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Goat breeds? (Brush clearing and pets)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by KDOGG331, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    So I've really wanted goats for some time and it will probably be a little while before I can get them since currently all my money is going to go towards building a new chicken coop and run but I figured I would start planning now.

    I have considered adding ducks and do want them but they seem very messy even with cleaning and goats just seem to very neat, clean animals so back to wanting them. If I am wrong please correct me.

    Now, I believe I did have a similar thread a while ago and also done research but I have some new questions.

    Previous threads and research have typically led me to dwarf goats or dairy breeds and wethers. Specifically Nigerian Dwarf or African Pygmy (APs do not seem to be around here), Toggenburg, Oberhasli, and Alpine. Have heard Nubians and LaManchas can be loud but that Nubians are nice.

    I always ruled our Boers as i thought they were solely meat goats or boring and not very pretty (rude I know).

    I really really liked Nigerian's as they seem very personable and VERY cute and funny and many colors available. Very good traits for a pet.

    HOWEVER.

    I have recentlyheard that rhe dwarf gosts are not very good at brush clearing or that you would need a lot more and that the boers are excellent at this so my thinking has sort of changed.

    I guess my questions are these:

    These goats would be primarily PETS but they would also hopefully have the job of brush clearing. If they were to be just pets I would be fine with that too but I figure they should earn their keep.

    Being pets, I don't want them to be mean or pushy.

    What goats are the best for clearing brush? Are there any that can do that well and still be good pets?

    If not is it possible to keeo dwarfs with standard goats so that I could have both pets and effective brush clearers?

    We have about 3 acres, only about an acre or acre and a half of which is yard. The yard is huge, don't get me wrong, but there's lots of woods plus our woods connect with neighbors and they never use it so plenty of food. Besides the woods we have several overgrown patches on the property. Various grasses, poison ivy, weeds, berries, etc. Would they eat this?

    Also, maybe thid is considered weird but are there any that might be easier to take on walks in the neighborhood or on hikes? I have heard of pack animals, is that a thing? Even if they don't pack, can I just take them for walks?

    Can they eat the brush on walks and hikes or is it best to avoid it in case they spray it?

    I think that milking is too much work for us and we have no need for milk anyways so believe wethers would be best for us unless does do not necessarily need to be milked or bred?

    Also would a 3 sided plywood shelter be sufficient shelter?

    And is any hay besides alfalfa good?

    Sorry there are so many questions, I only had one or two but thought of more while typing. Sorry.

    TIA
     
  2. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Also the more i look at boer goats i realize they really are pretty good looking after all
     
  3. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Goats that are not milking or breeding do not need alfalfa hay.

    Do you have a securely fenced area for your goats. Goats that are running loose in a neighborhood will eat all of the ornamental plants before they will clean up brush.

    I have never heard that dwarf goats don't eat brush.

    If you take your goats for a walk, they will have to be leashed if you are walking past neighbor's landscaped yards.

    Goats number one enemies are dogs and coyotes. Do you have a way to prevent dogs from getting to your goats?

    Where you live will determine what kind of shelter they will need. Goats are not hardy like cows.
     
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for the info! :)

    Then I'll have to avoid alfalfa! Don't think it's very common around here anyways.

    We don't have a fence yet but I was thinking of setting one up or perhaps tethering them or making a moveable fence

    What I'd heard about dwarf goats isn't that they won't eat brush but more that they barely make a dent in it.

    If they went on a walk they would definitely be leashed! Was thinking walking them just like a dog occasionally, whicb is why I wasn't sure if all goats would willingly follow

    We actually live in town but have the biggest lot, theres one street behind us with neighbors houses right there, and in front is a lot of yard and a townhouse/condo development so no worries about dogs! In fact, most of the neighbors only have little tiny dogs or medium sized ones and they never get loose. Our dog is the problem dog, half lab and half great pyrenees and used to get loose but not in a long time, but I will work on training him or will keep the goats contained. His mom watched over goats though. Tge coyotes we do have but only one or two that I'm aware of and very rarely if ever see them

    We live in Massachusetts so we do get snow and cold weather but this winter has been very mild in comparison. Perhaps I will make it face away from the winds and/or make it 3 1/2 sides, adding a door?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Tethering isn't a good idea. They can get tangled or dogs could get them. We use 3 foot tall woven wire, 2x4 open with an electric strand halfway up. I have had all types of goat's. They all will eats brush, but like people each have their own taste, some like thistle, others nettle, all seem to like twigs and brambles, but hay and grass is mines main diet.

    Currently I keep only wethers. They get pasture in summer and a good grass hay, second or third crop for winter. I try to avoid grains, mostly feeding a small bit of sweet feed when younger and growing. They have free access to loose goat minerals and baking soda.

    I have some miniatures and my dairy boys who I bottle raised, on milk replacer. I prefer my dairy boys because they are friendlier, they certainly could be taught to walk on a leash, carry a pack or even harnessed to a cart or wagon. The dairy breeds don't jump as much as the miniatures and can be easier to confine.

    I would recommend a shed with the open doorway facing south. As long as they have bedding, sunlight and protection from the wind they do okay.

    Just a couple of my 13 boys. Oh and I like knowing I saved a dairy goat boys life. Easter is coming and people eat them cute little buggers.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I hadn't realized they could get tangled!! Will definitely avoid that then!!! The fence is a good idea and around here we can get that kind cheap from our local feed store or on Craigslist! :) is the electric bit to help keep them in or to keep predators out? Interesting to note the different preferences of the goats too! So assuming that's more individual personality than breed? I'm thinking my goats main diet will be hay too and the browse can just be work ha

    I'm thinking wethers are probably are best bet. What sort of minerals do you use? A specific brand or anything? Heard some say loose and some say block so was a bit confused.

    Maybe I'll stick with dairy goats then! The miniatures seem to be quite a bit more expensive too! That would be amazing if they could do all that!! :) hadn't factored in the jumping bit either, that makes sense. Definitely want easy.

    So would you recommend just 3 sides or should I have 4 sides and just have an open door? Or should I lock them in at night? Was mostly just trying to figure out what would be easiest and cheapest as well as what wouldn't need a permit.

    Aww they're very cute!!! Totally forgot people ate them too :(
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    But I can get different ones or find a breeder. The first 4especially
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    The electric is to keep the goats from rubbing on the fence and wrecking it, it to keep them from climbing on it and wrecking it, it's to keep them from climbing out. We don't run it all the time but randomly, and especially late in the summer when the pasture grows sparse. By sparse I mean about 5-6 inches high as goats don't crop down shorter than that unless they are forced to. We have coyotes around but so far none have tried goat. Mine go in the shed at night so they are safer. If I had troubles I would run a top electric wire as well to keep things from jumping over.

    I feed a loose goat mineral. Mine is made by Sprout, carried at fleet farm, which is here in the Midwest. Make sure to get it for goats which has copper in it. I have read goats will break their teeth trying to use a block. We used to use blocks and they did mostly try to bite it not lick it.

    Our goats have four sides to the shed with a about 3x4 foot tall doorway with a canvas flap. Sometimes the weather comes around from the east and would blow in.

    Goats are primadonnas, they would prefer to sit up on something high and have food brought to them, then eat only the best parts and throw the rest on the ground. They are pushy and demanding, and often trouble, so be prepared for shenanigans. But they also like to have their cheeks rubbed and to follow you around the pasture, they enjoy a good conversation, a scratch on the rump and nuzzling your face. So both good and bad things. The key is to understand them and fulfill their needs.

    Big don't are, change all feeds slowly, they can die pretty quick from a dietary change especially if it involves grain. Feeding grain will also make goats cry out every time they see you, so if you want quiet ones don't grain them.

    For breeds, my la mancha are noisy, my Sable and alpine crosses are fairly quiet, my Nubian was noisy.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    The shed should work, and any of those babies will be great. Get a pair and see how you like them. I raise mine on milk replacer, follow the directions, others use cows milk. Such cute little kids.
     

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