For those of you with milk goats....

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mangled, May 7, 2008.

  1. mangled

    mangled Songster

    Realistically, what are your feed costs? We're thinking seriously about getting one (okay, I am [​IMG] the hubby isn't quite convinced) due to the rising costs of dairy and yogurts, etc. We're striving towards a more self-sufficient life.

    We have a large amount of cleared acreage, so pasture area would really be no problem. However, we have harsh winters and would be totally dependent on hay/straw, what have you - through the winter months.

    Right now, we're going through close to a gallon of milk a day with a family of 4 and a single income. Is the feed cost less than what we're spending on milk monthly?

    Also, many sites say a lone goat does fine, while others say you need a pair. Opinions?

  2. We have only had out la mancha since mid april so about a month. We get 1 1/2 - 2 quarts a day from her. We have horses so the extra feed is already kinda there. She gets sweet feed while we are milking her a small coffee can full. ( twice to three times a day)

    I have figured it out the feed for just her though. She eats 1 bale of hay every 5-7 days and 25 lb of sweet feed 2 weeks. This is included with grazing when the weather is good, the more she is out to pasture the less hay she is eatting. This week she mostly nested in it lol. There is extra stuff you will need but most of it you buy once or once ever 6 months unless you have a large herd. Things like udder wash, bag balm, tit dip, soda (like baking soda ). You can get them all at your local tractor supply store, I think for all of the dairy goat shopping spree stuff we spent like 30 bucks.

    We have a second dairy goat, a nubian named Patches, reserved for pick up later in the month. The nubiains give more milk per day them the la manchas, close to a gal a day per goat. But the la manachas are suspose to be calmer to milk. We plan to cross the two types eventually, or buy a cross. Crosses between the two are what most of the amish farmers around us have. They are calm, small and have pretty good milk yeilds. So the type of dairy goat you get would be something to conciter. If you want a smaller sized goat (which was what we wanted with having a small boy that always wants to help) Naturaly you are going to get less milk out of a little goat then out of a 165 lb nubian. But they are easier to handle and you get two or three and the cost the same to feed as one huge one but they are easier to handle. If you are drinking a gal a day plus want to make yogarts, cheeses and such you are looking at getting 2 large nubians or a few smaller dwarfs nubians, la manchas, crosses ect.

    One thing to remember is that being self-sufficient or sistainable is always gonna cost alittle more then going to the neighborhood store and picking it up. It is also more work. But you know where your food is coming from, what is truly in it, and the life it has had. There is no question about geneticly alteredness or hormones , cause you know what you fed it ect.

    Personally we love our goat milk. Our 5 yr old son has made a big joke of it and tells everyone, " no stinking cows milk for me I drink goat milk" lol It is very cute exspecially in the grocery store. We drink ours raw, we simply put it in the fridge right after milking. YOu want to get it really cold as fast as you can for the best taste. Then after an hour or 2 I take it out and strain it through some coffee filters into a clean glass jar or jug and it is ready to drink. Alot of fokes will scream no no you can't do that, but frankley my grandparents drank warm raw cows milk fresh as they were milking and it never killed them so I am not worried. lol

    If you are really serious about trying it I would recommed you get a book called barnyard in your backyard. There are also plently of good dairy goat guide books out there. And a site called woudl be worth you checking out. Good luck convincing your hubby, in our house I was the one that need convinced. [​IMG]
  3. jeaucamom

    jeaucamom Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Ophir, CA
    I just wanted to say thank you for this thread because we have been considering milk goats. I wondered about being able to drink it and what it would do to make it "drinkable". It is good to know it can come straight from the source [​IMG] So you are straining yours 3 times a day? Sounds a little labor intensive..... Have you ventured into making butter or yogurt or cheese? Thanks so much for the info! Suz
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    If you are doing it solely because you are looking to live cheaply, then milking your own animal is not for you.

    If you are doing it because you want wholesome, fresh, delicious food for you and your family, then milking a goat is definitely for you.

    It's hard to be very realistic becuase feed prices vary greatly by region. You will not be able to feed just hay to a lactating animal, though. You will get poor production and a worn-out animal. You'll need to supplement with alfalfa or a goat ration if you plan to milk.
  5. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Why not just buy dairy grade hay? Both the cows and goats do very well on it. It has a high alfalfa and clover content.

    You may pay more having your own milker but the overall quality of product can never be matched in the store.

    Toggenburgs have a great food coversion ratio. AKA food intake to milk output ratio. So that is another breed option to consider.
  6. palabeco

    palabeco Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    S.W. PA
    We are planning in getting lamanchas soon..when we went to a friends farm to look at them, she poured us some milk to taste...WOW..I never thought goats milk would taste soooo good......come on dh, get that fence and shelter done already! LOL
  7. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I have a La Mancha that produces 1 1/2 gallons a day. She is fed goat ration and alfafa pellets and extra oats, plus all the hay she can eat. I also have Nigerian dwarfs and they produce also almost 1 gallon but some only produce a quart or 2 each day. It basically depends on their breeding and genetics as to how much they will produce and what you are feeding them also. My LM is a 3 star milker and my Nigis are 2 star milkers. I would check the breeding of each goat unless they are unregistered and check the size of udders and how they look. Just because they are big udders dont mean they will give more milk, I would either watch them milk her or you do it to see what you will get from the doe. Also with moving them sometimes they stress and wont give as much as hwere they were and it takes a few days for them to regulate and start back. Just make sure you are consistant with your milking and do it at the same times. I strain mine when I bring it in and then refrigerate it . I dont want to cool down dirt and the milk taste better too. If you want better milk you have to give them something like alfafa hay or pellets or cubes ( I soak mine ) if I cant get pellets or hay. The cubes are large and hard to eat so I soak with warm water and they expand.
    Good luck with the choice you make and it is nice to know where it comes from.
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    It is hard to say exactly what I am spending in feed for my dairy goats because the price isn't why I am milking. I am milking to provide better than I buy for my kids and family table.

    I have 6 does and 2 bucklings I am raising.

    The goats forage all day. They have hay available and don't eat much of it when they have all this spring forage to eat. They get 2 qts of goat feed/sweet feed mix every day when milking as well as alfalfa cubes, beet pulp, kitchen vegetable scraps. Whatever trees I prune I toss the limbs over and they eat all those extras too.
  9. mangled

    mangled Songster

    Well, I guess I came across wrong in the original post. Sorry about that. I'm not looking to get a milk goat solely to save us money on milk.

    The more we see what's happening in the world and the food supply, the more we are leaning towards self-sufficiency and better foods. That's one reason we began (trying) to hatch our own chickens. Meat and fresh eggs.

    I have done a lot of reading on-line, but the trouble is, there's a TON of conflicting information. And I do know you have to feed them more than just hay. [​IMG]

    If we do decide to get goats, it's realistically going to be in the spring next year. We need to get a building put up for housing and feed storage, etc., plus run some lines for a pasture area.

    I'm not a total novice when it comes to milking and such, I've done some summer work on farms through my younger years and college days. I just want personal experience, and opinions, etc., from all of you who know what the heck your doing.

    We would be leaning towards dwarf Nubians, as they seem to be pretty readily available in our area. There is a farm a few miles away that sells them as kids for $35 and adults for $65. Is this way out of line?

    Thanks again-
  10. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    That's a fair price; but I would steer clear of the dwarves personally. I got to spend a day with a vet on a sheep farm (lambing school) going over every for of Dystocia we could observe in one day. After describing every condition which could occurr in sheep, he said "And it happens all the time in dwarf goats..." I mean every condition was like "not too much of a problem in sheep or cows, but watch out for dwarf goats!" I think it's good to observe the advice you're sometimes given. [​IMG]

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