Low maintenance goats recommended for newbies?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by hengal, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

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    I'm just looking for information on what kind of goat you would recommend for DH and I to get. I'm thinking along the lines of milk goats to make soaps. This will be our first adventure with goats so I guess we're looking for some that are friendly, relatively easy to maintain, and don't break the bank to purchase. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! :)
     
  2. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    I just got goats last June, and as far as I understand 'low maintenance' doesn't apply to goats at all but to your management of them. If you are fortified with as much information and knowlege by reading this and other forums, speaking with herd owners in your area, have a shelter and adequate fencing for them, they will be safe and you will have a good head start.

    Goats are lower maintenance if they are from healthy well tended herds. You can buy any goat cheaply at auctions, but there is a reason they are being sold quickly and cheaply. I wouldn't go there. Disease, poor nutrition, bad genetics, will cause immediate high maintenenance, EXPENSIVE scenarios.

    Each goat is an individual, but some breeds are easier to handle. Lamanchas give good milk and are mild mannered, but Nubians and Alpines give more milk but can be loud and have more attitude.

    If possible, buy bottle raised goats. They are much more attuned to humans and will automatically love you more than your dogs do :) . Later this spring, there will be an abundance of goats in milk, and you could purchase one easily, but be willing to spend at least two to three hundred dollars on her AND from a reputable owner/breeder. There are many on this board who even give out their phone numbers and invite prospective goat owners like yourself to visit their farms. Like I said before, a 'cheap' goat is a risk a new goat owner shouldn't take. You might get lucky, but the odds are not with you.

    If you are serious about goats, read as much as you can, talk to a lot of goat owners and get a realistic view of what it will take. If you are careful, you will fall in love with your goats rather than be overwhelmed. Ask me how I know. I made quite a few new goat owner mistakes (haven't we all) but after a couple of rough months with a lot of anxiety, we figured it out. I bought dam raised goats from an older fellow with a nice healthy herd BUT he had too many to take care of for his health, and I thought getting five goats in milk along with their five kids for a little over a thousand dollars was too good a deal to ignore. I was lucky, they've been very healthy, but taming them and their kids and learning the hard way about the kind of mischief they are capable of made for a rough summer :D .

    Also, you'll need two goats, they suffer when alone, and may not stay healthy or happy. A doe and her kid(s) or a doe and a wether (castrated buck) will be happy together.
     

  3. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    so much good advice, almost nothing left to say :)
    visit as many breeder as your time alows you. talk to them. make yourself a list of questions and don't be shy to ask. buy only where you get answers you are satisfy with. if you never have milked before try to milk at a farm. if you never tasted goat milk try it first and see if you and your husband like it.
    first comes the milk for the house and second for the soap. :)
     
  4. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I think lamanchas are calmer than a lot of other breeds, at least they are quieter. But all goats require attention, the kind where you pet them and pat them and talk to them, every day. They also need companionship, ideally another goat.
     
  5. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I will be bashed but.....
    Do you have pasture? 1/4 acre per goat.
    Do you have shelter? barn or good sturdy 3 sided building.
    Are you able to get the above?

    If you do then the goats will be a great joy.
    If you must by feed, keep them cramped, Have to see to all their needs on a daily basis. They will be alot of trouble.
    Try to keep a herd. A minimum herd is a few does and a buck. With several they live better and are happier.
    Buying goat milk to make soap is much cheaper than keeping stock.
    Buying goat milk soap is much cheaper than buying milk and making it.

    Keeping stock will be a joy if you set it up right from the start.

    As for the breed .....Get one that you like.
     
  6. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    Low maintenance? I thought this was going to be a joke thread. LOL

    I don't find maintaining my goats to be a chore. I actually enjoy it. After working all day for lawyers, goats are a great distraction!

    Ruth
     
  7. MillsFarmFamily

    MillsFarmFamily Well-Known Member

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    There's no such thing as a low maint. goat. We have had a goat heard for about the past year and 1/2, and there is always something crazy going on. If one of them isn't getting caught in the fence, then they need worming. Kidding season is definately not low maintenance. It is very exciting when new kids arrive, but very stressful when you lose any. Bottom line, just pick a breed that you like, and that fills whatever purpose you are looking for them for (milking, meat, etc.) Good luck
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Don't buy anything unless another goat owner comes with you or recommends you to someone. Being in Indiana I have a dear friend with Nubians and Saanens, interested in either? email me and I would send you to her in a heart beat. Vicki
     
  9. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    hengal i guess you are a grown up person and can make decissions your self? read and learn and i'm sure you don't need to put on a hand like a kindergardener.
    learn about all the breeds. maybe you want some nigerians. excellent milkers and don't need so much space.
     
  10. kerrinatoz

    kerrinatoz Well-Known Member

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    We're first time goat owners (only been about a month or so). I have always loved animals and horses/dogs in particular. Was raised in a large family with QUITE a few animals but no goat experience. We have started with two Nigerian does. We did so much work upfront like getting the fence and barn all set. Reading all we could about goats then finally going to visit a couple of breeders that it did make the transition alot easier for us. Well admittedly we didn't make it far, we did choose the third breeder we visited. We have not been sorry, we are now preparing to buy a buck and a wether from the same farm because we've been so happy. Our does are happy, healthy transitioned wonderfully and are so well attached. To me, I think they are failrly low maintenance ( of course I'm comparing that to horses) partly due to their size, personality and of course the fact that there are only two! I may change my story after our boys come home!! LOL. :) Good luck.
    kerrin
     
  11. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't really think you can call goats low maintenance. there are chores that must be done daily/weekly/monthly/yearly, and all times between. You can't leave for the weekend or go on a trip if it means missing a milking. (and you can't find goat sitters to do the milking for you) Goat vets are hard to come by, so you MUST MUST MUST educate your self AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE with veterinary care. I keep a bunch of supplies on hand, because I'm a 'just in case' person. but there are several supplies which I highly reccomend. You absolutely must have proper fencing and housing. You'll need baisic supplies, kid raising supplies, and veterinary supplies. Learn to give medications orally, by injection, or even other ways. Buying good stock outright is the best idea, don't go to auctions. They may cost more in the beginning, but you'll get it back either with kid sales, at shows, or just through the milk supply.

    As for breed, I have alpines and miniatures. There are several breeds, most which come in miniature or full size. Also there's pygmies and nigerians. Alpines are known to be moody and emotional (and mine are ear biters and stubborn, though quiet and friendly... food lovers :)). My minis range in personality but are sweethearts. LaManchas are quieter and laid back. Nubians are hyperactive and LOUD. Boers/fainters are, imo, a little 'slower' than the dairy breeds, lol. But friendly. Oberhalsis and Toggenburgs I haven't been around much. Saneens give a ton of milk but with low butterfat; they seem pretty calm, too. Haven't been around nigerians all that much, either. The miniatures of each breed are a few generations past the origional nigerian buck to fullsize breed doe cross. They can vary in personality, iMO.
     
  12. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Not sure where you are in Indiana, but I am in Indiana. I would be happy to show you my goats if you need to see some & would like to talk to someone close. If you wait another month I will have some in milk & you can try your hand at milking to see if it really is something you want to do. Remember, it is twice a day every day. Well, some do it differently, but I milk twice a day every day.
     
  13. momofmany

    momofmany Dayenu farms

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    and when you put up your fencing for goats remember that if a hole in there is small enough for a mouse, it is plenty big enough for a goat to get out lol.

    Nicole
     
  14. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the responses. I guess maybe I worded my post incorrectly. Instead of truly "low maintenance" (I realize there is really no such thing when raising animals) My intent was to get a recommendation on a goat breed that would be good for a beginner.

    To answer an earlier question, yes we have the room. We have three acres and a nice barn. Putting up fencing would be expected.

    Thanks again for your help! :)
     
  15. Genevieve M.

    Genevieve M. Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree that a pair of Nigerian does would be a good start. Ours are so easy going and calm.
     
  16. trnubian

    trnubian Twin-Reflection Nubians

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    If you are looking for a "calmer" dairy breed I would recomend a Lamancha. They are not too big not too small, they tend to be quiet and easy mannered. If possible look for a doe that has been hand raised, preferably on CAE prevention. And in Dairy goats it is HIGHLY recomended that the animals be disbudded or naturally polled. You won't have nearly as many "stuck in the fence" problems and it is safer for you. They can accident;y catch you with a horn without meaning to. Also dairy goats are automaticly diqualified at a show if they have horns. Even if you don't think you are going to show now,just wait, they goat bug is VERY likely to bite you. Ask many people here. Showing is FUN!

    Also a plus on the lamancha is they come in a variety of colors which appeals to many people. :) Registered or not is up to you. If you are planning on showing at all you need to purchase registered goats. I recomend registered goat just due to the fact that you will need to get some return on your output and unregistered goats around IN don't go for very much. In otherwords you will get more money out of registered kids than crosses.

    It sounds like you have the room and shelter for them. That is GREAT! :) As far as fencing goes I absolutely LOVE cattle pannels. They are rigid, and take a lot of abuse. Best of all they can be moved and reused easily and over and over again. I recomend the graduated cattle pannels because small kids can fit through the squares of the regular pannels. If you are really worried about "escape artists" then you can run a strand or two of electric fence on the inside of the cattle pannels. One at the top and one about "goat knee" height. This will discourage then from jumping and from pushing on the fence to try and lift the bottom. (Also discourages predators.)

    BTW I live in IN too. :)

    As far as room, dairy girls that are being kept in milk most of the year and who are pregnant the rest of the year will need free choice hay ALL YEAR ROUND. Browse such as small trees bushes raspberry bushes and the like are appreciated. However, many dairy goats are dry lotted quite happily. They need plenty of room to move around inside and out, but pasture is not Essential for them. As you will need to provide the majority of their feed.

    Milking does make the most milk on free choice good quality alfalfa hay, a concentrate (grain/feed), free choice "goat" minerals, and free choice baking soda (helps keep their tummy Ph normal)Oh and of course fresh clean water at all times. :)

    Milking is 2 times a day "on a schedual" everyday. There are no sick days allowed. That being said, many people enjoy their "chores." It is a great stress outlet. :)

    If you are wanting milk year round, you will need to stagger breed your does. Like breed one doe so she will kid in December/January. Breed the other doe so she kids in June. That way when you have to dry one doe off (about 2 months before she is due to kid) you will have the other doe still milking.

    There are a couple good lamancha breeders in IN and the surrounding states. Lamanchas would be the way to go if I were you. They are calm and sweet. If earless. :rolleyes: Here is a picture of my "munchie."

    [​IMG]
     
  17. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would recommend that you do much of your reading before you buy and then buy with your head and not your heart. Buy healthy animals to begin with and spare yourself lots of expense and heartbreak later. Feed them good quality food, minerals, and vaccinate on schedule. Build an emergency medicine chest because every crisis will happen on a weekend even if you have a good vet close.

    Then enjoy them because they are definitely a different animal.
     
  18. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you what we did to start out. I was looking for the same thing as you, goats that were easier to care for, but we also wanted milk. We started with fainting goats, because they are generally pretty low maintenance. At least, they're MUCH easier to care for then dairy goats. They do well on just browse and pasture, with a little grain late in pregnancy and while they are nursing kids. And for growing out kids too. They are very parasite resistant, so they rarely need worming or have health problems from parasite overloads. They are very easy on fences and usually easy to catch, since they faint. They are pretty popular, so the kids are fairly easy to sell.

    Once we had fainters for a little while, we felt like we had some goat experience and were ready to move ahead with dairy goats too. We got Lamancha, because they are fairly docile and quiet and not too huge. They are more of a challenge to care for, especially compared to fainters, but still very doable. We have to keep a closer eye on them for parasites. Feeding them is more of a challenge. You can't just toss them out on pasture and expect much milk.

    We have been happy with how things have gone so far. We still have fainters, which are fun to have around and the kid sales help pay for feed for the dairy goats. One thing I might have done differently is maybe buying grade (unregistered) dairy goats rather then registered from show stock. We have really lovely Lamancha does who give a lot of milk. But, since we don't show and don't have a name in the dairy goat world, the kids are not as easy to sell, so end up mostly going in the freezer or if we're lucky, for pets. But kids from grade does would have suited the purpose just as well, and the grade does would have cost a lot less. But I would have only bought grade does that were from a herd that did disease testing, so that's not always easy to find.
     
  19. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    Heck, who WOULDN'T want a low maintenance goat! I think we all have articulated this wish aloud and to the goats in question.

    I have no experience with anything but LaManchas and my little Nigerian Dwarf buck. Perhaps because these breeds are known to be mild mannered was I able to stabilize the herd and myself in a few month's time as a complete beginner. My last 'job' was managing patient care in a drug rehab hospital . . . so whether I felt like it or not, I had to be entirely in control and 'the boss' to the staff and the Evil Knuckle Breaker Witch to the patients. It was good practise for taming hard headed goats (all goats are hardheaded), and I must say, SO MUCH easier than hardheaded humans :D .

    What I wish now is that I could get my goats to sit patiently while I dole out grain or pellets rather than attempt to climb my body to get to it.
     
  20. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another vote here for LaManchas as a good breed for beginners. They do tend to be pretty mellow and sweet, and the milk is yummy. My dd's 4-H fitting and showing goat is a LaMancha doe - that doe is so laid back! Anyone can handle her, which is great for fit and show clinics, AND she doubles (triples?) as a cart and pack goat. DD drove her in the fair parade last summer. All that, and she shows and milks well, too.

    We also have Oberhaslis, which are quiet and very nice tempered goats as well. Pretty, too, with their bay coats and black trim. They produce plenty of milk, and get along with other goats well.

    Saanens are gentle giants and REALLY milk up a storm. We have owned Saanens off and on over the years and really like them.

    Our Alpines are great goats, but I wouldn't recommend most of them as a beginner's goat, as they tend to be a little more "pushy" than the breeds I've listed above. Nubians tend to be stubborn and opinionated, which some people love, but they can drive a newbie nuts, and they are LOUD! Creamy milk, though.

    Haven't had more than a handful of Toggenburgs, and I've never had a Sable (colored Saanen), and the only Nigie we have is a wild little thing, but she was dam raised and never handled. Bottled babies will grow up much more attuned to humans, no matter what the breed. All of the statements I've made are just generalizations of the breed - there are loud LaManchas and quiet Nubians, but you are more likely to find quiet LaManchas than quiet Nubians.

    Visit as many farms as you can and spend time with various goats. Practice milking, and taste the milk. Even if you are wanting to make soap, there's not much sense in having milk goats and buying milk from the store, and you'll want a goat with good tasting milk. Figure out what you like before you buy, make sure you get a pair, and enjoy them. Don't add more goats too quickly...they grow on you so fast that it's easy to get in over your head. Take your time and learn on these first goats. :)