If I wanted to buy 2 Nubian milk goats, how much pasture would I need? I currently have 1/4 acre of pasture but could convert a tad more of our 1.3 acres into pasture, maybe 1/8 I would guess? I would need to seed it, irrigate it, and fence it though.
Also, I found it difficult several years ago finding anyone who would let me use their ram when I was raising sheep during the fall because I was going to try to milk sheep. Is it difficult to find a Nubian buck that someone will lend you for mating? Many folks said they had closed herds due to risk of disease, not sure if this is as big an issue with goats. I live in the city limits and can't keep a buck. We have a subdivision directly on other side of pasture and they certainly wouldn't appreciate it. Can goats be artificially inseminated? I guess it is really difficult with sheep and much easier with cows, not sure about goats and the expense.
I don't think 1/4 acre would be enough either, unless you want to buy nearly all of their feed. Probably 1/2 acre, or a little less, divided into 3 sections, and rotated, would work for 2 goats though. It really depends on a lot of things... would have to try it out and see. Definitely do a lot of research on the best plants in your area to seed for the goats, as it would be different than for other grazing animals. You may have things already growing there that they would like to start with. Cross-fencing can be very important, so you can keep the goats our of certain areas while new plants are growing. Protein is very important for milk production, so be sure to include legumes in the mix.
Most people would still supplement with grain and/or nonGMO alfalfa pellets for best milk production, even with good browse/ pasture, and of course hay in the winter and possibly other times that the pasture is not providing enough. You might also have trees and shrubs in other parts of your yard, or surrounding area, that you can cut and carry for them.
If you have neighbors close, Nubians may not be the best choice for you. They are famous in the goat world for being very noisy. That said, I have a bunch of different mixes, and the ones with Nubian in them are no louder than the others. My two ex-bottle baby alpine/ Saanens are the noisiest, but that is because they still think I'm their mom, and yell for me every time they hear me or see me, or think they hear or see me. We have 9 acres, ag zoning, and I still worry about my bottle babies irritating the neighbors. Luckily our closest neighbors have some very noisy sheep, so I think we're fine.
As far as breeding, yes, closed herds are definitely an issue with goats. It's possible to find a buck to lease, or do driveway breedings (which means you have to be very, very aware of your particular goats' heats), but depending on your area and the people around you, and how particular you are, could be really hard to find the right buck that someone is willing to lend. Some people I know buy a buck, keep him just long enough to breed the does, then sell him right away. That can be problematic too of course, with trying to find him a new home in a timely manner, without losing too much money. AI can be an option; in some areas there are actually people with all of the equipment that you can hire to come and AI your goats. I don't know how much that costs... might not be practical unless you are breeding expensive show goats or something. To buy the equipment and learn to do it yourself would be even more expensive though. I believe the cooling tank is the most expensive investment.
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