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We live on 36 acres that was previously a horse farm. The whole property is fenced in but with out the horses was becoming over grown rapidly. So we decided goats would be a good solution. 1st we got a donkey so the goats would not fall victim to any of the many coyotes in our area. Once the donkey was settled, along came 14 does. They are full grown and most have already been mothers. They are clearing the land beautifully! Recently , we decided to add a billy goat into the mix. With this, naturally we expect some kids. I am concerned however with the amount of kids/ milk we will have on our hands with 14 does. I would really appreciate any insight on what we have gotten ourselves into.
Ps. I am really excited about the goat milk; butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, soap ect.
 

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You may want to assess your goals before jumping into breeding. That is a lot of goats to milk if they are dairy breeds. That will take a lot of time and dedication, they HAVE to be milked everyday 7 days a week. What are you going to do with 7-14 gallons of milk per day?

If they are scrub or meat goats, that's a little different. But you will still have to manage and market the potential 20-30 kids.

There is no market for scrub goats. IMO it is inhumane to breed them. It is akin to a puppy mill, creating poorly bred animals with no purpose, who have no hope for homes. They too often end up in auctions, picking up horrible diseases and end up sold into horrific living conditions. It is rare that they actually find that idyllic "scrub goat home", with plenty of food, shelter and care. People who have that to offer, care about disease and how the animals are raised and have no difficulty finding affordable healthy dairy wethers from disease tested herds.

If your animals are of a meat goat type, evaluate which ones are truly of breeding quality. Do not breed the others, keep them separate for brush control, sell them or put them in the freezer. You have enough goats that you can be very selective and still have as many kids as you can handle.

Goats are addictive and multiply so rapidly. Most everyone here, all joking aside, has experienced the stress of having too many goats. The effort and financial strain can take all the joy out of having them. I've been through that myself. I am so much happier now that I concentrate on the handful that I like the best and let go of the rest.

If you are not sure how to evaluate your goats, apart from personality, of course, visit other breeders and go to shows. Post and ask questions here, we can help. Once you are comfortable with what you have then you will have a better idea of what you would like to breed. There should always be a plan and purpose.
 

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Extra milk has been quite a benefit for us. We use the freshest milk for our consumption, cheesemaking, etc. Then we feed soooo many animals with "clabber", which is just older milk dumped in a 5 gallon bucket, a bit of culture added (or leftover clabber from the previous batch) and left to sit for a couple of days.

Our meat chickens and pigs are raised on mostly clabber. The cats and dogs all get a lot of milk in their diet (the "remainder" after even gallons are filtered each day goes to the barn cats).

I always say that the milkers feed the farm. It is a lot of work and a twice daily, every day, no exceptions commitment, but I don't think I'd change it for the world. We milk 8 goats and 2 cows.

I will say things got much easier (not faster, mind you - just easier) when we got a milking machine.
 
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Scrub goats are arguable. Being mutts, they can be absolutely superb commercial meat does when bred to a terminal meat sire such as a boer. They are usually hardy, parasite resistant, medium bodied (costs less to feed/maintain and takes up less space than a huge purebred meat animal), and often are prolific. Depending on your resources, pasture management and many other factors, you could possibly sell kids out of scrub does at a bit of a profit just through meat sales. (though not enough to quit your day job, lol). You'd obviously have to cull those that didn't perform, but that's the way it is with every meat operation. :)

I am not personally against auctions for sending cull animals to market/meat buyers.

Yes, you can allow does to dry up after kidding. With no breeding goals and not milking, I'm not sure why you'd need to breed, though, as it's just more work and you can end up with more on your plate and the animals can suffer from your lack of knowledge, even if you are well meaning.

Personally if it were me, I'd breed with a purpose in mind. I'd cull down to the absolute best, and put some thought into breeding. Management of the animals is your best friend, and it's something that is constantly changing through the seasons. Have you thought about bottle raising or dam raising? Vaccines pre-kidding? Pasture management to reduce worm load? Coccidia prevention/vaccine schedules/dewormer of the kids? Do you disbud or tattoo registerable kids? Do you know how to milk, and how to properly handle milk for safety? Are your goats healthy and disease free? What are you feeding? Do you understand that nutritional needs will change through pregnancy, lactation, growing, and failure in those areas can lead to severe problems? Are you going to be present or able to assist does if they have problems during labor?

Yes, he will breed every doe. And next year, he'll breed every doe again as well as his daughters if they cycle, even if they are too young to handle a pregnancy (Or, their brothers will take care of it if you don't separate them out).
 

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I am concerned however with the amount of kids/ milk we will have on our hands with 14 does. I would really appreciate any insight on what we have gotten ourselves into.
Oh, boy.

If I were you I would rehome the buck pronto. Learn about the herd you already have before allowing it to grow.
 

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SORRY!
Let me elaborate on what I was trying to post (I need more coffee)
before I deleted your post.

Yes, he will breed them all.
They're likely to all come at once since he's been running with them.
Likely you'll have twins, singles and quads are not uncommon -- but twins
are pretty much run of the mill.
14 does x 2 is a lot of kids..
He'll be able to breed your new kids very young. We had one deliver what
appeared to be a full sized buckling at 6mo. Making her 4wks at conception.
Neither she or the buckling made it. We did have others that delivered at 8mo and survived. I'm not saying that to scare you but just to make you aware that it can happen.

Milking: It's not so simple. If your doe only throws a single, you must milk the other side out until the kid gets the hang of both sides, sometimes they never do. On the other side of the coin, you may have one that throws too many for the doe to handle. You'll need to decide to either hand feed, sell or cull. This is a decision that is often best made in advance. Of course that often changes ;)

You sure have a baptism by fire :) Are you sure none of them aren't already expecting?
You've found a great group - lots of help available here!!


PS --We LOVE pictures!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like I am going to be busy for a while. I will post some pics 😃 thanks for all the advice. I am buried in goat articles and am pretty confident. Lots of extra milk and meat in the freezer sounds nice. With acknowledging all of the work that is involved.
 

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Yep, looks like alpines...and quite the colorful bunch you have there! My current alpines are all just various shades of chamoisee (one two tone), but my buck is cou clair, so hopefully I get some more color. No idea what color the AI buck I used is. Alpines aren't terribly meaty, but they can still be used for that if you want (like eating a dairy calf...still has meat, just not as much as a beef), but you should have no problem getting plenty of milk from them. Mine milk 1+ gallons a day first freshening, and 1.5+ second or more freshening. You should separate or sell the buck before they kid (count 5 months from when you first put him in). You might want to consider getting bottle calves, etc, to take care of your excess milk. But you are going to have your hands full milking that many your first go around!!
 

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I am going to let the goats be dam raised. I will only start milking after the kids are two weeks old. Of course I know I need to have them checked for diseases. I think adding to my heard now will be fine. I think it's a natural thing and yes I am responsible for them but mostly let nature take it's course. Thank you for the advice every one!
 

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Good luck, Cassandra...you certainly are not afraid to take on a challenge or try something new! Beautiful place you have and that feeder looks very cool. Just to give you an idea of why some of us may seem shy about what you are doing...we took two years of visiting and studying before we bought our first three goats...and it was not enough! LOL.
 

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it looks like you have a nice bunch of alpine or alpine crosses my fav. and it looks like goat heaven where you have them , you can let the mom's raise them and only milk a few of them if you want to , but I will agree if she only has one kid you will be milking out the other side for awhile mine will usually use both sides once they are older and I only milk what I can handle I lock the kids up at night once they are a month old and I get the milk in the morning till I wean them but you can leave them on as long as you want as long as the doe looks good and yes I would take the buck out after they start to kid , less problems that way and no problems that way , Good Luck to you!!
 
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