroe is correct... the "mineralized" blocks are pretty useless. Most of the minerals in them aren't in absorbable form. There are plenty of mineral supplements available, but goats are definitely NOT small cows, and do have specialized requirements.

The biggest issue I've seen is their extreme susceptibility to parasites. I've seen more goats die (not mine!) from severe anemia caused by worms than any other species. And from everything I've heard and read, it's much worse in warmer climates. Goats are natural browsers... they weren't designed to graze. That means they didn't develop the resistance to parasites which they pick up when grazing. You must learn to monitor mucous membrane color (gums and eyelids) and worm when necessary. DE doesn't cut it!

Biggest problems with goats are keeping them in, and keeping parasites under control. Multiple kids sound good... but a Nigerian who is feeding triplets isn't going to have extra for the household. Very common practice for homesteaders who needed milk was to kill any extra bucklings at birth (yes, they're edible in a few months, but that's not much help I you need milk now!)

I personally don't really like them. But they can be a practical solution for dairy if you don't have the room and feed for a cow.

Summerthyme
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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Ours are mixed pygmies-nigerian dwarfs, they are picky eaters so don't get your hopes up to much about them eating your grass or mowing your yard.
Goats are a very poor choice for "lawn mowing". They are natural browsers, not grazers. For grazing, or lawn mowing, get sheep.

Summerthyme
 
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Faroe

Un-spun
Ours are mixed pygmies-nigerian dwarfs, they are picky eaters so don't get your hopes up to much about them eating your grass or mowing your yard.
Yeah, they won't mow the yard, but they will turn any area of lawn they are housed on into a dirt patch. They will strip your fruit trees if you let them loose, and they love to jump on the hood of your car. Fun to watch them launch onto a wood pile only to have the whole structure collapse beneath them. They will find a way into your garden, and will take down the tomato patch right before the fruits ripen. The plants will be GONE, and the goat's fur will be green. Tomato leaves don't seem to have any ill effect on them.
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I personally don't really like them. But they can be a practical solution for dairy if you don't have the room and feed for a cow.

Summerthyme
Their milk is also more digestible because of the protein structure. Historically it was used as a substitute for mother's milk if the Mom died or couldn't produce.

It is also easier on older bodies to survive a kick, butt or stomp from a goat than a cow.

I've found when goats go down they go down fast and it's probably already to late. Preventive care and maintenance is imperative.
 

marsofold

Senior Member
We have St. Croix sheep because they are almost 100% immune to worms and don't try to escape. While they can be milked, that isn't what we want from them. And they DO eat grass as their first choice.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
We have St. Croix sheep because they are almost 100% immune to worms and don't try to escape. While they can be milked, that isn't what we want from them. And they DO eat grass as their first choice.
For our NM climate, I've been looking at the little Navajo churro, or possibly the North African Karakul for meat and wool. Neither produces a soft knitting wool, more suited for weaving and rugs.
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Goats milk is nowhere near as forgiving as cows milk.

It has to be pasteurized for longer, at lower temperatures than cows milk or it tastes like crap. Cleanliness is essential. A bad bug gets in the milk and you guessed it, it tastes like crap. It also has to be cooled asap. I found putting a sealed container of frozen ice in the bottom of the milk pail and milking on to that helped cool the milk significantly faster. I strained the milk thru an clean kitchen towel to get the hairs out. A strainer didn't always catch all the hair.

Goats milk should taste well like milk maybe with a very slight hint of after taste. If not check their diet for strong tastings forage and troubleshoot using the above, a knowledgeable vet or an experienced breeder.

Also a milking stand and safely securing one hind hoof can help keep the milk in the pail from being kicked over or contaminated by a dirty hoof.

Don't feed goats dry grain; oats or barley. Soak it for a few hours first up to eight was what was recommended to me. They eat like pigs and can inhale dry grain. It get caught in their lungs and can kill them.
 

Magdalen

Veteran Member
We have a herd of dwarf Nigerians (registered) - two breeding bucks, 8 does, and 2 wethers. We also have two African pygmy goats and 2 Cashmere (full size). In our experience, a true dwarf Nigerian is much more docile and friendly than an African pygmy goat or a pygmy dwarf Nigerian mix. Pygmy goats are ornery! Even among the dwarf Nigerians, their personalities will vary, so we breed for temperament - it really does seem to carry through (although not always).

If you want them to be a milker, it is best to train them up from the time they are newborn, handling their udders and teats every day, so they know it is just part of life. Our youngest doeling already squats when you handle her udder (the way a mother will to suckle her young), and she is only 12 weeks old. The quantity of milk will vary based on genetics, feed, etc.

If you end up breeding, having a local butcher handy who knows how to slaughter goats is a must if your kids turn out to be boys, and you don't want to go to the trouble of finding homes for them (Although we have had good luck with selling our boys this year - go figure!) We us the local Amish meat dealer.

You can get goat specific minerals at most local grain stores, or they can order it for you. We also feed ours a supplement (Goat Balancer by Manna Pro) so they get the vitamins they need and might miss from just grazing. Their coats are lovely and soft, and our flock is incredibly healthy. (No I do not own stock in Manna Pro.)

True dwarf Nigerians are very easy keepers. The amount of grain they eat is far less than an African pygmy which has been bred as a meat goat. About 2 - 4 ounces a day plus a little supplement and free choice hay does them nicely. We also feed pregnant does sunflower seeds to help with fetal development.

Always get at least two goats. They are herd animals and won't thrive on their own (as well as being incredibly needy!)

I would avoid bottle fed babies (There are lots of arguments both ways.) as you want them to know how to be a goat and live in goat society, not think they are a human.

A really good general goat site is Fias Co Farm. Molly's not dwarf Nigerian specific, but is a wealth of information.

Best of luck.

Kindest regards,

magdalen
 

West

Senior nut
We keep a horned goat skull on the fence post at the front gate. And some times they do hang out down there.

In over 15 years not one seven day or alike has even so much left even a pamphlet much less come talk to us.
:D
 

Seeker22

Veteran Member
Angora goats will give you fiber (mohair - angora wool is from the bunnies, yes, confusing). I don't have any experience with them. They seem to have quieter personalities, from what I've observed at another farm. I don't know anything about the fainting goats, or how that cross would milk.

They aren't always mean to eachother, but it is common enough. Sometimes two does will be good friends. I purchased a doe several years ago that enthusiastically greeted another doe in the pen upon arrival. Turns out they had been friends at their previous place (both bought from the same lady), and remained close buddies until one died.
I live in Angora Goat (Mohair) country. If I want Mohair, I just go down to the barn and choose. I got the urge to raise Angora Rabbits, but the first Summer out here cured me of that. Don't have an air conditioned barn. Sigh. As much as I want not to rely on other people, it seems I am still stuck in that position.
 

Broken Arrow

Heathen Pagan Witch
I primarly raise Merino wool sheep, but I do have 2 Cashmere goats, and have had Nubian goats in the past. I never did/do milk any of them, however I do have a dairy cow we milked for many years. I strained my milk thru this, and it worked great, easy to wash, and no need to get towels or cheesecloth/muslin dirty. Good luck, it will have a learning curve!

reusable coffee filter
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
For a good education on what to look for in goats, go to the county 4-H fair this summer and watch the goat judging. You can go to a regular goat show if there is one in your area, but the 4-H judges generally use the class as an education opportunity and tell you why they placed a goat where they placed it. Nigerian dwarfs are notorious for having tiny teats. If yours do (some have been bred to be easily hand-milked), look into the little hand-milking-'machines.' I think one is called the Maggidan milker but there are others now. You can put your own together with parts from the feed store once you see how they are made.

I've found that horse minerals generally have quite a bit of copper in them (not quite as much as a good goat mineral, but sometimes you can't find a good goat mineral locally).

I've always given my goats their grain dry -- wet, fermented or sprouted may be better, but I never had any issues with my goats inhaling their grain and choking on it. If you have a doe who eats her grain too fast on the milking stand, put a rock in the grain dish. She'll have to nudge around it to get at the grain, so it slows her down.

If your does have more than one baby, and you want some of the milk, you'll need to either dispose of the extra kids or supplement with milk replacer or whole cow milk from the store (whole cow milk is actually better for them than milk replacer).

Not all goats are mean to each other. Alpines are notorious for this kind of behavior; you may see it in other breeds, but it sounds like your two does are used to being together so they should be fine. They do have pecking orders and they do enforce these, but you shouldn't see anything that looks like one doe trying to kill the other one (which I have seen when I had Alpines).

I've always bought disposable milk filters. They are expensive (and getting more so), but I would NOT use cloth to filter the milk unless you absolutely can't get anything else. That's probably where so many people got the idea that goat milk tastes bad, from re-using cloth for filtering it. That re-usable metal screen coffee filter might be acceptable if you can clean it adequately. Milk is in a special category when it comes to getting your equipment clean -- ask Summerthyme what the commercial dairies have to do. Properly handled goat milk tastes as good as good cow milk, if not better. If your milk doesn't taste that good, examine your milk handling practices, and what your goats are eating including their minerals, and if that doesn't fix it, check their health.

Goats are small enough that you should be able to butcher your own. I butchered my own up until about five years ago when my back suddenly got worse, and I'm a petite female. It's not much different from butchering rabbits, just a bit larger scale (not much larger, if you are doing a Nigerian dwarf!). You will need to be able to shoot them (in the BACK of the head, not the front as you are likely to get a ricochet that way). I used to give the goat a handful of grain in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, and shoot it in the back of the head while it's head is down in the bucket. It never knows what happened. There isn't much meat on most dairy goats, though.

You can let your goats breed year-round if you want, but if you see one getting close to kidding and the weather is bad, she'll need to be penned up in the barn or a draft-free shed. You may have to put her buddy in a pen next to her -- they HATE to be separated from their buddies. It's like a field of freshly-weaned calves with their mothers two fields away bellowing at each other! You might need heat for the kids if it's very cold. Heat lamps are dangerous in barns, so be careful there. If I have winter kids, I usually bring them in the house and take them out to nurse as needed (every couple of hours for a day or two, then reduce the time. My bottle kids are usually on three bottles a day by the time they are a week old if they are big and strong; Nigie babies may take a couple of weeks to get there. But by then you should be able to put them back with their mom. I have a big dog crate in the house; I put several layers of newspaper down in it, and an old towel so the kid doesn't slip.

Check with your vet or a local goat raiser (who has obviously healthy goats) about what to use for a wormer in your area. You may need to use more than one wormer, depending on what you've got locally. Your friendly local goat raiser can also show you how to trim hooves, castrate bucklings, disbud the kids if you don't want horns (they have pros and cons), how to give shots, and so on. An experienced goat person willing to mentor you is a real asset.

If I think of something else, I'll come back and add it.

Oh -- if the goats get out and cause problems, don't blame the goats. Just fix your fences!

Kathleen
 

Broken Arrow

Heathen Pagan Witch
Freeholder, I found that a quick swish of the reusable coffee filter in 10% bleach/water solution got all the milk build up off, and had no problems with stinky milk. Since I was cleaning everything with that solution daily, it was easy to do.
 

Marie

Veteran Member
I have had every goat known to man since I was a kid. We just sold our Nigerians and bought a mini nubian. They were really sweet but the nubian is a better fit for us. Nigerians are the hardest to contain because they are so little they can squeeze through small spaces. Fine if you have the fencing but we just weren't equipped. Grazing our property they did far less damage but the small teats were the deal breaker for me. Lots of friends have them and are working for their lifestyle. Copper bolus are sold in the goat section we put ours in peanut shells which our goats inhale. Make sure to use a mineral supplement for free will choice at all times.
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
My DW decided we needed to address milk and dog food supply issues last year. We ended up with a dozen registered Nigerians, eight does, two bucks, and two wethers. After kidding was done in March, there were another eighteen, including a healthy set of quads.

There was a lot of good info posted already. We have had some goats in the past and like already mentioned keeping them where they belong has been a major problem. This time around my DW picked up some electric netting and solar fence chargers. It has worked well. The goats are currently employed cleaning up old fence lines. After they are done it is much easier to go in with a wire cutter, brush cutter and chainsaw for a final cleanup.

For milking, the Nigerians do have small teats! After a couple weeks my DW picked up a free breast pump and that has worked very well. I have not been impressed with goat milk in the past, I could always pick up a little 'goat' taste. But this milk has been excellent.

All in all they are working out well. No health problems, knock on wood. We've sold a few young ones already. It might even end up being a profit center!
 

Seeker22

Veteran Member
There was a lot of good info posted already. We have had some goats in the past and like already mentioned keeping them where they belong has been a major problem. This time around my DW picked up some electric netting and solar fence chargers. It has worked well.
I wonder if you could rig up what would essentialy be a chicken tractor for goats? A moveable pen with the wire and charger attached. If the goats were small enough a top for this thing would be easy to build.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
I've considered getting Nigies, because with just the two of us, we really don't need a lot of milk. But those tiny teats have been a serious deterrent! Kinder goats, on the other hand, work well for us when selected for easy hand milking. They are bigger than Nigerians, but not as big as a full-sized goat, and have wonderful milk. I wish my back wasn't so bad -- I'm planning to sell all of my goats and probably won't ever get any more, unfortunately.

For anyone considering goats who hasn't decided on a breed, first, find out what breeds are readily available near you. You will probably need to bring in some new bloodlines at some point, even if you keep two or three bucks, and especially as transportation becomes more difficult, it may be hard to find another breeder of certain breeds nearby. Nubians are usually pretty easy to find, and Alpines. Nigerians are becoming more common. But if you've got your heart set on Oberhaslis (wonderful goats, by the way, with surprisingly good-tasting milk for an Alpine-type breed) or Kinders, or something else less common than Nubians and Alpines, you may have to travel a bit to find new stock. Alternatively, you might be able to persuade some local friends or family to join with you in each keeping a different line of your chosen breed going, so you can swap animals when you need some fresh blood.

If you start with Nigerians (or Pygmies, which can be good little meat animals), it is NOT a good idea to breed one of those small does to a large buck. You can -- if you help them -- breed a small buck to a large doe, but the little does are likely to have trouble at kidding time if bred to a big buck. It's even risky to breed them to a smaller buck that has a big breed in his background, like my Kinders (Kinders were developed by crossing Nubians with Pygmies). The buck himself may be fairly small, but he still carries some of the large-breed genetics in his background and if it comes out in any of the kids, there is potential for problems. The genetics do come out -- I've had Kinder twins where one looked like a Pygmy, and one looked more like a Nubian in size. So the point of this is, if you've got Nigerians and need new bloodlines, you aren't going to be able to go to the Nubian or Alpine (or Boer) breeder down the road.

The other thing I wanted to address is milk flavor. Years ago, I was informed by an Alpine breeder that breed makes no difference to the flavor of the milk. Well, yes, it actually does. There are two reasons; one has to do with the quantity of milk fat (more milk fat equals better flavor), and the other has to do with the types of fat in the milk -- the amounts of caprylic acid, I think. In general, the Alpine breeds tend to have 'goatier' tasting milk (with the exception of the Oberhaslis, which -- in my experience -- have excellent milk flavor), and the Nubian, Kinder, Nigerian, and (I've heard, but have no personal experience) the mini-dairy goats developed by crossing with Nigerians all have really good flavored milk with no goaty after-taste. Boer crosses, while not necessarily easy to milk (because Boers have thick skin, which reduces the capacity of the teats), probably also have excellent milk flavor. I have only milked one, and she was half Oberhasli, which already has good milk flavor, but her milk was extremely high in milk fat from the Boer half, and I think that would improve milk flavor even with an Alpine, Toggenburg, or Saanan cross, too. Some strains of Toggenburg were developed for a special, highly-flavored local cheese in Switzerland, and their milk is especially goaty (we had a couple of does from one of those strains -- my daughters would only drink that milk if chocolate was added to it).

You can also milk Boer goats so if you want to raise them for meat and just want a little milk for the house, they would supply that. But they aren't bred for milking, so their length of time in milk is shorter than a dairy goat. Their production may or may not be as good (the Boer cross doe I had was the highest-producing goat I've ever had, but she may have gotten the good production from her Oberhasli mother, who was excellent quality). Boers aren't easy to milk because of the thick skin I mentioned earlier (the thick skin protects them from biting insects), and they are notorious for having poor quality udders and extra teats, so if you are getting Boers for raising meat, and think you might want to milk some of them, be sure to check their udders. If you don't know what to look for, take an experienced dairy person with you. Their milk is very rich -- it has to be, to put weight on their meat kids quickly. So I think it would be worth milking one or two even if you didn't get a lot of milk from them. And if you can get goats that are a cross of Boer and dairy and have good udders, those could definitely be worth milking.

Kathleen
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
I wonder if you could rig up what would essentialy be a chicken tractor for goats? A moveable pen with the wire and charger attached. If the goats were small enough a top for this thing would be easy to build.
I've done this with cattle panels. It was heavy and hard for me to move by myself, but fairly easy with two people. You would have to make it sturdy, because goats do stand up on their fencing and will push it down or push it over if it isn't very sturdy. Though, a top on the pen would help prevent that. You can also use electric netting but it must be very hot or it won't hold them. And if one of them figures out how to get out, the others will copy it and they'll all be getting out (voice of experience here). I think the cattle panels are better. A 16' X 16' pen (four panels) on good pasture will feed two does for a day, but it would HAVE to be moved every day, and the animals' condition watched closely so you could add feed if they need it. If you want to move the goats through someplace where you don't want them loose for any reason (like in an orchard, or in an area where they could get onto a road and into traffic), I think the extra panels to build onto the side of the old pen would be the best way to do it, so they would never be unconfined.

If you used cattle panels, four for the pen and had three extra panels, you could use the extras to build the new pen onto one side of the old one each day, then open up the old one and let the does move into the new one, then dismantle the old one and move it to the next spot. That would save chasing goats if they weren't very tame. Most goats will come for a bit of grain in a bucket, though.

You can't easily expand the pen with more panels, though. Four panels in a square is fairly good at being self-supporting, but when you add panels, they start needing posts to support them, or they'll fall down.

Kathleen
 

John Deere Girl

Veteran Member
There is someone offering three nannys and a buck (Nigerian Fainting Goats) here in the area. I am trying to decide whether I want to get into Goats or not. Hearing they are aggressive and mean to each other makes me want to scrap the entire thing. I want milk and I want something to spin for yarn, but I don't want the drama it will take to get those things.
I have mini goats, they establish a pecking order, but my goats aren't mean to each other. If you want goats, get them. They are so much fun, and if you have good fencing, they are worth having.
 

BadMedicine

Would *I* Lie???
Update..
Joined a goat FB page, people are asking $100-150 per goat for a stud fee:-O and $250-500 for a buck!!
Saw a lady that needed to get rid of a beautiful unpapered 1 year old nigerian dwarf buck for $50. Snagged him up. That was about 8 days ago. He immediately went to work on my two does, and his former owner said he threw triplets and a quadlets from their does this spring. When he was only about 3 months old:-O
So now we're expecting in about mid March. Will be a pretty cold month but, days getting longer and warmer every day. Hopefully Armageddon doesn't come over this winter but if so, at least I will have milk on the way and possibly some meat goats (males) or more hopefully some more valuable breeders/ milkers.
Feeding them local hay and alfalfa and minerals, goat pellets, I built them a climbing mountain from cut down logs with cement pavers and large yard rocks tucked in to help wear on their feet. They love it as they can see further out of the yard from it.

Also have two laying hens now rounding out the farm. They like the high places too.
 

ioujc

The CHICKEN WHISPERER
I do not have experience in but one goat milking from my doe that breed this past winter.

Her milk was AWESOME>>>>it tasted like milk with sugar stirred in to it!! Absolutely DELICIOUS!!

Now about Angoras>>>>I had a herd of 198 about 25 years ago. I started with 99 and within a year had built it to 198, so I think I kinda have some experience. I had the herd for about 6 years.

In my experience the Angora milk is AWFUL!! It tasted bitter and after trying a couple of the does, I thought that was how all goat milk tasted<<<NOPE! Like I said above, my little Nigerian Dwarf had wonderful milk.

Angoras have VERY small teats>>>>>they were made for kids, not milking. Plus, they put the energy from their food into making their hair, not milk. On the other hand, they are very docile and loving and are easily trained to be herded and shepherded by LSG dogs. In addition, there is VERY little meat on Angoras>>>again, the energy is put into the hair, not anything else>>>>not meat and not milk, so if you want anything other than mohair, they are not going to work. Mine never tried to escape, but of course, why would they, when they got "goat cookies" (fig newtons) twice a week in addition to corn and hay, as well as pasture. I had 4 X 4 inch cattle panels all the way around the 43 acres.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Update..
Joined a goat FB page, people are asking $100-150 per goat for a stud fee:-O and $250-500 for a buck!!
Saw a lady that needed to get rid of a beautiful unpapered 1 year old nigerian dwarf buck for $50. Snagged him up. That was about 8 days ago. He immediately went to work on my two does, and his former owner said he threw triplets and a quadlets from their does this spring. When he was only about 3 months old:-O
So now we're expecting in about mid March. Will be a pretty cold month but, days getting longer and warmer every day. Hopefully Armageddon doesn't come over this winter but if so, at least I will have milk on the way and possibly some meat goats (males) or more hopefully some more valuable breeders/ milkers.
Feeding them local hay and alfalfa and minerals, goat pellets, I built them a climbing mountain from cut down logs with cement pavers and large yard rocks tucked in to help wear on their feet. They love it as they can see further out of the yard from it.

Also have two laying hens now rounding out the farm. They like the high places too.
The number of kids you get from each doe is going to depend more on her than on the buck -- first fresheners are more likely to have one, or twins. Also, their feed does have some effect on the number of kids, too -- if they are well fed, they should be able to carry more babies. Just don't let them get too fat. You don't want to be able to see their ribs, but you ought to be able to feel them. If you can't, they are getting a little too tubby!

That was a good price for that buck, if he's from a good quality doe. The mother (and other close female relatives) of your buck are really important, because his daughters are going to inherit some of their characteristics.

Kathleen
 

AlaskaSue

North to the Future
My niece is out fighting fires in the west….I wish she was here to help me because I would dearly love to have goats, and she grew up with them. In fact, she was the Alaska State Fair Goat QUEEN for a long time.

Daddy always thought I should get a miniature cow breed…that might work here, too but I’m not sure I’d be able to keep one thru an Alaska winter. Goats…I could spin their hair…milk for all the things, maybe an occasional goat bbq. More plans and wants but that’s what makes life interesting, am I right!?

Sigh…then there’s the whole bee thing….. ;)
 
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