1. BYH Official Poll: What are the things that you should consider before buying herds?
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  2. Making a Pasture -Discussion Threads
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice
  4. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)
    Dismiss Notice

General Discussion thread

Discussion in 'Organic Husbandry - Goats' started by Tea Chick, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Jan 6, 2014
    Tea Chick

    Tea Chick Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Hi!
    Is there a general discussion thread where newbs (like me, well, I'm a pre-newb) and those who have experience can ask questions and share advice?
    If not, then please start here. :)

    My husband and I are planning on getting a goat, but I wanted to do some research first. I have found with dogs and chickens that things are never as simple as they seem with animals.
    Please share any advice you can in helping us get a dairy goat.
    How should we start? (We were thinking of a pregnant female.)
    Our goal with the goat is to have milk and be able to make milk products. We thought that, if we got a pregnant female, we could possibly eat a male kid (or should we keep him for breeding?) and we could get a female kid bred next year (or is she the one we should eat?). These are just ideas. We do want a dairy goat.
    Also, I want to start building a "barn" for her/them before we have goat(s), so I need advice on size, how much protection do they need from weather, etc.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  2. Jan 6, 2014
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,623
    Likes Received:
    866
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Location:
    Frederick, Maryland
    These are the suggestions I give new sheep owners...the same principles can be applied to goats, however.

    1 - Do not start with one goat. Start with two, preferably either two kids or two mature adults who have kidded before. Kids are ideal because they grow up with you and they become close to you. However, I have purchased an adult sheep before and he is just as friendly as the ones that grew up with me. So adults would be another good idea. The only downside to purchasing kids is that when you go to breed them, they are first timers... first time moms and first time goat owners don't always mix well.

    2 - If you get both does (which I recommend--what's the point of keeping around an unproductive wether...even as a companion for a buck, just get two bucks) I would suggest breeding them at the same time. It will be easier so you don't have to separate them to feed, they will be on the same vaccination schedule, etc. But it's also more work...milking two goats 1-2 times a day versus one goat.

    As for their kids, it's a good idea to retain doe kids if you plan on expanding your herd. They will have similar genetics as the rest of the does in your herd which means they will have similar production (gestation length, milk production, growth of kids, etc). Almost all buck kids should be wethered & sold as pets or for meat, only 10-15% of buck kids should be kept intact. And they should be your best. No need for inferior stock to be reproducing.

    3 - As far as space, with sheep, these are the general guidelines:
    Ewe - shelter: 12 sq ft, lot space: 30 sq ft (double that if the ewe has lambs at side)
    Lamb - shelter: 6 sq ft, lot space: 8 sq ft

    Goats should be right around the same thing. Depending on where you live, a three sided shelter should be sufficient. I have a dirt floor in my sheep shack (an 8' x 8' shelter constructed of pieces of plywood on their sides), but I put down straw when it's really cold (like tonight).
     
    taylorm17, Sweetened and Tea Chick like this.
  3. Jan 7, 2014
    Tea Chick

    Tea Chick Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Thank you, SheepGirl, for your advice!!!
    I'm leaning toward two dwarf does for milk. Maybe, getting them bred later and using doe kids for future production.
    What about breeding? What about buck kids breeding with mother or sisters? (I know about chickens and I only know a little; that chickens can be bred within the bloodline, but the same generation should not be bred together. Hen - cockerel = ok; Roo - pullet = ok; brother to sister = not ok)

    Your sheep shack sounds like my kind of construction project; simple and straight forward. :D
    There's a goat farm on a highway near my house and I looked at their goat housing the other day, they only have two sides and lots of hay. I would do three, just to make myself feel better. lol Apparently, they don't really need it here though.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  4. Jan 7, 2014
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,623
    Likes Received:
    866
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Location:
    Frederick, Maryland
    With my sheep, I have bred mother-son, twin siblings, and for spring 2014 lambs I bred my ram to two daughters.

    No problems.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  5. Jan 7, 2014
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,114
    Likes Received:
    11,552
    Trophy Points:
    593
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Breeding that close...
    Terminal meat animals this is common. This is not common with dairy goats. We call those accidents. :p
    There is a goat breeder in our region doing this now...:th
    NO WAY I would get any dairy goat bred like that... EVER.
    I passed over a VERY NICE BUCKLING in 2013 because he was just a little too closely related to some of my does lineage.
     
    taylorm17 and Sweetened like this.
  6. Jan 7, 2014
    Tea Chick

    Tea Chick Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Oh, thank you for the information.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  7. Jan 7, 2014
    Tea Chick

    Tea Chick Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Thank you for the warning.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  8. Jan 7, 2014
    Tea Chick

    Tea Chick Ridin' The Range

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    53
    I greatly appreciate the answers!!! :)

    I know different ppl have different philosophies on these kinds of things. Some ppl just let their chickens run around, some go broody, some chicks get eaten, etc. They don't really do much intervention or intentional breeding, etc. They don't necessarily have "problems" (by their own definition or by other more strict definitions even). So, I respect everyone's choices with the animals they have taken responsibility for, as long as they are choices.
     
    taylorm17 likes this.
  9. Jan 8, 2014
    ragdollcatlady

    ragdollcatlady True BYH Addict

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1,361
    Trophy Points:
    253
    About the inbreeding....I was at a local breeders place looking over her goats at a young buckling that she had ready for sale. The thing that had me there in the first place was his grandfather....a buck that I had been seriously admiring for ages confirmation wise, there was just something about him!!!!! ....and he had several show wins behind him to back up my extreme liking. The color pattern and eye color on the buckling were just a bonus. So I was looking over the rest of her goats and I would point at one and say "who is that?" LOL...it turns out that nearly all the goats I asked about just happened to be related to the same buck! So I decided that the grandson would be a good idea since the family line was clearly standing out to me! We finished with that transaction and before I left, she offered to let me use one of her other bucks at stud so I would have another bloodline, since I am a very small breeder with just a few animals....I looked over her boys and asked, very excitedly..."who is that!!!???" She laughed and said that he was also from the exact same lines ....:th....So now I have Cowboy Casanova AND Spartagus and I can't be happier.... using these two, with some matching lines, should help stamp onto my kids the killer legs (think serious curves!), size and whatever else it is that just makes me say WOW! about their line, while also giving me some of the genetic diversity from my girls that are from different lines.

    Technically the boys are brothers as they have the same mother, but Spartagus is linebred (His mom was bred back to her dad) but Casanova has a different dad from another farm line that has a lot of milk behind him.

    I can't wait to see what I get!!!....and if for some reason, particular breedings don't give me the benefits that I am looking for, I can wether, sell for pets or eat any inferior quality animals....line breeding and inbreeding (in my humble opinion) take more care and caution and I would normally look for very different lines.....
     
    taylorm17 and Tea Chick like this.
  10. Jan 10, 2014
    taylorm17

    taylorm17 Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    164
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Morrow, Ohio
    I AM NOT AN EXPERT AND ANYTHING I SAY MAY NOT BE THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING FOR YOU IN YOUR CASE< BUT HAVE WORKED BEST FOR ME IN THE PAST.

    Goats are pretty low maintenance. If you already have a pasture and stall/barn build for them, they only cost about 100-200 dollars a year (150 average). This is not including random vet bills. TIP: always have an emergency stash in case your goat gets sick, poisoned, needs a sea section...anything can happen!

    I would suggest getting a smaller breed like the Nigerians dwarfs. I would also suggest getting a polled (born with horns) or disbudded one to start off with so if they turn mean in the future you won't have as big a problem. I used Fiasco Farm website before I got goats and all of mine have been perfectly healthy. Just google their website and they have ALL the info ever needed for a goat. Also don't get a buck. They are harder to handle and can smell really bad when they go into rut and some pee on their faces so...... haha.

    I would suggest getting a wether (castrated buck) to start because they don't go into rut and don't go into heat. You can keep them with a buck or doe and they are generally easier to handle and more friendly than a buck.

    Get a young goat so you can teach him or her how YOU want them to act and it is easier for YOU to learn with a small baby that doesn't know all the 'goat tricks' yet. Don't get a pregnant one!!! You need to learn a normal goats health and care before taking care of a pregnant one. also you would have to learn all the things in a short period of time before the babies come so you can be prepared for them...it would be stressful when the babies come. Also if you have never been a 'midwife' before, it isn't quite as easy as just calling the vet...what if they are on an emergency call, you need to learn more about goats before getting a pregnant one.

    Get 2 goats. The best companion for a goat is another goat. Does and bucks can't stay together, but a doe and a wether, a doe and a doe, a wether and a wether, a wether and a buck , or a buck and a buck are possible combinations too! Goats can stay with chickens but normally don't like the smell!.......neither do I!

    anything else you want to know just ask!

    SUMMER TIPS:
    - at night make sure their is a slight opening where they sleep to get a breeze through to them
    - in extreme temperatures, keep a fan on them out of their reach. When babies are born make sure they don't get to hot because they are more likely to die of overheating than an adult
    - never give HOT water in the summer and always make sure your goat is drinking a lot!

    WINTER TIPS:
    - to prevent frostbite on the ears or ears getting too cold, cover them with Vaseline to kind of make a 'protective' layer
    - to save some money, instead of buying a winter goat blanket or dog blanket, but an old sweatshirt or thick long sleeve shirt. Normally a small 8-10 year old girls clothes will work for an average size goat.
    - use a heating lamp in their barn where nothing can reach it!
    - Keep all babies and 1-3 month olds out of the snow if possible

    I hope this all helps and good luck with your first goats!
     
    Southern by choice and Tea Chick like this.