My First Goat!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by MrsBrooke, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Magnolia, Texas
    On Sunday, my MrB and I are going to pick up our newest addition......

    [​IMG]

    We've preemptively named her Heidi. :)

    She's an Alpine/Nigerian Dwarf mix... I believe that's "officially" a mini-Alpine. She's from unregistered (but purebred) stock.

    I AM IN LOVE. [​IMG]

    While I am all "head in the clouds" over this, she's my first baby, and I am a nervous goat-mama.

    We've got the barn worked out and sturdy fencing - 5' chain link on one side, and 6' privacy fence on the other three sides. She (and her brother) would be sharing the chicken pasture.

    Are there any cool, sage tips any one might offer? I have, quite literally, NO idea what I'm doing... Any advice is appreciated! :D

    MrsB
     
  2. FledermausFarm

    FledermausFarm New Egg

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    We just got our Mini Myotonic (fainting) goats last summer. Mr. Tumnus (aka Tommy) is pure bred unregistered and Lucy is a mix but predominantly fainter. They are seperate parentage and we hope to breed them. We are on an old 23 acre farmstead. However the goats live in the backyard that they share with our 2 dogs. Everyone gets along great. Tommy was hand raised when his mother rejected him and Lucy lived out in the pasture. They are healthy and hearty. We bought them a small shed for shelter and a heated water bucket for the winter. We also have a good supply of hay on hand to cover them over the cold Michigan winters. They have done well. We did supplement the diet with some goat chow. Too much however caused poor Lucy to get a bit loose in the caboose. Now that spring is here they are happily munching new growth. We did end up loosing a bit of landscaping, but we really didn't have much to loose. We will also be putting gates on our deck to keep it clear of droppings and save my herb planters!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    That is good you are getting her with her brother. But is her brother going to be wethered? If not, he will breed her, and you will have a doe bred far too young with inbred kids.

    Build their shelter and fenced in area before you bring them home. Keep the hay you feed them elevated and make sure chickens cannot defecate in the hay, since you're having them share an area. Locate a supply of hay before you bring them home as well. Do you know how to trim hooves? If not, youtube has some nifty videos. Or better yet, have the person selling the goats show you how to do it. It is part of regular goat care, so you need to learn it. Building a milking stand makes it easier to trim hooves.
     
  4. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Shelter and fence we have. :)

    Their hay will be off the ground in hanging feeders that the chickens will not have access to. Our local TSC has alfalfa hay, fortunately.

    Her intact brother will pose a bit of a challenge. I want to wether him to make him a companion goat, but MrB wants him intact to breed him (he's a black and white spotted Nigerian). If he stays intact, I do know we will need to keep them separated, and now we're right back to where we were dealing with lonely goats. Why, oh, WHY couldn't she have had a sister?? :p Is there a way we can keep them where they can *see* each other without touching? Or do they need to be TOGETHER for the "herd animal" requirement?

    I have watched a few videos on YouTube on hoof maintenance and issues. I'm excited to begin. :)

    Thank you so much for your wisdoms!

    MrsB
     
  5. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have two Australian Shepherds that really aren't so great with chickens. I hope a head butt or two will put them in their places!!! :D

    Thanks for the feed info. Fortunately, the weather here is much milder, so it only really freezes for a few nights, and rarely gets below mid-20s. I've never needed a water heater for the chickens or anything. :)

    MrsB
     
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Considering they've been together since birth, separating them where they could still see but not touch will likely upset them still. Get some earplugs for you and your nearest neighbors, because they will be LOUD once they're separated. A more logical course would be to wether him, and later purchase another doe and a buck once you are comfortable with caring for those two. Learn from them before you jump strait into breeding. The wethered brother would then go to be the buck companion, and the other doe goes to be the doe companion. That way you get a buck to breed, and each set of goats has companionship.

    Togetherness is important for their health. Yea, they can do the 'see but not touch' thing, but they don't like it.

    Don't buy those crappy bales of hay from tractor supply. You will be paying through the nose for a poor quality product. I once got a bale when I was desperate. The edible leafy bits were powder, pressed together with inedible stems. So basically most went to waste. Plus it is so much more expensive than hay from a farmer. A simple craigslist search, and you can find available alfalfa hay, if that is what you want to feed.
     
  7. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I feel is best, as well. Even if we never get another male, I feel a wether is an INDISPENSABLE part of a goat herd. They're like unichs... Only not the Game of Thrones kid. :/

    Considering we are basically getting a really nice goat and her brother for a "herd reduction price," I am with you on this one, big time. I have a neighbor on Facebook with a Nigerian Dwarf male she said we could "borrow" in the fall if we decide to breed her. She would be eight months old. I know I wouldn't want to do it any earlier than that. She would be a bigger goat than the Dwarf, so I feel she would handle it okay. Is that about right?

    As for the hay, I will certainly follow your advice on this. I have seen it pop up on CL for very reasonable prices in the area. :)

    Thank you so very much! :D

    MrsB
     
  8. FledermausFarm

    FledermausFarm New Egg

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    Really good points Stacykins. The close relations (that didn't click on first read) is not the best thing. You should have the male banded or be ready to keep them separate, which also isn't the best for a herd breed. It comes down to, why do you have goats? Are they pets? dairy? meat? Once you make that choice, it will help with where you go from there. Your breed is generally considered a milk breed. There is a great deal to learn if you go that direction. Our Myotonic "fainting" goats are also known as Tennessee Meat Goats. We do have minis which are primarily considered a pet breed. Take a moment to really think if these are to be pets or if you want to have "working" goats.
     
  9. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A solution dropped into my lap. My employer knows a lady with three female Pygmies she cannot keep anymore.

    We are picking up our girl Sunday and will have three older, small sisters for her to cuddle with. ♡

    How relieved I am! No males needed at all.

    To answer the question above, we want goats for milk, to start a herd of mini-Alpines (down the road), and pleasure/company. :)

    MrsB
     
  10. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Something to think about... if your goals are to breed Mini-Alpines and get milk, Pygmies aren't going to help you with either goal. I know it's a good solution for now, just throwing it out there. :) Pygmies won't give you the milk you want, nor give you Mini-Alpines.
     

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