starter goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by neal68, May 12, 2006.

  1. neal68

    neal68 Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2005
    new york
    i was wondering what would be the best breed of goat to start up with? we have no experience with goats at all. i was thinking mabe a nigerian dwarf. would this be a good choice or not :help:
  2. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2003
    North Salem, NY
    I would say any breed should be just fine, but make sure that the goats you get are dehorned. You should get some experience safely before taking an animal with horns. I would say that you could probably get two to three does, so that they have company in each other, and then if you decide to breed at some point, you can always use somebody else's buck. I see that you are from New York, and I thought I would let you know that I currently have some young goats for sale. They are percentage Boer goats. Here is a link to some pictures if you are interested. I currently have about 15 kids for sale.

    I'm sure that there are plenty of people here on this board that will point you in one direction or another, but the best advice that I could give would be to buy kids instead of mature animals, and to spend time with them on a daily basis. Bottle feeding is a great way to form a bond with your goats. Get them to know the hand that feeds them, and your goats will love you as much as you love them!

    (From North Salem, NY. About one hour north of NYC)

  3. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    It depends on what you want to do with them. Do you want to milk eventually? If so, then a dairy breed, of course. NDs are nice because they're small. We have Lamanchas and they have been pretty easy to care for, as far as dairy goats go.

    But, we started off with myotonic goats at first, for a few reasons. They're a nice size, on the small side, but not as small as a pygmy. They are very disease and parasite-resistant, much moreso then dairy goats. They're just very easy to keep. They don't need a lot of grain and do very well on a mostly forage-based diet. They also don't need to be wormed as often as dairy goats, and are just generally more healthy. They also don't usually challenge fences because of the myotonia. Now, our dairy goats don't challenge the fence either, but some will. So YMMV.
  4. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

    Sep 29, 2005
    Nubians are pretty, but they are LOUD!!!! I have gotten to the point where I prefer my Lamanchas. They give HUGE amounts of milk, are VERY QUIET, and their earlesslike apperance freaks out my uncle everytime he sees them!!! grin.
  5. yarddog4jc

    yarddog4jc Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Neal, I was in the same boat you are in this past winter. The more I read about Dairy goats the more I was imtimidated. What I wanted was a brush goat anyway. I found some San Clemente Island goat crosses. They are a little smaller than the big breeds. My buck is as nice as they come, 'Now'. My doe was very skiddish, but she is coming around. It is like the others said...What are your needs or wants and what is available and what can you afford? I like those boer crosses, would love to have one or two myself.
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I don't think I would recommend the Nigerian Dwarf goats for a first dairy goat (I'm assuming you want them for milking). I know people do start with them, and they are probably easier to fence because of their smaller size, but they are also harder to get a milk pail under -- because of their smaller size! Also, a lot of them seem to have very small teats, which makes milking uncomfortable.

    What I would suggest is finding out who breeds goats in your area, and see if you can visit them. Try milking goats with several different teat sizes, if possible. My first goat (an Alpine) had teats the size of summer sausages, and I've had others with teats so small they could only be milked with the thumb and one finger (I have a first freshener like that right now). Neither are easy to milk, and can cause pain in the hands. (I'm sure that first doe with the huge teats contributed to my carpal tunnel.)

    The other thing about meeting your local breeders is that you can 1. see some different breeds of goats, and 2. become familiar with the breeds that are locally common. You may have a preference for something exotic, but if, as I'm assuming, you plan to milk, you'll also have to breed (because goats only give milk after they've given birth), and that means you will need to either find a nearby buck to breed to, or own one. If you get the same breed as a local breeder, you may be able to use his or her buck instead of having to keep your own. I have Kinders, and the nearest breeder (who doesn't have a buck from my line) is about two hours drive away. That's too far, especially at current gas prices, to be taking does to be bred -- so I own one buck and am buying another shortly, even though we only have one acre. (Actually, I'm going to try to find someone local who would like to keep a line of Kinders going, and work with me on the breeding program, and then maybe I won't have to keep two bucks.) Bucks can be sweet, but they aren't always pleasant to have around. They are hard on fences, and some are dangerous. Personally, I'd really rather not HAVE to own one. Keep in mind that the price of gas, while likely to fluctuate up and down quite a bit, is trending upwards for the long term, and it may become impractical to travel out of your local area for breeding. Fall in love with the goats that are available, in other words!

  7. cjb

    cjb Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 2, 2006
    Oregon, just West of Portland
    Mixed breeds can also be very nice, hardy and less expensive. We have two does that are 3/4 Oberhaslis and 1/4 Saanen. So far, they have been ideal. Nice temperament, nice size TONS of milk and easy to milk. We cross them each year with a Nubian because the mixed areas are too cute to explain - they look like little airplanes ;-)

    I really like the Oberhaslis' because they're pretty, mild and quiet.
  8. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Jun 22, 2004
    Lexington Texas area
    Decide what you want your goats for then be sure to buy tame, hornless, disease-free ones. Do not buy a goat that is wild, no matter what, there are too many nice, sweet, gentle ones out there. Get two does, at least. If they are for milkers, you might want to go ahead and get two that are already trained to the milkstand and are used to being milked. That way you can learn on goats who are already experienced themselves, not a nubie milker with a nubie milkgoat. That is a not so hot combination as i found out when I started out many years ago. Others may have had good luck learning on young untrained does, but I had a hard time. I have had a number of different dairy breeds including Nubian, Saanan, Alpine, crossbreds and my absolute favorite...LaManchas, the earless ones (they have ears, of course, they just appear not to) . I love my LaManchas because of their very quiet nature and willing temperment. They give lots of milk for a long time. Nubians have nice long ears but very loud annoying voices...sorry Nubian lovers, just the way I feel!

    If you are getting goats for meat, Boers are awesome! They are the beefy white goats with the red heads (in most cases). They grow fast and are pretty hardy. Many times the horns ARE left on Boers though, a breeders preference thing whereas all dairy goats should be de-horned (disbudded).

    On our farm, we have LaManchas for milk and Boers for meat.

    Don't buy the first goats you see unless you are very sure because they are all cute. Learn about diseases such as CAE and CL prior to purchase or later it WILL come back to haunt you. Ethical breeders will be happy to show you proof of a clean herd and answer your questions.

    Here is a nice link. Click on "site map" and scroll down.
  9. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

    Jul 6, 2005
    We got little pygmy/nigerian/god knows what mutt goats to start with, and boy I will tell you what, they gave us heck until they settled in, running away, as in off the property because they crawled under the fence, getting their heads stuck, all kinds of stuff. I think that boers would be one of the better first time goats, small goats can be hyper, boers are really calm and gentle. Good Luck, the choice is really up to you. Good Luck. Bye.