Dairy Goat Dilema

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Russ_NEPA, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Russ_NEPA

    Russ_NEPA Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I'm new here. We live in Northeast PA on 3 acres that are slowly evolving from suburban lawn to useful homestead.

    Along with my woodshop, garden, fruit trees, we have ducks, chickens, rabbits, a mini horse, and some goats.

    Now my dilema. We did not buy the goats from dairy goat stock. They were basically pets. We thought, well, a goat is a goat. They are nigerian dwarf/pigmy cross. My wife was happy because of the small size. We bought 2 does and a buck.

    3 years later, we are feeling we made a mistake. We are not getting much milk, and worse yet the kids are growing up to be inferior producers to their mothers. In other words, we are going the wrong direction.

    Should we just start over with real dairy goats? How? A bred doe would seem to make sense, but would this just be a cull from someone's herd? How do you get off to the "right" start? We are thinking of contacting a local goat dairy, but I'd like some thoughts first. Thanks.
     
  2. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    I started with quality does from a reputable breeder. I've since discovered I was absolutely correct in doing so. The only problem I've really had is that I started with 2 does for family milk...now I have 33 goats! It's an addiction. I will have lots and lots of babies for sale this spring. Either that, or I move into the barn with the goats.

    Ruth
     

  3. Russ_NEPA

    Russ_NEPA Well-Known Member

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    Moosemaniac, thx for the reply, was that an offer?

    What breed do you prefer? What do you have available? How much? We're near Bloomsburg. Are you anywhere near?

    We just want milk for ourselves. 2 does should do it. Do you recommend we have our own buck, or find a stud nearby? I would be leary of letting a strange doe in my herd. How is that handled?
     
  4. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    In some ways, my situation is similar to yours. Without knowing much, I bought my goats -- LaManchas (dairy), unregistered, and with varying degrees of dairy quality.

    They are VERY healthy, look great, and give a good amount of milk. My problems are more udder/teat quality (short teats, low slung udder) which don't affect quantitiy so much as the milking experience itself.

    Type of dairy goat is up to your temperament. Alpines tend to give the most milk, but are big and not particularly mild mannered (tho each goat is different). LaManchas are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but are mild mannered, which is what I want. They are also hardy in hot/cold temp extremes like the European breeds (Saanen, Oberhasli, Alpine, etc).

    I'd start over if I were you. The buck is likely your problem in "going backward" in dairy quality. I don't have registered, does, but if/when I purchase a buck, or even use one at all, he will be registered from the best dairy lines I can afford. Then, my kids will be an improvement upon their moms.

    I've been able to get a decent, working "handle" on what good dairy conformation from reading on line, looking at photos of "good" goats. I've never been to a show or a fair. Do this so you are armed with knowlege. There are lots of owners of quality dairy goats on this forum who you could purchase from and know you are dealing with honest people.

    Good luck!
     
  5. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    I live way across the state from you. Look nearby. See what breed is widely available. That way, you don't necessarily need a buck right away.

    I have Alpines and wouldn't trade 'em for the world!

    Ruth
     
  6. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my opinion, yes. It would be best to just start over with true dairy goats rather than try to breed up from where you are.
    Anything you buy will be someones cull in essence because a cull is simply a goat that someone has decided to sell out of their breeding program. The reasons they decided to sell can be many, and most are not bad for you. I sell many does and doelings simply because
    A. I can't keep everything!
    B. They don't give enough for the dairy, but make wonderful home milkers.
    C. They don't fit in a large herd well and would do better in a herd of 5-10 head.
    D. That particular doe and I just clash. :rolleyes:
    And there are many other perfectly respectable reasons to sell.
    If you contact the dairy be absolutely certain they do not have CL abcesses in their herd. CL is in my opinion, the most common and worse disease in goats.
     
  7. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    You could restart with a dairy doe, OR you could get rid of your buck, and cross the does you own with a buck with proven dairy producers in his background in order to improve your stock. Going with a straight nigerian buck out of a doe with DHIA records would be a safe bet for improving upon the mothers you already have.

    That's if you are attached and don't want to sell the girls you already own and don't care about registering. If you want the best production and $$ isn't an issue - I'd recommend going full size with a dairy breed of goat. I've got nubians and just luv 'em.

    Niki
     
  8. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Read everything you can about dairy goats. Read all the old posts here on this goat forum. Talk to reputable breeders...VERY important to find someone you can trust to help you get your stock. There are some shifty shady characters who we have all run into, be aware....although MOSt goat folk are honest good people who love to help and share information, and will do all they can for you.

    Here are some sites:

    www.fiascofarm.com

    www.adga.org

    www.tennesseemeatgoats.com <---has some good management articles
     
  9. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    ITA with what Diane is saying. Research is key here. Look for goat people who really know their stuff, who've been in business awhile, who can show you udders and bloodlines that consistently produce milk. I like to look for milk stars that pass down from one generation to another. Once you learn the basics you can look for both bucks and does who throw strong, well attached capacious udders and healthy stock. You can never go wrong with quality.
     
  10. valhalladad

    valhalladad Active Member

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    A bit of advice. I don't know if you went to the Bloomsburg fair or not, but that is a good source of goat information. It has the best breeders there and I have found many are very helpful in giving information on the various breeds. They also know the breeders in your area. You get to see many excellent bloodlines in one place. I am one of the people that believe only good dairy goats make good show goats. These people also know of breeders getting out or thinning their herds and good buys are offend available. Good luck. Another good site for you is http://pdga.biz. This is the PA Dairy Goat Assn. You can look in the members list for breeders in your area. I used to be a member and remember many from the area(within an hour drive).
     
  11. Russ_NEPA

    Russ_NEPA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the great ideas.

    We have now bought and read most all of the dairy boat books out there.

    Yes, we've spoken with some very knowledgible breeders at the fair. Show stock is kind of pricey though. But they gave us some similar suggestions.

    Thanks again.
     
  12. frogdog

    frogdog Guest

    Are the resulting does first fresheners? That will make a big difference, volume wise.

    There are a few ways you could go...
    1) sell all the goats and start over
    2) keep the does, sell the buck and get/rent a good dairy buck
    3) keep the does, wether and keep the buck and get/rent a good dairy buck.

    If you buy a new buck, the old one would keep him company when he's not with the girls. If you rent a buck, you're old buck can keep the girls company if you have him wethered. The only thing is, at that age, the wethering should probably be done by a vet, so you are looking at some $$$ to have it done. If you're not particularly attached to him, find him a new home.