Sell me on goats

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

  1. ChelC

    ChelC In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    I've been debating getting a couple does for our yard, but I'm not certain about it. It would not be until next year.

    The pros:
    Goats milk, cheese, etc.
    Pets for my sons
    Self reliance

    The cons:
    I'm scared to death of kidding
    Having to find a milker when we want to go camping or on vacation
    Cost of feed and housing

    I'm really not sure about this one. How long are they fertile if we kept them as pets, with the option to breed for milk later? How much do they eat? What is the cost of keeping them if they won't be given much room? In reality they'd be confined to an area that is about 40x50 feet. What kind of housing are we talking for two goats? I know the cream doesn't seperate off in goats milk, do any of you spin it off? I know that's not always easy but we only use real butter and we spend a fortune on it now, so I think it might be worthwhile for us.

    Anyway, how much work are your goats, and do you consider the cost to benefit worthwhile?
  2. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    We have 5 pygmy goats and don;t milk them, but certainly could. Two have milk despite never being bred, and milking them routinely would only increase their supply. depending on how much milk and how many goats you have, kidding may be optional. We got ours as pets, as we had some space and our kids wanted a horse. A horse is too much responsibility/money. The goats are perfect, sweet but undemanding, they get fed once a day and are content to hang out the rest. I'm not sure how big their pen is, I would guess 50 x 80 feet but I could be way off, perhaps as big as the footprint of a small house. It is quite large and the woman we got the goats from was well pleased when she "inspected" it. I keep the grass watered and the goats only eat the tops so the pen always looks well groomed! That said, these same goats were in a much smaller pen at the previous owners house and did just fine.

    We feed a few cups of alfalfa pellets and a small flake of hay each day. it is so little you'd think they would faint, but they are actually getting fat. Milkers would need more food and perhaps a suppliment, but they are pretty efficient digesters. Horses seem to poop out the same hay they just ate and then eat some more! Goats also need minerals, but these come in blocks that last a long time if they are kept out of the rain. Most goats seem to sleep in dog kennels of various types, such as the dog igloos. We happened to have a shed with concrete floor that was solid but not good for much, so three of ours sleep in there and the other two sleep outside the shed.

    The best thing about our little goats is you cannot look at them without smiling, and spending half an hour with them is like two hours of therapy! They are so calm. The kids adore them and short of feeding once a day (we have a guy who comes and does it when we're gone, we pay him in wine) and trimming their hooves every month their only requirement is to be loved on.
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Separate the baby from the momma at night. Milk her in the morning. Every morning. Let the baby suck all day and early evening.

    When you go off for the weekend leave the baby with the momma to milk her out for you.

    You should be able too keep up her milk supply and have milk for your table.

    However you MUST be consistant otherwise you will have a goat that doesn't like being milked or her milk will start to dry up.

    Dairy people frown on this practise but it works for the family milk goats.

    Also you need 2 or 3. Lonely, bored goats are destructive and mischevious. They are very social and need companions.

    I love my goats!


  4. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Songster

    Jan 9, 2008
    Washburn, MO
    I have my 2 bottle babys (African Pygmys) and although they can be annoying (they are set for 6am whether it's my day off or not, AND they are worse than the dogs about yelling when my car turns in the driveway) they are easy to care for and they get a flake of hay and a couple cups of feed a day. They will need even less feed once I get their big pen finished and they can eat grass and such.
    Right now, they are spoiled and still get a bottle (of water) twice a day, mainly becasue they still cry for it and until I move them to the new pen, I am afraid the neighbor will complain. (new pen is 100 yrds away from the house)
    I would love to have a larger breed nanny for milking, but until I move to a larger place, I will settle for the Pygmys.
  5. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    I always wanted to have goats, until I went to a goat farm and smelled them. Now, not so sure. [​IMG]
  6. dfchaser

    dfchaser Songster

    Apr 25, 2008
    The bucks are what make that smell, when they are ready to breed, it is terrible. Otherwise it is not bad at all. We have a heard of pygmys, that we got in January. We have never owned goats before and decided it would be fun. We got a pregnant one, and she did her thing, and i helped to the best of my ability. Kidding is not too bad, deciding what to do with the new baby can be tough, i always want to keep them!
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I can't imagine not having goats here at the farm. We milk for ourselves, make cheese and eventually will feed the milk to our pigs (once we've sold their babies along). I also found my chickens really like the goat's milk, too.

    I found kidding to be only slightly harder tham lambing. The two are pretty similar and it's just something you must do yourself. There is no way to get good at it watching others doing it, or just reading books. You need to jump in and realize you may make mistakes or something may go wrong that you don't spot. But, it's the only way to learn.

    Calving, on the other hand... my gut still wrenches thinking about everything that could go wrong.

    As far as milking, we're very lax. We typically milk twice a day. Sometimes we only milk once. We let our bucklings be exposed to their mothers, so they help keep the mothers in productiong (CAE cannot be passed from buck to offspring). I'm mostly looking forward to the kids being sold along, so we can get more milk for ourselves.

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