I'm entertaining the idea of getting a milk goat

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Fla Gal, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

    Messages:
    3,067
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I need some help on making this decision. It will be months before it happens, if it does. I don't want to bring an animal here that wouldn't be happy in my situation and cause it stress because I don't have the proper environment or conditions for it.

    There is no pasture here so the goat would be on hay, in a small area, horse stall sized, 24/7, unless I took it for walks on a lead or leash. I could let it run at times but only if I'm there to keep it off vehicles and such. This sounds to me like too much of a controlled environment for the goat.

    I'd prefer to milk it only once a day and would want it to have babies so they will help me with the milking situation as I'd be the only one milking it. Something that I'm not ready for is, I'd probably have to have two goats as they get lonely when not around another goat. Would one goat be happy to be around horses without a goat friend other than it's kid or kids?

    I'd also like to know if a person 'has' to have a cream separater or is there some way to get the cream to rise? I want to be able to make home made butter and cottage cheese.

    I don't want a ton of milk a day, just enough for two people. One thing that bothers me about this is the goat would have to be fed hay year round and have almost no green grass. Timothy is $14 a bale and I don't think Coastal has enough nutrition in it to have a goat give much milk, much less support a baby. Would Coastal hay be ok? By the way, the babies would be for meat purposes.

    I want the least expensive way to go as I'd have to start gathering the equipment and build a shelter before I get the goat.

    Do any of you keep your goats on hay only? If so, how do you do it? Any suggestions and ideas are welcomed.

    I want a goat but not at the expense of it being mistreated. :help:
     
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    Momma and babies will be a fine group/herd (BTW I'm tickled---I suggested this before several times for you guys! :) )

    A little hay and alfalfa pellets and grain at milking and loose mineral or sho-glo (horse mineral feed additive)

    I think a meat dairy cross would give you a heavier carcass and less milk.
    Cheese is also an option with extra milk....or a veal critter (YUM!)
    Chickens will also drink up milk quite happily.

    Timothy/clover hay is what I feed year round but we have a small pasture and "soil farm" to supplement.

    check out

    www.fiascofarm.com for lots of good GREAT! info.

    If you lived closer I'd give you one but its a long hike from here :shrug: Don't know much about the plants in FL but there are several from FL on here w/ goats.
     

  3. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

    Messages:
    3,067
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I read a post of yours on one of Mitch's threads and you mentioned about having a couple goats in a horse stall. Funny thing was, the day before you posted that I told Mitch I wanted a goat. :p

    Someone on another HT forum suggested feeding rabbit pellets and whole corn, some of her birds were in the same pen.

    I figured a meat dairy cross would be the best and learned from the poultry forum that chickens love milk and cottage cheese, hense, the desire to have a goat. It would help feed them and give them needed protein.

    Thanks for the link, I've been there before but not recently as my search for knowledge has just begun.

    And as to the offer of the goat... you can just fold that little baby up, stuff it in a first class mailing container and send it my way! Thank you Mame. :cowboy:
     
  4. Faithful Heart

    Faithful Heart Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,337
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Eastman, GA - south/central
    One of my long posts again..... sorry everyone. :angel:

    I currently have each of my goats in their own small pens. 1) The pasture fence isn't done. 2) They are a young male and female, so they can't go together because of the breeding issue. Each pen is 10x6 with a 10x16 yard (dirt). This sounds ugly, but I could show you pictures.... it's not. I personally wouldn't let my goats run loose. But each to there own. I'll explain what I do farther along.

    Goats and horses can make close friendships. Or you can get a wether. If I was to stay at only two goats, I prefer the idea of a buck and a doe. I have no interest in hauling my goats somewhere to be bred, or dealing with someone else's buck. Personal choice. :) Right now my goats are "alone", and do not scream their heads off. Maybe because they can hear eachother, or smell eachother. I don't know. But even when I just had one, he seemed perfectly comfortable by himself. :shrug:

    I hear that some people use those "sun tea" jugs with the spout at the bottom. The cream floats to the top, and you get the milk dispensed from the bottom. When you get to the cream, just pour it on out to another container.

    I give my goats greens daily! I just cut it myself, or take them on horse lunge lines (24 foot long, $15). I happen to LOVE this time with them watching them graze. I watched them when graze to see what they choose and prefer, and that's what I choose to cut for them. They love the weeds, and leaves off trees. So right now my cuttings for them is also a way for me to do some "landscaping". Mine don't like coastal/burmuda hay. Not many goats do like it from what I hear. Alfalfa or peanut hay is a better choice. Ask other goat keeper in your area what they feed.

    As to housing...... there are extremely inexpensive ways to go, but it would be best for you and the goat/goats if you build something fairly nice and comfortable. Think of the goats needs and abilities......a couple being that they are strong and like to jump on everything, and they don't like to sleep directly on the ground. But for some a large dog house works great. (But if it's short, and a doe is giving birth in there, AND having trouble... what will you do?) I prefer a 3 sided shed style much better as a minimum.

    Goats are great fun, but I would never say a goat is a "cheap" pet. They are more loving and entertaining than dogs, but their care, food, medicines, and housing, is ALOT more involved than you would think. And sure.... you could just toss the goat in the yard - let it fend for itself. I wouldn't suggest it. :nono: You may end up with a dead goat, sick goat, or low producing goat. Give it better than a dog would get, and you should make it fine.
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    When mine get ready to kid they get a 4*8 stall for themselves and kids till two weeks....then mooma goes to pasture during the day and I milk her out at night before returning her to stall w/ kids...

    Is there a reason you cant pasture w/ horses? The goats will actually eat all that a horse wont touch in the pasture--brambles weeds etc. My sister wants to borrow some of our goats to weed her horse pasture.

    I also cut weeds and grass that grow in/near gardens and you can tie them out if you can keep a good eye on them....its usually the babies that do all the naughty stuff---like jump on cars :rolleyes:
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
  7. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    975
    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sask Canada

    APPway
     
  8. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    975
    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sask Canada
    Forgot to add as far as sheletr for a small shelter and cheap is get ply wood and make a
    A-FRAME
    They work great and it just takes 2 pieces of plywood and a couple 2x4's

    APPway
     
  9. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,801
    Joined:
    May 28, 2002
    Location:
    oklahoma
    my mom's first goat house/yard was a small house made of 2 sheets of 4x8 plywood-daddy thought she was building a fancy dog house :rolleyes: and a small 4ft tall chain link dog pen-about 8x10 i think. that doe did ok, she kidded a few months after mom bought her-mom let her raise that doeling and the doeling was insane wild. she was the first one they ate-and they enjoyed it. but that's neither here nor there. if you can fix an exercise yard it will be better for them-my goats all sleep on the ground w/no problems=the hay they don't eat makes beds in the houses, but they spend more time laying in the dirt outside than anywhere else. we have 2 large dog houses and a small goat shed about 5x8 feet, and not quite 6ft tall. they go to whichever one suits them at the time. the timothy hay would probly work. supplement with a little 14-16 % grain (1lb per day, + 1lb per 2lbs of milk production.) and alfalfa. beet pulp is also good for increasing their roughage. they can run with horses-ours did for several years. i'd use electric fence to keep them off the other fence, they will rub/scratch on it if you don't. that tears a fence up quickly. fence them out of the area you park the cars and they won't jump on them.
     
  10. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

    Messages:
    3,067
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I don't want to just toss a goat into the yard, or tie it to a tree and call it done. That would be unfair, and to me, cruel to the goat. There are only three acres here and the 16 horses have eaten and trodden down just about every blade of grass, and every weed on the one half acre they're allowed to run on. They run in shifts. My small front yard has some grass in it. I've let it get overgrown so the chicken have a place to get their greens.

    I wouldn't want to pasture the goat/s with the horses because the horses sometimes play pretty rough and don't look at where they're jumping or playing. When they're around the hay ring (coastal hay) they sometimes go after each other and I'm afraid the goat/s would get hurt.

    I had in mind putting a shelter for a goat or two in the so called garden area, that doesn't get enough sun in the summertime to grow a garden. I want the shelter to be at least three sided with the largest side toward the north. This would give a goat a place to get out of the elements and have a dry place to sleep. I want to be able to stand up in it so it will be at least 6 foot tall and half of the front covered, with a hinged section, to keep out rain and cold winds when necessary. I want to be able to milk the goat out of the rain. I can combine the shelter area with a milking stanchion.

    I know milking a goat once a day will tend to dry them up. That's why I want to have the babies helping me out.

    The fences here are a joke. They're white plastic that are three "boards" high and the horses are constantly tearing them apart. The front gate is also subject to open anytime of day or night depending on who has the gate code and sometimes it gets stuck in the open position. We've had a few horses out on the road because of this. Even with the "Caution Horse Area" signs on the asphalt road it's no guarantee that the horses or goat/s that get loose won't end up a grease spot on the road.

    We're on the back acre of the property, away from the road and I would have to have the goat under close supervision at all times. I've finally gotten the chickens where they don't go to the front yard of the landlord. I want all my critters on the back acre where I can see and monitor them.

    Edited to Add: Where's a good place to get a cheap tabletop cream separator?
     
  11. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    975
    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sask Canada
  12. waygr00vy

    waygr00vy Sunny Daze Farm

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Maryland
    wow, 16 horses with only 1/2 acre to run on? Is this a boarding facility?? That seems more cruel to me than having a goat tied out IMO. But I believe horses should have a little more room and more turnout than stall time...to keep them happy physically.... and just as important... mentally!
     
  13. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

    Messages:
    3,067
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Ouch! If I get a goat I'm going to have to get the separator before I get a goat so I can make butter. Goat cheese is the best. I want to learn to make that too. Thanks for the link.
     
  14. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

    Messages:
    3,067
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Yes, it's a boarding faciility. Some of the horses don't see the outside of their stall for days. Then it's only when the owners of the boarded horses decide they have time to ride them for a short while, or tie them to a tree while they're cleaning the stall. Except for two very good boarders, the boarded horses are kept in their stalls 24/7 and most of the landlords horses are put out on the half acre, with a hay ring, for about 4 hours each day hay time and in 12 hour shifts.

    They're not starved and not untended to, but the overcrowding seems a bit much to me. It's been said that there have been as many as 20 horses here at one time. I must add, the landlord is spending $17.50 a 50# bag for feed which keeps the horses fit and there is a lot of money spent on coastal hay to suppliment the horses. We go through one round bale a week and over one and a half regular square bales a day.

    I understand your point and would never tie a goat to a tree in my yard, and don't want to even think about running it with the horses. The horses are at the point they keep trying to kick and bite each other to defend their food. All of them that run together have scratches, scrapes and open places on them. A couple of them have white hair growing in places where they were nicked by other horses. I don't want them trying to stomp my, hopefully to be, goat because they're over crowded and think my goat would be competition for them.

    One of the horses bit me really bad on the back of the neck when I bent down to pick up it's spilled hay off the ground and put it back in the manger. He got me good and it took almost a month for the sores to heal up. He apparently thought I was the horse in the next stall and was into his eats. He and I had a discussion about it, a hand over his nostrils did wonders, and he decided I wasn't a threat as far as stealing his hay.

    The main reason I've thrown my questions out here is because I dont want to tie a goat to a tree and don't want to put it in a sand lot on a hay ring with coastal hay with horses that might try to stomp it into the ground. I don't want to pay the landlord, in milk, for hay I wouldn't feed my goat anyway.

    I'd just like to have a goat that can stay in the garden area given to us that obviously won't support a garden. Not enough sunshine to grow much, but good for critters. :p