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Getting started with Goats

 
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So we're new to goats. We currently raise quail and are transitioning from a small urban set up to a larger suburban set up on 2 acres. We have 1.5 acres of pasture and we'd like to get goats in the fall. A local farm a few towns over has a mamma goat that they would love to re-home. We already know why : she produces less than the other milk does and she has these small teats. Well we're not a production farm so I'm ok with the lower production and I have insanely small lady hands so small teats don't scare me. The mamma gave birth to two bucklings who have to come with her. They're mixed breed so not papered but the farm is clean and the animals look nicely taken care of. We will send off for a test after we get her home. Our plan is to wether one of the bucklings so that will be mamma's companion. I'm not aware of any problems with keeping a mom and son combo but are there any behavior problems? If we love goats (which I've been dreaming about them for years) and we add more goats to the flock will the two not accept a new non-related goat? I'm hoping I'm making mountains out of mole hills but would love to hear from people who have actually started with a similar situation.
 
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Congratulations on the new land, and the beginning of your journey with goats!

I started with two twin sister goats, and they had no problems when I added more unrelated goats to the herd. There's always some fighting at the beginning, this is how they establish their butting order, but once things settle down, they get used to the new dynamics of the herd and things are back to normal.
 
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Whenever you bring in new goats, there will always be drama, but it is usually short lived. I have more on that here:
https://thriftyhomesteader.com/when-goats-attackeach-other/

Does usually get along great with their offspring forever, but you said the doe is coming with two bucklings and that you would wether one. What about the other one?
 
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Location: Louisiana
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How much room do goats really need to be comfortable and happy? Im about to move onto a 1/3 acre plot in a residential area, and regulations aside Im wondering if I plant enough and build up basically a "bush" there if I could support 1 goat.
 
Kate Downham
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The amount of land they need depends on whether you're bringing in any food for them. Are there nearby trees you can get branches from? Or a source of good hay? With 1/3 of an acre you might be able to support two goats completely from your own land if you've designed rotational goat food forest areas with multiple layers of plants such as tagasaste, mulberry, willow, comfrey, grasses and herbs.

If you're happy to bring some food in for them, then you could keep more goats, or reduce the amount if land you're keeping them on.

If you're bringing all of their food to them, then they don't need much space at all for a strawyard. I kept two goats for many years in a 6x6m (20x20feet) fence, I had a cable spool for them to play on, and set their hut away from the fence to give them another thing to run around, and they were always happy, healthy, and able to express their goat-ness.
 
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HI everyone..
So you got 2 baby males coming with Momma ...  I'm curious about what other Goat experienced permies here would say, I have always heard males should be "processed" asap and maintain only females, lots of people I've read elsewhere are always bashing males, I'm hoping someone here could talk about their experience having males... I've always thought to keep things in balance and natural there should always be at least 1 male in any herd of any animal, but lots of people seem to have problem with male goats in particular.

The other thing.. once these males become mature, wouldn't they be getting "too interested" in their own Momma?
Hoping someone could give some advice on male goats, or perhaps point out to another thread where it has already been discussed at length?
 
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Location: Faj√£ d'Agua, Brava, Cabo Verde
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Welcome to goat keeping, and enjoy!
I am goat keeping to provide us with meat and milk.
Personally I wouldn't keep males from the same bloodline together with my does. So before the bucklings are about 4 months old I have them sold, given away, traded or slaughtered.
We have to keep them on a leash or in a fenced place during dry season (about 8 months a year). Therefore, I keep two different family groups of 5 does in two different spaces. Four generations now. I am a sensitive person and I hate the fighting and chasing away. This way it's bearable My experience is, the more room they have the less they argue. O, how I love rainy season, with all local goats and bucks together on the communal grounds close to the village... Goat paradise!
When there's no rainy season (shit happens) I invite a buck - to perform his good work. Not because I have a problem with males, but to keep the peace and quiet in the limited space I have. My goats are either pregnant or with kids and/or being milked. No need for a buck being around all the time.

 
pollinator
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I'm planning to get goats within the next year and we would rather not keep males. I think that there are different reasons to not keep males for different species. With goats a big reason I have heard being the smell. I have a very sensitive sense of smell and I doubt that I could tolerate it  I barely tolerate bananas.

I've read that portable electric netting doesn't work great in my very dry chaparral area. Does this apply to stationary electric fencing as well.
 
Austin Guidry
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Kate Downham wrote:The amount of land they need depends on whether you're bringing in any food for them. Are there nearby trees you can get branches from? Or a source of good hay? With 1/3 of an acre you might be able to support two goats completely from your own land if you've designed rotational goat food forest areas with multiple layers of plants such as tagasaste, mulberry, willow, comfrey, grasses and herbs.

If you're happy to bring some food in for them, then you could keep more goats, or reduce the amount if land you're keeping them on.

If you're bringing all of their food to them, then they don't need much space at all for a strawyard. I kept two goats for many years in a 6x6m (20x20feet) fence, I had a cable spool for them to play on, and set their hut away from the fence to give them another thing to run around, and they were always happy, healthy, and able to express their goat-ness.



Thanks for your helpful response.

Our goals are to never buy feed (though we will if they are hungry) and to practice permaculture so we are definitely on board to create a food forest. I imagine the goats would be interested in some of the foods we are growing for ourselves, so having a goat section and a human section sounds like a good idea. And I'd also be wanting to use their dung for manure/compost.

I live in Louisiana, so we have lots of clay (but we are working on that through composting and mulching), it's usually hot, 70-90F, and humid from April to October, then dry and cold down to around 30-40F for a few months and occasionally mid-20Fs.

The property has live oak and magnolia. We'll definitely have to plant more. I have access to moringa seeds too, but in my experience they don't get very big here due to wet clay and cool winters.

It sounds like you named some fast growing plants, too. We have lots of willow growing in wet places.

I think we'd probably want to get a female especially to have milk at some point. Can kids can be given as much milk as they need until weaned, and then we would have several months of milk if continuously milked? That is what I have read anyway.

Thank you so much for being available for this!

If you know any good books (aside from your own!) or pages about different plants, domesticated and wild, they love to eat, please feel free to post it somewhere and tag me :)

I look forward to goats living out their goat-ness :) :) <3
 
Kate Downham
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Location: Tasmania
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Growing food for yourselves will probably find some nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs with your fruit trees - branches from these and the fruit trees can be fed to goats, and understory plants like comfrey, and edible herbs, can also be harvested and fed to goats. They'll also eat excess stuff from the vegetable garden, and you can plant grains and sunflower seeds to store as milking-time treats.

One of Bill Mollison's book's had a design for a permaculture goat yard - he had fenced-off hedges of tagasaste throughout the yard, so that food would grow through the fences for them, without the goats being able to eat it to the ground.
 
Deborah Niemann
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Carlos Gomezvelandia wrote:HI everyone..
So you got 2 baby males coming with Momma ...  I'm curious about what other Goat experienced permies here would say, I have always heard males should be "processed" asap and maintain only females, lots of people I've read elsewhere are always bashing males, I'm hoping someone here could talk about their experience having males... I've always thought to keep things in balance and natural there should always be at least 1 male in any herd of any animal, but lots of people seem to have problem with male goats in particular.

The other thing.. once these males become mature, wouldn't they be getting "too interested" in their own Momma?
Hoping someone could give some advice on male goats, or perhaps point out to another thread where it has already been discussed at length?



If the males are castrated (wethered), this is not a problem.
 
S.J. Flashner
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So I'm also newish on permies so I wanted to check the policy on this but we're planning to process/harvest the second buckling shortly after we bring him home because I've read that 5 months is the time when feed conversion is still good and the goat will give you most meat. This will make my starter flock the mom doe and her  wether son. For the next year I'm considering AI or a neighbor about a mile down the road has a buck that he rents out. The problem is that from other families in town who keep a family herd of goats they say he doesn't take care of his boys very well so I'm leaning AI.
 
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