Dairy goat questions??

Discussion in 'Goats' started by tltater, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. tltater

    tltater Well-Known Member

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    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    Hello all! I am completely new to this forum as well as goats. We are getting a goat from a friend of ours. They are all just pets and I have yet to visit when the woman who knows about the goats is there...so I have no clue what kind of goats they are. They are all very sweet goats...except the buck that was her daddy. He doesn't try to bite or anything...just a big head butter! They don't have the tiny ears like the La Mancha but they seem to be the only ones I have seen with the coloring like theres. The kid doe I will be getting is all black in front and back with a white band around the middle and one white sock on one of her back legs...I named her before I even knew she was for sale...Oreo Dippedinmilk Taylor...LOL! I am a little silly that way.

    Anyway (sorry I'm a rambler) I plan on getting her whether she is a milk goat or not. My main question is, are there certain goats that you just can't use for milk? I plan on going to our county fair this coming week and hopefully they will have some milk goats there. Since I am completely new to goats I have read alot on the web, have one book and one on the way. I always feel better with any personal advice as well....need info on vaccs., deworming, lab tests that should be run, if you can get the tests yourself and run them or if you have to send them to the lab(have been a Veterinary assistant for about 5 years and have run plenty of tests in my time doing that) feed, how much when, and anything else anyone can think of.

    I hope I haven't bored anyone to death! Thanks for such and informative board!

    Tracy
     
  2. tltater

    tltater Well-Known Member

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    I believe I have figured out she is a pygmy. I finally found a good picture of them and pretty sure that's what she is...but any help on any of my others questions would be great. Thanks again!

    Tracy
     

  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    I would imagine that you could milk most any breed of goat. The question being how much milk will you *get*? The "milk" goats obviously produce more milk, the pygmies much smaller amounts, but quite possibly enough for your needs, depending on what your needs *are.* Ask about her dam...did the owners milk her at all? If so, how much did she give? How about the buck's dam?

    As to what breed they are, check their size, too. The coloring and stature of a goat is one thing, but the size is a big (pun intended) indicator, too. Ears can help.

    You say that the buck is a head-butter...does he have horns, then? How do you feel about that? Consider what you will do with the young ones as to whether or not you will disbud them, too. There are pros and cons to both.

    If you are familiar (as a Vet Tech should be and Vet Assistants learn fast (I'm a former one myself)! :) ) with running fecal samples, I would not worry about deworming unless there is a heavy parasite load. Test the goats every month or so and just see if they *need* it. If so, deworm them and then again in 21 days to get the rest of them. I use Hoegger's Herbal Wormer weekly in their feed and so far (in almost one year of owning goats) have not had a single problem with parasites. I have a Nubian and a Saanen.

    Feed. As a doeling, just good alfalfa hay, loose minerals and salt, plus baking soda, free choice, until she is ready for breeding. Then SLOWLY add some good grain to get her into condition, give a Bo-Se shot (I think a couple of weeks before? Someone remind me...), and make sure she's been tested for CAE.

    I am big advocate of not medicating unless there is a problem. No medication in their feed (never had a problem with coccidiosis, though I keep a close eye on things to be sure so I can treat it if it crops up), no automatically giving antibiotics the second something strange shows up, etc. Fecal testing, blood samples, and keeping a very good preventative eye on how things are going have been my best friends lately. Treat when needed, not "just because"...

    My own 2 cents' worth.

    Sarah
     
  4. tltater

    tltater Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks so much for your help. I have talked to the owner and she said they are pygmies and that she has never milked them they are all just pets. I will not be dehorning them. I am sure many would argue but I just don't believe in doing these things. I won't declaw my cats, why dehorn my goat? Anyway, just the way I am. Again I would like to thank you for your help!

    Tracy
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Washington
    Sarah covered almost everything. Be sure to check your goat's hooves every 6 weeks or so and trim them as necessary. Once a year mine get a CD&T vaccine. I find I have to worm my two about twice a year - otherwise they're fine.

    As far as feed, my two get a handful of grain every day in addition to their pasture and a 1" flake of alfalfa. I have cashmere goats and I use the grain to keep them tame enough that I can comb out their fleece instead of shearing them (saves time when it comes to combing and spinning the fiber). Loose minerals and a salt lick are always available for them.

    My goats have their horns still. I've been knocked by the horns occasionally, but never on purpose. Just train your little one early on that butting you is NOT allowed (goats HATE to have their ears twisted, so that's how I discipline mine). Also be aware that horned animals are more destructive than ones without horns.

    Are you getting just the one goat? Do you have any other pets for her to bond with? Goats are herd animals, and they will drive you nuts if they have to live all by themselves.

    To answer your milk question, our cashmere doe only produced enough milk for her kids. So yes, all the breeds do produce milk. They just don't all produce extra milk.