Calling all Goat Owners - Convince/Inform Me!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by DouglasPeeps, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    I need your help! My husband and I are deciding if goats would be a good addition to our "farm" (we use that term loosely around here!) [​IMG] We are considering Nubians/Nigerians and ? Our purpose for getting goats would be the milk. There are a couple of reasons why we are considering them: Cost of milk (we go through about 7-8 gallons a week, allergy issues, and lastly wanting "raw" milk for our family. I do know that we would need more than 1 goat, so we would be looking for 2. My plan is to only milk 1 of them. I do realize that the goat would have to be milked twice a day about 12 hours apart. I have a very basic knowledge of goats, but it stops there. [​IMG]

    Here are my questions:

    1. I know that the flavor of the milk changes with what they are fed, so I am guessing that feed would be a good option to keep the flavor consistant?
    2. That being said, how much feed would 2 goats go through in a week/month? cost?
    3. Can the goats be "housed" in my chicken run. It is quite large and we certainly can expand if need be.
    4. What type/how large of a "house" do they need for shelter?
    5. How much milk should I expect from 1 goat? Does the quantity of milk change during the summer/winter?
    6. What breeds would be best for what we are looking for?

    I am looking for any information that you can pass on to me as we contemplate this decision.

    If you know of some goat websites, please pass them along as well, but I did want first hand information from my friends here on BYC.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2008
  2. bbRedMom

    bbRedMom Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    Central Arkansas
    Yay goats! I love mine, although I do not milk them, yet. I have a Nubian x, and while she is beautiful, she is not a cuddly goat. Pygmys, Lamanchas, and Nigerians are more snuggly.

    Are you going to also get a buck, or borrow one for making the babies? Bucks stink. Literally, they smell really bad from peeing on their own heads and such.

    Goats are great to have for eating brambles, brush, low lying trees , your hair....

    1. Its good to keep their feed constant for both flvaor, and they wont get upset tummies. I also supplement with goat minerals so they have enough copper, and free feeding baking soda incase they eat something they shouldn't.

    2.My Three goats go thru one bag of feed in 1-2 weeks, depending on how much foraging they do, and if they are pregnant! A bag around here is ten dollars for 50lbs, I think.

    3. Goats shouldn't be housed with chickens for two reasons: they can get bloat from the feed if they eat it, and they are at a higher risk of coccidia, which can abort babies.

    4. My goats have a barn, and within the barn a 8x8 single goat ben, and a 20x20 three goat pen. It has lots of good ventilation, but is free from drafts.

    5. I dont know. is great!
  3. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    1. Yep, feeding grains and alfalfa rather than allowing browsing will improve your milk. Just imagine if they get into a patch of wild onion...BLEGH. My goats are in a dry lot, so I can control what they eat. Their milk is always sweet.

    2. LOL I have 20 little goats and go through about 4 bags of pellets, 2 bags of alfalfa pellets and 3 bales of hay a week...but most of my does are nursing or that's hard to say. Also, I'm not familiar with how much a full sized goat would require.

    3. I keep my goats and chickens together. No problemo. We do regular cocci prevention and have never had cocci in our birds (altho we have in our goats). You do have to make sure the laying boxes and chicken feed aren't accessable to the goats or you'll have broken eggs and goats with entero and UC. My hens have their own stall in the barn with their feed and boxes...they can either fly over the 5' tall stall door or access it through an itty bitty hole in the wall, like a cat door (their preferred method, LOL, fat ladies don't fly well).

    4. Again, our goats are small - but we use dog houses. We also have a barn with heat lamps in the winter and fans in the summer, but not everyone fits in there. Just somewhere to get out of rain and wind is fine.

    5. I would think a large goat would give at least a gallon a day if well bred. The quality doesn't so much change by the seasons as production does. They usually produce a bit less in colder weather. As long as they're well supplemented, the milk should remain consistent in quality.
  4. bbRedMom

    bbRedMom Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    Central Arkansas
    Listen to Helmstead, for she is sooooo wise. Much, much wiser than me. I'm just a newb in love with her goats!
  5. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    So why have the dwarf goats over full sized goats? Is it mostly for space? How much milk would they produce in comparasion? I know they are very cute......but why else?
  6. Nupine

    Nupine Songster

    Nov 21, 2007
    We have Alpines, so of course I would recommend them, they are absolutly gorgeous. I am not much of a mini person, but I don't have any so IDK.
    1. I feed a mostly hay diet, the more hay and the less grain you feed the better.
    2.Goat feed in around $12 a bag. So if you had two milking Alpines maybe..........3 pounds a day each, so a bag would last you about 8 days. Now if they were dry, that would amount to about one pound a day each so a bag would last you 25 days. I would say a flake of hay a day to shares so, around 10 flakes in a bale, hay around $4 a bale, so $12 and 3 bales a month.
    3. I have around 10 free rangers but they eat and lay in the 14' 10' front milking area of the goat barn [feed is kept in the tack room], and they roost with the goats but roam around outside, so no problems.
    4. Our goats are in heaven. Currently 9 goats live in a 14' by 20' barn and my buck and his two ladies he is currently breeding [usually him and his companion wether] live in an 8' x 8' barn. My goaties would NEVER live in doggie houses! [​IMG]
    5.Not sure about minis, but alpines can give 4-6 quarts, well the nice ones. Our one doe gave 4-5 quarts as an FF, and our buck's dam gave over 6 quarts.
    6. I love the Alpines, they are really good for colder climates, give loads of milk, and have great personalities. Very active creatures as well. They have drop dead good looks too. I certainly recommend them.
    Helmstead has given you lots of good info.
  7. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Quote:For us it started because they're cute and less intimidating for our children. Space is a factor for some. My milkers give about 4 lbs a day...which is plenty for our family when I'm milking two. The Nigis have a nice high butterfat content and sweet milk, generally.
  8. Sammysmom

    Sammysmom Songster

    Jul 15, 2008
    Saint Johns, AZ
    Hi-I have Nubians and have found them to be very affectionate. Mine were bottle raised from 3 weeks of age and love attention. In fact, if they just hear my voice, they start "maaing" for attention. They do have a high butterfat and their milk is great for making cheese as well as drinking.
  9. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    I bought 5 Nigerians on Fourth of July and breeder kept one to breed so hopefully we will have kids and milk by end of year. I got Nigerians because I am the one who has to tend to all of the animals around here and I wanted smaller goats that I could pick up and "manhandle" if necesssary. Good thing because right away the tiny runt, Bitsy, broke her leg and I have been having to take her back and forth to vet, riding in car seat with me, and carry her outside for a stretch and back into kennel. Couldn't have done it if she was even as large as her penmates.

    You will have to give them oral meds, shots, trim hooves, milk - so I didn't want to have to try and catch and wrestle a large goat. Also they give less milk and since it's only my DH and I, we don't need much milk. If I were getting a gallon of milk a day it would go to waste.

    As far as feed, my 5 are going through a 50lb bag a week plus we are cutting sweet gum trees, and other brush and tossing them in pen daily. The more we feed them lately, the more they "baaaa" very loudly and constantly until fed again. It's looking like the young ones which were only 4 months when we got them might be pregnant (breeder says it's a possibility because she herself had just had a baby and didn't get around to putting the new bucks in separate pen till after she saw they were showing an interest in new does.) Anyway, they are suddenly very fat and getting more so daily or they are pregnant as well as the two year old we had bred.

    Ours are housed in the horse stables which have lights, electricty, heat and fans and we cut an opening in back of one of the stalls to open into large pen area which also has a run-in shed at bottom of hill. That's the only thing they were using till Gustav blew through and we realized all the rain ran downhill and flooded their run-in shed and we kept having to put in dry hay and shavings. Now that we've opened the stables up to them, they are always in there. I've even put a wooden sofa in there so I have a place to sit and watch them and play with them and they are getting more friendly. They were virtually wild when we got them, so I'm trying to get them used to being touched for when milking time rolls around. We've got a long way to go before they will trust me and let me milk them.

    Well...hope that helps with info on goats. Do like I did, go ahead and get them and worry about figuring it all out later.
  10. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Well I have La Manchas, Alpines, a Nubian and lots of Nigerians. Tehy each have a different personality with each breed. I have had some that were very personable and some that just are not. I think the size depends on how much land and what type you want to handle.

    I have over 40 goats and go thru 200 lbs oats and 200 lbs of feed in about 2 to 3 weeks it just depends on if they are dry or milking. Milking does get more feed than dry does. To me all milk tastes about the same with the exception of the Toggenburg but some people I have talked to love it.

    I keep out loose minerals and BS for mine and dont use a block as they cant get enough from it. Some use the blocks with no problem. I also copper bolus my goats as we have a low copper here. It sure makes a difference in their coloring also.

    Basically it just boils down to the cost of feed in your area and what you spend on milk and what your medications will run. I am not saying its cheap to raise goats but in the long run its Great Therapy. I love my goats and yep they are like potato chips you cant just stop at 1. Also they are very addictive too.
    I am getting 2 more this weekend...LOL...Good luck

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