Cashmere? Angora? Questions!

Discussion in 'Goats' started by CaliannG, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    As a relief to the old-timers on this forum, I am asking my questions BEFORE I go out and fall in love with a herd of goats.

    I am hoping to have a good chunk of land in the very near future and have long wanted goats. I am heavily leaning towards fiber-producing goats. I do have some experience with livestock although I am long out of practice.

    So, the questions:

    1) How large of a flock would I want for small family production?

    2) Should I bother with having a buck, or is AI feasable?

    3) I plan to buy from a reputable breeder (if I can find one), but I don't mind graded animals. What sort of tests and vet checks should I demand before buying?

    4) I desire a multifunctional animal. Would I be better off with angora or cashmere goats? The research I have done has given me the idea that the cashmere is good as an all around fiber/meat/milk animal (if one is not interested in high production), but I haven't been able to get many opinions on the angora.

    5) For shelter requirements, I have heard that a 3-sided shed is all that is needed. What if I want to pamper them outrageously (short of them sleeping in my bed)? What would be the optimum shelter for a zone 6a climate?

    6) If I wish to sell the fleece at a later date (that which escapes my loom, of course), will I be better off having light-colored animals (with a wider variety of dying options) or does color matter at all in marketing fleece? I tend to work with silks and the fleece market is completely alien to me.

    7) What sort of fencing is ideal, and how large of pasture is ideal? Soggy ground won't be a problem as the land will be mainly sloped with plenty of drainage. I am more worried about keeping the goats IN, rather than keeping predators OUT. (Already have a Kuvasz, I wish predators luck)

    8) Can goats be pastured with other grazers without difficulty? Say, a flock of ewes (I understand the ram difficulties, so barring that) a couple of cows and a horse or two? Or should I plan on seperate pastures for each?

    9) Would it be a better idea to start with a flock of doelings and raise them up...or just a few bred does? I don't mind not getting production the first year or so, but I'd like to be aware of the risks also. Money is KINDA not an option. (Caliann-ese for "I don't mind spending $100-$200 per animal that is of good stock, but I am NOT forking over $500-$900 for a show animal that I'll never show.")

    10) How much should I expect to spend on a good quality seperator and be firm in the knowledge that I am not getting ripped off?

    I thank you for any imput you can give me.

    With peace,
    Caliann
     
  2. pinemead

    pinemead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Eastern Shore, Maryland
    Although I can't answer all of your questions, my advice to you is if you want fiber goats, start with 2 wethers. That way you'll be able to find out what is involved before you get in too deep. Fiber goats take a lot of time. They also can't be turned out in a lot of rough vegatation (Angoras anyway) - vines and briars get wrapped up in their hair and they can't get loose from it. Cashmere goats get combed for fiber, Angoras get sheared twice each year. I have 2 and found that they are all I can handle at this time, but I also work 7 days off the farm. Also, unless you have a good local handspinners market, small production selling is hard and not much of a money maker. There are some co-ops that you can join to sell your fiber. Best of luck, but be forewarned - they ARE addictive.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    Cashmeres are a type of goat, not really a breed. So there's no registry for them. What I do ask for is independent lab measurements of the undercoat (the finer, the better), and ask to see samples of the buck's and doe's coat so I can feel it and check the crimp for myself. Because cashmeres are feral goats crossed with (usually) meat breeds, they do have a decent carcass.

    I have milked my doe before. Their teats are small and kind of hard - a real finger workout. We got enough milk for our morning coffee and breakfast cereal, not enough to save for yogurt or cheese. Remember that fine thick coat takes alot of protein to grow. They basically provide milk at the expense of their coat. If you're spinning and weaving for your own use, this might be ok.

    You will get about 5 ounces of fiber off of one cashmere goat. (if you ever wondered why it's so expensive, there's your answer) The fiber spins very fine and it doesn't take much to give your garments a wonderful soft drape. Cashmeres come in 3 basic undercoat colors, white, gray, and oatmeal (or chocolate). Some grays and oatmeals are darker than others. The guard hairs can be a completely different color than the undercoat - part of their charm.

    For the small craft market, colored fleece gets a higher price than white does. If you're selling to one of the big fiber markets, white gets the higher price. If you weave yourself, you can probably tap into the hand spinning market easily. I sell "extra" cashmere to other weavers, spinners, and knitters with no trouble through guild sales.

    My goats are shut up in a barn at night due to predator pressure (it's the cougars I really worry about). Nightime lows here will get to 5* with high winds, they do fine with deep bedding inside the unheated barn. As long as they can get out of the wind and have something to snuggle into they can stand alot of cold.

    My cashmeres get along just fine with the two sheep they're pastured with. They actually complain if I separate them. I use 52" woven wire fencing with a strand of electric 4" off the ground and another electric strand on top of the fence. The fence holds them just fine, it's the gate latches they keep figuring out.

    I comb my cashmeres as they start to shed, so I don't have so many guard hairs to deal with. Lots of people shear them just to get the whole thing done with. I paid $75 for a doeling from gorgeous parents, $50 last year for a wether from the same farm. I don't know what the going prices will be for your area, but these are not trendy animals fetching alpaca prices.

    I can't help you with the angoras, I haven't gotten addicted to them yet. :)
     
  4. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    Thank you both very much for your imput. *smiles warmly*

    For time involved, my husband will still be working off-land for a few years, while myself and my sister will be full-time on the land. All of us are country born and brought up, so we have our childhood experience to draw upon about livestock and gardening...it is just that it is about 15 years out of date.

    And after those 15 years in cities working in a corporate enviroment, I can safely say I am absolutely *sick* of it. (Me? Pay a gym so I can work out? No WAY! Get a second, part-time job riding those down-town bicycle taxis so that OTHER people pay me to work out? Yes...that is my speed...but doing that isn't good for corporate politics.)

    So, the plan: About 12 acres cleared land for hay, garden, house, outbuildings and assorted critters, 40 acres of pretty woods consisting of sugar maple and red oak...all sown nicely with goldenseal and ginseng as cash crops (A couple of acres sown per year), and lots of patience because it will be four years before we see a harvest on the former and seven years before we see a harvest on the latter.

    Therefore, so that we can continue to eat while my husband spends his paycheck keeping us in seed: garden and fluffy things that breathe which try to nibble your hair.

    I am not so worried about predators because we already know we are going to have to fence the entire property in 10ft cyclone, 2ft underground to prevent digging, plus anti-climb wire on top and *huge* "Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be prosecuted" signs all over the place just to keep the wild ginseng hunters OUT.

    Because it IS wooded, I have been considering small draft horses. I have alot of out-dated experience with horses and I just don't think even a small tractor will work well on managing a woodlot and dealing with sloped, rocky soil. So far, I am leaning heavily toward the Freisian, as the conformation of horse that I need is currently being culled out of that breed in favor of a sportier type of horse.

    And also the goats as the major homesteading livestock. Which is why I was wishing a fiber breed. Not so much for my home use (although saving fleece for cashmere or angora blankets sounds deliciously decadent), but mainly for meat and VERY light milk production....and being able to have the fleece pay for their feed and upkeep. Kinda sounds like free meat and milk to me. (A household of three simply doesn't need a lot of milk)

    Sheep, again for meat and fleece; a small flock of chickens for meat and eggs...and perhaps a yearly feeder calf for beef, half of which can be traded for pork. Add a fairly large garden and I believe that would keep us from ever worrying about being hungry or cold.

    So now you have my plan. Now, a couple more questions: Would it be better to have an 8ft fence, six foot showing and two foot buried...and do away with the electric wire? My understanding of fleece animals (Including my Kuvasz, which the Great Pyrenese dogs are decended from) is that they pretty much don't notice electric fence. Would a sturdy rail fence with small-hole, heavy grade mesh wire firmly attached and buried on the inside of it keep both the goaties and the baa-baas where they are supposed to be without running electric wire?

    I have the unique opportunity of being able to START building with the future in mind. I also know myself well enough to understand that, while I MAY start off with two or five, in three years I'll end up with ten or thirty. It behooves me to build for that ten or thirty while the finances to do so are available to me.

    So if, within reason, money was not an option, how would YOU build for your fluffy friends?

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  5. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    For fencing questions, you might want to check this site out: www.premier1supplies.com
    They also have a very informative catalog, & are very helpful if you have questions - they test all their fencing supplies on their own livestock.

    I don't know about cashmere goats, but Angoras are not real heavy milk producers; there actually are some types of sheep that are good milk animals, although the lactation period isn't as long as a goat. I mostly have sheep, but have an Angora wether I keep for his fleece, & have a friend who breeds natural colored Angoras. As a spinner, I like both white & natural fleeces; the natural colored are fun to use as is, & some of the lighter colored can be dyed like the whites, for interesting color effects. Here's a recent pic of Griffin, my wether:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    -- *chuckles* You should really put a "cuteness alert" when posting a picture like that. Griffin looks absolutely sweet, and I nearly felt the need to call the police for being assaulted by adorability!

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  7. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,220
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    NW-IL Fiber Enabler
    Just being picky, but the fiber you get off angora goat is mohair, not angora ... Angora fiber only comes from Angora rabbits. Which are also Great meat animals, but not much for milk .... :)
     
  8. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Oh yes, totally. He is adorable. Almost too cute! And he looks so... enquiring
     
  9. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas

    Thanks for the giggle. I was thinking of French Angoras also as a sideline but, after reading your post, my husband informed me that if the rabbits get milked, it's MY job. He ain't a'doin' it, no-how, no-way.

    Peace and chuckles,
    Caliann
     
  10. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,479
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    First off, it might behoove you to pick up some raw cashmere fleece and see whether you can put up with the annoyance of dealing with the guard hairs. I've had two does that produce "cashmere." (OK, I've never tested the microns, but the staple is at least 1.5 inches.) I've brushed them to collect the fiber, which is the way to avoid most of the guard hairs, and it's still extremely time-consuming to pick the hairs out for spinning. If you try to pick them while spinning, you break your rhythm up unmercifully. Really, the cashmere is absolutely lovely stuff, but if I want to spin some, I'll buy it already picked for sure, and it will cost WAY less than maintaining a goat for a year. (A quick search gave me cashmere at about $10 per ounce with a coarse hair content of less than 0.1 percent. Here's a nice link: http://www.capcas.com/Handspinning_Cashmere.html )

    On the other hand, a cashmere goat will tend to give a better meat carcasse than an Angora, since they've been bred from meat goats. Angoras do have very nice fleece, but are you aware that an animal's fleece gets more coarse with each passing year. So the kid fleece is lovely next to the skin, and maybe the next couple of shearings, but then you're looking at rug fiber. Not a bad thing, but something you should be aware of, especially since a doe doesn't reach her full milk production until the third freshening or so, generally.

    As to milk, I don't think either a cashmere or an angora would be a good choice unless what you're after is very little milk for a very short period of time and a good bit of work to get at the milk. Generally, they produce enough for their kids with very little left over. Once the kids go away, so does the milk supply. Their udders and teats aren't built for capacity or ease of milking. You may also have serious problems with the doe's let down response, meaning that the doe simply won't let go of her milk, period, and there's nothing you can do about it short of giving her a shot of oxytocin.

    If you want milk, particularly if you want enough to make it worthwhile to monkey around with a cream separator, with its four million parts, you should look into getting a dairy goat. More than one if you want at least some milk year-round. If you just can't see using a couple gallons of milk a day, get miniature dairy goats. (I have these and really like them!) In the spring, when you have too much milk, make cheese or soap or cajeta, or butter with your separator, or get a feeder pig. Milk-fed pork is as good as it gets, I hear. Feed the pig until fall when the milk supply tapers off enough that you no longer want to share, then butcher the pig.

    Maybe a stout cashmere buck and a couple of dairy does? Fleece from the buck, meaty kids, and good milking ability. Just thinking now.

    For your cream separator, it depends on what you want. If tin parts contacting the milk is OK with you, then you can get a nice older one for a couple of hundred dollars if you keep your eyes open. If plastic is OK, you can get a new one for under $200. If you insist on all stainless, I think the stainless Milky separator sells for about $1200. Combination stainless and plastic is considerably less expensive. If you get a used machine, you should look at some first so you know what parts are supposed to be there.

    Shelter: If you're milking, you'll want a dry, well-lit place to do it, separate from the goat quarters. My shed, which is now 12 feet by 17 feet works well for six mini does, but I have to stagger kiddings to keep from overcrowding. The shed has flourescent lighting, a 12 by 7 foot main area for the goats, a creep stall for kids that doubles as a kidding stall, another kidding stall that doubles as quarantine, a milking area, and some feed storage. Having all those options is REALLY nice. I started out in a much smaller shed, lit by a kerosene lantern, with a roof that would leak on me while I was milking if it was raining out.

    Well, that's probably enough of a book. Have fun!
     
  11. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    Thank you, Laura, for such wonderful information!

    After talking with my bitter half *grinz*, I am thinking of a mixed flock of about 3 cashmeres, 2 angoras and 2 nubians.

    Not that we will USE a gallon or more of milk per day, but the hubby LOVES cheese.

    Is a buck necessary? I was hoping that AI would be feasable with goats (also allowing me to pick and choose among top bucks for herd improvement), is it that difficult with a small flock? My sister WANTS to keep a buck and I told her we'll "borrow" one for a month, SHE can care for it and, after dealing with the stink if she decides she still wants one, we'll have one.

    I'd prefer AI.

    Spending $1200 on an all stainless steel seperator is preferable to plastic or tin. Stainless steel is easier to sterylize and doesn't tend to hold odors or bacteria. I really have to have it, as most of the cheeses the hubby prefers requires starting with skim milk. I won't have to argue about why I am spending that much....and then he can't complain when I spend $1400 on the heavy-duty electric leather sewing machine.

    I don't mind books! PLEASE give me books as posts! *smiles* I am here to pick everyone's brains clean of information.:)

    Thank you also for the info on sheds and barns. That is, at this moment, being included in my schematics of land and building layouts.

    Can anyone tell me ideal pasture size? I am wanting to rotate pastures on a monthly basis. How much should a mixed flock of about 15 goats and sheep need in each pasture to ensure it isn't decimated after one month?

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  12. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    I think your different breeds in the flock idea sounds like a good approach - I'd like to get a milk goat someday, but intend to get a dairy breed for that! Thanks for the comments on Griffin - if you want a major adorability assualt ;) here's a pic of Griff as a young kid: [​IMG]
    Goats are fun critters! I seem to be headed towards an Angora doe kid soon...
     
  13. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    ACK! I'm melting! Kryptonite cuteness levels! Cuddle-ability index too high! Can...not...take...much...more...must...get...angora...kid......
     
  14. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    *chuckles* Okay, this forum is giving my husband some CRAZY ideas. He comes up to me and says, "I like how the one person mentioned the minitures. Why don't you look them up and see what they run? We might be able to get a couple this week if we can find them nearby."

    As I look at him with my eyes as big as saucers and say, "Honeeeeeeeyyy. We haven't moved YET. Just what do you think our HOUSING ASSOCIATION is going to say about us keeping goats in the back yard? Hhhmmm?"

    As it turns out, I found some un-papered ones in my area, kids, for under $100. It was NOT easy finding the dwarfs that were NOT show animals. (I am far to lazy to show animals.) I re-read the association contract and there is nothing in it about keeping livestock...just things on noise, which the neighbor's dog can fully cover up any noise a couple of goats would make. I may have goats in my back-yard by next weekend. Thank heavans there is a feed store nearby and the back yard has been let go for the spring.

    And, as it turns out, my five foot high, concrete fence happens to go two feet down...and fully encloses the back yard just fine. **rolls her eyes**

    Has anyone else heard of keeping minature pet goats in their back-yard as pets? I thought *I* was the critter person in my family, I didn't expect my sister and my bitter half to get all excited and jump the gun.

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  15. DMC_OH

    DMC_OH Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    OH
    I have Angora goats. I have a small herd and I would reconmend this book called " The Angora Goat it's history, managment, and diseases." By Stepanie Mitcham Sexton and Allison Mithcam I bought it on Ebay but you can do a search for it.

    I bought this book before my goats. It has a month to month calender of what needs to be done vaccines, hoof trimings, shearing, breeding, ect....I have 5, 1 red wether, 1 red nanny, 1 white color factored doeling ( white kid with colored parents), 1 black, and 1 red buckling. they are alot smaller then other breeds of goats they are more likely to go under a fence then over it. No not big milkers but very good moms. I would say as for colors go with what you feel. I personally I like the reds. My animals are for fiber use and I paid no more then $100.00 for any one of them. I would suggest wethers but my one wether is very boyish he likes to butt. I also would suggest going for older (yearlings at least) then the breeder can tell you how much fiber they produce. My first two were in 4-H which I think helped alot because they are very friendly. For fencing I use a 4 foot high woven wire with a hot wire on the inside to keep them away from it. I know someone who uses hog/cattle panles with a hot wire. Over all the angora goats are very durable animals but after shearing they must be kept inside for at least 6 weeks. At least here in ohio where our weather isn't sure what it is going to do(spring one week winter the next). Above all when you find a breeder ask for a tour so you can see what they use. Ask them anything they should be willing to answer your questions. and fiber from the angora goat is called "Mohair" and fiber from the angora rabbit ( there are four types French , Satin, English and Giant) are called "Angora" Happy picking for what you want. For a building make whatever you feel. Mine are in my barn and can go in and out at will. Lasty I would suggest wood shavings for bedding if you ever use any. It doesn't stick in there coats. Ok one more thing get good sheep shears with a shrap blade to shear. Believe me it is well worth the money. Well I think I covered most of what I can think of. Hope this is helpful.
     
  16. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Eh.... why not









    AND GRIFFON IS SOOOOO CUTE AS A KID
     
  17. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    Thank you, DMC! I am glad to hear from you and such good information! I will get that book this week.

    I actually already have the shears. I currently live in Arizona (desert), although , for this venture, I will be moving to Tennessee. Anyway, I bought the shears years ago for my Kuvasz and Keeshound rescues. (Long furred, alpine-type gaurding and flock dogs)

    Okay, that gives you a hint for me. Those aren't the only rescues I do. I am accustomed to caring for and dealing with shy, frightened and abused animals and turning them into sweethearts that trust humans and know that love stems from human Mommies. I am not afraid of shy, timid, frightened goats. They'll be tamed and loving in no time. I am accustomed to dealing with shy, timid, abused and suspicious dogs, wolves and horses...all of which could kill me.

    People may tell you that it isn't good to shear a dog in hot weather or hot climates, but that only goes so far. Their fur may protect them from heat and sun in places where a record high is 103....but they really HAVE to be sheared in the desert, where we can consistently expect temperatures above 110 with a humidity around 10% for long periods of time.

    Okay, I know that isn't on goats, but I have a bit of knowledge to spred around too. *grinz*

    I am *assuming* (making an donkey out of me and you) that shearing a sheep or goat is not that much different than shearing a frightened, sick and injured dog or wolf, except the teeth aren't as sharp; although both hooves and over-grown nails should scar me just as much. Of course, I expect to make MANY mistakes in that area. I am sure that practice and time will teach me many things.

    I like that the angoras are smaller. I will *attempt* to make use of the phrases "mohair" and "angora" in referring to the difference. *chuckles* (I used to keep angora rabbits as a youngling...I *did* know that "angora" is from rabbits as I had to shear them twice a year! I still have the kicking scars to prove it!)

    Now, DMC, I am still curious. I am kinda against electric wire and I can't tell you why, except I got shocked constantly as a youngling with the electric horsewire when I excercised and trained work horses. What would you fence with if electric wasn't an option and you could spend whatever you needed? Cyclone? Tough wood fence with hardware cloth buried? What? I plan to have wind and water generated power and I don't want to use it except where I have to, so I am looking for alternatives to electric.

    Okay, I am now back to my devoted, deranged and bitter half who has just decided that we should try out goats BEFORE we move...and has made an executive decision that we are getting two milking nigerian dwarf does for the backyard THIS week. Please pray for me to whichever Deity that you hold dear.

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  18. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

    Messages:
    6,797
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    East of Bryan, Texas
    *grinz at Xandras_Zoo * Ummm, because it is kinda freaking me out? I am on here to get information for a project *8 months in advance* that I had to debate the LOGICAL and REASONABLE sides of for THREE MONTHS. Now, in MY family, *I* am supposed to be the impulsive, irresponsible one that doesn't think things through.

    NOT that I haven't brought home a HORRIBLY, nearly-helpless, rescue or two and said, "Honeeeeeeyyy, come ooonnnn! She looks SO *hurt*! What could I *do*?"

    I am just not accustomed to my DH jumping the gun. NOT that the thistles and desert sage couldn't use some trimming back in the yard. (Mower broke. I decided I could sun on the patio just as well and I can conserve water by not turning on the sprinklers) My DH is NORMALLY the one that keeps my "turn the house into a meagerie" syndrome in check.

    I am NOT accustomed to my family saying, "Oh, why don't you get some miniature nigerian dwarf milking goats for the backyard in our terribly suburbanize, yuppily-disgusting neighborhood with the private school less than a block away?" I am USED to hearing, "How can you bring ANOTHER quaranteened dog/cat/critter into this house when you already have two that you are working with to get adopted out?"

    Now, it's NOT that I cannot butcher livestock, I can and have. I am travelled enough to know that, in some countries...my darling Llira ( a cat) is the PERFECT weight for butchering. And....eeewwwww...I have eaten cat and found it tasty (before I knew what it was).

    Still, it is both good and bad that my bitter half is getting "the fever". I have surreptuously tried to instill it into him for 10 years now and it looks like these forums are finally doing the job.

    Thank you! I think he is finally starting to "get" it!

    Peace,
    Caliann
     
  19. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,479
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    For gosh sakes, MILK the Nigerians before you buy them! There are some good ones out there, but many have all the same disadvantages as milkers as I mentioned before regarding cashmeres. I had one who was beautiful, good production, nice udder, milkable teats, but she had a short lactation and was an absolute terror on the milkstand. I milked her for three seasons and she never got any better. When I mentioned miniatures, I meant miniatures, not Nigerians, although as I said, there are some really nice Nigerians out there. Definitely try before you buy though. And if the seller buys milk from the store, that should be a hint to you to shop elsewhere.

    Here's a link to the Miniature Dairy Goat Association: http://www.miniaturedairygoats.com/
     
  20. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    Well, factor in the fact that sheep and goats routinely run around or over 100 lbs and aren't all that excited about the whole shearing idea - and things can get a bit interesting. Also, those videos that show the sheep just sitting on it's rump still as can be? Judging by my sheep, those well behaved still animals are drugged to the gills. Having said that, Hubby and I did manage to get our sheep sheared with just a twisted wrist and a bloody nose - last year (the first year we sheared) I had a full-blown concussion we went to the emergency room for (I was seeing double and throwing up. Hubby made an executive decision). It's not the hooves you have to watch out for, it's the hard heads whether they have horns or not.

    Of course today the sheep are back to normal, nuzzling up to me for sunflower seeds like nothing ever happened.

    Yes, it does get better and easier with practice. But don't underestimate that learning curve!

    For fencing. Build the fence sturdy enough to take the full weight of a goat climbing on it. And tall enough that the goat will give up before getting to the top (6' oughta do it). I use 52" woven wire with electric along the bottom and the top mostly to keep the goats from even thinking about trying the fence. Both the sheep and goats do normally respect that hot wire. There are odd times when they go through it, but critters will get through any fence eventually - just to keep you on your toes if nothing else (there's nothing like driving home and seeing your goat walking down the middle of the road to wake you up in a hurry!). To make extra sure the buggers can't climb out, you could have the top foot or so angle in so the goat would just fall backward onto the ground before getting over the fence.

    Enjoy the nigerians! You'll have such fun with them!