• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Any Goat Owners on Board?

 
M H Bonham
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi there! I have LaManchas and a number of mixes. Anyone have goats here?
 
Kate Michaud
Posts: 77
Location: Ontario, Canada
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have 3 milk goats; 1 Saanen, 2 scrub, and a fourth to pick up.
Have had milk goats for 16 years now.
Used to have a herd of about 20, too much trouble, easier with just a few.

K
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have 3 American Alpines-- a whether and two doelings. We just them about 6 weeks ago, and are loving it. They're affectionate and attentive like dogs, but they don't bark and they're better at finding their own food.
 
M H Bonham
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I guess I should 'fess up. I have:

1 LaMancha x Oberhaasli buck
1 LaMancha x Oberhaasli doe (looks Oberhaasli)
2 LaMancha Does
1 Pygmy cross Doe
1 Alpine Doe
2 Boer Crosses Does
5 Wethered kids (we had a LOT of bucklings this year)
2 Doelings (1 LaMancha x Oberhaasli and 1 LaMancha x Oberhaasli x Boer x Alpine)

The wethered kids are our meat supply this year. My does have decided to go out of milk. Sigh.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We don't have ours yet but will be getting some pygmy goats next year when we move onto our homestead. This year has been the get it ready to occupy year.
 
M H Bonham
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant RedHawk wrote:We don't have ours yet but will be getting some pygmy goats next year when we move onto our homestead. This year has been the get it ready to occupy year.


Ever owned goats before?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
M H Bonham wrote:
Bryant RedHawk wrote:We don't have ours yet but will be getting some pygmy goats next year when we move onto our homestead. This year has been the get it ready to occupy year.


Ever owned goats before?


No but we have spent a year becoming educated on them, we have a fair library of goat books now. We also have found two long time breeders that have agreed to mentor us for our first year of being goat owners, they will be the ones we buy our starting stock from too. I know we have a lot to learn about these critters but also feel like we have a pretty good understanding of what we are getting into. Our plan is for milk and meat. We have researched most of the breeds we could acquire in our area and have decided that two breeds would work best for us; Nigerian Dwarfs or the pygmies. My wife, Wolf has expressed a desire to start off with the pygmies, so that is what we will do. This winter is my build time for the goat house and first enclosure fence. I am hoping to start out with two does and a wither, I will eventually get a buck if I can't use the bucks at the breeders for freshening the does.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You all my have some advice on this. I wanted a milking goat for milk only but realized in order to have one all the time they need to get pregnant. I don't want many goats, just the milker and a companion for her like another doe or whether. I'm assuming a whether can be kept with a doe but I really don't know that either. For those who keep a milking goat but do not breed them.....what do you do? I don't want to kill them so its not for meat purposes for myself. If I can't figure out how to keep a milk goat then I will end up just getting two whethers for company. Any advice or info on how you deal with having milk without actually breeding them on your land and so forth would be helpful. Thank you.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you want a doe in milk, they have to be freshened. It is my understanding that you should not milk a goat for more than ten months, at which point they need to be rested for at least two months before you freshen them again. You can perhaps make arrangements with a breeder to bring your doe back when it needs to be freshened. This is what we are doing, we have found two breeders, one breeds Nigerian dwarfs and one breeds pygmies, we have talked to both breeders and they are willing to let us bring our does (which we will be purchasing from them) back for freshening by one of their bucks. The fee for this will be determined at the time we purchase our does.

Currently my wife is waffling between these two breeds but I know that when we are ready to buy, she will decide on which ever one she truly wants. Since we began our research into Goat breeds and suitability for our needs, I have been leaning towards the Nigerian Dwarfs. The breeders we have contacted are very nice and very willing to help us get started, both with stock and with mentoring advice and instruction on; disbudding , hoof trimming, worming, etc. and everything else we will need hands on experience with. They brought up the freshening issue and offered the buck service until we decide to get into breeding as an active herd.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmm, that is a good idea. I would have the kids to figure out....whether to keep, sell, bring myself to kill....etc... I may have a nearby farmer with cattle to work with for this. I'm just not sure he has goats or what kind if so. I don't mind like 4 goats running around but I don't want a lot of them. I will have the land for it but I need to stay within my abilities. I won't have goats for about a year yet possibly two years but I'm planning ahead so I have an idea what I"m getting into and will need. Not to mention learning everything I can on them to care for them well. I do have a cattle farmer relative whom I'll be spending time with to learn from at some point soon so that will help. I may also be able to make arrangements with him for what I'm looking for. Ultimately, if milking is too much of an issue then I will just have a couple around because I do enjoy them. Plus they will give me some great compost along with the chickens.

Sounds like you and your wife have exciting times coming up. I'm excited for you. Its great that you can learn from the breeder, I'm sure that will be a huge help in getting started. I feel so bad for the goats with disbudding but I do see later they don't seem to care much. I'm just a tender heart for the animals which is not the best for raising cattle I'm sure but I have killed other animals for meat. I can do it, I just don't like to so prefer not if I don't have to.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Depending on your needs, the kids can always be sold.

Our long term plan is to keep a small herd (up to 7 does in milk, replacement does for when we decide to let the working girls retire and the bucks will be wethered). We will use them for milk, cheese making and some of the wethers will become food, but only as needed, I do not like the idea of having a freezer full of meat when I can get it as needed. much easier to keep your meat fresh and walking around until it is needed. We have chickens and rabbits for those purposes too. We are running our place as a self-sufficient homestead. We plan on spending as little money as possible for food and other needs.
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm just a tender heart for the animals which is not the best for raising cattle


Just a thought on having a tender heart: intellectually, I understand that death is part of life, and you can't have one without the other, and all that. Emotionally, though, it still bothers me. Assuming the same is true for you, cattle is the best way to go, since killing one animal produces hundreds of pounds of meat. Raising smaller animals (like chickens or rabbits) means killing 100 or more to produce the same amount of meat as you get from one cow or one steer. I'm not saying one way is better than the other, but for a person troubled by killing, there's a lot less of it with cattle.

That said, we raise chickens and goats. But we have a system in which they benefit the farm even when they're not producing eggs or milk, so they get to live out their full lives, even when they're no longer "productive."
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That sounds like a great plan and lots of milk! I agree, if you have goats aside for meat then it is better to keep them fresh as long as needed. I love self sustaining homes....unfortunately for myself, killing the animal is the hardest for me. I fall in love with them way too easy. I plan to have a couple goats (hopefully for milk & cheese) and chickens (eggs & possibly meat) but mostly veggies, fruits, nuts, herbs etc... Chickens will be the larger of my animals but only about a dozen. I have to keep things small because I'm disabled so walking and bending has its limits. The amount of things I want I will be able to care for. I will also have help so on the bad days I don't have to over do it. Efficiency is definately what I'm going for. My partner wants bees (honey & candles) so I'm sure we'll have flowers as well for them. Cover crops and things will be a variety for all with the animals fertilizing. This isn't a business just a home but you never know what will happen as things grow. We have discussed a small farm stand for excess watermelon and so forth so that is a possibility but not a main goal. Our goal is just to live healthy and happy with animals for company and benefit.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mountain,

That is an excellent idea and it has crossed my mind. I thought about a dairy cow instead of a goat for milk for that reason. Would it be possible for me to kill the cows over the goats? Certainly might be since I do view them differently than goats. The only reason I"m not testing it out is because of my physical limitations. Goats seem a lot faster but they are smaller to move around than cows and eat less... I think. lol Another reason would be if I did fall in love with the cows I'd have a lot more animals to care for due to my sensitivities. Watch, in about 5 years when I have everything established I'll be talking about my cows...lol
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have a huge freezer for meat firstly, and we don't eat a lot of beef secondly. We follow our culture and so ask forgiveness of any animal we take the life of to give us life, it is part of our spirituality to treat all living things with respect. We have worked hard to get back the diet that our ancestors had, it makes us much healthier than the western diet most American people are eating these days.

One dairy cow will produce more milk than two or three dairy goats, if we had children still at home it might be different, however, my wife is lactose intolerant and cow milk is not an option nor would it be. I grew up on a dairy farm, I took care of a lot of cows, and have dealt with the health issues they can have, and the safety issues they can create for humans being around them. My wife grew up on a cattle farm, neither of us desire to have even one cow, they are much more trouble than goats when it comes to taking care of the animals. Cows would need largish pasture areas, we have a lot of browse and no pasture. We are getting older and cows can be a problem to handle since they are so heavy and large, all things to consider.

I do not have any issues with properly killing an animal for the benefit of my life, be it chicken, rabbit, goat, deer, they are all here for our enjoyment, both alive and when needed, as food. They are not stressed when they are sent to the spirit world, they are asked for forgiveness and thanked for their gift of food.

For two people, some of a cow could end up going to waste as freezer burn. This would be unacceptable to us, to waste any part of a creature who gave its life so you might live is against our ways.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant,

Definately, if you have no need for that amount of meat then there is no reason to kill it. Unless of course you were feeding many with it. That is not the case for me. We have a small family so that is an additional reason for the small amount of animals that will be on our land. Besides milk if I do get milking goats and eggs from chickens, I plan to use the manure for the gardens. That will be a long term benefit since I'm thinking we most likely won't kill our animals. Although I may kill a chicken now and then if I muster it up. I do have respect for the farmers that are able to have the self sustaining farms and homesteads the whole way. As Mountain said, life and death is a natural cycle... I"m just not there yet and perhaps my need is not great enough for it. I will be happy working around the animals though. =)
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We all live as we must live while being true to our self. I do not judge anyone that is being true to themselves and hold to their beliefs, that is how it is supposed to be.

 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well said. I think I'll be taking some of your advice. Instead of the breeder I'll wait and talk to my relative and the farmer nearby about the goats. I may be able to work something out with one of them that will solve my goating issues. It will be awhile before I were to get any to begin with so I have plenty of time. I just like to plan ahead for at least some things in my control. Thank you so much for your advice and comments!
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Bryant, I hope it was clear that I meant no disrespect. If not, I apologize. I just wanted to address Ethriel's feelings as one important consideration in which animals to raise. As you said, it's also important to consider the work/difficulty involved with different animals, and whether one's land is naturally grassland or woodland. Like yours, our land is more browse than pasture, so we have goats instead of cows.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mountain Krauss wrote:Hi Bryant, I hope it was clear that I meant no disrespect. If not, I apologize. I just wanted to address Ethriel's feelings as one important consideration in which animals to raise. As you said, it's also important to consider the work/difficulty involved with different animals, and whether one's land is naturally grassland or woodland. Like yours, our land is more browse than pasture, so we have goats instead of cows.


I didn't take anything said by anyone that way. We are all individuals, with hopefully, our own feelings and ways to deal with life. Indeed, it is always good to think things through, especially when it comes to dealing with others, be they humans (two legs) or other creatures (four legs), we all come from the Creator, we are all related, we must respect all life since we are all related. If you are being a caretaker of mother earth, it is better to adjust to what is already provided by the earth mother, than to attempt to make it fit something that was not her vision. Just the way I was raised and how I try to live.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is one of the things I love about this site, the people are friendly. I've seen a couple posts on the site that could be taken a little heated but when you read on you can tell it was not intended that way. The problem is that text doesn't show you peoples inflections. Makes it hard to tell if they are upset or not at times. As Bryant says, we are all related........ and if you think about it.... we all want to grow our food and live well on this site. Great place. I'm happy to have everyones perspectives of living this way because someone has ideas I have not even thought of. Goats are new to me but I'm finding lots of advice here. I've also learned that the care involved described by Bryant of cows I would not be able to handle long term. Mountain has me thinking outside the box about being able to have animals for meat if I cannot kill them myself. Win win.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
1
forest garden goat trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ethriel, I would recommend 2 females and put them in kid alternate years. That way you always have milk and you are running each nanny through for approx 18 months of milking which is absolutely fine for them. That way they only kid every other year which is much better for them than every year.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Katy,
Thank you, that certainly is something for me to consider. I love all the suggestions, it gives me many options to use as my journey progresses.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What Katey said, although some goats can just stay in milk for years on end without being re-bred, depending on breed and the individual goat. Certain breeds work better for this than others, you'd want to do some research.

I have had goats for most of the last thirty-one years, and have had representatives of most of the breeds. My favorites are Oberhaslis and Nubians. Right now I have Nubians -- a doe in milk, two doe kids and a buck kid (I bought the kids this year after selling the Jersey heifer calf I hand-raised last year -- we tolerate goat milk much better than cow milk, and as other posters have said I think goats are safer than cows, though a little harder to fence!). I also have some Boer-cross kids, wethers -- two of these are destined for the freezer, the other one I'm raising for a cart goat as he's going to be a big boy.

Kathleen
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think I'm in trouble. I can already see that I will most likely end up with more goats than I wanted. They are so dang cute! The real trial will be to see if I get the fencing right to keep them on my land. I will take it nice and slow and see how I do. Thank you for that info. I'll have to look for longer milking breeds and of course give them enough down time as well.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you can start with a small area of land, I strongly recommend using cattle panels for fencing goats. They can be used to make a 'portable' pen (it's easier to move the panels if you have two people, due to their sixteen-foot length, but I have moved them by myself plenty of times). If you are making permanent fencing use fence posts every eight feet so that there is a post at the middle of each panel as well as at each end -- the goats may learn to 'walk the fence down' without the center post. (They stand up on everything, fence leans, and pretty soon they are out!) For portable pens, it's best to use no more than five panels per pen for stability, but you don't need any posts this way. If you are bringing them all their feed, these can stay in one place for quite a while (the goats will need some kind of shelter from hot sun and from bad weather, though); otherwise, move at least every other day.

Cattle panels are by far the most satisfactory fencing for goats. I am pretty sure that the biggest reason that so many people get goats and then get rid of them in short order is because they haven't invested in good fencing. Start with a small area -- four panels for a portable pen, if that is all you can afford -- and add to it as you can afford to buy more panels.

Kathleen
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the fencing suggestions. I plan to have a small barn type structure for them to rest, take shade, etc.... Also, I'm not sure what wildlife is in the area so I want them to have a safe place to be. Once I have my crops planted and growing, I plan to have an area or few for them to forage on occasion. I will be planting crops for my family to live on as well as the animals and to help the soil. So their should be plenty once things have grown to a good portion. I plan to use feed (minerals, etc...) also so they have a rounded diet to stay healthy. I will keep working the fence until it works. It is great to have all these suggestions from people who have been there and done that. The only reason I would get rid of any animals is if I could not keep them healthy. If I found I was endangering them then I would find a safe home for them but I don't see that happening. I already take care of many animals though not goats and not large cattle. I know it will be more work but they are adorable and can provide meat and milk if I go that route. I'm pretty sure I will be milking at some point.
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I built a walkway up to the chicken coop (so the baby chicks could walk in instead of being carried) out of log rounds, rocks, and wood chips. I noticed our goats were enjoying chewing on the mossy bark of the rounds and the bark that was mixed in with the wood chips.

That got me thinking. Has anyone collected wood bark for their goats? I figure firewood people take off the bark when they make firewood & and should have piles of the stuff sitting around. If I haul it to the farm, the goats could eat what they want of it, and the rest will break down into mineral-rich soil pretty quickly.

Thoughts?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've never deliberately collected bark to feed to the goats (make sure, if you do, that it's safe for the goats to eat -- some plants are toxic to them, and they don't always know that instinctively). I have, however, deliberately left branches and chunks of wood in their pen or pasture so they could remove the bark. They got the bark to eat, and I got barked wood for whatever use I needed it for! Some kinds of bark will make the milk taste odd -- there's a juniper tree in my goat pasture, and when the goats were cleaning up the pile of branches I pruned off the lower part of the tree, their milk tasted like juniper.

However, the other side to this is that if you have trees inside their pasture that you want to keep, even large ones with thick bark, you will need to fence them off so the goats can't get at them. I have seen large pine trees barked as high as the goats could reach. Trees don't survive that very well.

Kathleen
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic