Help with breed selection

Scooby308

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I have been planning on a dairy breed for some time but work and finances have been drawing me away from my plans of a farm. Now it appears that I may be up and ready by July of this year. I have a few questions.

The farm has 10 acres of pasture that will be fenced with high tensile electric. It is located in NE KY. I intend to use rotational grazing. I will also have at least 2 beef cattle a year that will use those same pastures. I hope to be able to buy an additional 13 acres that will be used as my hay field.

I am looking for a dairy breed that is affable to people. I am looking for a miniature breed with herd size of 5 does. If I can handle that I may ramp up to larger breeds. I am planning on at least 1 buck to keep them fresh when needed. The plan is to produce all our dairy needs on the farm. There are just the two of us so any extra will be used for barter, given away, or used to supplement the chicken and hog feed.

So now it comes the time for all the opinions (which I am asking for). What is the best mini breed of dairy goat and please explain the pros and cons of each breed. I have read volumes and visited a few farms. I guess I am looking for more options.

Thanks in advance,
Christopher
 

Southern by choice

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Nigerians are considered the miniature dairy breed, they are very personable and wonderfully friendly. However "mini's" that are developed by crossing a standard size dairy breed to a Nigerian Buck are excellent producers. Often not quite as small as a nigie but will yeild, more often than not, a higher output.
We have Nigerian Dwarfs, Lamanchas, and mini-manchas.... others use the,Nubians or Alpine as the standard doe crossed with the Nigie.

Starting out with Standards really isn't much different. LArger goats are harder on the land though. The dwarfs feed/output ratio is the best. FAr better than standard breeds.

Kinder goats are established as a breed that is considered duel purpose... milk meat as the cross was with a Pygmy buck (meat goat).

Cattle should be tested for Johnnes because goats can also get Johnnes. Goats, before you purchase them should also be tested for Johnnes.

Whenever our goats go to a farm with cattle we let them know about this as all our goats are tested for Johnnes.

Everyone will advocate for their breed LOL, truly it is best IMO to visit different farms with different goats and see what strikes you.

Many hate the Lamancha because of the "no ears" personally they are my fav as a standard dairy breed. They are QUIET! and personable... but highly intelligent. A smart goat for sure. Some like the long eared Nubians.... LOL I don't care for floppy ears and hate how loud they are BUT.... it boils down to preference. Not necessarily what is the best. Everyone thinks their breed is best.:rolleyes:

Be careful when buying Sanaans, Toggs... as they may have yucky milk. Always taste the milk. Milk taste will be influenced by kind of feed and also if a buck is running with the does, which is gross... the milk will smell and taste like buck pee. :sick
 

Scooby308

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Thanks Southern.

The original plan, many years ago, was for Boers. Then time and life happened. Now it is just the two of us and I am looking at being as self sustaining as possible. The plan is to have four 2.5 acre pastures for the rotation. I would like to eventually raise good breeding stock to keep my own herd up or for sale. I feel that we should have no problem raising a mini herd of up to ten on that setup. But the idea of too many bucklings per year means that we would be putting meat in the freezer. IDK. I grew up on a horse farm most of my life from 4-18 years of age. I spent 2 years living on a guys farm managing his cattle and chickens (my Lord 100 gamecocks in 100 runs plus 40 some hens). I have even milked a few cows in my day. Helped a neighbor with his hogs as a kid. But this goat thing has me stumped. I actually have a 5 inch binder of research on Boers from back in the day. But dairy goats seem to have me pondering way too hard. It is a new animal I have little experience with or research in.

I guess I should ask, What are the pros and cons of full size vs. minis?
 

frustratedearthmother

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I have Nubians and Pygmies...and have milked both. Nubian milk is wonderful, but Pygmy milk is incredibly sweet and creamy. As far as taste - it beats any other milk that I've tasted - hands down!

I also have several first generation Kinders. Right now I'm milking a Kinder and a Nubian. Both are right at 10 months into their lactation. I'm milking just once a day and the Kinder is out-producing the Nubian.....not by much...maybe a quarter cup or so...but she's the winner and is about half the size of the Nubian. And as a bonus - her milk is the best tasting also. :drool

The "plan" is to eventually phase out the Nubians and most of the Pygmies, but you know how plans are. They're great until they have a face - and I tend to fall in love with the face and the plan goes out the window, lol. However, I do intend to concentrate on the Kinders.

I haven't butchered one yet, but it is on the list of things to do. Fortunately, all my kinders have either been does or a buck I wanted for breeding

p.s. My Nubians aren't particularly noisy. They are impatient at feeding time, but no more so than any of the other goats...
 

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Thanks Southern.

The original plan, many years ago, was for Boers. Then time and life happened. Now it is just the two of us and I am looking at being as self sustaining as possible. The plan is to have four 2.5 acre pastures for the rotation. I would like to eventually raise good breeding stock to keep my own herd up or for sale. I feel that we should have no problem raising a mini herd of up to ten on that setup. But the idea of too many bucklings per year means that we would be putting meat in the freezer. IDK. I grew up on a horse farm most of my life from 4-18 years of age. I spent 2 years living on a guys farm managing his cattle and chickens (my Lord 100 gamecocks in 100 runs plus 40 some hens). I have even milked a few cows in my day. Helped a neighbor with his hogs as a kid. But this goat thing has me stumped. I actually have a 5 inch binder of research on Boers from back in the day. But dairy goats seem to have me pondering way too hard. It is a new animal I have little experience with or research in.

I guess I should ask, What are the pros and cons of full size vs. minis?
I wrote something on this awhile ago... I will see if I can find the link. :)
 

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Scooby308

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Ok been reading all night and into today. It would appear that the Nigerian Dwarfs are the ones that seem right for me at this time. There is a couple of farms here in KY that say their does are good producers. From what I have been reading on breeding I would think purchasing does close to home isn't a bad idea. However, to get good genetic diversity I would need a buck (or 2) from no related lines and that means some travel time. I have used AI on horses in the past. Is it the same process with goats and does it take as well?
Make no mistake, I will be doing this the rest of my life and I want a solid foundation herd that I can build on over the years. The one thing I have learned is genetics are key.

Thanks to all thus far and feel free to add any info as you see fit.
 

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If you are looking for high, maximum output you will need to look at starred dairy lines. Also I would suggest you take a look at the laws in your state. Many states it is illegal to sell goat milk, cheese. Having a plan for what you will do with it is important.

And food for thought... You also may want to look at the kind of livestock guardian you more than likely will need.

There are Livestock Guardian Donkeys, Llamas, and Dogs.
As you can clearly see... I do dogs.:)

When I get time I will provide a link explaining the starred meaning and the notations.
BTW- Dairy output it only part of the genetics. All too often when one think is focused on others are forgotten. Personally our number one priority is parasite resistance, second- hardiness, if you don't have that IMO you've got nothing. I think that is why I also like breeding the Mini's. Genetic diversity.
 

Scooby308

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Anatolian Shepherd is on the list. I have found a few breeders. I was on you sight and like your process of training up a few weeks before releasing them to the new owner. The more I read the more I like the idea of polled in the genetic line. And parasite resistant lines are really a plus. Finding the best stock is going to be the kicker for stat up. One to two gallons a day is what I am looking for initially for output. It will be for personal consumption in the form of milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. Any leftover will go to the hogs, chickens, and dogs. The whole idea is to have the farm be it's own ecosystem that provides year round and is self sustaining. The Walipini is going in this summer with an aquaponic twist. So much to do, so little time.
 

Southern by choice

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Are you talking 1-2 gallons collectively? Nigies are not going to give you that output individually.
My new bucklings Dam (Lamancha) gives 2 gallons a day.

Sorry my website is not up to date... :( I never have the time, I would need to take a hiatus from BYH to do it!:lol:
 
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