Advice needed on keeping dairy and meat goats together

mendofarm

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Hi All! Newby soon-to-be goat owner here. We planned to get one Nubian and 1-2 Boer does/kids this coming Spring for dairy and for meat. Have a 10 ft. x 18 ft. stall roughed in so far with direct access to -1 acres of pasture. Had an experienced farmer drop by who strongly suggested I should do one or the other because of their different feeding needs. We are two late 60's couple. I want milk, cheeses etc. but don't need 2 does in milk and I don't think 2 skinny dairy wethers will suffice each year. Does anyone keep both and how do you set it up?
 

goatgurl

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for a lot of years i milked 10/20/or 30 goats a day as well as showed them for many years. lot of work. now that i am older, i hit 70 this year, i try to make my life easier. my suggestion to you would to have dairy does and breed them to a meat buck for a better meat kid. you don't have to milk full time either. i let my does raise their kids and after 2 or 3 weeks i lock the kids in a separate stall at night and milk mom in the morning. plenty of milk for me and the kids then mom feeds them all day. if i want or need more milk then i rinse and repeat the next night. if i don't want or need the milk then i can leave the kids on and not have to milk. the baby goats will be adorable and you will have to have the mind set that they are terminal kids at birth and not get attached to them so when it comes time you can butcher them. since the moms raise them they will have more growth and weight than bottle raised kids. remember that baby girls from the meat milk cross are eatable too, you can also have two does freshen at different times of the year so you can have a constant supply of milk year round. hope this helps. i've had goats for over 50 years now and am willing to bet that you will love them and their personalities. good luck
 

ragdollcatlady

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I have both, mostly raised together.

I started with dairy goats (nigerians) and feel like I have the management for dairy goats down pretty well. It has taken me some time to realize that my meat goats do have drastically different needs as far as feeding and maintenance. I am looking to separate my herds, at least for some of the year, hopefully soon. The does can range the pasture together, but my boers seem to need more grain to maintain better condition/ and/or grow faster. I happen to enjoy the personalities and management of dairy goats more, but that is just a personal preference. My dairy does adore me. My boers dont swoon over me the same way my Nubians do (though a couple of my boer kids from this year are trying to prove otherwise), and some of my boers would be downright independent if I let them.

Managed and fed well, my nubian buck kids do grow really fast, so if you did just want kids for meat, the cross bred idea would probably be the best option for you. I would recommend getting your starter dairy does from an excellent production line and your meat goat buck from large/fast growing lines. I just sold two bucks from the triplet nubian kids... Once I pulled the 2 boys, Tahiti was giving me almost a gallon of milk a day even with her small triplet doe still on her. I always thought "gallon a day milkers" were more fable than truth... I was wonderfully surprised!

A few years ago , I culled my meat goat herd hard for size and fast growth, meaning some of my beautiful, higher percentage, registered does left, but the lower percentage, bigger, better producers stayed. I am still thrilled with the progress I see from where I started.

PS... you can also milk boer goats if you get some with 'clean' teats, and the milk I tried from mine was delicious. It is hard to milk boers with more than one orifice or multiple teats on each side though. So if you wanted to just have either dairy or meat goats, you could probably make it work with the right animals.

And you can always try whichever way makes the most sense to you.... cause you can always change your mind and reconfigure your herd if the animals you start with don't work out the way you want.
 

ragdollcatlady

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Also, in case you weren't aware.... goats are the naughty children of the animal world.... You might want to tune up your patience and sense of humor.... and maybe your fence fixing skills, before you bring your wonderful new friends home.... Welcome to the wacky world of goat addiction! ;)
 

mendofarm

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for a lot of years i milked 10/20/or 30 goats a day as well as showed them for many years. lot of work. now that i am older, i hit 70 this year, i try to make my life easier. my suggestion to you would to have dairy does and breed them to a meat buck for a better meat kid. you don't have to milk full time either. i let my does raise their kids and after 2 or 3 weeks i lock the kids in a separate stall at night and milk mom in the morning. plenty of milk for me and the kids then mom feeds them all day. if i want or need more milk then i rinse and repeat the next night. if i don't want or need the milk then i can leave the kids on and not have to milk. the baby goats will be adorable and you will have to have the mind set that they are terminal kids at birth and not get attached to them so when it comes time you can butcher them. since the moms raise them they will have more growth and weight than bottle raised kids. remember that baby girls from the meat milk cross are eatable too, you can also have two does freshen at different times of the year so you can have a constant supply of milk year round. hope this helps. i've had goats for over 50 years now and am willing to bet that you will love them and their personalities. good luck
goatgurl, thank you so much for your insight and sharing your experience with me. I like your idea of milking only when I need the milk and letting the kids stay on otherwise. Breeding to a meat buck makes sense. I have processed chickens and rabbits but already know I will not be able to do my own kids. Fortunately, there are several small meat markets in my area who will do the work. But it will be a hard day, for sure. I think this may be the best way to ease into goat keeping. Definitely trying to keep it small and easy to maintain here. Thanks again.
 

mendofarm

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Also, in case you weren't aware.... goats are the naughty children of the animal world.... You might want to tune up your patience and sense of humor.... and maybe your fence fixing skills, before you bring your wonderful new friends home.... Welcome to the wacky world of goat addiction! ;)
ragdollcatlady, thanks for your reply. Would you suggest a separate grow-out paddock for the kids so I can feed them without the does helping themselves to it? My pasture is rocky poor soil with weeds and grass, no browse. So I will be providing hay nearly full-time besides the grain and supplements. I hear you on the fencing, having read all you guys' stories for years on this site, ha ha. I have chainlink with no top rails so I know they can pull that down. Was planning on electric wire at the top and bottom to keep them in (hopefully) and keep stray dogs and the many coyotes etc we have out. Thanks again for your suggestions.
 

ragdollcatlady

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Would you suggest a separate grow-out paddock for the kids so I can feed them without the does helping themselves to it?
That would be easiest. But try whatever makes the most sense and adjust from there. I dont seem to keep the same pens or systems in place for any given year. I am always changing to make things easier for me, easier for the goats... you might try a "creep feed" area. Make an adjacent pen to your does and just put a few small openings that kids fit through but not the does. My nigerian babies always just slipped through the cattle panels, so that made the main yard an automatic creep feed area.
 

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