I have a friend who claims that all the heavy milk producing does only live 4-5 years.. that seems to be a very short life to me! I had thought with decent management, they would produce kids for 8 years and live a few years longer.. any thoughts?
Our old Martha lived to 14 years old..and even kidded with her twins the year she passed in the fall. I suppose they are just like us "people"..and how we care for our animals makes a big difference I would think also.
Thank you for all the quick responses!! My friend claims she has been raising goats for 20+ years and in all her experience and her friends from "back home" in northern MN, the "good does" that had lots of milk (saanens mainly) never lived past 5 yrs old.. guess I better not take her advice in raising critters, huh? <G>.
I have been reading all the archives (15 pages worth) and hadn't seen this question posted..
I know she never vaccinated/wormed/tested for CL or CAE.. she claimed she has never had a case but.. if they only lived for a short time, it would be hard to tell without testing.
Am now wondering if it is simply the poor management, the feed, the weather or what was going on in her herd. I do know that she had several kids born this spring with front hocks that were so weak they needed splinting and extra liquid minerals.. She had fed the does grass hay only all winter, telling me that since I was feeding alfalfa, "I" would be the one having problems... she ended up butchering the kids along with the lambs who were born with the same problem. (she wants me to buy her sheep too but after the mess they had last spring, I am a bit concerned!!!)
I am not fighting with her either <G>... she is a good friend but very set in her ways. I am simply trying to figure out what advice (if any) to listen to from her and what would be best to do in my tiny herd (one doe, 2 doelings- one of which I got from her this past spring, too).
I am holding off breeding for a while.. she has the only saanen buck that I know of around here and I am really hesitating sending my does to her place for breeding, knowing there may be something seriously wrong there. She claims I would have to keep them there for 6 wks or more (and charges accordingly) so I can be sure they are bred. I am leaning more towards breeding them to an alpine buck from another friend's herd simply because I trust the way they feed/care for the animals more. I am not in the market for "purebred stock".. more for home milking only so I am thinking it might be my best shot at getting my does back healthy anyway.
I was pretty sad thinking my doe only had another 2-3 years to go before she was going to die.. thank you for easing my mind on that!!!
Do what you are more comfortable with!! There really is no need to leave a goat with the buck for six weeks, except to be *sure* the first breeding took. If you feel willing to *possibly* have to take them back for a second service, you can bring the doe home as soon as the buck services her. I have had *very* few outside does need to come back for a second service. And those that did were always the ones brought over by their owners while they are "in heat", and usually the owners were mistaken on timing and the doe was either coming in heat or just going out and wasn't truly in standing heat. The does that come, stay a week or two till they come in standing heat, get bred and go home very rarely need a second service.
Anyway, if you feel more comfortable with the Alpine folks, go with it. Alpine/Saanan make a very nice cross.
Hi..gee .. I don't know why she would tell you that they are so short lived. Weezie, who is a six year old Saanen doe, had her second round of quads this year, and I had to milk her for five more months after we weaned them. That's 13 kids in four years. And she hasn't skipped a beat..she is more than ready and willing to get bred again.
I don't do alot vaccinating or worming either, and I have a couple of six year old wethers out here that are still going strong. I think there must be more going on than what she has said or knows.
I have a closed herd. The only thing that ever changes is that I sell kids. And I am on my second buck. Other than that...my girls don't leave the place and no one else brings theirs here. So I understand you not being excited about taking your girls to that buck.
Good luck..don't worry about the age of your girls..just enjoy them!
Just for the record the all time top Alpine milker was Donny's Pride Lois. She was seven when she set the record. Most of my goats didn't reach top production until they were 4 or 5. One of my does never did anything at our fair until she won best in show at six. You seldom see a best in class or best in show in a large show under 5. Everything I have read says around 15 should be a good average age for healthy goats. There is nothing wrong with Saanen/Alpine crosses. The one I had finished eighth nationally for milk production for experimental at two. Good luck.
Your friend may be a lovely person, but her goat management skills are lacking if she is losing her milkers in the prime of their lives. Go elsewhere for breeding stock and advice! You don't have to be rude about it of course, perhaps tell her you want an entirely differnt breed. ALFAFA IS NECESSARY in my opinion, it is the backbone of my feeding program...if i had one feed choice, that would be it! If you have read the archives here, which is an excellent idea, that you know alot already about worming the goats, feeding, breeding and have perhaps found some good goat links. Keep asking questions. Buy goats from reputable breeders who test their herds for diseases. Don't listen to your friends advice too much is her goats don't thrive. And welcome to the world of goats1
Feral Nature Farm
LaManchas, MiniManchas and Boers
It's not the weather... plenty of people in MN have productive goats that live over 5 years. Of course, an underfed, wormy goat would not do well at 20- below.
If your friend never tested for CL/CAE, I wonder how she knew she didn't have it. I have seen CAE+ 5 year old does that were at the end of their productive lives without showing any obvious CAE signs like big knees.
Reminds me of something someone said at a goat convention- "Some breeders have 20 years experience and some breeders have one year experience 20 times."
An alpine/saanen cross would not be "purebred" but can be recorded with ADGA, shown at sanctioned shows, participate in milk tests and have its babies recorded- in short have all the rights and privileges as a "pure" breed.
If the goats she had in MN WERE CAE positive, then should I assume that my goats are now too? They ran with her herd for 6 weeks last fall.. her buck was newly purchased a week or so before I took them over there.. as far as I understand, he was CAE negative (according to the previous owner). I plan on testing for CL and CAE before breeding them.. I don't want to spread anything to my other friend's herd (the one with the alpine buck).
I should then also assume that the doeling I bought from her is CAE positive for sure then? Hmmmm.. the other 2 goats have been in the same pen for months now.. so again, I am thinking I must have CAE .. dang!
I don't plan on showing, etc.. simply for our own milk needs.. have been considering selling that little doeling I bought from my friend- she was a twin and is STILL smaller than the single doeling born here in April. I had WANTED to get into nigerian dwarf goats <G>.. however, my dh has stated he likes the looks of saanens more. I love our doe and her doeling ... just not too crazy about the one from my friend.. she is friendly enough, but my friend also didn't disbud correctly and there are scurs growing.. I figure I would take care of that once fly season was over.
Thank you for all the thoughts! It is really helping me get my head together on what my plans should be!!!
We really don't have enough info to say those does are CAE positive. That is just someones long-distance guess. May be right, may be wrong. Sounds like she probably has many things going on over at her place and if she never worms.....very good reason for dead goats right there. The only way to know for sure is to have your does CAE tested. It is likely your doeling will be CAE positive *IF* her herd is. It is unlikely your does got CAE from just running with her herd for six weeks. They may have had CAE already *IF* they test positive for it.....we really will never know. So anyway, just test and save youself some worry.
I know Nigerians are long lived, productive girls too according to several top farms I know of. Rosasharns, out east, their REALLY good doe, Eclipse, took top production again this year for Nigerians at 10 years old. There's a couple breeders I know down in Texas, who's "good old girls" passed on this year in their early teens, still producing babies too. So, tell your husband, those Saanens are just not very long lived, and you need nigerians! hehe
I'd definately say she's got something going on in her herd or just complete ignorance!
ADGA Nigerian Dwarf and MDGA Mini Mancha goats for show, home use and pets www.dbarjacres.webs.com Located in North central Wisconsin
I talked with a lady last week that has a 20 year old nubian and a 18 year old. She says they look terrible, but still get around pretty well. She says that the vet shakes his head every time he comes out to her place and tells her that goats are not suppose to live that long. A couple years back I read where someone was so excited. Their favorite 15 year old nubian had just had a single doe kid.
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but it sound like you had better test for CAE. I would isolate the other breeders goats that you suspect and get everything tested. I always used AGID as our state lab didn't do ELISA and was cheaper. I was testing 25+ goats every year so I went that way. The AGID isn't as accurate but a positive is almost never wrong. The test does give false negatives and you get inconclusive or suspect sometimes. My policy was not negative was gone. If all the goats have been running together for months you may have to test more than once. If any goats test positive beside the goats from the suspect herd they probably all have it. Anything that isn't thriving should go. Best of luck to you. It looks like a long road ahead for you. Don't give up things always get better if you realize you may have a problem and try to solve it.
Some lines are simply short lived for whatever reason, just as early death from heart disease runs in some human families. We had a doe like that die last year, she was only 6 or 7 years old, fat and healthy, high on the peckign order, no injuries or arthritis, just suddenly dead as a doornail. The only thing I could figure was that she must have had a heart attack, because there was no sign of slow decline or struggling at the site of death.
I've seen other does, including Saanens, milk very heavily into their teens. The care they receive does play into longevity, and climate seems to play a role as well, because below zero weather is hard on those old bones.
CAE, I don't know. I have middle aged does who are positive and seem just fine, no symptoms. The gal whose herd infected mine had a 15 year old positive doe that looked quite healthy.
I don't have as much experience with goats as many of the folks who have already posted here, but it sounds like your friend has some feeding and management practices that are not productive, to say the least! I don't feed my Sadie-girl ordinary hay - she had some fescue when I first got her, but I quickly learned that alfalfa or orchard grass are much better from the standpoint of her milk production... for pregnant does to be fed on hay only over the winter - I can't even imagine that! I feed Sadie orchard grass, and give her alfalfa pellets which she loves! and she has her ration of corn twice a day, too... and sweet feed... well, maybe she is a little spoiled... Her milk production is not all that high compared to some of the stats I've heard, but she is a steady producer, and my hope is that she will be with me for a good long while, even though I found out recently she is CAE positive! She is the light of life... I am pretty sure she is pregnant, too - something seems to be drumming up a storm on her ribs!
"...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"... hmmmm...