What do I need to get started?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Vette Eaterr, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. Vette Eaterr

    Vette Eaterr Well-Known Member

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    It's going to be a few years before I really get started, but I'm looking to raise goats for meat and milk. Kind of a SHTF kinda thing. I'm not looking for looks, or great tasting . I'm looking for most meat and milk for said amount of feed. I'm not planning on making money with them.

    Example: goat breed A has so-so tasting milk/meat but is ok on small amount of feed.

    So cheap/easy to raise and hardy. I hope I'm not asking to much, but is there just a no frills breed that just chugs along eating whatever and does just fine?

    Also, as far a equipment, if you had to do it right, what would you have?

    I've been around cattle, but have no experience with goats, so reply accordingly...lol

    Thanks, Bob
     
  2. suzyhomemaker09

    suzyhomemaker09 Well-Known Member

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    We are primarily LaMancha folks...but something in your post strikes me that a Nigerian dwarf would be a good choice for you. Meat/bone ratio is good...they milk well for size...easily handled. If you are going to milk your goats you will have to be conscience of what you feed them as what goes in can effecct what comes out.
     

  3. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    No matter what goat breed you chose, you will end up with an excess of kids in order to have the goats lactate and give milk. The males will be for butcher and the doe kids will be for sale. You posted that you did not want to make money, but unless you are independantly weathy and money is truly not an issue, your goats will drain you finacially unless you can recover some of your costs by selling doe kids. So pick something saleable and raise quality (healthy and decent genetics for milk or meat or both).

    All goats need some kind of good care. If you are looking for "billies and nannies" that you can raise as brush goats with little thought to their care and still reap the rewards of goat milk and meat, you may be quite disappointed.

    You are doing great though by coming here and reading and asking questions. Many people on this goat board have much experience and some are new to goats. Ask away. We all end up picking the breeds we have based on our needs and after some trial and error. Visit some local goat farms, nice ones with knowledgeable folks. Don't buy the first goats you see and be careful of buying goats with CL (abcess disease) and CAE. If you get these diseases in your herd, you will crash and burn quickly....it is hard to recover when you start with poor animals. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on breeding stock, just find a reputable breeder that tests their goats (very common, not a weird request). These people should be willing and able to answer your questions and you should not get a weird vibe from them. Listen to your gut if a deal is too good to be true.

    Also, have your facilities in place before you bring your goats home.
     
  4. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    I wouldn't think the nigerians would be the greatest for such a plan. They probably don't range as well, and they certainly wouldn't be able to reach as high for browse. They are cute though. :)
     
  5. Vette Eaterr

    Vette Eaterr Well-Known Member

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    Since the info was lost, I'll repeat my question in short form. What kind of barn/ pasture layout works best, if starting from scratch. Also, do they need help kidding, or is it like when I worked on a hog farm, you woke up and there were piglets?
     
  6. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would recommend that you start right where you are - looking for information. Go to the library or buy several good goat books and read, read, read. There are several good sites for goat info as well. www.dairygoatsplus.com, www.fiascofarm.com, etc. Hope I got those right...I'll go check and make sure. (edited to add, yup, the links work :) ) Being here on this site, reading as much of the archives as you can, is great. It's a whole lot easier to figure out what you want BEFORE you buy your first goat.

    Are you going to want more meat or more milk? If you are looking for meat production, Boer goats would give you the most meat and there is no reason you can't milk a Boer for a modest amount of milk. A LaBoer (LaMancha/Boer cross) would give you more milk and still a good meaty animal. Nubians are pretty common (easy to find and if you are not looking for show quality, fairly inexpensive), but they can be noisy (so can Boers). LaManchas tend to be quieter, with overall sweet temperaments, and excellent milkers with fairly meaty carcasses on the wethers. Boers tend to be easier to keep on range, as long as they can get out of the rain. These are just general statements, as there are plenty of goats that never read the books, lol. I have a fairly quiet Nubian, and one of my LaManchas is the mouthy one. :rolleyes:

    Now, to practical matters. Have you tasted fresh goat's milk and/or eaten goat meat? If you are looking for SHTF insurance, you'd better make sure you LIKE what you're going to be eating. I know you said you didn't much care about the taste, but I guarantee that if you don't like it now, you are not going to like it any better in an emergency/SHTF scenario. You need comfort in that kind of situation, not a totally different and "foreign" flavor.

    Tasting a variety of goat's milk from different breeds and even different does within breeds is a good idea. Tastes in milk vary and you may find you prefer milk from one over another. When the time comes to actually buy a goat, taste her milk, if at all possible. I've had does that milked great, but had an off taste, or had milk that quickly became "goaty". I have a very sensitive nose, and I can't stand to drink milk that has started to "turn". I have goats now that milk well, and their milk still tastes great 5 days later. I have some goats that I will milk for kitchen use and others that I use for feeding kids, animals, etc. Some folks tell me they can't taste anything wrong with the same milk that tastes bad to me. :shrug:

    Again, try goat meat before you decide to keep goats. I think it tastes just a little like lamb, but mostly it has its own flavor. I like it. Some folks say they like it if it's soaked in milk for a while before cooking - much like you would a deer, to get rid of the gamey taste. Some folks say they just don't like the taste, period. Lots of people do like it. You won't know until you try. If you don't like goat meat, but you do like the milk, you could keep a dairy goat, and use it to help feed a meat animal you DO like to eat - say a calf or a pig.

    There are as many different setups for shelters and pastures as there are goatkeepers. The books will have ideas for you, and we often have pictures of barns posted here. The basics are at least a 3 sided shelter, with the open side away from the main wind direction, pasture, browse, or dry lot (all feed brought to your animals). A source of fresh, clean water. Buckets emptied and refilled frequently are fine; just be aware that goats won't drink water if they have pooped in it - even one berry is enough to make them avoid it. Plenty of safe food (read up on what plants are poisonous) available at all times. Remember that you will need to feed hay part of the year in most parts of the county. Basic shots, hoof trims, worming, cocci prevention, minerals specific for goats and baking soda (both free choice), and a stocked first aid/kidding kit are all important. Stout fencing is a must, unless you live in the middle of a good 100 acres (and maybe even then, lol). Field fence or no-climb fence works well, as do stock panels, but the panels are more expensive.

    Most kiddings are pretty uneventful, but if you can be present, so much the better. At the very least, when you know kidding time is close, check on the doe frequently so that if there are kidding problems, you are in a position to assist before the doe is too tired. I've had to go in after kids a number of times, mostly for triplets that have managed to get a little tangled up. Hard to have a good outcome from a situation like that if you aren't around.

    One last thing - goats are social creatures and a single goat is most often a very lonely (and noisy) goat. You'll be looking at owning at least 2 goats, although there are goats who live happily with a dog or sheep for company. Hope this helps a little to answer your questions. I'm sure there will be others to offer advice, too.