newbie with a lot of questions!

Discussion in 'Goats' started by dok, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. dok

    dok Well-Known Member

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    Greets to all, my first post on the site! I live in Florida, very interested in picking up a pair of does for milking. Want to learn how to make my own butter and cheese, etc.

    I've done a lot of reading, I'd really like to get LaMancha's. I'm not too concerned about papers or registering, just healthy animals.

    1. If I just went by their tiny ears would I be pretty safe assuming they would be 100% LaMancha (or near)?
    2. How long could I expect to get a reasonable amount of milk from the doe without breeding again? I know this varies by breed and individual, but what is a good average/timeline?
    3. Is it common to seperate kids from the doe shortly after birth like with cows? If the kid is left with the doe, at what age does the kid ween from its mother?
    4. Could I expect to get a good yield of milk from a doe if I seperate the doe and kid(s) for most of a day and milk her at night? Is it normal to do this?
    5. Do "dairy goats" taste as good as "meat" goats? Or is it primarily the yield of meat per pound that classifies a good meat goat? Does a 10 year old doe taste as good as a 5 month old wether?

    To anyone who is kind and patient enough to answer my bombardment of questions thank you very much in advance,
    dok
     
  2. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "1. If I just went by their tiny ears would I be pretty safe assuming they would be 100% LaMancha (or near)?"

    [​IMG]
    This doe, Persephone, is 1/4 Boer, 1/4 Saanen, 3/8 Nubian, 1/8 LaMancha/Alpine.

    The smaller ears from the LaMancha are strongly stamped and take awhile to breed out. This doe's dam is 3/4 Nubian, 1/4 LaMancha/Alpine with elf ears. Her dam's dam is 1/2 Lamancha/Alpine, 1/2 Nubian with elf ears. It is Persephone's dam's dam's sire that had the Lamancha ears.

    So no, the small elf ears are not a garantee of their percentage of LaMancha blood. I don't think even the gopher ears are a garantee but a better chance of them being higher percentage LaMancha.
    You can see the various crosses we have that have a smidge of LaMancha in them from Cam on this page;
    Morning Mist Does

    Can't answer the 2nd one but I would assume you would want to look for people who keep their does in milk for lengthy periods of time. The does would be used to long lactations.

    "3. Is it common to seperate kids from the doe shortly after birth like with cows? If the kid is left with the doe, at what age does the kid ween from its mother?"
    Some separate, some don't. We leaves our kids on the dam. I have a doe who is still nursing her kids when they are pushing 9 months. I separate the doelings from their dams at breeding time (because they are usually bred to different bucks or need to grow a bit more before breeding), the wethers are separated from their dams about one to two months before we ship them (they are born between January and March and we ship in December or January). Some of the does are forced to wean their kids at separation. When I was milking I would separate the kids over night and milk in the morning, then put the family back together for the day.

    "4. Could I expect to get a good yield of milk from a doe if I seperate the doe and kid(s) for most of a day and milk her at night? Is it normal to do this?"
    I do it the other way around so that the mother can get some sleep. If they are separated during the day then the kids are going to want to be nursing at night. Goats take smaller drinks more often, so that dam may be up and about a good portion of the night just feeding kids. Also, the kids are going to learn more about browsing, eating, excetera from their mothers. if they are separated during the day when the goats are out browsing they need a separate field or they are going to be penned up in a smaller pen with hay. Simpler to keep them with the does during the day and milk in the morning.

    Can't help you with question five as I have never eaten goat meat. I do know that in the cattle breed I prefer Jersey meat to all other meat. An older animal is going to be tougher and a five month old milk fed is going to be more tender. That's why veal is raised on liquid for the most part makes for tender meat.
     

  3. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    dok, I highly reccomend LaManchas! I have a purebred that gives a trememdous amount of milk and a 1/2 LaMancha 1/4 Nubian 1/4 Boer (that looks like a meaty black and white spotted elf-eared LaMancha) who also gives a huge amount of milk. They are of wonderful temperment and I love their softer voices. I also love the look on peoples faces when they see the 'no ears'.

    dosthouhavemilk, I really enjoyed your website looking at all your crossbreds. I have a number of crossbreds myself, no pygmy blood though. I do intend to eventually go all lamancha in the future. I am having a hard time convincing my DH of this though. He wants to keep every doeling, while I want to cull to just the purebreds. I also have Boers and want to perhaps have just Boers and Lamanchas. I think it would make more since for me to concentrate on one breed though since I don't have the means to do both. And that would be the dairy goats since i milk. Perhaps I will keep my fullblood Boer buck though to make meat kids....then my hubby would want to keep those crossbred doelings...humm...what to do?

    dok, welcome to the forum...Diane
     
  4. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    Just wanted to say "Wlecome to the forum!" Hope ya enjoy yourself here. Bye.
     
  5. crazygoatgirl

    crazygoatgirl Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Dok, I have just copied your message so you will have to weed through it. I have Purebred LaManchas and live in Arkansas. Have had LaManchas for 11 years, have had goats for almost 20 years(19 and some change).

    Greets to all, my first post on the site! I live in Florida, very interested in picking up a pair of does for milking. Want to learn how to make my own butter and cheese, etc.
    You might have trouble making butter unless you have a cream seperator (big $$) or alot of patience to wait on cream to come to the top and skim it and do it again. you will have to freeze it as you go and make butter when you get enough.

    I've done a lot of reading, I'd really like to get LaMancha's. I'm not too concerned about papers or registering, just healthy animals.

    1. If I just went by their tiny ears would I be pretty safe assuming they would be 100% LaMancha (or near)?

    No, I have purebred LaManchas and I can tell you that ears will pop up being short up to 5 generations down the line, even bred to a "eared" goat.


    2. How long could I expect to get a reasonable amount of milk from the doe without breeding again? I know this varies by breed and individual, but what is a good average/timeline?

    Some does can milk for years without being bred. You might not get enough to make it worth your while after about 18 months in my opinion though.

    3. Is it common to seperate kids from the doe shortly after birth like with cows? If the kid is left with the doe, at what age does the kid ween from its mother?
    You can do it either way, if you are concerned with CAE prevention I would seperate and bottle feed the kids pasteurized milk.(see thread on what is CAE). I wean my bottle kids at about 4 months....sometimes 5 months. Also read up on cocci prevention and treatments...it is the #1 killer of kids.

    4. Could I expect to get a good yield of milk from a doe if I seperate the doe and kid(s) for most of a day and milk her at night? Is it normal to do this?

    If you plan to do this I would, as said before seperate at night and don't seperate just one kid, make sure they have a buddy to sleep with. Oh and make sure and put them where they can't stick their head through the fence and nurse mom.....don't ask how I know this :rolleyes:

    5. Do "dairy goats" taste as good as "meat" goats? Or is it primarily the yield of meat per pound that classifies a good meat goat? Does a 10 year old doe taste as good as a 5 month old wether?

    No, a 10 yr old doe won't taste as good as a 5 month old wether, it is kinda like comparing a 5 month old calf to a 10 yr old cow... BUt yes...pretty much goat is goat.

    Be happy to answer any more questions that you have!!
    Sharon
     
  6. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome! I think you will love Lamanchas. Answers to your questions are by number below.
    #1: You cannot go by the ear length. I have 1/2 Lamancha-1/2 Nubian kids that have great Lamancha ears.

    #2: That varies so much, I am not even going to make a a stab at answering.

    #3: Yes, it is common to separate the kids from their dams. In fact many breeders take the kids before the mother has time to even see the kid. But you do not have too. If you are just going to eat the kids, I would suggest leaving them on their dams to grow fast and wild. But if you want tame milkers when the doe kids grow up, I would recomend bottling them. You shouldn't wean kids before 3 months in my opinion. And you will most likely have to wean the dam-raised kids yourself, because very few does wean their own kids before they are almost a year old, if then!

    #4: I would reccomend separating the kids from the doe at night, rather than during the day. They sleep more than yell that way, and its much less stressful on both parties. I would not reccomend separating doe and kids at night until they are a few weeks old. And never separate just one kid, they need company.

    #5: I personally think that goat meat is goat meat. Its all good if done up right. The main difference in meat and dairy goats is the amount of meat they will pack on. The main difference you will find in taste depends on age, sex, whether it was a clean kill or not, butchering technique, and cooking method. Younger goat will taste better and be more tender. Goat needs to be cooked long and slow with plenty of moisture for most cuts. Goat burger is excellent. Your 5 month old wether can be cooked most any way and be delicious, your 10 year old doe might be better off as burger, or cooked really slow for stew.
     
  7. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    I don't bottle feed and have super tame babies, I have too many things to do to add that additional chore to my list. I think the babies are way more healthy when left with their moms. I separate the babies during the day also after the babies are a week or so old and they do fine. I leave them on the moms as long as possible because they grow so much better, several months. Mine are so tame because I play with them a whole lot at first and they get used to people from the start, after that they are very tame pets. I am not selling breeding stock to people concerned with CAE at this point in my breeding program. I started with clean dairy stock stock even though I have Boers and Boer crosses I don't know the status of. If I get more serious, things will change. Right now, I just have home milkers and some meat goat mommas and two bucks (and three wethers that will go in the freezer when I get around to it)....Diane
     
  8. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Right. I understand that folks "can" raise tame babies on their dams, I have done it when I didn't have many goats and had more time. But try having tame babies out of 70+ does......it gets a little crazy then!! This year they will all be bottle-fed. Though I prefer to let them nurse their dams, its not feasable when milking commercially. Its just personal preference with smaller breeders.
     
  9. crazygoatgirl

    crazygoatgirl Well-Known Member

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    I have show quality animals and want to preserve udders along with that I raise mine on CAE prevention (all of my does are negative though) and I want every kid to be able to have as much milk as they can get and not what the other sibling just can't hold. I also sell lots of milk so my girls get robbed twice a day for kids and milk customers.
     
  10. waygr00vy

    waygr00vy Sunny Daze Farm

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    Welcome! I am also from Florida....haven't seen too many others on here from the area. I have pygmys and nigerians so can't help with most of the questions. I do know there is a big difference between my bottle fed goats and dam raised goats. The bottle babies are definitely friendlier and easier to handle...although if you have a lot of time to spend every day playing with the dam raised they can be pretty friendly as well.
     
  11. Lost-Nation

    Lost-Nation Member

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    Hi Dok! Where in FL are you? I know several LaMancha breeders down there in the Sunshine State, one of whom is a good friend who lives in the Gainesville area. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to help you find healthy animals fitting your criteria!

    Advanced warning & apologies! LaManchas are my passion (& breeding dairy goats a primary part of my "farming career") & my original reply was too long-winded for the forum to accept, LOL. So I divided up my posts by individual questions.

    I've done a lot of reading, I'd really like to get LaMancha's. I'm not too concerned about papers or registering, just healthy animals.

    1. If I just went by their tiny ears would I be pretty safe assuming they would be 100% LaMancha (or near)?


    *** The short ear trait is extremely potent & can pop up generations down the line, even having been “bred up” to an “eared” breed & having several generations of “normal ears” behind the animal. I breed LaManchas, Toggenburgs & Experimentals (“registered” crossbreeds), just recently sold out of Nubians & used to also raise Boers & Boer-X once upon a time. I have/had several crosses of varying percentages & those ears are surprisingly unpredictable!

    Here is how the American Dairy Goat Association’s Breed Standard reads for the LaMancha: (copied from the ADGA 2004 Guidebook: http://www.adga.org/breedstandards.html
    LaMancha
    The LaMancha goat was developed in the U.S.A. It has excellent dairy temperament and is an all-around sturdy animal that can withstand a great deal of hardship and still produce. Through official testing this breed has established itself in milk production with high butterfat.
    The LaMancha face is straight with the ears being the distinctive breed characteristic. There are two types of LaMancha ears. In does one type of ear has no advantage over the other.
    § The "gopher ear" is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of one inch (2.54 cm) but preferably nonexistent and with very little or no cartilage. The end of the ear must be turned up or down. This is the only type of ear which will make bucks eligible for registration.
    § The "elf ear" is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of two inches (5.08 cm) is allowed, the end of the ear must be turned up or turned down and cartilage shaping the small ear is allowed.
    Any color or combination of colors is acceptable with no preferences. The hair is short, fine and glossy.
    There is much controversy surrounding the LaMancha ear &, at least once a year, heated debates abt changing the Breed Standards are hashed & rehashed on the various Yahoo Lists. (If you haven’t joined yet, LaMancha Talk is a terrific list, from where much information can be gleaned: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaManchaTalk/ Just remember that, as w/ anything else, to take what you read w/ a big grain of salt, LOL!)

    Many “Purists” feel that the gopher ear should be the only acceptable ear. Debate over recent years seemed to be particularly inspired by the fact that the 2003 ADGA National Champion & Reserve National Best Udder & the 2004 ADGA National Champion, Willow Run GC Surata http://adga.org/2003NationalShowResults.htm , was a Purebred LaMancha doe who had * gasp * elf ears. From what I’ve heard, Surata only ever threw one gopher eared son (remember: only bucks w/ gopher ears are eligible for registry) in her life, Willow Run Virtuosity Sunra, who is owned by the aforementioned FL friend.

    A few examples of the ear weirdness in my own herd:

    Here is Cerridwen, a 2nd generation American LaMancha: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/lm/id11.html note that she has elf ears

    Here is Cerridwen’s 2003 daughter, Ceinwen – a 3rd generation American who was sired by a Purebred/gopher eared buck: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/lm/id17.html Ceinwen has gopher ears, as did her twin brother. Ceinwen’s 2005 kids, sired by a different gopher eared/Purebred buck were twins: 1 buck (3rd-gen American), 1 doe (Purebred) http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id20.html , both with gopher ears.

    In 2004, Cerridwen had triplets, sired by yet another Purebred/gopher eared buck, the litter of which consisted of: 1 gopher eared doe (stillborn), 1 gopher eared buck & 1 elf-eared buck.

    In 2005, Cerridwen again had triplets, sired by yet another Purebred/Gopher eared buck. Daughters are 3rd-gen American & the buck would have been 2nd-gen however, was sent for meat b/c all THREE kids of that litter had elf ears! You can see one of those daughters, Creirwy, here: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id23.html

    While I’m on a roll on this ear thing, check out my Experimentals.

    This is Lacewing, who is 50% LaMancha & 50% Toggenburg. Her elf ears were jusssst short enough to squeak in under the LaMancha Breed Standards: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id6.html In 2004, Lacewing had buck/doe twins sired by a Purebred/gopher eared buck. Both had elf ears! In 2005, Lacewing again had buck/doe twins sired by a diff’t PB/Gophered buck – both had gopher ears! Here is her 2005 daughter, Picot who is 75% LaMancha & 25% Toggenburg: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id17.html

    This is Dragonfly: 75% LaMancha 25% Oberhasli: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id3.html she has short elf ears & kidded w/ a single, elf eared buck for 2005, who was sired by a PB/gopher-eared buck.

    This is Dragonfly’s “cousin”, Bangle, who is also 75% LaMancha & 25% Oberhasli but who has gopher ears: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id10.html & Bangle’s daughter, Banzai, a 1st-gen American, who also has gopher ears: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id21.html

    & here’s Bangle’s paternal sister, Moonshine – also w/ gopher ears: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id5.html who is 75% LaMancha & 25% Toggenburg (she only recorded as 50% LaMancha b/c her dam’s sire was a PB LM buck, but the breeder didn’t know for sure WHICH PB LM buck, since the doe had hopped into a pen of 3 PB LM bucks) Moonshine’s 2005 son, sired by a PB/gophered LM buck had gopher ears. . .

    Last but not least, here is Dulce: http://mystiquemeadow.tripod.com/rg/id7.html who has long elf ears & is 50% LaMancha, 25% Saanen & 25% Toggenburg, LOL!

    See how crazy this ear stuff is? You never know how things will go! Since I’m a staunch believer in “Quality goes deeper than the color of the registration papers” & strongly disagree w/ the Purists, my breeding program is focused on the animal’s overall quality – without much attention being paid to breed percentages & registration paper color. Some of my absolute best does are Experimentals. Since I AM one of those weirdos who looks at quality rather than ears/heads/registration paper colors, & since my Toggenburg herd is a fledgling one, I decided to see what would happen by breeding some of my Experimentals to a Toggenburg buck for 2006, LOL! So make a note to yourself to bug me in a few months when those kids are being born, so I can give an Ear Report. . . should be quite interesting, to say the least, LOL!

    If you haven’t been to Backuses’ (Quixote LaManchas) site yet, it’s a must-read! http://www.goatsleap.com/info.html The Quixote herd has had a strong impact on the LaMancha breed as a whole & Barbara Backus is considered the “official” LaMancha Historian. On her site, she goes into great detail discussing the history & development of the breed & the potency of the ear gene.
     
  12. Lost-Nation

    Lost-Nation Member

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    2. How long could I expect to get a reasonable amount of milk from the doe without breeding again? I know this varies by breed and individual, but what is a good average/timeline?

    What’s already been stated so far is all good information. Something else to keep in mind is management, though b/c milk isn’t all in the genetic constitution of the animal. There is a saying among breeders that goes something like: “Management is 90% of the animal.” – or something like that. You could go to the best-known herd in the U.S. known for pumping out the Top 10 milkers & drop a serious load of cash to buy a doe-kid from them w/ generations of heavy milk production on both sides of her pedigree, but guess what? Unless/until you learn how to feed/manage/maintain her in order to GET that production . . . you ain’t a-gonna get it.

    Registered or not, conformation is conformation & quality is quality! Studying up on learning what traits to look for in a sound, productive dairy goat will be very helpful, too. Contrary to popular belief, correctness in overall conformation isn’t just something sought after for the show-ring. The ADGA Scorecard by which animals are judged in the show-ring was derived by years of study (originally written by THE Dairy Goat Guru himself, Mr. Harvey Considine) & is described as follows: “The goal of the Unified Scorecard is to aid in the selection of the type of dairy goat that can function efficiently over a long productive lifetime.” You can see the scorecard itself here: http://www.adga.org/2004-defects.html#97 I’d recommend however, wading through many other sections of the ADGA Guidebook, too, especially the sections discussing Breed Standards & Evaluation of Defects b/c those will also be helpful in gathering/processing/applying/etc. the information you seek. The guidebook itself can be seen here: http://adga.org/2004-guidebook.html & you can just scroll down past the Constitution & Bylaw stuff, down toward the bottom of the page till you get to the sections that sound like they might have something to offer toward the information you’re seeking. Tedious till you get a handle on the terminology, but . . . very informative! If you don’t feel like printing it all out &/or joining ADGA to get your own copy of the Guidebook, email me w/ your address & I’ll send you one of my old copies. Even though ADGA is a registry & you said you weren’t particularly leaning toward acquiring registered stock, there is so much “in general” information in there that it’s a really excellent guide for learning abt dairy goats.

    A couple other great reads for learning how to identify good & bad conformation is “The Illustrated Standard of the Dairy Goat” – the author escapes me at this moment, but it’s a short, not-too-expensive book w/ very simple drawings of various parts of the dairy goat anatomy showing good & bad examples of conformation. Also, Harvey Considine’s book “Dairy Goat Judging Techniques”. Even if you have zero intentions of ever stepping foot in a show-ring, this book is great b/c he has pictures of real animals showing all kinds of defects & examples of good traits, too – with good explanations written in “laymans terms”. & . . . even if you DO have zero intentions of ever stepping foot in a show-ring, LOL - going to WATCH would be an invaluable learning experience, too. Not only will you (hopefully, anyway, LOL) see some excellent examples of quality dairy goats of all different breeds, but you can listen to the judge’s explanations of the animals’ strengths & weaknesses – learn how to “see” them yourself - & meet all sorts of breeders that you can talk to, too.

    Although you’d probably happen upon a couple, not all show breeders are hoity-toity, snooty such&suches &/or the folks who have the financial wherewithal to go straight to the top herds in the U.S. & drop a few large, acquiring top-quality, automatic ring-ripper-uppers . . . & who also charge zillions of dollars for their own stock. Just speaking for myself here, but I’d venture a guess that just like I have, most of us start out as peon, know-nothing nobodys who’ve spent years of “trial & error” improving upon & “breeding up” on other people’s cast-offs. That being said, we all have animals who might not quite fit our criteria for our breeding programs &/or “make the cut” for the show-ring - but who would nevertheless be excellent candidates for a “family milker” &/or a good “starter doe” for someone just getting started in goats.

    Another good thing abt utilizing show breeders is that maintaining high standards of herd health is sort of an unspoken but understood expectation, so would also be a good place to start, so you don’t accidentally end up w/ cooties . . which is pretty easy to do if you don’t know what you’re looking for, LOL. If they don’t have anything that fits your criteria, they’ll usually be able to refer you to others who might. . . registered or grade.

    It’s also helpful to keep in mind “You get what you pay for.” Prices vary widely by region & you should expect to pay a fair price for a sound, healthy animal. Buying privately is a much more intelligent approach than thinking you’re going to get “a great deal” at a Sale Barn somewhere. Oftentimes, those “great deals” come w/ a lot more than you thought you were paying for, unfortunately!

    Anyway, back to genetics. . . if you’re a research junkie, for more in-depth information, an excellent resource for studying up on which herds/lines are doing what, genetically - milk-wise & appraisal score-wise - is the ADGA Genetics site: www.adgagenetics.org It’s verrrrry involved & takes awhile to learn how to decipher all of the genetic information on there, but it is invaluable! I live on that site, since I’m a genetics/pedigree junkie, LOL! You can learn how to interpret/apply the information offered here: http://www.adgagenetics.org/ToolsFAQ.htm

    The easiest/best approach IMHO, however is to ask the breeder him/herself b/c they’ll obviously know their animals best! & lack of official milk records means zero. I’m one who can’t do any official milk-testing since I live in the wilderness, so don’t have the resources. There also aren’t any nearby shows offering 1-day milk tests for me to see where my does might rank “officially”.

    But guess what? We’re the ones who are working with the animals daily! Most are trying our hardest to use the genetics we’ve scraped up for our breeding programs to their potential. In my herd some lines are milkier than others. Some are showier than others. Some are hardier than others. Fast-maturers, slow maturers & in-between maturers. Etc., etc., etc. When people come “shopping” at my farm, one of my first questions to them is: What are your goals for your herd? Once I have that information from them, I’ll be able to direct them to the lines in my herd whose strengths lie in the traits those folks might be seeking.
     
  13. Lost-Nation

    Lost-Nation Member

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    3. Is it common to seperate kids from the doe shortly after birth like with cows? If the kid is left with the doe, at what age does the kid ween from its mother?

    As has already been mentioned: it’s a common practice to “catch” kids at birth & hand-raise them on pasteurized milk for disease-prevention purposes. CAE is the most commonly-mentioned disease & is the source of much “hype” & controversy. IMHO, not getting sucked into the hype & not worrying abt “what everyone else says” as much as just doing your homework on it, formulating your own opinions & going from there on developing your own philosophies & practices is what you should worry abt.

    Here is an excellent write-up on this topic: http://www.cornerstonefarm.net/gtcareof.html#caeq&a

    IMHO, “Prevention-raising” is a very astute approach, not only for CAE purposes, but b/c it will help prevent many other diseases that are out there, many of which are nastier & more worrisome than CAE . . . unless you're dealing with one of the pathogenic strains, that is. But which have become less & less common, thanks to the conscientious breeding practices of our "Dairy Goat Forefathers", LOL.

    Prevention-raised kids can grow just as well as dam-raised kids w/ proper management. & like someone else said: Coccidiosis is a BIG challenge to most breeders & one of the primary causes of ill-thrift, stunted growth, & death in kids, so be sure to talk to breeders in your area to find out what products they’ve found to be most effective in coccidia prevention/treatment. Other types of parasites can be a big challenge, too – esp. in warm/moist climates - so you’ll want to pick some brains abt what worming products work in your area & how often they should be administered for maximum effectiveness.

    My kids get free-choice everything when they start out: hay, grain & cold milk from the lambar (a/k/a: “Suck Bucket”). My grain has a coccidiastat in it & I also put a coccidiastat in their milk. . . &/or keep weaned kids on a regular coccidia-prevention regimen until they get past the age/stage of susceptibility. (We’re on a strict parasite prevention program here, too since our farm is unfortunately located in the middle of a swamp & is parasite heaven!) Once they get a little older/bigger, they’re moved to another pen that still has free choice hay, but only gets grain & milk 2x/day. I let my kids wean themselves – unless I see somebody getting too fat - those types get weaned whether he/she likes it or not, LOL. For the most part though, the kids are usually good at monitoring themselves b/c having something free-choice makes it much less fascinating, & they’re usually less-inclined to overindulge. Of course, you’ll always have your occasional over-indulger piglet who will require some intervention, LOL. You’ll need to monitor those piglets extra-carefully b/c my experience has been that they’re usually the ones who are most susceptible to enterotoxemia. . . another fairly common kid malady that’s a BIG pain in the butt to deal with. . . & fodder for another topic/thread, LOL.
     
  14. Lost-Nation

    Lost-Nation Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    4. Could I expect to get a good yield of milk from a doe if I seperate the doe and kid(s) for most of a day and milk her at night? Is it normal to do this?

    This one goes back to the "Management & Maintenance" techniques as far as overall yield. &, whether you dam raise or Prev-raise will have a lot to do w/ it, too!

    My approach is from a "working farm" perspective & also b/c I Prevention-raise my kids. My does are milked 2x/day with what little milk we require for our 2-person household use kept for us & the rest goes to the kids. In the event that we find ourselves in “surplus phase”, we feed out pigs or calves or something with it. I milk year-round & keep my milkers going just as long as they feel like putting it out & as long as they’re worth the time/trouble/energy/feed/etc. When production slows down as they get into late lactation, I switch them to 1x/day. . . that’s for my own convenience b/c it gets collllld up here in MI & freezing my butt off in the milking parlor twice a day ain’t fun, LOL. I lose a little in overall production, but not much. I have some milkers right now who’ve been milking for almost a year & are still going strong!

    5. Do "dairy goats" taste as good as "meat" goats? Or is it primarily the yield of meat per pound that classifies a good meat goat? Does a 10 year old doe taste as good as a 5 month old wether?

    I’ve read mixed reviews on what breeds taste better than what but to me: goat tastes like goat, LOL! Of course animals intentionally bred for the best carcass yield achieved in the least amt of time would be the way to go if breeding specifically for meat. If you wanted both meat & milk, the Boer/LaMancha crosses are IMHO, “where it’s at”, LOL! Great carcass yield (“they say” can be as good as full Boer) AND respectable milk production – esp. if the LaMancha lines you’re using are very milky & you breed keeping in mind to maintain that milk.

    When I first started in goats, my goals were for having a herd of “multi-purpose” animals: milk & meat. My herd consisted of a Fullblood Boer buck, full dairy does (various breeds & crosses), 1st-generation Boer/Dairy cross does . . . & a couple 2nd-gens got to stick around if the milk production I expected carried thru another generation (sidenote: the later generation Boer/Dairy-X does who still put it in the bucket were Saanen-derived). I bred for correct conformation structurally & in mammary (read: two teats & strong udder attachments) & good milk production. I Prevention-raised & disbudded all kids & trained all does to the milk stand. Seems that the Swiss-derived crosses (Saanen, Togg & Alpine were what I had) didn’t result in as much yield, meat-wise, the Nubian-derived crosses had a little better yield, but less milk . . . & again: the LaMancha crosses just really seemed to result in what I felt was “nearly ideal” as far as my own “multi-purpose” goals I had at that time.

    Of course w/ the LM-Xes, you’re going to have some pretty funny-looking ears to deal with – which, in my area anyway, has a negative impact on marketability since those fickle consumers seem to feel that less-than-attractive heads somehow have something to do w/ what’s going into the freezer or on the table, LOL!

    Okay, now that I’ve spent the entire morning prattling on & on & onnnnnnnnnn, sorry this is so long, but I hope some of what I’ve blathered will be useful somewhere/somehow! I just have this silly but overwhelming feeling of "obligation" to try to offer as much information as I can, w/ the goal being: to help “newbies” not make the same mistakes many of us have, doing things via the “trial & error” method, LOL! That's due to the torturous memories of when I first started & had ZERO resources - so really have learned everything via 'Trial & Error' . . .w/ a BIG emphasis being on "ERROR", LOL!

    & speaking of chores . . . I'm now behind schedule meandering on out there for my lazy 1x/day milking! At least it's a balmy 33* up here in wintry Michigan!

    Best wishes,
    Sarah
     
  15. dok

    dok Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Florida USA
    Thank you very much for the replies. I just absorbed in a quarter hour what would have taken me weeks to read skimming the web. I couldn't imagine jumping into *any* sort of raising livestock (with no experience, like me), without the consultation of all of you incredibly insightful people.

    My *plan* is to acquire a pair of LaMancha does
    1) what would you recommend here for a beginner age wise, kid yearling or full grown?

    Once I feel comfortable with them, breed them, hopefully they will be far enough apart that I won't have them both birthing in the same few days. Keep the doe kids long enough to see how they milk, perhaps sell the older does (trading for its better milking kid) that don't milk as well. I would keep the bucks as wethers for meat/sell or reserve a set of balls for the occasional sale of a buck. Basically, I dont have any sort of large operation on the horizon, just sell the occasional doe and any wether/buck I can and eat the ones I have no buyers for, keeping 2 maybe 3 or 4 does 'full-time' (depending on how it goes) for personal milk.

    2) Are there any flaws in my reasoning? Or pitfalls warnings or guidance you might have?

    Just a small operation that will give me milk, and enough cash/meat from the kids to help pay/subsidize for their vet and feed bills.

    3) Would I be likely to come out even or possibly surplus with my plan?

    I intend to give them commercial feed for a good while but I eventually plan to till an acre or two to plant my own hay to cut down or even eliminate buying commercial feed.

    4) What would you recommend I plant that would grow the best in Central Florida and provide the best nutrition (or save me the most from buying commercial feed)? I haven't had the soil tested at all yet I'm working on it I know that could help you answer that question..

    They are going to have 3-4 acres of pasture, working on improved.

    5) Should I cross fence the 3-4 acres so I can rotate their grazing? Is that enough acreage for say, 2 does and their kids (1, 2 or 3 kids each?) I don't think I would have any kids left over before they breed again, if so only for a short time. Do they need to be rotated pastures for sanitary reasons? Are there any animals that they shouldn't graze after/with or vice versa?

    Thank you again, very very much! -dok
     
  16. crazygoatgirl

    crazygoatgirl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    155
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    N. Central Arkansas
    1) what would you recommend here for a beginner age wise, kid yearling or full grown?
    I would really suggest that you try to find a doe that has been milked, that way you are not trying to teach a doe something that you are not sure of. A doe that has been milked will tell you if you are milking too hard or if something doesn't feel right, a doe that has never been milked will have no idea and might be a pain just for fun.
    2) Are there any flaws in my reasoning? Or pitfalls warnings or guidance you might have?
    Buy a doe that has been milked and ask for details of length of lactation and any other questions that you can come up with.
    3) Would I be likely to come out even or possibly surplus with my plan?

    Yes if you get a doe or two that are in milk depending n your needs.family size, milk needs ect you might likely have surplus.

    I intend to give them commercial feed for a good while but I eventually plan to till an acre or two to plant my own hay to cut down or even eliminate buying commercial feed.
    You are not going to get a very good milk yeild on just hay. You will need to give feed. If cost is an issue, I would consider a diet of alfalfa pellets and feeding oats mixed with black oil sunflower seeds when you milk.

    4) What would you recommend I plant that would grow the best in Central Florida and provide the best nutrition (or save me the most from buying commercial feed)? I haven't had the soil tested at all yet I'm working on it I know that could help you answer that question..

    They are going to have 3-4 acres of pasture, working on improved.

    I can't really give you anything to plant. Goats do better on browse than they do grazing. They need a wide variety of different plants from fine stemmed to woody plants, really 3 overgrown acres would be better than 5 improved acres where goats are concerned.
    5) Should I cross fence the 3-4 acres so I can rotate their grazing? Is that enough acreage for say, 2 does and their kids (1, 2 or 3 kids each?) I don't think I would have any kids left over before they breed again, if so only for a short time. Do they need to be rotated pastures for sanitary reasons? Are there any animals that they shouldn't graze after/with or vice versa?

    Cross fencing to rotate grazing is a great idea. For the amount of animals that you are talking about it shouldn't be a problem and will be a good way to control parasites(worms). Just keep in mind that the lifecycle of most worms is 21 days and rotate accordingly. Most animals that you will encounter do not graze like goats do...maybe llamas or alpaca do but not cows, horses or things like that.
    Hope this was helpful and not too confusing!!
     
  17. Lost-Nation

    Lost-Nation Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    My *plan* is to acquire a pair of LaMancha does
    1) what would you recommend here for a beginner age wise, kid yearling or full grown? . . .

    Hmmmmmmm, lotsa questions w/ lotsa possibilities & lotsa angles to consider.

    I wouldn’t recommend starting out w/ kids b/c they are WAY too easy to mess up, LOL. (Yep, been there done that.) So I guess it’d depend on how confidently you feel abt “jumping into things”. Getting a “veteran” doe (but not too old b/c they’re easy to mess up, too, LOL) is a great suggestion, I think! If you’re brave enough, maybe see abt a nice, easy-going milker & maybe a dry doe (or a wether) to keep her company. Another option would be to maybe see abt getting dry but bred does . . .? They require a little “extra care” in late gestation, but nothing terribly overwhelming.

    Generally speaking on production only, volume usually increases w/ the more freshenings a doe has under her belt, usually peaking at “middle age” & then declining as the doe ages. So . . . comparing a first freshener’s production to her dam – or to any does w/ more than one freshening – is going to be a tough one as far as what you might expect from her. You could get a good idea, though if the breeder can provide pretty good information regarding the does’ “behind” her previous lactations, though.

    Other “production” things to take into consideration aside from genetics & number of freshenings will be things like: how many she kidded with b/c her body should automatically adjust to how much milk to put out; what she’s being fed, your milking routine, how much “pushing” she’s getting, etc. etc. etc. One biggie that I feel is often overlooked is the doe’s overall “constitution” . . . not just her physical &/or genetic self but her psychological self, too. Her attitude abt life in general can have a lot to do w/ how she does all the way around! Where she ranks in the herd hierarchy can also be a determining factor on if she’ll be a laid-back, go-w/-the-flow easy-keeper vs. a Nervous Nelly, hypersensitive Low Man on the Totem Pole, hard-keeper. (Believe it or not, this one can do a 180* w/ a doe moving to a different herd/farm/etc. environment! Even just moving to a different pen, cohabiting w/ different animals, LOL.)

    As far as keeping a set of balls to sell . . . Wheweee! That one’s “Can O’ Worms” material, LOL. “Improvement” should be the main goal of any conscientious breeder – registered or not. You’ll often see the phrase “. . . for the betterment of the breed” when it comes to breeding just abt any species. That being said, if that set of balls is sired by an outstanding quality buck & out of an outstanding quality doe - & if the breeding indeed happened to result in kids of even better quality than sire & dam (Quality Sire + Quality Dam doesn’t ALways result in Quality offspring – there’s a lot of “luck” involved, LOL), than . . . the balls might indeed be worth keeping intact since there’s a chance they’ll have something positive to offer to the gene pool.

    As far as marketability of those superior quality balls . . . that’ll depend on what the market will bear in your area. Most registered breeders would thumb their nose at the idea of keeping/using an unregistered buck as breed stock – even if he came from 100 generations of well-proven, fabulous quality stock on both sire & dam’s sides.

    So just remember: the market is fickle! You just have to figure out what people are doing & looking for in your area, so you can figure out how you can best “supply” the “demand”. Papers will usually bring more than no papers. . . w/ the very existence of registration papers oftentimes being deemed “more important/attractive/whatever” if the fickle consumer can’t see beyond that &/or mistakenly overlooks an animal’s overall quality.

    If you have children who are/get involved in 4H, you’d probably be all set, registered or grade as long as your animals are healthy & good quality. If you decide to “go registered” & strive to breed “fancy” goats, that’s a whole different ball-game, LOL. I won’t blather on abt that one unless you or anyone else exhibits interest. I will say however, that it is cuttttttt throat & very hard to get your foot in the door. Put on your steel-toed boots. It’s also an especially big challenge for big-hearted, hypersensitive & philanthropic stooges . . .such as Yours Truly, LOL. It can be done though, LOL!

    2) Are there any flaws in my reasoning? Or pitfalls warnings or guidance you might have? . . .

    You’re obviously well-read & resourceful, so . . . unless you’re super-squeamish, I’m feeling quite confident that you could do most of your own vetting! That’ll save you a ton, expense-wise.

    As far as your herd “paying/subsidizing” . . . as they say w/ goats: “& herein lies the problem”, LOL. Goats are a tough market to get into. . . dairy, meat or fiber. Pick a bunch of goat breeder brains & see what you come up with. I’d venture a guess that 9 times out of 10, they’ll probably tell you something like: “Ain’ no money in goats . . . you’d be lucky if you can break even!”, LOL! If you’re determined enough & resourceful enough however, I believe that you CAN figure out how to at least break even. Most breeders are hobbyists & unless you have the wherewithal to “go commercial” somewhere/somehow, niche markets seem to be the most successful route. Just gotta find ‘em & figure out how to cater to ‘em.

    3) Would I be likely to come out even or possibly surplus with my plan? . . .

    This one would probably be tough for anyone but a Floridian to answer. Y’all feed goats funny down there, LOL. This would be where my FL friend could come in & have some good advice for you on feeding . . .& on many other aspects of Florida Goat Husbandry techniques. She’s not only an almost life-time breeder, but she also has a degree in Dairy Science!

    From what I’ve gathered, “perennial peanut” hay down there seems to be considered comparable, nutritionally/quality-wise & “use-wise” w/ the more commonly-used types of hay like a good quality alfalfa or alfalfa/grass mix . . . which don’t seem to be as readily available down there. Even w/ the best quality hay, you’ll probably still need grain for “optimum performance”. My own personal feeling abt commercial feed, though is: ICK! You just never know what that mass-produced stuff is made of – & it’s expensive, too. There are some good quality commercially-made rations, but they seem to be few & far between . . . or at least nothing that can be easily gotten where I live, I should say, LOL!

    I mix my own feed, not only b/c it’s much more cost-efficient, but also b/c that way, I know exactly what’s going into it. What works for me, rationwise might not work for the next person, though. If I were you, once again: I’d pick some local breeders’ brains & see what & how they feed their animals. Be prepared to get a zillion different answers, explanations, ideas & opinions, though, LOL! Best bet would be to hopefully find somebody who is doing what your goals entail, whose animals are obviously thriving & see how they do things. . . start out using their methods & just “tweak” them to suit your own needs as you see fit.

    4) What would you recommend I plant that would grow the best in Central Florida . . .

    As was already mentioned: browse is more suitable for goats than graze if you are going to be able to offer “pasture”. Depending on what’s already there, you might not need to “improve” much, if anything, LOL! Even with really terrific “pasture”, you’ll still want to offer hay. If they DO have access to really terrific browse, you might not need to provide it free-choice but would still probably want to offer it at least at night or something. My spoiled caprines all have free choice hay 24/7/365, but . . . even the lucky ones who have access to acres of pasture & woods during our short “pasture season” choose to lazily munch on the $$$ hay that mom has to BUY, LOL.

    Grain-wise – no clue what grains can be grown successfully down there but you could probably get loads of terrific information from your local extension office.

    5) Should I cross fence the 3-4 acres so I can rotate their grazing? . . .

    3-4 acres should be plenty & cross-fencing/rotating is GREAT if you have the wherewithal! That helps provide variety for their diets AND cuts down considerably on parasite possibilities. I can’t recall the “rules of thumb” when it comes to other species, but there is information out there on what other stock will work/not work, pasturing with/before/after/etc. goats, as far as rotation, parasite-sharing & who eats what.

    Something else you might consider if you live in a fairly “wild” area where predators might be an issue would be a livestock guardian dog or two. But . . . that’d be another topic/thread to discuss, LOL.

    Okay on that note . . . hopefully THIS windy drivel contains something helpful & wasn’t too awfully tedious &/or “confusing”, LOL.

    Regards,
    Sarah