Small Goats for Milking, i.e. Pygmies or Mini Nubians?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by fin29, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the beginning stages of researching milk goat ownership. Because of zoning restrictions where we are, we are considering the smaller breeds which are allowed as pets here. This is a 5 year plan, so I'm looking for a place to start my research. I will not purchase any animal until I know it inside and out, apprentice with someone experienced, and have good housing and fencing.

    I understand that the smaller breeds don't produce a whole lot of milk, which is good for our family; we're looking for some to drink and to make some cheese and toiletry products with the excess. How much milk can I expect from a Pygmy or perhaps a PygmyxNubian? Are there other breeds that I'm not considering? Realistically, how much milk can I expect from an average small breed goat?
    Are there any specific health problems or concerns I should have in mind when choosing stock? Things like birthing difficulties, diseases, etc. that are more prevalent in the smaller breeds?
    Are there different fencing/housing considerations with the smaller breeds? Can they jump higher, get into "different" types of trouble, etc.?
    Am I setting myself up for difficult milking with these small animals? I have the means to construct any stands, etc. to make it easier, and I have exceptionally small and strong hands. Anything else I have to think about?

    Finally, any books that you would recommend--specifically, books that would provide information on all aspects of goat ownership from breeding/birthing to rations to eating?

    Thanks in advance for your guidance.
     
  2. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    If you want small AND milk, you should look hard at the Nigerian Dwarf, which is a dairy breed. Pygmies are just not bred for milk production- it would be like milking a beef cow! The American Goat Society does production testing and registration of NDs, you should take a look at their website. There are a couple of ND breeders in Maine too. From the AGS production requirements, it looks like average ND production is a little under a quart a day averaged over 305 days, but there's a few that will go over 2 quarts. An ND will be more expensive than a standard dairy goat but the market for their kids might be equally higher too.
    There's not a whole lot out there for goats books. I have Belanger's "Raising Dairy Goats".
    I don't have mini goats myself but there are people her who do & they'll help you out. One feeding thing- sheep feed/minerals are NOT okay for goats, despite what the labels and the guy at the feed store might say! The copper and protein levels are too low for a milking goat.
    Good luck! Goats are great!
     

  3. Trisha-MN

    Trisha-MN www.BilriteFarms.com

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    Check out Kinder goats - I think you'll like what you find out and they seem to fit what you are looking for. http://members.aol.com/KGBAssn/ (Or PM me)

    Kinders are very easy kidders and are easier on our fences than our Nigies, who are very willing to to over, under and through a fence. Overall, we also find them easier to milk.

    There - I kept it short and sweet LOL

    Trisha-MN
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I'll second the Kinder goats (pygmy x Nubian). I have one doe milking, and she's giving just under two quarts a day, even though we stressed her by moving her to a new home while she was lactating. (This always makes them drop off. She'll do better in her next lactation.) They can give up to a gallon or more. If you choose your breeder carefully, you will be able to find goats that are easy to milk. Little tiny teats are not easy to milk, especially if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel as I do.

    I have mine in cattle panel pens, and haven't had any trouble with them trying to get out. I *highly* recommend the cattle panels, especially the ones with smaller holes at the bottom. Most other forms of fencing just won't hold up to goats very well. (Chain link would be good, but it's too expensive for most people.)

    Kinder goats are good for meat, as well as milk; their milk is quite rich and high in milk solids so you get a higher yield of cheese from each gallon of milk; and they don't require as high a level of feeding as the larger breeds do. This might not be important now, but could be critical later if the economy got really bad and you couldn't afford grain for your animals.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  5. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent advice. I looked at the website yesterday and I think the kinder goat is where I'll begin my search.
    Thanks.