Help with buying a dairy goat?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by still learning, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. still learning

    still learning Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Hello. I am hoping some of you can help me with something? I was planning on finding two saanen kids this spring to purchase, with the hope of breeding and milking them. I have a couple of friends with dairy goats, and one of them just offered to sell me one of her saanens. Does this sound like a good place to start?

    She said its pure saanen, 3 yrs old and needs to be bred now for a fallish freshening. Last year was her first freshening and she provided 1/2 gal. a day. She says the goat will likely provide more the second time around.

    I emailed her back asking about cost, if she would be lonely until she had a baby, and if the whole "make sure you get two goats" thing would work if she had at least one baby girl and I kept that one (would probably sell any billies...I don't have the space to keep both). I also asked about personality as one of the reasons I wanted kids was because we were hoping to bond with them early on.

    I chose Saanens because of their easy going temperament and because they are good milk producers and aren't as noisy as Nubians (I have neighbors).

    What else should I ask? And does this sound like a good option for a busy family starting out that also includes 6 children, ages 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 and 1?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. hollyk

    hollyk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saanens have been my first choice also. One will be bred this fall and the other (6yrs) is due in March. I do like their personalities, they are easy to get along with. They are quiet. This doe sounds like a good place to start, I would request that she breed her for you. If you join a local goat raiser assoc. you can get a sonogram done cheaply, that way you know for certain she is prego and how many to expect. You would want to consider finding a goat to get with her. Five months is a long time for a goat to be alone.[​IMG]
    Enjoy! I have 4 kids and I plan to leave the kids on the mama during the day and pen the kids up at night. This way I only have to milk in the morning. We are usually busy in the afternoon and evening. Check out www.fiascofarms.com. There is lots of good info there.
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    She sounds like a good goat to start with; if the price is right. You do want to make sure she's good on the milk stand. Make sure she is CAE negative (have her give you the test results), and check your area for any other diseases you need to be aware of.

    I agree that five months is way too long for a goat to be by itself. Somehow you need to give her a goat buddy until she has her own kids.

    Since they are from Switzerland I'm wondering if the doe will come back into heat this time of year for a fall freshening? I don't have experience with Saanens so I'm just asking out loud.

    Also, just asking out loud, since Saanens are generally considered the breed that produces the most amount of milk (I realize there are lots of variables here) is 1/2 gallon a day for a first freshener a concern? My two Alpines were both first fresheners last year and both gave over a gallon a day. Maybe the lady meant she gave 1/2 gln. each milking?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  4. griffin45

    griffin45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A Saanen is a good choice. I think you will be happy with her, but she will really need a friend. Goats are herd animals and they have to have their herd. Even if it is just two. I also think that 5 months is to long for the goat to be alone. One goat may become noisy and pushy when you go out to take care of them. Our two goats are now going on 15 goats... Goats are like chickens - ADDICTIVE! Have fun and enjoy the milk!

    Chris
     
  5. still learning

    still learning Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2008
    I am really excited. I've been chatting back and forth with my friend since the first email. I don't know about other Saanens but my other friend with Saanens says 1/2 gal for a first freshening is not unusual. 3/4-1 gal in the future? That's what she said, anyway.

    My friend currently has this goat with a buck for breeding and if its not successful, she has a back up buck planned as well (the buck is my other friend's, coincidentally...a Boer). And the price is right. [​IMG] She is also willing to hold her for me until we get our barn and fencing in order (we are waiting for the ground to un-freeze). She has 11 goats, I think, and is looking to reduce the workload a bit (she has 3 children as well, and two of them are very young).

    Yeah, I am going to have to get her a buddy. I was thinking that maybe I would get a younger doe as a buddy, and then they would not be on the same cycle for breeding? The thought of having to breed 2 at once feels overwhelming to me as a newbie to all of this.

    I have another question...is breeding a Saanen to a Boer (which is a meat goat, I think?) going to change the milking qualities of any doe kids? For some reason, in my area every seems to breed with Boer bucks? Is this a good thing???
     
  6. Chatychick

    Chatychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Well here I breed for milk and check the milking lines in my bucks before I get them as the buck also helps determine what type of udder the doe will produce and how much milk she will have. I have read this on Dairy goat info as a man did studies on this and its some sort of enzyme the buck passes that does this. My bucks are out of very good milkers and my girls do excelent. Check the lines before breeding her to the boer as they arent really known for milking. JMO
     
  7. still learning

    still learning Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Quote:So what you are saying is, see if the buck's mother was a good milker? What kind of goats do you have for milk, and what kind of buck would you recommend? I am avoiding Nubians because I heard they are really noisy, and I don't think my neighbors are going to like that...
     
  8. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    My understanding is that breeding to a Boer will result in less milk production and certainly isn't likely to help with the udders either.

    Two of the more common good milk goats are Alpine and LaMancha (and obviously Nubian but you don't want that). There are other good milk breeds but they are usually harder to find.
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    If you don't think you need a break from milking year-round, you can breed one doe as soon as she comes in heat in the fall and the other one this time of year. Pure bred dairy goats have been bred to cycle from August to probably March, but should only be bred one time a year. Goats won't milk as well for 10 months of the year as cows do.

    Boer goats (as a whole) have not been bred for udder conformation and teet size. So if you plan to keep a doe kid, I would not breed to a Boer. However, if you want to butcher the kids, he would be an excellent choice.

    I love Oberhasli's, they were my quietest does. They do not get as large as Saanens or Nubians, but they certainly milk as well.

    And here is some well meant advice.....get the kids dehorned when they are a day or two old no matter what sex they are. Young goats learn how to use those nubs of horns VERY young.
     
  10. hollyk

    hollyk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canton, Texas
    If you want to milk the does your Saanen throws, you may not want the boer. However, if you are planning on selling the babies, there may be a market for the boer/saanen cross. Meat goat ranches are common where I live. It is becoming popular to add a dairy/boer cross to the herd because breed to a full boer buck, the kids are very high percentages in the boer line and the moms give a ton of milk due to being a dairy cross. I personally plan to do this with my Saanens. I do not need to milk more than two goats. Therefore, the Saanens will be breed by my boer buck. I will keep the first set of does to be part of my meat goat herd. The rest will be sold.
    As for the breeding cycles, it is my understanding that dairy goats in general come in to heat about September through January. I have not had much experience with breeding dairy goats, I will leave that to the other goat folks. I want mine breed in September for a Feb. kid.

    Like griffin45 said- goats are addicting! Our 4 month 4H project with 2 goats has now lasted 2 years and we have 12 goats with 4 sets of kids on the way![​IMG]
     

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