What breed of goat is best?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by happydog, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. happydog

    happydog Well-Known Member

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    Of all the animals in the world, my 7 year old is besotted with goats. We're going to have to get a few. She loves goat cheese and assures me earnestly that she could milk twice a day. uh huh.

    I'm thinking of getting Nigerian Dwarfs because of their small size and quality of milk. But I'd love to hear pros and cons of any goat breeds.

    I had a couple of La Mancha's 20 years ago. One was a sweetie but the other one was a spawn of satan. She spent the whole day figuring out how to get out of the fence. And I have to admit, I'd rather have a prettier goat this time around. Like a dainty little Saanen.

    Are there any goat breeds that are more content to stay home or is it just luck of the draw? Are smaller goats really easier to contain or do they just squeeze out of smaller spaces?

    Ideally I'd like a breed that's laid back, gentle with children, and basically just likes to stay in the yard eating weeds and looking pretty.

    And what are the drawbacks, if any, of NDs?

    I'd love any input or advice. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  2. deineria

    deineria Well-Known Member

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    First - lol - Saanen are huge! I love them, but they are anything but dainty. haa haa! I didn't see one at nationals that could be called dainty - ;)

    But Nigerians sound like a good choice for you. Make sure you buy from real milking lines. Some don't milk well.
    They don't give a lot of milk, but most families don't need a lot.
    I've found the Nigerians to be sweet, very cute and easy to keep.
     

  3. crazygoatgal

    crazygoatgal Well-Known Member

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    I raise ND's and am completely objective:D I got them because of just the reasons mentioned above. They are wonderful with children and the elderly. They are sooo friendly and love to be with their people. Mine never run away when they are loose in the yard with me. They can be excellent milkers, but DEFINITELY get good milking lines from farms that test and will show you their results. I cannot stress that enough. If they don't test or get offended if you ask about tests/results, then you do not need to buy from them and will probably regret it if you do. Not all herds are diseased, but why play Russian Roullete with animals you know you will become attached to and love. I have one that gives a pint a milking, very poor, but has an amazing udder and has the name behind her for production. And it doesn't hurt that she is the sweetest thing in the world. She produces better than herself too. I also have some that give 1/2 gallon a day, even had one that gave just shy of a gallon a day. She was awesome. I have her daughter and granddaughters/grandson.

    The color combinations are amazing too. Like Christmas during kidding season. You never know what you are going to get. The milk is to die for as well. High in butterfat and protein. You want high protein for cheese making. I have only made Chevre but it was awesome!!! They aren't seasonal breeders either so you could have babies any time of year, which is really nice.

    Look up some farms like Rosasharn, Old Mountain Farm, Promisedland, and others to see what you should be looking for in an animal. There are some Nigerian breeders on this forum too. I test and am clean, wish I was closer to you I need to sell the majority of my herd.

    Good luck and hope you see the light!:)
     
  4. QoTL

    QoTL Thinking up a great tag

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    For a child that age, I definitely recommend Nigies.

    I had an elderly one a few years ago and not only did the kids love her, she LOVED the kids. It was a completely mutual relationship.

    Now.. I have a nubian who was a bottle baby.. who shows the 'risks' involved with big goats and little kids. The nubian still thinks she is a 10 pound baby, and the other day stood up to her towering height and put her front legs on my 6yo dd's shoulders. Goat was being affectionate just like the littler babies, dd thought she was going to be squished and was terrified! Granted.. that's my ONLY big goat who thinks she's that little (she's also the one who will nearly knock me off the steps because she's behind me 'cuddling' against my back). But she's a lesson! My alpine will knock my kids over on her rush to the milkstand.. we all know to stand back or get trampled. Chickens and kitties out of the way!

    Nigies are cute, small, the babies are ungawdly cute, and easily handle-able by a 7yo. All goats are wonderful, and obviously my odd herd isn't the perfect example of breed behavior ;) but that's what I've learned.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    There are also Mini-Manchas, Mini-Alpines, Mini-whatevers.

    I have a Mini-Alpine for sale. 1 Year old. Located in southern Missouri.:D

    All goats are escape artists. They are intelligent and curious. Smaller goats will get out of smaller holes. Kids of Nigerian Dwarfs will fit out the holes in a cattle panel.

    Ditto on the aforementioned size of Saanens. They are BIG goats.

    Drawbacks on Nigerian Dwarfs - teat size unless you shop carefully and pay for a pedigree line that has adequate teats.

    On ANY breed, teat size and shape is critical. Also, health, testing for CAE and checking for CL cysts in the herd of origin. If the goat owners you are shopping with don't know what CL and CAE are, walk away. Do not even LOOK at their goats.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  6. crazygoatgal

    crazygoatgal Well-Known Member

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    I have to respectfully digagree with the statement that all goats are escape artists. Out of all the goats I have ever owned, I have had only 3 true escape artists and they were a pain in the neck. One was a buck and guess what happened? Yup, we had "oops" babies 5 months later. Got rid of him as soon as I could. The others were just very strong willed and smart goats who wanted to be wherever they shouldn't. Actually Nigerians want to be with their people, if raised around humans. I have actually walked mine up and down my dirt road in the warmer weather. It draws lots of looks and mostly smiles. My neighbor has Icelandic sheep and couldn't believe I could do that with my little herd. I had roughly 14 or so walking with me at one time. She was jealous. They don't usually want to run away or leave the herd. Just my personal experience.
     
  7. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We got Niggies when my son was 18 months old, and our herd queen treated him like one of her own babies. She would let him walk holding on to her and if he cried she would come running to check on him.

    At 5yr old my daughter could catch and handle our yearling buck with no trouble. I never worry about the children playing with the goats. More concerned about what they might do to the goats. :)

    As previously mentioned, do your home work and you will end up with sweet, friendly goats that will give you plenty of milk and lots of cute, cuddly kids.
     
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Oh, I didn't mean escape as in run away. Escape as in get out of the pen and come up to the house and look in the windows and dance on the hood of the car and eat the landscaping.
     
  9. jordan

    jordan Well-Known Member

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    I think the only drawback to ND's is that they think that they are dogs and see no reason why they shouldn't come into the house with you :teehee:
    As many have already said, they are great with kids, easy to handle, less to feed, less space required, etc. They do have HUGE personalities and ND owners tend to get extremely attached to them :kissy::cute:

    You don't need to go with a "name" farm, but do go with someone who tests or is willing to test the animals you are interested in. Talk to as many owners/breeders as you can before you buy and ask their advice and feedback. Everyone has particular tastes or experiences and though one may like a certain farm, others may not or may have had a different experience with them.
    A word of advice, though ND's come in many adorable colors, don't buy for color, buy for conformation, milking ability and longevity. Watch for too much inbreeding in the pedigree as this can lead to health/breeding issues. Height is also getting to be an issue with the breed so find a breeder whose animals are below the height standards (bucks included!). Be leary of those that say "my buck is over-height but he doesn't throw it in his daughters".
    Your average 2nd freshening+ ND will put out approximately 3-4 lbs of milk a day, some more, some a little less.
    Good luck! I'm sure if you go with the ND's, you'll be on here posting about your wonderful new babies in no time at all!
    Lois
     
  10. copperpennykids

    copperpennykids Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This actually describes a Saanen - except for the small size. ;) Saanens are very gentle (referred to as the gentle giants). My DD6 milks one of ours - she is always very patient with her.

    Large, easy to milk teats, lots of milk. Lots of milk. And did I mention lots of milk? Nice long lactations too - many Saanens enjoy "milking through" - which means you don't have to breed them to keep getting milk. They will drop in milk a little through the winter and pick back up in the Spring - at least 1 gallon a day or more.

    Our Saanens don't try to get out - more interested in eating, laying in the sunshine and making milk. Friendly, but not boisterous or "in your face". If you leave the gate open, they will eat all of your raspberry bushes - there is a goat code, after all! :hysterical:
     
  11. Tonya

    Tonya Guest

    I have two Saanens. I LOVE them. We joke that they're really dogs disguised as goats. My Vet doesn't know much about goats and was kind of shy when he saw how big they were. He was used to dwarf breeds. He saw my buck and my doe and hesitated. My goats, however decided to win him over. They came when called and stood there very nicely while he looked them over. He couldn't believe how kind and gentle they were!

    Here's my doe, Hermoinie next to my 5 year old daughter. [​IMG] Yes Hermoinie is big, but she's such a pasture marshmellow.

    Here's Hermoinie as an 8 week old doeling. [​IMG]

    You're telling me you can resist that sweet face?!
     
  12. VegRN

    VegRN Well-Known Member

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    I love my Nigies! They are a great size for handling, and mine do not test fences or tend to be escape artists. If I leave a gate open, they will take advantage of it, but they do not walk around single-mindedly looking for a way out. I find they are an incredibly sweet breed (although I admit they are the only breed I have a lot of experience with, but the breeder of my first 2 confirmed that she got into them because of their personalities). I have never had one even attempt to head butt me, although they do so with each other and with the dogs.

    Even my yearling wether who was wild when I got him is now tame and loves to come up for his scratches and lovin'. My doe is the sweetest thing, and her doeling loves to bury her face in my lap and snuggle! My new little bottle baby is showing definite signs of becoming a mama's boy. They all love to follow me around and check out what I am doing. For my 2 cents, you cannot go wrong with Nigis, but like others, I may be biased ;)
     
  13. Oat Bucket Farm

    Oat Bucket Farm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have three LaManchas and they are all so sweet and calm and quiet. My two year old has led the four month old doeling into the barn. My 9 year old has lead the year and half doe unto the barn. All three of my kids have been out in the pen and played with the goats. When any of my kids go near the fence, the goats are right there waiting to get pet. The four month old doeling and my two year old seem to share a special bond and they will spend quite a bit of time together at the fence with him reaching through just loving on her.

    None of my girls have ever attempted to leave the goat yard, they seem to prefer eating and dosing in the sun.

    Have I mentioned lately how much I love my LaManchas?
     
  14. victory

    victory Well-Known Member

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    What an interesting subject!! One of my favorite!!
    I have had mostly every breed of goat, mostly Nigerians thogh and I sure love them!
    I will warn you though as other have to be selective. If you do your homework, and save your money, you are bound to get some nice friends for your daughter.
    We have learned all about jumping goats and in my opinion it is genetic. We had a jumping buck, whos daughters all jump, there's no way to keep them contained save for hot wire.
    Another doe I had thought she was owned by the circus, and spent her days scaling the roof of the barn, I think she wanted to test my heart, she would climb to the top of the barn and FLY OFF!!! How she never broke a leg is beyond me.
    If you are not wanting to spend oodles of hard erned money, as mentioned there are lot's of mini..large breeds, we currently have two large LaMancha does bred to Nigerians. We expect the daughters to be great milkers!! Another gentle breed is the LaMancha, my personal favorite for milking and personality, I never met a mancha I didn't fall in love with!!
    Hope you have a great time finding your goats!!!
     
  15. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda Well-Known Member

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    I too am a fan of La Manchas, although I think personality also depends on the goat. My alpine likes nothing more than to be around me. When I'm done milking she walks me to the gate. When I'm cleaning the shed she is always in the way because she is just hanging around. The La Manchas are a little smaller than the Alpines and the Saanens. I think it also depends on how they are raised. It's no surprise to us to have them be friendly and behave well because most of us have spent the time to make sure that they are that way. Be around the goats you want to purchase for a little while and see how they behave around people. Make it a positive experience by preparing well before hand instead of trying to catch up afterward.
     
  16. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Do not purchase a goat who kicks your hand away when you try to milk her at the farm where you are shopping.
     
  17. QoTL

    QoTL Thinking up a great tag

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    Or bucks around like your hand is made of fire :rolleyes:
     
  18. Goat Servant

    Goat Servant Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Im going to help you out here & read the replies after.

    You want Boers. They dont go around looking for ways to get out they are too laid back. They cant even jump at least mine dont. Unless you have a feed pan they might stand on rear legs & walk a few steps.
    And they ARE pretty & will eat your weeds. But your fence must be maximum security due to their sheer weight, they can bow it out by just looking at it.:grin:
     
  19. KimM

    KimM Student of goatology.

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    NOT for a 7 year old. Sure they're somewhat laid back until they don't feel like being handled for one reason or another, then they're like Sherman Tanks. (I raised them for afew years) Unless they are half dairy bred, they also usually have small teats and if the OP wants them for dairy use, I also recommend a Nigerian or Mini breed (Nigerian cross) with larger teats. And yes, I'm a little partial. :grin: