Category Archives: Dairy Goats

Thoughts on dairy goat breeds

First of all I am very opinionated on things I feel strongly about, and goats is one of them,  so this blog may seem very bias, because it is.  I have had all dairy breeds except Saanen and can give you my view on each except the Saanen.   Nigerian Dwarf have what I call little goat syndrome with a few exceptions and not near enough milk.  They can be loud and the ones I had did not get along well with the other goat breeds as easily since they are small and are not boss, but they do so want to be the boss! Lamanchas are out of the question for me because I love ears on a goat and love the alertness of the erect ears on swiss breeds,  they can have nice udders and there milk taste good and they can be good milkers.  The craziest goat I have ever seen was a Lamancha and she would literally run sideways on the walls of the barn to get away from you!  Nubians that I have had or been around were very loud and I like quiet, I am sure you have your exceptions but I have not seen many.   Nubians require more food for the same amount of milk as a swiss breed. The only goat I ever had jump a stall was a nubian, and when I try to drench a nubian they love to spit it back at me instead of swallowing.  Also they do not make the regular maaaa noise, they scream, seriously.   I had one toggenburg and she had the worst milk I ever tasted, they say this breed needs more vitamin B for better milk taste and there milk is naturally stronger flavored for cheese making but maybe there are some with good milk to drink, just make sure to sample before you buy.  She ruined me on Toggs.  Next is Oberhasli, the breed I wanted to start out with but I could not find does, as they are not as popular of a breed, and it is hard to find different bloodlines often, and I have been told by a long time breeder that they have to be great a Obershasli to equal a good Alpine udder wise, but the Oberhasli milk taste very sweet and good, and they are very sweet and quiet girls, I do love them.  Saved the best for last in my opinion, the alpine, friendly, sociable, quiet, and good tasting milk and a lot of it, with lots of color variety.  I was however informed when I had just started into goats that alpines were crazy, break out of fences, ect.  I have never seen this to be true of the many alpines I have owned, or any the alpines, of alpine breeders I know, do this either.  They are a wonderful dairy goat through and through, very classy.  They are herd aggressive, meaning they will fight within the herd from time to time to see whom is boss.  They do not take much food to make a good amount of milk and udders are usually consistent if you make sure to start of with a good udder in the first place and make sure your buck’s dam’s udder is good too. Make sure that teat placement and size is where you want it and teats are big enough and long enough for good hand milking if that is your plan, ask for tons of pictures.  Also I would want to taste the milk of any goat purchased as I am sure that all good milk tasting breeds have there exceptions.  And remember if your does are with a smelly buck then none of your milk will taste good.

A Different Kind Of Breeding Schedule

So it is very apparent that everyone wants to breed does each year to acquire that wonderful fresh goats milk each spring. This is the way that most people want to breed because this is what everyone does. I am going to experiment this next few years with a different kind of breeding program idea, breeding every other year and milking through. My plan is to have two sets of 6 does, breeding one set of 6 one year and milking them through unto the time that the next 6 are weaning there babies at 5 months old. So they would milk until about July of the next year. This will give them about 7 to 8 months off every other year from milking, with 2 to 3 months of that being free of milking AND pregnancy. This is all going to be very dependent of how the doe is milking at about 9 months into her lactation and if I think she will stay in milk through winter. If she is a yearling first freshener and barely milking much by month 9 then I may well go on and breed her again so that she doesn’t have a whole wasted year and try to see if she has the potential the next go round. If I end up having several that can do this and a few that can not then I will probably only be keeping babies from the ones that can and include this in things to breed towards. This kind of breeding schedule is supposed to increase their length of life and quality of health. I will keep this post updated over the next few years to let you know if it works here or not and how the does perform for better or for worse.

Reference Goats

Apache was an awesome Oberhasli buck.  He was tall, long, and wide and deep.  I sold him when I switched to Alpines.  He is the sire of Clover and Marigold.  He had a son with Ginger named Hickory.  Hickory was used to breed Hazel and is the sire of Willow and Cherry.

Apache

Apache

Apache with son Hickory.   Hickory was Ginger’s son and he is half french alpine half Oberhasli.

apache with hickory

Apache and Hickory

This is Daisy, she is Jasmine’s dam.  We no longer have Daisy but really did like her a lot.  Daisy had good attachments and shined like a diamond.  Very easy to milk with a very elastic soft…

Source: Reference Goats

Proven Alpine Bloodlines

Quality Alpine Bloodlines: Be aware these are certainly not the only nice herds to choise from, these are the ones with easy to find wwbsites. Keep in mind I have only researched most of these farms and not been there personally, so I do not know if all of their stock is of equal value, but they at least have some stock that looks very ideal, having traits that I would like to see in my herd. Some of these herds are no longer active.

Amy’s Pride

Angel –Prairie

Artesian Valley

Bearly

Black Wing

Bluff-Top

Brankton

Buffalo Trace

Cat Walk

Chateau Briant’s

Cherein

Cherry Glen

Cherry Hill

Citheria

Cob Cottage

Colquitt’s

Dixie Does

Fox-Trot

Golden Rule

Harmody

Heavenly Hooves

Hill N Holler

Hoach’s

Hoanbu

Hollow Point

Hull’s

Hurricane-PM

Iron Rod

Jordan Valley

Kara Kahl

Kickapoo Valley

La Paysanne

Land O’ I AM

Mamm-Key

Maple Wind

Maple-Glen

Missdee’s

Montage

Moore’s Pond Farm

Mountain Star

Muchin-Hill

Muscadine-Hills

Nixon’s

Noble-Springs

Nodaway

Nut-N-Honey

Olentangy

P J Bailey’s

Parge-A-Rosa

Patteran

Pleasant Grove

Rainbow Colors

Redwood Hills

Regal Katahn

Roeburn

Sand Dance

Serendipity

Shahena’ko

Shining Moon

Sodium Oaks

Soldier Mountian

Spinning Spider

Split Creek

Strawberry-Fields

Sun Rising

Sunshine

Sutton

Sycamore Acres

Tempo Aquila

Terra Dell

Tideland

Tonka Trails

Udder Way

Van Vyk Acres

Walnut Fork

Windrush Farms

Xtraordindairy

Bottle feeding baby goats

Do you plan or have to feed a baby goat a bottle?  Just like the feeding program of everyone I know is different, so is the baby goat bottle feeding procedure and amounts.  I can simply tell you about what I have done here.  I do not actually like to feed bottle babies what so ever, but I have tried to leave brothers with sisters before, and it is the bucklings that start constantly trying to mount their sister, starting at 12 days and onward, that REALLY BOTHERS ME.  So, I will pull bucklings and give them a bottle and attempt to sell them very shortly after birth, after they have had all their colostrum from their dam.  If a doe has a single buckling I will leave him with her for about three weeks before pulling him and trying to sell him, so that all that hard work of delivery she just went through seems for a purpose in her life.   I will feed these young bucklings a bottle for 3.5 months.  There first couple days I will give them a bottle 4 times during the daytime, I do not get up in the middle of the night, and I feed about 8 ounces per feeding if they will take it all.  By the third day I will start giving them a bottle three times a day, at about 7am, 2pm, and 9pm, feeding about 10 ounces a time at first, and move up to 16 ounces per feeding over a matter of a week.  I will give them 16 ounces each of the three feedings for about a month.  From one month to three months, I will start to offer a nibble of feed and feed them 12 ounces of milk per feeding.   The last two weeks, from three months to three and a half months, I will give them two bottles a day at 10 ounces each. By the third month they will be getting a large handful of food and be at a full  ration of 1lb by the fourth month.  I never have and never will feed bottle babies the dry powder that you mix with water.  I milk the dam and feed it back to them, if I can not do that I have a Jersey cow to use fresh milk from.  If I had no cow, I would try to find someone whom does and would sell me the milk for the babies.  If I could not find someone with a cow, then I would simply feed the milk with the red top at the store, the whole milk.  I had to do this one time a couple years ago, it worked out fine.  If you are raising smaller goats like Nigerian Dwarf of Pygmies, then I would literally cut the amounts above in half at least.