After living near & on our piece of farmland / paradise in Spain for more than a year, observing and learning and experimenting with growing veggies and planting stuff, we're now almost ready to start getting animals. From reading and watching videos, I think a combination of pigs & goats would be ideal for our finca; we already agreed on Kune Kune pigs and I'm going to visit some breeders up North (in Belgium & Holland) later this month.
We think it would be best to get both the pigs and the goats around the same time, and while they are still little; friends of ours are having a very hard time getting their pigs and goats to get along...
I've been surfing the internet a lot in the last few weeks, and kind of decided on Nigerian Dwarf goats. I think they're the ideal match for us, as we're first time goat keepers and would like milk & cheese from our goats.
However, I can't really seem to find much on Nigerian Dwarfs in Europe. Is this just me and bad googling, or are they only available in the US?
I did a lot more googling last night (and a bit this morning), e-mailed a few people, and it seems there aren't any Nigerian Dwarfs around here - maybe a few in the UK, but the way they're advertised makes me suspect that they're just some other breed of dwarf goats being marketed as Nigerians.
I've been reading a lot about different types of goats, but not sure what to do now. At this moment, I see 3 options:
- Most (sheep) shepherds around here usually have a few goats in their herds as well, and I'm sure they must have kids from time to time. I could ask one of them to sell me a few kids, and voila, easiest way to get goats at this point. However, those are quite big and as we're new at this, I'm not sure we should start with big goats as most of them seem to be a bit more difficult to handle? Also, I just assume they eat twice as much as a dwarf goat usually?
- A lady not too far from here has several pregnant dwarf goats. She doesn't milk her goats though, so no idea if the kids will turn out to be milkable (is that a word?)
- I keep searching for a breed that suits our needs and that is available in Europe
My husband would prefer to get goats and pigs at the same time, but I'm not sure about this; does any of you have experience with introducing pigs and goats to each other? We would like to be able to rotate pasture them in the same areas, so the pigs would graze, eat acorns and fallen fruit - and the goats would clear out bushes and eat young shoots from trees and stuff.
I would appreciate any opinions and ideas about this at this moment!
My impression is that dwarf goats in Spain are more of a conversation piece than a practical addition to a project. From what I´ve read, Nigerians have to be carefully bred to be dairy producers, and even then you have to be careful of small teats and tiny orifices. I´ve never seen anything advertised over here with that purpose, so maybe they´re just lawn mowers.
Is there a regional rare breed you might try? Biodiversity and all that.
It´s still early days for us, so I can´t help on your practical livestock questions, sorry. I look from time to time on segundamano.es, just to see what´s on offer. Seems like importing live animals from elsewhere would be a paperwork nightmare.
I think you're right - only pure-bred Nigerians are supposed to be good milk producers, so I'm not taking chances with dwarf goats that might or might not be partly Nigerian Getting dwarf goats that are not from a proven milk breed is just a loss of time (and resources) for us.
Thank you so much for the link - I had been googling a bit on breeds in Iberia, but this one is really clear and has maps (I like maps). The goats that are usually walking the fields with herds of sheep here, look like Alpina's - and since Alpina's are supposed to be widespread here according to the website, I'll assume they are... I like the Moncaina and the Murciana Granadina as well (the first is double purpose, the second milk only), might try and look out for breeders and / or keepers of those.