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.

1 comment:

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Just found your blog; looking forward to reading more. I'm linking to you now from my site, Goat Berries :)