Goat Gals

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It is time for me to get a dairy animal. The most practical choice would be a milk goat. I've had many friends that had goats. Some herds have been wonderful and some were just awful! My own goat experiment some 18 years ago was less than ideal, but I know NOW you don't take a range goat and try to keep her on 1 acre. I have a ton of questions for you goat keepers.

Will one goat give enough milk for a family of 5? If not how many will I need? If I only have one, will she accept the horses as her herd? If I have 2?

Will a 4 strand hotwire fence keep a goat or goats confined?

Is the difference between docile does who know their place and militant nannies who challenge everything while jumping on top of my car, is this training or genetic?

I am not looking for show goats, just family milkers. What will I be looking for in the girls I see? Is there any paticular breed that may be better suited to my family?

I really am more of a cowgirl but I am still too far away from having a cow. If 4 strand hotwire will keep them in, I can have goats as soon as I find her. I will work REALLY hard at being a good goat girl.

Thank all, I know I can count on all of you to tell me everything I should know about good goatkeeping and choosing the right girls.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001


Will one goat give enough milk for a family of 5? If not how many will I need?

I think you would need to get two or maybe three. It depends on how much milk and cheese you generally use. Goats will start out like gangbusters and then they will usually taper down to six pounds or so for the last half of their lactation. Some will give a lot consistently.

I remember reading a thread on Vicki's Goat Shed about amounts and it appeared that La Manchas generally gave the most milk steadily with Alpines running second.

Breed them several months apart and you can be sure to have milk all year round. Which is a question, do you have a dairy buck nearby that you can get too reliably?

If I only have one, will she accept the horses as her herd? If I have 2?

I know lots of folks use goats to be companions for their race horses. I guess they calm them down in storms and other noisy situations. I've not done it, so I couldn't say for sure. I would be very gradual in the introduction because a horse could easily kill a goat if they were spooked.

Will a 4 strand hotwire fence keep a goat or goats confined?

Yes if they are trained on it. Mine are on three strand, but they started with four. You have to space the wires correctly. I'll measure mine and let you know.

Is the difference between docile does who know their place and militant nannies who challenge everything while jumping on top of my car, is this training or genetic?

There will be a queen and they will smack each other around from time to time. I can only offer my experience which isn't terribly broad, my nubian is just a little sweetheart. She is genteel, a regular lady!!! My Togg queen is much more docile since I assisted in delivery, but she was pasture raised before I knew better and it was goat rodeo to milk her for awhile. My Togg Alp girls are rowdies, but they are also very friendly and loving. The best way to keep the girls from jumping on cars is to not drive into the goat pen. They must be fenced!!

I am not looking for show goats, just family milkers. What will I be looking for in the girls I see? Is there any paticular breed that may be better suited to my family?

Grade does are great. You should look for a CAE neg test, current on whatever vaccinations are necessary in your area, clean conditions, DO NOT buy a horned doe, shiny coat, bright eyes, no swollen knees, or splayed set to the legs. Look for an evenly developed udder with a high set to it.

Rebekah, Vicki, Diane or Skip can probably give you better particulars than I can in the looks department. I can look at them and tell you if they are good or not, but not really ~why~....

I really love goats, I hope you find some nice ones that bring the same love for them out in you!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), October 17, 2001.

Laura, where do you live? In His Grace, Sissy

-- Sissy Sylvester-Barth (iblong2Him@ilovejesus.net), October 17, 2001.

Doreen, I'm sure you didn't intend to tell Laura to NOT buy a goat with a shiny coat, etc.! ;-)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), October 17, 2001.

I am way out on the far northwest tip of Washington.

I am going this afternoon to look at two does. One is free because she has two orifices in one teat and the other is a toggenburg that went to state fair last year. She is being sold for $100 because she didn't handle the stress of fair very well. They belong to a young homeschooled 4-H girl and so they should be compatible with my family.

Anybody have any quick tips on bringing them home in the family van? I am amazed at how God works. I post questions and out of the blue I get a call to come look at affordable goats!

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001.

Will you be toting them in the back? I suggest you put down some sort of mat--maybe an old shower curtain and some newspapers or something(just in case;) Perhaps someone can sit close to them and hold/pet their dear heads.

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), October 17, 2001.

Hahahaha, Mary, TOO LATE! We just rode 80 miles home with these girls in my new van. Like my littlest kid said, "Its full of bean and pees." This WAS my first vehicle in years that didn't have smells!

Anyway, these girls are real nice. The free one is 2 1/2 years old Saanan, La Mancha queen. She is so sweet and easy. The other is a registered Toggenburg, 18 months old. County Fair reserve champ, blue ribbon in every class, but stressed at state fair last month and dried up. This 4-H child worked hard with these goats. They are clean, well cared for and well mannered. I paid $100 for one and got the other for free.

Of course, it was pitch black when we got back with them. We walked them out into their pen and let them loose. The first thing they did was follow my husband. He was on the outside of the fence. The stuck their heads through the wire and slithered on through completely oblivious to the electicity. For tonight, one is on the dog tie out cable and the other is on a longeline tethered to the hitching post and the dogs are inside. Tomorrow will be a day of goatproofing a fence.

This just really clarifies why I like cows, they are big and DUMB. I like DUMB animals, cows and chickens, turkeys and maybe a couple of sheep. I have a very hard time coping with animals that are smarter than I!!!!!

More questions, these girls are CAE negative. I need to find a buck for them. Is CAE a risk of breeding?

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), October 18, 2001.

Well it sure sounds like you got a deal! The one good thing about goat poo compared to other animals is how nicely it sweeps up;}.

To train them on the fence you will need to put them on a dog leash and walk the perimeter with them and push them into it every now and again. Be prepared to yank them back. I have had one or two that jump into the fence instead of back from the shock. You need a powerful punch to the charger as well. Those little zappers are no worse than a mosquito bite. All but one of my goats are quite repsectful of the electric fence. The horned (Beelze)Boo is behind cattle panel.

CAE isn't a risk factor for breeding according to most people. Some folks won't let CAE negs anywhere near CAE pos as a matter of caution. Mine are mostly positive and I have had one girl who didn't want me to bring them over because of that, but the two other breeders were fine with it.

Congratulations, Laura!!!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), October 18, 2001.

Congratulations on a really good find! It'll be an adventure, but I'm betting you and "the girls" get along just fine!:)

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), October 18, 2001.

"Far Northwest Tip of Washington" Is that as in LaPush or Blaine? We have a small Nubian herd here in Stanwood (1/2 hour north of Everett) Email us anytime if you have goat heath questions. We do most of our own vet work.


-- Skip in Western WA (sundaycreek@gnrac.net), October 18, 2001.

We are just north of LaPush, Skip. Thank you for the offer of advice I will be taking you up on that offer when I need it.

The fence is still not goat proof so the girls are still tethered. It needs to be done by tomorrow or I will have to board them somewhere. Hopefully with a nice buck.

We did walk them around today and let them browse. The horses do not like them. Dusty, the horse neglected in captivity, is terrified of the brown one because she looks so much like a deer. She just ran trying to stay away from her. Camas, the horse that grew up in the wilds, didn't like the white goat and would charge and stomp her feet like a black bear, but wouldn't get too close. The goats thought the horses were pretty funny!

It just dawned on me today that I gotta go through the birth thing with them to get to the milk. I thought I was done with babies!!!! I forgot to ask if they were easy, I know they both throw twins. At least they are experienced. I hate going through this with a mommy who is clueless.

Doreen, you are right, the beans are real easy to sweep up. It was the pees that took time to get mopped up. My oldest daughter still hasn't asked how we got them home. She would be horrified to know they were in the van that I haul her dance team around in. Even if she finds that out, we are sworn to secrecy about the Burger King incident. (yes, she is 16, Mom is entitled to have secrets from her)

We took the goats through the drive-thru at BK. When I am ordering one goat sticks her face up by mine and bleats, so I ordered two extra fries. When we got to the window, she is still nosing around my ear and the other has her nose pressed to the glass. That kid in the window had such a funny look. I took some french fries, dumped them in a box on the floor to get the goats' attention. We're still getting stuff from the kid, when my daughter in the back says, "AW MAN!" and you can hear liquid spattering on the floor mats. As nonchalant as I could I just asked, "Can we have extra napkins please?" I don't think I will ever forget his face! Well, we parked and we took turns going into BK to wash up before eating. Judging by the employee reactions, we are NOT normal even if we look like we could be. It will be a long time before I go back there and I hope they either forgot us or have all new employees.

Yes, having goats is an adventure and these girls are so sweet that I can handle them being smart. Thanks all for the help, support and understanding.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), October 19, 2001.

Well that sounds like quite an adventure!

I finally remembered and measured the electric fence, from the bottom up it is 10", 16", 24" and 36". I'd guess that you could go a few inches either way and still be fine. Have a good time securing them!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), October 19, 2001.

Thank you, Doreen. That's the measurements we used with SIX strands of wire. The wires are alternating from hot to ground, meaning the bottom wire is hot, the next is mounted on the metal post and so on. Touching two wires at the same time is quite the jolt! OWW!!!!

They are fenced and staying put. Now I need to know what kind of goat, health, milk and cheese supplies and books that I need to get and where would I find them?

It is time to look for a buck. For my LaMancha/Saanan cross doe, what would type of a buck would you folk recommend?

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), October 20, 2001.

As for books, there are a number! There are several that I still need to get, too. Goat Medicine, Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way (jd), Goats Produce, too!. Definitely go to www.saanendoah.com and really look into the serious goat stuff there. It's a great bunch of info.

I'd go with either a LaMancha or a Saanen buck. Whichever one is close and the best!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), October 20, 2001.

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