New to Goats... possibly

Discussion in 'Goats' started by x_xbirdie, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone!

    My mother and I live on a poststamp homestead, about 3/4 of an acre, and already have veggies in the ground, and an apple tree going, plus rabbits and hens on the way. We'd like to get a dairy goat, because we know a dairy cow could not be kept on our property (no where near enough room). We were wondering the following things:

    How different does Goat milk taste from cow's?

    How much room would one or two goats need?

    What would a milking goat need to keep it healthy?

    Anything else important have I missed?

    What Kind of goat should we get?
     
  2. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    First, you will need to fence in as much area as possible for your goats with high quality and sometimes expensive fencing. If I could redo my pastures I would make two large pens both accessable from the same housing, so I could switch between them so they don't ever loose all thier browse. Don't skimp on the fencing. Get woven GOAT fence or cattle panels. If you might get horned goats, make sure the fence you get won't allow a goat to stick it's head through and get stuck. Get a metal shed or other secure housing for the goats, and modify it to your needs. Goats prefer to live in groups of two or more. Check into local feed supplies and find a good GOAT feed brand. Get a mineral holder and be prepared to supply goats with good GOAT minerals (sweelix is supposedly the best, I use purina currently) and plain ol baking soda 24/7. Get goat supplies from your local feed store or www.jefferslivestock.com (they have a paper catalog, are usually alot cheaper than the feed store prices, and a better range) Go to www.fiascofarm.com and look at thier milkstand plans. Go to www.thegoatstore.com and look at thier milking supplies (jeffers sells large stainless pails as well, no need for the expensive 'milking' pails except to order the halfmoon cover...:) )
    Do alot of reaserch. Try www.fiascofarm.com, www.goatworld.com and READ up on them. Fiasco farm is a favorite of most on this forum, me included. Goat world has a bunch of articles written on goats. Also, find a good local veterinarian BEFORE, BEFORE, BEFORE you buy goats. Do lots of reaserch before you even go to see any goats.
    Good luck!!
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Re: the previous post --- DON'T get horned goats! No reputable dairy goat breeder will leave the horns on their kids! And the horns can do a lot of damage, even unintentionally.

    Now, to your questions.

    How different does Goat milk taste from cow's? It tastes exactly the same, except that goat milk is usually richer than store-bought cow milk. Your responsibility will be to keep your milking equipment and milk jars scrupulously clean. If you do that, you will have delicious milk.

    How much room would one or two goats need? Absolute minimum is 24 sq.ft. per goat. More is better. You do need to keep at least two goats, because one goat by herself will drive you nuts with her crying. The best affordable fencing for small pens is called combo panels -- they are sixteen feet long and 52 inches high. Most goats won't jump them, and they are very sturdy. However, do put a fence-post in the middle of each panel, as well as at each end.

    What would a milking goat need to keep it healthy? For food? Alfalfa hay, a little grain on the milking stand, I give a handfull or two of sunflower seeds every day, and free-choice loose goat minerals (I use Sweetlix and am very happy with it). For medication/vaccinations -- wormed as needed, CD & T shots -- other as recommended by your veterinarian. Oh, and they need their hooves trimmed every few weeks. Also, if you can, give them a little green feed every day, even if you have to keep them in a small pen. (Just don't overdo it if they aren't used to it, or you'll have a sick goat.)

    Anything else important have I missed? The previous poster had some good advice on sources for supplies, and on finding a good goat vet before you buy your goats. I would add, prepare your housing and pen BEFORE you bring the goats home! It's a very common mistake to get the cart before the horse, and get your animals before you are really ready for them. Also, find someone who knows something about goats to go with you when you start looking. And insist on negative CAE tests in the animals you buy, or at least the herd.

    What Kind of goat should we get? For as small a place as you have, and only the two of you to use up the milk, I strongly recommend Kinder goats. If you go to the Backwoods Home Magazine website, you can see an article about them, or go to the Kinder Goat Breeders Association website. If you decide against them, or can't find one (where are you, by the way?), then look for whatever breed you can find a good buck for locally. A doe must be bred and kid in order to produce milk, and breeding requires a buck -- it's hardly worth keeping one if you only have two does, unless you just cannot find a GOOD buck locally.

    Do a lot of reading before you even go out to look at goats -- you will still have a lot to learn, but at least you'll have a 'frame-work' to hang it on. Oh, and read Pat Coleby's book, Natural Goat Care.

    Unless you live where it never freezes, you'll be really glad if you run electricity and running water to your goat housing. And if possible, have your milking stand in another room from where the goats live. Their droppings get very dusty (unlike big wet cow pies), and you don't really want that dust in your milk.

    You'll need an extra pen for raising kids, possibly temporarily housing a buck if you lease one for breeding, and for quarantining new goats or a sick one. There's lots more, I guess, but this is enough to start on!

    Kathleen
     
  4. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    HIYA! I think that you have probly got enough info, so I just want to say hi and welcome to the forum!