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Getting Milking Doe and Female Kid :)

 
Katherine Chaisson
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I have been gathering pallets and am ready to build a goat house and pen for a nanny and kid I am about to acquire.

I am totally new to goat keeping and am getting goats because I love them and plan to use the milk in many wonderful ways. I think I should incorporate a milking stand in the goat house for convenience and make it as comfortable as possible for the upcoming Nova Scotia winter weather. I plan to get a load of sand, clay and straw delivered onto my homestead in the near future to begin learning the art of cob, so I might cob it in in the near future. A pallet goat house would be interesting an interesting cob project for someone just learning. And I think I will incorporate some earthship design techniques, and maybe even wofati.

I have almost 7 acres so foraging won't be a problem, but containment is a concern as I don't want goats eating everything in sight. They will be turned out onto the property as much as possible to graze naturally. What kind of organic feed is good for a milking doe? Can I feed them kitchen scraps? Any tips for good tasting milk? What about making cheese, butter, yogurt, cream, sour cream, ice cream. I'm so very excited about this!
 
Jorja Hernandez
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Hi Katherine & congratulations on your soon-to-arrive goaties. I'm new at it too, having rescued two young Boers earlier this year. I've learnt some good stuff here - if you haven't, check out all the posts and replies, and for just about anything about any kind of goat-keeping, this site is awesome: The Goat Spot

 
Alvin Mast
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I was raised on goats milk so we always had a small herd of goats. As far as what type of grain we always fed about two parts rolled oats and one part cracked corn along with free choice salt and minerals. I would like to make a suggestion of soaking your grain a few hours if its just whole oats and corn as this will help any type of animal get a lot more nutrients out of the grain which in turn you can feed them less. Also make sure they have all the grass or hay they can eat. This will help cut the grain consumption down,especially during the summer we fed less grain if they had a lot of grass,plus you will have healthier milk and animals. The taste of the milk will vary depending on their diet. If they eat a lot of brush and weeds etc the milk will have a lot stronger taste compared to milk that was produced on a nice clean pasture or hay. Also it is very important to get the milk cooled down as quickly as possible.Leave the lid of the container off until it is cold,periodedly stirring the milk. This helps it cool faster and helps the goatlike smell and taste escape as it cools. We used to make cheese,yogurt and ice cream.You get very little cream from a quart of goat milk compared to a quart of cows milk. If you leave it undisturbed for say 8-12 hours in a see through container you can see a small amount of cream at the very top that is a slightly darker color,although it is a lot harder to tell compared to a cows cream which is yellowish.You can feed them some kitchen scraps. they love stale bread etc although I would try not to feed to much because it is not their natural diet. You can also buy special goat feed at most feed stores but you will end up spending more for the goat's feed then on your own grocery bill,especially if you buy organic feed. As far as fencing goes i like chain link or the non climb woven wire horse fence the best. Regular woven wire field fence or wire cattle panels work great unless they have horns,because they will stick their head through the holes then when they pull back out they get their horns hooked in the fence which can turn ugly fast in the summer on a hot day and no shade and water. Barbed wire will also work but it has to be spaced close together and low to the ground as they will slip under or through it. Oh and by the way goats love beautiful flowers and shrubery......... :~) Good Luck!!
 
greg patrick
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
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We keep six goats, I've researched dairy production extensively over the past two years and have learned quite a few things.

First, get a copy of Goat Husbandry by David MacKenzie. Best book on goats ever written.

Second, grain is bad. Sure it increases your production by quite a bit, but it also ruins the fatty acid ratio and CLA content of the milk. Stick with forage. We use a little organic barley and grapes and sliced carrots to train our goats, and only grain to put some weight on the does if they get a little thin.

Third, goats are browsers, not grazers. They prefer trees to grass. While they will graze, it is not there preference. This is for parasite management. And NEVER let them eat wet grass; it'll kill them.

Forth, change their feed slowly. If you must put them on alfalfa, start throwing them flakes three days before you intend to throw a bale in their pen.

Fifth, goats will eat anything, but greens are best. Favorite foods are tree trimmings, corn husks, carrot tops and kale. Feed the lettuce and chard to your chickens.

Sixth, goats are tough as hell. Cold weather is good for them, especially the alpine breeds. In fact, cold weather makes them produce more because their rumens grow larger to warm them more, so they can produce more milk too. Don't over shelter them.

Seventh, if you want cream from goat milk, buy a separator or a Nigerian Dwarf. NDs are the only breed where the cream rises.

Eighth, any fence that isn't made of welded 'livestock panel' or 'hog panel' is worthless. Chain link is good too. NEVER use barbed wire for goats. They like to jump on and butt fences, and will bash each other into it. Don't do it.

Ninth, train your goats. We clicker train our goats and they are incredibly biddable. Note: Don't teach 'kiss' and 'shake' at the same time. That one didn't work out so well. . .
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Our goats on pasture
 
LaLena MaeRee
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I am so excited for you! I love goats too, going to have them someday. Thanks for posting all this information everyone, I enjoyed the learn.
 
Lynn Jacobs
Posts: 40
Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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Jorja Hernandez wrote:... for just about anything about any kind of goat-keeping, this site is awesome: The Goat Spot

Thanks for the link - I will check it out! This site, Fias Co Farm, has a LOT of great informative articles and photos.
 
Lynn Jacobs
Posts: 40
Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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Alvin Mast wrote: As far as what type of grain we always fed about two parts rolled oats and one part cracked corn along with free choice salt and minerals. I would like to make a suggestion of soaking your grain a few hours if its just whole oats and corn as this will help any type of animal get a lot more nutrients out of the grain which in turn you can feed them less.
I would personally steer clear of corn. Unless it's organic, it's going to be GMO. Remember, you are what YOU eat, as well as what that animal eats, too. Goats don't necessarily need grain, or a lot of it, but a little bit can be good for pregnant and nursing does. I'd personally go with barley and oats, and I would sprout it, too.
 
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