Have questions about goats...

Discussion in 'Goats' started by MBLayfield, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. MBLayfield

    MBLayfield Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Hi Everyone! I'm new here, been lurking for awhile but never posted. I would like to get some goats. I'm not wanting more than two or three maybe. I don't know much about goats, and am researching on the internet and not really getting any information. I don't have anyone around where I live to ask. They are all dairymen and don't own goats. So if someone out there wouldn't mind giving some advice I sure would appreciate it.

    I would like some goats to help out with weed control. I own 6 acres and and cannot keep up with the weeds. Weed eating takes me about 5 hours none stop on a saturday. Mowing takes another 2+ on the tractor. What breed of goat do I need for weeds. A friend of a friend told me that pygmy goats are picky and will not eat weeds.

    I would like goats milk. Currently I buy goats milk for drinking and for the soap I make. I have a milk cow, but the soap is not the same with her milk and cream. What goats produce the best milk or do they all?

    I've been told by my mother who had goats years ago that they are a pain. Hers apparently kept jumping on her car and leaving big dents in the hood and roof. She said she could never keep them contained. What type of a pen/shelter do they need to keep them in when they aren't being supervised for weed control etc?

    Sorry so long and kind of dumb questions. I appreciate it.
    Brandy
     
  2. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

    Messages:
    2,045
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    It won't stop raining
    I've been a goat owner for 2 weeks, so it's fresh in my head. Also, there are things I would do differently, so I'll share those.

    Get Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, a lot of info in a small book. YOu could find a used copy on Amazon.com.

    Nubians, Saanens and LaManchas are excellent dairy goats. Nubians I believe are considered tops in milk production.

    Goats will eat weeds, but they won't eat any weed. I've played goat-boy with mine when they browse to observe what they eat, and they definitely eat weeds (I have LaManchas). They love red clover (white is toxic, they'll avoid it), dandelions, wild rose bushes, thistles, and lush tall grasses. They eat other things I cannot identify but were part of the pasture mix we threw down over the first snow last year.

    They are designed to browse, not graze, which means from the chest area upward is where they will browse from. They'll eat the top few inches of a plant and leave the rest. They love to eat the bark off of any tree, which is how they get minerals.

    They'll need a concentrate feed once daily, about a pound of it if they are milking well. It comes premixed at feedstores or you can get a recipe and have it mixes. Keep them on the same feed they're used to, or you'll upset the gut bacteria they've developed to deal with their current feed. They'll need hay in the winter, as much as they'll eat.

    For their pen, we put up six foot woven wire folks around here get specifically for goats. They are protected and can't get out or jump over.

    We bought 10 goats -- the seller was downsizing b/c of his age, so we got a good deal. However, I would recommend getting only two or three does who have already given birth and have proven they produce good kids and good amounts of milk. They younger they are the easier they get used to you. I sort of saved a four year old from the meat auction, and she is a real you know what. I love my goats, but felt a bit overwhelmed by TEN OF THEM. We are feeling much better now, tho!

    Look at their udder and teats. Some have nice teats that are long and fatter than others. Longer, fatter teats are easier for you if you are new to milking. Little ones kill your fingers and take much longer to finish the milking. I think it's easier to hurt the teats when they are small when you are new to milking, too.

    Have them on a strict routine of milking morning and evening 12 hours apart. Mine were milked once daily, and give me pure heck on the second milking because THEY KNOW! Last night even my good girl put a poopy hoof in the milk bucket so this one time, I give up! I enjoy milking them, but I'll live and find something else to do in the evening. If you don't like the idea of being tied to your goats 24/7, don't get dairy goats.

    When you purchase, get whatever records of vaccinations, wormings, kiddings, and take a look at the sires/dams to get a look at your future genetic potentials.

    One of my milkers is a bottle baby and she is VEEERY needy and would rather hang with me than the herd. She will come in the house if I leave the door open. Some people like bottle babies, some don't. She does kiss and lick my entire face and neck after I milk her, which isn't too bad as their breath is odorless from being vegetarians, but still . . .

    Some recommend not to get a buck unless you have a completely separate pen and housing for him. They adorn themselves by peeing on their beards and tho goat girls think they smell great, you won't. THey can't be kept with the ladies. We had the previous owner "wether" or castrate the bucklings we purchased with their mamas, and when the time comes, will take them to a buck.

    Wethers can be butchered, kept as pets, or trained as pack goats.

    Have your pen, goat shed, feed and hay ready before you bring them home. Trust me on that one! Also locate a livestock veterinarian.
     

  3. MBLayfield

    MBLayfield Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Thanks so much! I think I'll pick up the Storey guide.

    Lots of good information that I needed. I will definately have everything built before I ever purchase another animal. I was given 25 chickens and didn't have a place for them. I learned really quickly while I was building the coop at 2 am by floodlight! LOL

    I have alot to think about now. I have a milk cow that I milk at 4:30 am and 4:30 pm. Not sure adding another milking is a smart idea on my part. I do have a spare portable milker w/pulsator. Can't I use that one, just buy the claws for a goat?

    I'll do some research on goat fencing. I do have sections of 5 foot hard wire fencing that I use for the poultry, maybe that would work with extra bracing....

    Thanks so much,
    Brandy