Do miniature dairy goats help you save money? Or do they cost...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mountaintopchicken, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am seriously considering getting a couple of miniature dairy goats (two to keep each other company and so that at least one can be in milk at a time).

    I am thinking of going with miniature goats, because I am hoping that they won't be as much of a challenge to keep within a good fence as larger goats would be, and because the milk would be for just me and my husband, so small goaties would provide enough.

    I'm just wondering whether keeping milk animals saves money, or costs money in the long run? There have been lots of discussions on BYC about how raising meat birds doesn't necessarily save money, but you do get the satisfaction of knowing where your meat comes from. I found that to be true with our meat birds. And I think lots of people on BYC talk about their million dollar eggs, once you figure in the cost of housing etc.

    So, if I can come up with housing for not to much money, do you think goats will cost me $ or save me $?
     
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    One of our mini-manchas that we have had for about three months just kidded yesterday, so we don't have milk for ourselves yet. I don't really feel that we will save money. I am just hopeful that we will get enough milk so that we don't really have to buy milk, cheese, soap, and at some point butter. If we ever have any milk leftover, we have lots of people who want to buy it and that will help recoup some of our feed costs. We don't have a lot of money in housing for our goats at this point. We built the goat house and the milkstand out of wood that we had leftover from other projects and some new pieces, total cost, about $40. We have spent about $250 on feed, supplements, kidding supplies, and milking supplies so far, but much of that was supplies we won't have to buy again ever or for a very long time. We have spent about $15/month on feed so far, but that will go up a little bit now that one is milking and will need more grain. Hope that helps.
     
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    They obviously cost you less in feed.

    But, your milking equipment is going to be the same size as a standard goat. So your equipment, on a cost per gallon milk basis, will be costlier.

    I'm sure some people here with dwarves will chime in.
     
  4. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok I have no clue about goats, but what kind of milking equipment do you need?
     
  5. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My milking equipment is my hands...LOL


    but yea by the time you add it up.....it will depend on how far you take your shelter, your fencing costs, etc. etc. You can stay cheap or become more elaborate and have more money in it.

    Cost of feed, cost of your time is important too.

    But goat milk is pricey also.

    I think in small quantities of animals and not a business it comes down to quality of the food you produce....your own cheese, your own milk....fun and learning with animals, etc. etc.

    A mini is a goat regardless and has to be treated and medicated and all that like a standard sized goat........so a standard goat would give more milk and require a bit taller fencing....not that much of a true savings between the requirements I don't think.

    So it comes down to just preference of what you want on the farm I think. There is no huge diff. in a mini and a standard I don't think when it comes to general care---but milk supply is different definitely.
    It takes alot of milk to make a small amount of cheese....so consider what you really want to do with that milk and how much you might truly require.

    hope some of that helps ya!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  6. Thunderhill

    Thunderhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you only have two then you need minimum equipment. Nigerians are miniature...but with miniature, you also get small teats. I can milk mine by hand if there are only two...but after that I would want a milker. You can spend thousands on a milk machine but I wouldn't recomend it for only two goats. The Udderly Easy milker or the Maggidans milker would do you just fine. I think the Maggidans is around 50 dollars and the Udderly Easy is around 175.00.
    My Nigerians are from great milking lines and each gives me close to 4 lbs (1/2 gallon) per day. Yes, they are cheaper to feed than full sized goats. Yes, they are much easier on my fencing and gates than full sized goats.
     
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I was in no way implying we use milking machines. Everything that goes into goat milking, from pales to disinfectants, have a fixed cost which is then distributed over fewer gallons of milk.
     
  8. Madfarmer

    Madfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    The miniature breeds are usually a cross of Nigerian Dwarf & a standard breed. Nigerians are famous for economy--more, richer milk per pound of feed. They also produce more kids. If you start with good quality stock and live in a normal community, you'll always be able to sell surplus kids.

    Madfarmer

    Oh, and from all I've heard, the udderly EZ milker is crap. If you need to machine- milk, you can put together a system much cheaper than the Hoegger/Caprine Supply line. PM me if you want the illustrated website.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  9. Thunderhill

    Thunderhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wasn't implying that either milker was a great product...but I have the Maggidans and for two goats, it does fine. Yes, you can make one cheaper than what it sells for....and I am sure there are much better ones out there...for more money.
    I've never tried to run it on all does because I try to keep only a couple in milk at a time...thats all we need for our little family.
    I have never tried the EZ Milker but have heard from several that it works fine for someone with only a couple of goats....after that, it is no good. In my opinion it costs too much for what it actually is.

    Nigerian teats are small, harder to milk without gettting cramped hands...the little milker I have helps tremendously with that.

    Also, Mini goats do require the same medications and treatments as Large goats, only...smaller doses...which lowers the costs per dose. Most goat meds are dosed by weight. A few of the regular vaccines are the same amount for any size.
    I have raise both standard and mini's and for us, the minis are a better investment in time and money....might be different for you...just get whichever you like the most!
     
  10. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is good info, thank you. I am going to google the milkers that have been mentioned.

    I should be a little more clear about why I'm considering minis - we have a gigantic garden that is my pride and joy, and that we get unbelievable amount of vegetables from. In fact we are still eating from it (stuff in storage). Now, I've heard nightmarish stories about goats and fences. Like, "If you're fence won't hold water, it won't hold a goat" I've heard that goats are smart, easily bored, can climb like spiderman, and are a wicked challenge to any fence. I feel nauseous when I even begin to consider what a couple of loose goats could do to my precious garden that is so useful to us.

    So, I am thinking of itsy bitsy goats. Tiny goats, big big fence - I have a greater chance of preserving my garden, I hope! I'd consider a miniature dairy cow, because those don't climb, if they didn't cost, like, $2,000 a piece. And I don't feel ready for a real sized cow. Also, I don't think I'm ready for cheese-making quite yet and we use milk now mostly for milk in tea and coffee and for baking.

    It sounds like, if I can find milking equipment for not too high a cost, and manage to make their housing without spending too much, I wouldn't end up too deep in the hole, but not too far ahead either. Kind of like chickens. Isn't 'self sufficiency' and interesting thing? Sometimes it seems it costs more money to be so called 'self sufficient' than it would be to do everything the easy way.
     

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