Any tips for a first time goat buyer?

Amaggio

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Hi all, I'm adding goats to the farm this year and have it narrowed down to two farms I'm interested in. They are in my state, so no problems there, but I'm getting ready to email them and wanted to know if there's any advice anyone would like to offer. I just want to make sure i sound like an interested buyer and not someone who will be wasting their time. Thanks in advance
 
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Amaggio

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Nigerian dwarfs for milk. One breeder tests only cae and John's only the other tests for all three both test every two years.
 

Alaskan

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Nigerian dwarfs for milk. One breeder tests only cae and John's only the other tests for all three both test every two years.
If you want them for milk, then you really need them tested for all three big diseases.

If they are not disease free, it will be difficult to get them bred. Anyone reputable will want the does tested before they can go and get bred.

Also, extra kids will be way easier to sell if they are disease free.

And, clearly, it is also nice to not have to worry about disease.

Since you want them for milk, remember that a good goat eats about as much as a bad goat.

WAY better to buy something good, even if the up front cost is high.

Fencing, housing etc will be the same either way.

So, make sure you are happy with the teats on the doe, most important if you will ever hand milk. I tried machine milking... wasn't my thing (more stuff to wash, and fiddly), but I guess if you know you will machine milk, maybe the teats aren't as important.

Tiny teats are probably standard on Nigerians... figure out if you can live with that... or find a Nigerian with slightly bigger teats.

And... production....

If you are happy with a bit of milk now and again, well... I guess it doesn't matter as much. But if you need good production, make sure you buy a good producer.

Some does make milk for only 5 or 9 months then dry right up, and need to be bred again.

Some does can milk twice a day for YEARS.

Huge difference.
 

Alaskan

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Nigerian dwarfs for milk. One breeder tests only cae and John's only the other tests for all three both test every two years.
And in testing.. the big pain is getting the blood and sending it in....

odd the one breeder would test only for 2.. maybe they are positive for CL

I don't remember a big price jump for CL
 

Mini Horses

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Agree with Alaskan. My question, why NDs? Is it butterfat? If you want volume, how much? Curious, as I do have a herd of dairy goats & know why I have what types.

You will want to know things beyond testing -- age, have they been milked before, parentage milk volume and kidding experience, are they now bred, if they have kidded before -- experience, number kids, mothering and their milk volume, as well as length of lactation. If you are totally new to goats & milking, you may want one who has kidded and been milked.
 
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Amaggio

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Thank you for all the comments! I appreciate the responses. To answer some of the questions/respond to statements:

I have been on a few different websites for breeders who have lists of their does milk volume, live/still births, milk fat during testing, family lines, udder pictures, the full nine yards. However, in my local area there aren't many farms that are even on the web, let alone show all the details on their facebook/websites. So asking for these things is on my list.

If I am to be completely honest my first order of business is to be self-sufficient. Both of my 60+ year old parents live with me and help me around the homestead feeding my chickens/ducks/turkeys and looking after the garden while I am working a full time job. I didn't want goats that were too big that could potentially cause a problem if my parents had to take care of something while I'm not here. Since ND are smaller/pet-like I felt more comfortable with the idea of having my parents dealing with them while I'm not around, at least to start. I do want to make cheese out of the milk and I've heard that Nubians are another really nice breed for this but I'm not sure my family would use all that milk. I've heard Nubians can average nearly a full gallon a day in comparison to NDs who only give about a quart a day on average. So the size and less milk to worry about made them stand out for me. A way to get my feet wet, as it were. In the long run I would like to make cheese to offer with my garden sales and once things ramp up I could see adding Nubians to herd but I wanted to start small, literally and figuratively. :)

After reading what people have said I will likely only contact the one breeder that tests for all three, the herd was last tested in 2019. Their website claims that they like to keep a small herd and their goats all have friendly dispositions. They claim that "Many Have JRCH, JRGRCH, CH, RSCH, GRCH, RSGRCH, Master Champion, ARMCH, MCH/PGCH, SG, Elite status, milk stars, high LA scores, High Milk Production awards with top milk producing bloodlines from these legendary farms." The only thing is none of the details per doe, nor images of udders, or anything specific is found on their website other than their 2020 spring breeding schedule. I'm a bit leery of telling people I'm new to goats because I don't want to get taken for a ride but I have also done my homework. I know how to look at body condition and udder connections, but I'm still a newbie. In my email I would like to explain that I'm interested in a good producer who also has good butterfat content. I would also want pictures of the udder so I can see the teat size and attachments. Since they use so many catch words on their site I would assume they charge a bit more, understandably, but I would want documentation as to the dams and sires three generations back.

They are selling three of their does after they kid this year so I would have the option to buy a doe who will already be in milk, however, I was originally planning to start with two kids. If anyone has an opinion about that I would appreciate it. I know when you downsize you will never sell your best stock but if the breeding lines and production for my needs are there I see no reason why I shouldn't perhaps jump at the opportunity. I will be taking in two wethers for a friend so if I didn't buy two kids I could always get a doe in milk and she would still have herd mates. That would also require me to start milking right away twice a day but I would have plenty of time before and after my job to do that.

Thanks for reading my long post. Any additional comments are welcomed and appreciated. The thought of buying these goats is a little scary but I'm really ready to take the leap and anything anyone adds is helpful! :)
 

Mini Horses

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You seem to have it all covered -- even to overthinking :)

Go visit the farm. Interact with the goats. Taste the milk. Set up a time to see, and even try milking. That will be the only true way to feel comfortable for you.

You mention, they don't sell their "best". Truly, they do. This is a serious breeder with all those stats, who is breeding champions. Maybe unshown but excellent genetics. We can't keep them all!

Another thing...some farms have really good stock, may not show or do milk test trials, may no longer register. Once you get working with these goats you will discover this. Personally, I gave all that up because I have no one to care for the farm as I went to shows...it's also expensive. I buy some registered, some from registered, breed my own, disease test and keep a good milk herd. My sales are for a good milk doe, or meat with excess kids. Keeping large breeds, I average 2 gal per doe per day. Cheese, cream, butter, soaps, etc and I sell some.... Plus feed chickens, a pig now and then, etc. You aren't there yet but, it's what happens! :old with your use, the smaller breed will be great!

We're waiting for pics of that new family member now!!! 😁
 

Amaggio

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You seem to have it all covered -- even to overthinking :)
You hit the nail on the head, I'm such an over thinker, honestly. Thank you for the response and I will certainly post photos! I like having these forums because everyones support makes me feel like i can jump in with both feet. Thank you all!
 

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