Getting into the goat "business"

Discussion in 'Goats' started by R., Nov 21, 2006.

  1. R.

    R. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    northeast Indiana, zone 5
    After spending about 5 years getting to know a couple grade goats Saanen/Nubian crosses, a wether, and a doe that I have used for milking, I recently purchased by first 2 registered Lamanchas. I chose Lamanchas for their quiet, calm disposition and higher butterfat content in the milk. At least that is what I have read.
    I also wanted to have registered goats, because I found it so difficult to sell unregistered kids. People around here want registered purebreds. I don't intend at this moment in time to increase my herd. I intend to sell all kids. I only keep goats for the milk.
    That being said, I want to run my small herd as if I were a professional with a large herd, keeping records and learning all I can about health, care, and breeding. So that when I go to sell, I can sell healthy, good quality kids and ask an appropriate price.
    Can anyone give me any tips, suggestions and advice on doing just that? How do you manage your herd: record keeping, routine health care, breeding selection, what to look for in a buck when breeding, breed associations and the advantages to belonging to such, entering breed shows, showing, advertising, making a website, etc?
    Thank you.
     
  2. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    NW OR
    Congrats on choosing the BEST breed of dairy goat, ha. I will assume you've already joined AGDA. The American Lamancha Club is also a good organization to join, from them you'll have notice of specialty shows and be able to network with other breeders. As for records, AGDA will provide you with a booklet that will give you some pointers on starting, milk production records and such. For yourself, you might want to buy a livestock production software package. I use this one:
    http://www.goatsoftware.com/
    It allows me to enter all my animals and pert. information about them, breeding and milk records. I also participate in standardized milk tests so that my animals have records on file with AGDA. A big part of breeding quality animals and promoting them is having them in the showring. It's a big commitment, but show records will make your animals more valuble. I do about 6 large shows and a couple of lamancha specialty shows a year, between May and September. I would suggest you join a couple of yahoo lists, the lamanch list and the list for your AGDA district. It's a great way to network with other breeders. As for a buck, you want to get one from an established herd, one who either proven himself, or is from a proven line. Look at his mother, his sire's daughters, his sisters, to get an idea of what kind of stock he'll throw. He should be a absolute showpiece of the breed standard, anything less isn't worth breeding to. Someone around you might have a tank and be able to AI your does - that's a good way to breed without keeping a buck. Good luck.
     

  3. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    North of Houston TX
    Once you have joined ADGA and LaMancha talk, as Doc said, start looking for a really nice LaMancha buck, deposit him for this spring so he is old enough to breed for this fall. Breed all your does to him, you will be able to register the cross bred does LaMancha when you have a LaMancha ear. As she is, your SNubian is unrecordable because of her ears (likely, seen alot of airplaned crosses, too airplane to be a Nubian not prick enough to be Saanen). So breeding her LaMancha, a good buck will take the ears off the kids. With the Lamancha herd book open, the great grandaughters of hers will be purebred (as long as each generation has correct ear). You will be eating bucks for awhile though out of her.

    I am a Nubian breeder, my middle daughter showed and raised LaManchas for 8 years in the 90's, they were the backbone of our milkstring, outmilking the Nubians with one foot behind their back!! Do agree with Doc, LaMancha's are the best breed. You do have to market them to make money, nobody comes to your door looking for a LaMancha :) They want Nubians :)

    We have some diehard LaMancha types on dairygoatinfo.com another source for you, especially in finding that buckling you want. We also have some folks in your area, so show circuit they would know. Showing is fun, it puts your management up against others from your area, genetics are wonderful but if you don't manage your herd well, it's all for naught. I think the fastest way to improve is to appraise. Tons of info to glean on here, tons on our site also.

    "I also wanted to have registered goats, because I found it so difficult to sell unregistered kids." A very telling comment, and very timely :) you now are one of the Elite :shrug: But goat owning does seem to ebb and flow into this direction. Good luck with your new venture, it certainly can be done. Vicki
     
  4. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Snort. I wasn't going to say anything.... ha ha.

    I did forget to mention linear appraisal. Probably because I'm still shell shocked over mine. Some of the goats I thought were the best scored lower than some of the ones I thought were duds - but nobody lower than 86 so I felt good. I keep learning.
     
  5. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Funny and I've heard from about 6 times as many individuals that said that they couldn't sell registered as well as grade goats. ;) *snort*
     
  6. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    I keep a large 2" ring binder with all my goatly information in it. I make my own record sheets on excel, because it has what I want on them that way. I've printed off several copies of things i"ve written for caring for kids and a poisonous plant list for goats, which I'll give to buyers of my kids next year. The buyers will also get a record sheet for them, and registration info, of cource. I will be doing tattoo, castration, and dehorning, as well as vaccination of the kids.

    All my non freezable goat eqipment is in my milkroom, which is next door to my goat's living quarters, a large stall. All my liquid goat equipment is in a heated bottom section of our barn, but near enough on hand.

    So far I rather like the way my little 'business' is falling togeather, but wouldn't ya know it, I"m still in the 'hole', lol. I spend all my money on goat equipment. (I'm 16, so money is extremely tight! hehe!) Hopefully some day I'll get to a point where I can stop buying equipment, lol! I'm one of those people that will prepare for any emergency, EVER, mostly because I don't have that great of a livestock vet...
     
  7. R.

    R. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    northeast Indiana, zone 5
    Thanks to everyone. I am still taking suggestions.
    Vicki, I think you were the one who helped me about 5 years ago when I was first learning to milk my Saanen/Nubian. I believe you sent me info on a goat milk stand. I actually did build one out of pallets from the info you sent. I still use it today.
    I eventually had a carpenter build a fold up one for me, but I haven't used it yet.
     
  8. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, the oldest message board argument stopper in the world "I have 235,987 supporting me in private messages!". Right. Too bad all your imaginary friends weren't bold enough to support you in public.

    Next you'll be comparing breeders of registered goats to Nazis.
     
  9. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Washington
    I'm still a newbie (only eight months into goats) but I just wanted to say that I do think La Mancha's are the best breed. I have a mixed herd, two nubians (one doe, one whether), a La Mancha doe, and a Boer buck. My very first goats I got were oberhasli, but I don't have them anymore. My La Mancha is by far my most favorite goat. She is so quiet and has a very nice temperament a decent milker for her first freshening.

    I do agree with Vicki that they are a hard sell to most folks though. Everytime someone new visits our farm they ask us why we cut her ears off! They all just need an education!

    Have you considered breeding a half meat cross? I don't know what your market is like there, but here we have a large latino and muslim population that love goat meat! Don't know if that is what you are looking into....

    kids
     
  10. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    If anyone has kids in 4H, they are familiar with the concept of "herdsmanship" at either county or state fair. Basically, the kids have to stay in their tack area and answer questions for the public.

    After hearing that question (what happened to their ears???) about 3 million times, kids get creative, with mixed results.

    "Well, you know those pig ears for dogs? They aren't pig ears at all, they're goat ears". (Point to a neighboring nubian) "Those are almost ready to harvest" (point to a neighboring alpine) "Those aren't ready yet" (point to his own lamanchas) "We got those before show season so we didn't have to scrub them out".

    Hahaha, pretty funny, eh?

    Yeah, until some protesters from PETA showed up with signs....