Friday, April 23, 2010

Urban Goat-Keeping Part 3

We've covered getting started with fencing, neighbors, shelter, etc. Now it's time to look for goats! Please remember in acquiring goats that you do "get what you pay for" and taking the time to find HEALTHY, well-bred animals saves you much headache in the future. Genetics are not important if all you are desiring is a couple of pets but health is important. Ask the owner/breeder what kind of health care the goats have received (DE-worming, vaccinations, supplements, testing for disease, hoof trimming, etc.) Ask for a record listing everything that was done. Most breeders will not mind giving this to you and I'd run the other way if they did not want to give you this information. Do try and purchase from herds that test yearly for CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis) and CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis). These are very serious illnesses.

If you are looking for milking does or young does who will be milkers in the future, ask how much milk they give on a daily basis (or with young does, how much their dam gave). A good Nigerian Dwarf doe of average height (about 20-21 inches at withers) should give at least one quart of milk each day, preferably a little closer to 2 quarts. Keep in mind that first-time does will not be milking up to their full potential but improve with each kidding. Look at teat size ( you want large, easy to milk teats that express easily).
The udder should be held up high against the body of the doe. If it is "sagging" this will affect the longevity/productivity of the doe. Her udder will only get worse with age, eventually hanging to the floor causing damage and putting her at risk to develop mastitis. If you are looking at purchasing young does, look at their dam's udder and evaluate the attachments.

Do not be afraid to ask the breeder/owner questions. You, as the buyer, need to be well-informed so as to make the right decision. A good goat owner/breeder will not mind at all answering these questions. Do keep in mind though that everyone is busy and if you are not a serious buyer, it is rude to waste their time.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kidding Season!

Our kidding season is in "full swing"!
Delais kidded 3/18 with twin, blue-eyed does
Alameda kidded 3/18 with one blue-eyed (polled?) doe
Lyla kidded 4/2 with twins; buck and blue-eyed doe (both are probably polled)

Photobucket Photobucket

All of our does have had "textbook" deliveries so that is wonderful! A few of the above babies are available to great homes. Lyla's babies are super sweet and friendly!

Next up are Poppy, Claribelle, Magnolia, and hopefully Naughty Lilly (waiting to see if she settled). Photos of pregnant bellies coming soon! Thankfully we spaced kidding dates a little this year - gives us time to give each set of babies lots of love and attention!

Urban Goat-Keeping Part 2

I do not know if anyone is reading this or even cares to but here goes Part 2 of Urban Goat-Keeping:

The last posting covered county regulations, fencing, space, etc. . . so this posting will go more into what type of shelter will be required. This really depends on how many goats you would like to have. If you plan on just having two little goats then a large to extra-large dog house will make for sufficient housing. I recommend having one house for each goat in case one does not like sharing. Goats hate the rain and will need to be fed indoors if it's raining, so that presents a problem with using dog houses for shelter -- there is not much space for a feeding area. If you have the means to put together a little shed or barn, this can make things a lot easier. If you live in the Northwest where it rains a lot, then I highly recommend making a larger shelter.


photos coming soon of our little goat barn!
If I could change anything about our current barn, I would make a "porch" for the goats (an overhang near the barn door). Follow this link for an easy plan to make the perfect goat shed.