Another thing...start small, resist the urge to get into multiple breeds or double the size of your herd within the first year or so. It can get overwhelming fairly quick...and of course the more animals the more everything (feed, meds, expenses)...also it is a stressor to bring in several new animals at one time into an established herd...goats are herd animals and generally have a well established pecking order.
Also new animals should always be quarantined until you determine their health status, unless you already have had tests done.
I also keep OB gloves, 'goat puller', surgical soap, sharp knives/scapels around. We do 95 percent or more of our own vet work, most goat people here do simply because there aren't really any 'goat' vets.
Also have a plan on what to do if you have a 'bad' kidding or severe injury/health problem ...how will you dispose of carcasses....are you able to put an animal down. You probably aren't going to keep all the offspring...Nubians are notorious for large numbers of kids in one birth (3 and 4 is common)...so start now looking for a meat market etc.
I also keep Lutalyse and Dexamethazone around. Lute is for inducing abortion in accidental breedings and also to induce labor (the Dex is used in conjunction with the Lute)...I've never had to induce labor...but I have used Lute to abort after a kid was accidently bred.
Another good thing to have is Fortified Vit B Complex...this is really a must have. Don't get just regular B ...get the Fortified Complex. It will come in handy to stimulate a goat and also good for Thiamine Deficiency. I also keep injectable ADE, BoSe (selenium) on hand too.
If you get in a pinch you can always use live culture yogurt in place of fastrack (it's the best product out there for helping out rumen inbalances..or if they are 'off' feed.
Invest the 12.00 and buy a real glass vet thermometer. In the case of Polio vs Listerosis it's a must have...Polio has not temp...Listerosis does. Another website:
We have does that milk up to 2900+ lbs per year. Our butterfat runs around 3.5 to 4 average. Feed can of course alter butterfat...more on feed:
We use a 18 percent dairy pellet made for goats (Kent Feeds here in the midwest) as the base, then we do 'add ins' of black oil sunflower seeds, alfalfa pellets (the hay we have doesn't have much alfalfa in it right now), Crimped Barley and Beet Pulp.
We do feed an additional mineral. North Atlantic Sea Kelp. It runs 35.00 for 50 lbs. Excellent for reproductive health and overall health..source of iodine which helps regulate the thyroid. All minerals/baking soda is fed free choice year round.
We do some AI, we have our bucks collected each fall...the semen processors can usually tell who uses Kelp and who doesn't based on sperm quality.
After all is said and done...goats are hardy animals...really! We have adult animals (one is 6 yrs) who have NEVER had antibiotics. I rarely use them. The worst we generally see is a respitory infection now and then.
Another important factor is over crowding, a cause of many health problems. You gotta provide enough land ...or if you have really too many for your acerage..then you have to more intensely manage your herd.
Definately try to find a local goat person you can rely on for help...this saved me..still does if I run into a problem...now when I say local...I mean within the state...the closest knowledgeable goat breeder is 2 hours from me..if you can find one closer even better!
Of course you are always welcome to email me for help/advice...I'll help if I can.
Jeffers, PBS Livestock, Caprine Supply and Hoeggers Goat Supply are a good place to find items you need that you might not be able to find locally. They all have websites too.
Whew!!! LaRae, I think you and I will be communicating quite a but...LOL.
Hoeggers is about an hour and a bit south of me and seems to have everything...though one goat lady close by said their prices were high and Jeffers had everything too with much better pricing. I'll have to see if it's worth it to use Jeffers after figuring in shipping...
Again, thanks for all the info...I'm sure you, and the rest that have given me pointers, will be hearing from me regularily until I get up to speed.
LOL I like talking goats!
Hoeggers/Caprine Supply are higher, but they carry some goat specific items you can't get other places at times.
Jeffers and PBS Livestock are great for meds and misc stuff. Things like Fastrack you have to buy from a local source or find a online dealer to buy from.
Best of Luck!!! Have fun!
Oh I make some soft cheese, mostly for us but I sell a little too, also sell fluid milk, to locals...Missouri's laws are pretty relaxed about it.
lets not foget about ferrier work, billy's standing on the car hood and has there ever been a kid born during the day? I have a friend who keeps goats and all I can say is he makes me glad I keep bees!
bubba bob, how was the goat pickup, did you get them?
Here's some too late advise. Build just the basics to get started. Just get them a simple, but very sturdy, pen built. 30 X 30 is plenty big. You can build your large fence later. Its nice to have a holding pen anyway to seperate animals or keep them close to trim hoofs or whatever. Put a tarp up for them. Its plenty warm enough to build your shelter later. Roll in a big roll of hay and add grain slowly, you don't want them to get bloat if they haven't been eating alot of grain. Keep the goat mineral free choice. If you have a milker, you need that milking stand pronto for cooperation. I milk in the rain as my milking parlor isn't built after almost a year. If the kids are nursing, you won't be able to milk without seperating or tapeing teets.
Thats pretty much the basics to get started.
I don't pick them up until Thursday...and she offered one more that I'm going to get. That makes 2 milkers 2 years old (Nubians), 1 milker 2 years old (Alpine), 1 never bred 1 yr old doe (Nubian), 2 doeling kids 4 mos old (Nubian), and 1 year old Nubian buck.
I've just about finished fencing an acre with 7 strands of electric (top 2 wires yet to run tomorrow), and am building a 12x16 three sided shelter for the does, a 5x5 doghouse for the buck, and a milking stand and stanchion tomorrow.
I've ordered the basics of what I need for milking from Hoeggers, I've ordered milk jugs for retail from International Plastics, and I'm ordering a good basic kit of medicines tomorrow (who has best meds pricing?).
I cross fenced 1/4 acre for the buck, and both paddocks have been plumbed with troughs fed through a float switch.
What have I forgotten to do that I need to do before I pick them up?
I'd say Jeffers or PBS livestock will have the best prices on meds....they both have websites I think.
Make sure you reinforce that buck pen. You'd be real surprised how high they can jump or what they will climb or go thru to get to a doe in heat.
Get your minerals and you can get mineral feeders from Jeffers (black square plastic 2 compartment types) that you can attach to a wall or fence (depending on the fence)....just make sure you can clean it out when it gets dirty/wet.
Also...how are you going to feed hay? Racks or ?
Have you decided yet if you are going to use anything to wipe down the udders prior to and after milking?
We preferred the wal-mart brand anti-bacterial baby wipes and Fight Bac spray.
We were on milk test a couple years so we know our somatic cell counts....the first year we used wipes and fight back....then the next year we used nothing...and had no change in counts.
We've never had a case of mastitis...which can run genetically as much as anything else.
I would only add, if you've never milked an animal get Andi to show you how. Its harder to figure out on your own than you would think. I fidled with my goat's teets for 2 weeks before a friend of mine came over and showed me how to do it. How emarassing! After doing it once its a piece of cake. If your goats kick when milked you'll need a goat hobble. I just tie her ankles to the stand but the hobble looks easier and more effective.
I'm still uncertain on the electric fence for honery nubians. A small, sturdy paddock would be good just in case. You'll use it eventually anyway. Plus you can use it to confine them the first few days and let them know where home is. And get to know the food source (you). The buck dosen't need to be seperated right away as its too hot for goats to go into heat, so he could spend a few days in the small padocks too. My paddock is attached to their main pasture, so they can use it when they arent confined, and I can move them to it quickly when I need to. Like when they get out and I don't have time to fix fence.
Went to our local fair goat show this weekend. It was great to see all those different goats. There were some nubians with cow sized udders We only sat through the Alpine judgeing, I like those Alpines too.
Oh please don't think it's too hot for goats to cycle!!! I have some cycling right now and it's been over 100 for days!!
Nubians are notorious for cycling early in the season. Boer goats (meat) will actually breed year round!
Cow sized udders are nice if they are well attached, and porportional...hate to see them hanging on the ground with poor attachments. Also have to keep in mind some 'udder up' their does prior to a show to make them appear more 'milky'.
Well thats good to know, we are wanting to have breedings at different times of year to keep a year round milk supply. So far we're accomplishing that by letting them all run together. We are expecting some kids any day. I've herd the La Mancha's can be milked for a year or longer before having to breed again, is that true? The goats at the show were show goats, no floor dragging there. As you know the mammary system is very important in ADGA shows. What is 'udder up'? I noticed they had prolonged milking and some where leaking a bit. The judge was critical of leaky teets.
Also bucks usually start into rut in July and August depending on where you live (I'm in the midwest).
The only time we run our bucks in with the does is during winter after everyone is bred. Bucks have their own aroma and this can cause your milk to be 'off' flavor as well. Agressive bucks will harass does even when they aren't cycling.
If you have an agressive buck I'd never run him with the does...even during winter, too much risk for abortion.
Any good milker, meaning good milk genetics, you should be able to milk for up to two years without re-breeding. I know people with Lamanchas who do this...we personally don't. The does will have a natural slack period but you have to keep milking right thru it and they will slowly build back up to (hopefully) a reasonable production amount.
The big drawback to summer kids is they are hit very hard with coccidia and parasites and many times don't seem to grow as well as early kids. So be agressive in prevention practices with summer kids.
Yes mammary systems is 35 pts I believe on the score card. We've had multiple best udder in show and best doe in show.
Ok uddering up is 'bagging' a doe. Instead of milking her at normal 12 (roughly) hour intervals they bag them for 14, 16, 18 or whatever hours to fill up the mammary. This causes distended udders and at some point the teats will leak.
Judges should be very critical of this practice.
You can have does who have large orifices in their teat that leak milk even when not bagged up...this is not a good trait to have as it allows bacteria to enter into the open orifice, which in turn can end up with mastitis.
How does one "udder up" a doe? It's as big as it is...isn't it?
As for udder/teat cleaning before milking, I'm trying to decide between something commercially available or, as Fias Co Farm's web site says, use highly diluted bleach water.
I'm not taking any chances on accidental breeding...though I'd like to see that 1 yr old virgin producing milk ASAP. On the other hand, breeding now means freezing my rear off at my (and her) first kidding. No thanks.
I think I've got the fence good enough to keep goats in, dogs out, and boys and girls separated. 7 wire, alternating hot and ground (4 hot, 3 ground) and running a 2 joule energizer, top wire 46 inches off ground.
My brain is on info overload, but I gotta keep plugging away with them gonna be here in 4 days...and yes, I plan to have Andi show me how to milk.
A milking question...rather than spend a hundred bucks on a stanchion, I'm gonna build one tomorrow. It looks like about 15 bucks worth of 2x4 and lag bolts and an hours work. The question...the opening, when closed/locked looks to be about 4 ". Is that correct, and if not, how wide is right?
More questions later tonight.
My husband made my first milk stand out of scrap lumber. He found plans out of a goat book I had.
Well...4 inches might be ok, it's going to depend on the size of your goats too. Some are bigger bulkier animals..so you might do a rough measure of your largest doe.
I do have a metal stand that collapses for taking to shows...a must have for me. Also your local FFA group (here at least) will build anything you want if you pay for materials and provide the plans.
Ah yes such fun to have does kidding in 20 degree weather and then have the kids ears freeze off....there are advantages to Lamanchas <G> and their short flat ear!
Are you going to have a separate kidding area too?
A friend of mine uses the diluted bleach without problem...just have to watch for any does who might be sensitive or irritated by it, especially after first kidding when the teats are sore.
The best thing for chapped udders is either Miracle Foot Cream (walmart) or something like udder butter...but I only use it when necesary, not all the time.
Now about the 'uddering up' no it's not as big as it is....the skin of the mammary is stretchy...a few days after she kids and her milk comes in you'll see what I mean. A doe that is raising her kids will never have a full udder since the kids eat small amounts several times a day.
If you pull kids at birth, once the colostrum is gone then you will see the mammary fill and get very full tight...some does need to be milked before 12 hours until they get into their lactation curve...around 30 days they tend to level off some. Health, feed, weather etc all effect milk prodcution...right now with it so hot my does are off a little in production but you shouldn't see large drops. A large drop in production should alert you to figure out why.
When you show you want the mammary to be full enough for the judges to see the rear udder and the mammary should be full...but not tight (you'll hear judges say the doe doesn't have much texture or she's over uddered)...some people get carried away and their animals will be barely able to walk around the mammary system...it's a terrible practice and painful.
We saw some waddeling, full goats.
I measured my goat's neck for my stand, yes they are easy to build. Scrap lumber is a great resource! I'm at work, looking at a ruler, 4 inches seem small maybe it was 5, I would have to measure to be sure. I think 4 would work, its at least close. Andi's goats are about the same size as my does. Something adjustable might be desirable to trim hoofs.
Are off flavors more noticable when making cheese? So far everything tastes like milk, except for one time when I was handling the buck, washed my hands, then milked. He ruined the milk.
Hmmm well milk should never smell off or goaty or bucky....goat cheese does have a 'tang' to it..but it shouldn't be 'off'.
Goat milk is more fragile than cow, has higher sugar content so bacteria form faster...really important to milk and chill as soon as possible and I wouldn't let it sit in the fridge for days and days and then make cheese out of it either.
Here's a simple home-made mastitis test. Take equal parts dawn dish soap and raw fresh goat milk and swirl (don't stir) them together in a bowl or dish....there shouldn't be any geling or thickening of the mix...if it gels or thickens then you have a bacteria problem either with the goat or how the milk was handled.
You can buy a CMT kit for around 25 or 30 dollars...but it won't tell you anything more than the dish soap and milk test.
Oh here's a tick for getting off the buck smell.
Get a cheap bag of sugar....put it in a bowl or something you can get your hands in. Stick your hands into the bowl of sugar and scrub them...then wash as usual.
Also goat milk soap is good at removing buck smell. Caprine Supply or Hoeggers makes a soap specifically for removing buck odor.
4 inches for the slot in my "keyhole" milking stand. I skipped the hole and just used 2 parallel 2X4s. The feed pan half way up. The top has a hinged 2X4 with lag bolts for pivot and latch.
Hey Michael, if you are still up...I'm meeting Andi in the morning (Friday) at 10AM at the Tractor Supply store in Maryville...come on by and we'll have a cup of coffee.
Sorry I missed you, I usually only check the board at work, probably would have come out. So how are they?
Our milker came down with some bad diarrea (scours) likely due to worms, as our neighbor and others told us. I gave them all Safegaurd to deworm and she started eating again and acting better. Then I read on Fiasco Farms that it dosen't work very well, another local agreed and said to use Ivamec. So I dewormed them all again with Ivamec and stopped milking her since she's pretty knocked down by the worms, and then theres witdraw times. I had dewormed with Safeguard before so perhapse it dosen't work. I will probably eventually get a microscope to check for worms and honeybee tracheal mites, and other fun stuff.
Our other senior does' kids are due any time so hopefully she will make a good milker. I think she will as she has had kids before and her udder is more developed. I'll definately have to watch the new babies for worms.