New to Goats - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-11-2016, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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New to Goats

So I am fairly new to having any kind of goats and my fiancÚ has 8 dairy does and 3 boer does and an alpine buck. Which when I first met him all ran together.

IN the horse world this is not ideal obviously because everyone is always pregnant. I have started to try to instill a rotation of the does in breeding. Some are going to retire as I'm not sure how old they are but they look ANCIENT and do not hold their weight at all IMO. Then again I don't know dairy goats very well. I have looked up scales like the goat body condition scale for dairys. Some of our younger ones look quite nice while other look ok, I would like to rotate so that after we kid in the next month or so here they don't get bred again til next year, after this time of year but aiming for a reasonable due date and safe weather conditions. He aims to breed either way but I really want there to be control and so far he is actually letting me make these changes.

They are on a Spring Fall worming program, before I don't think they had been wormed in a very long time. They were copper deficient earlier and are now still catching but but looking so much better. As of right now I have a free feed container of Baking soda and loose goat minerals.

They get their feet trimmed every 2-3 weeks since they are up on the milk stand anyway.

I am currently soaking alfalfa pellets and beet pulp mixed with a little BOSS and sweet feed. They have about 3 acres of field and an acre of brush to nibble on. I do throw out a small square bale of grass x alfalfa x clover for them in the feeder once a day and they usually clean it up quite nicely.

Here is my questions, what can I add or take away to better the care of these girls? For the gals that are thinner what can I give them to really help them out?

This is all a learning process. I would also like to sell a few of the older does down and switch over to registered stock but FIRST we have to test our herd for CAE. I need to order the tubes and needles yet for it. I read to test for CL you have to actually collect a scraping of the puss for the vet.

I live in Northern MInnesota and I really want to get on a good worming schedule for the area. Anyways that's the here and theres of my goats. here are a few pictures of what we have. Some I am literally embarrassed of because they are so thin, they just shouldn't be bred again ever.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-11-2016, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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The Palomino Spotted one with the horns in the 2nd picture came to us with crazyyy long feet, over grown by at least 2", they are finally starting to look slightly normal. I would like to cut back to 7 adult goats max.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-11-2016, 12:43 PM
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Talk to Bondre. She raises goats on a large scale.

She has a thread a little further down from yours journaling the birth of a whole lot of Kids this past Spring.

Kid-watch

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post #4 of 20 Old 08-11-2016, 03:16 PM
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Although goats are charming creatures, they are truly livestock, not pets/transportation like horses. You need to be very objective and hardheaded about livestock.

If they were my goats?
I would not waste any time or money on the truly poor quality goats, which is most of them. Even if they were in good shape they'd be terrible goats. Only ones I see worth keeping on are
#3, white goat drinking.
#4 white goat with beard, head turned (possible)
second to last pic, white goat. She might be the best of the lot.

I can't tell about the pair of Nubians because of the way they are standing. Nor can I tell much about any udders, which are enormously important in dairy goat evaluation, except #1, whose udder is awful.

The others including the buck should be sold immediately. He is not a breeding quality animal.

You will need a blood draw to test for CAE, CL, and Johnes ("yo-nes"). If you have never drawn blood from a goat, have a vet do it. There is no point in testing the scrub goats, sell them first. I send to Washington U, (WADDL), same day mail. They are very reputable and prompt.

I do not see any Boer goats, are they pictured?

If the tests come back positive for anything, just sell the whole flock. You cannot treat any of those diseases.
If they are negative, start a deworming program (much the best to run fecals first), and feed them all the alfalfa they can eat, and introduce some sort of weight builder fed individually, like Calf Manna.
If any of the remaining does are pregnant (probable), plan to sell all those kids -- you don't want any offspring out a buck like that.

NEVER run a buck with does. You want to separate any buck (give him a pregnant doe or a wether as a buddy, goats must have companionship), and keep records of when you expose each in-season doe to him.

At the stage you are at, it would be best to bring your tested-clean does to an excellent quality dairy buck owned by someone else. Owners of good breeding bucks will not typically accept untested does. If they do, they probably aren't good breeders.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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You have no idea how much I really want to start completely clean slated of the goats and just go with solidly reg Alpines or Nubians. The two Nubian doelings are 3 months old that he bought from a friend of his. The white goats are my favorites, they milk the most and the best and are generally just funner of the group. The very depressing part of all of this is in his eyes (fiancÚ). They are all excellent goats. I have been lucky to get him to sell 2 adults thus far and that Palomino spotted one is for sale right now. I've been pushing for the sale of at least 2 others for now to start with and hes thinking about letting one go but he wants $150-200 for these does too... I would really have no problem taking them right to the sale barn and starting out fresh aside from the white girls until I could afford to replace them. I didn't post of the Boers yet, they look old or dairy cross to me, I'll post a pic of them when I get home. They just aren't beefy like you would see at the fair.


Literally at the fair the other day we were looking at the goats and sheep there I was pointing out how I wished out goats looked like those ones and he thinks they are bought expensive feed and fed very very heavily to get that way instead of just having good genetics. Aside from this frustration we get along great and tend to agree on most things but the stock animals.
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FoxRidgeRanch View Post
Aside from this frustration we get along great and tend to agree on most things but the stock animals.
I don't know a thing about good goats or bad ones, but I'll repeat what I've always said about horses. You still have to feed and care for them, and since you're spend time and money on them, they may as well be the best you can buy. Bad genes and ugly goats won't be cheaper to keep than good genes and pretty ones.

And for your last sentence, I'll tell you from experience that if you 2 can't get on the same page about the stock animals now, don't get married. Nothing can ruin a relationship quicker than having arguments about animals. If the animals are crap and he's so barn blind he can't see it, then you'll either end up getting rid of the goats or the man.
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 10:17 AM
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If he is too stingy to feed his animals right, it's a lost cause right there. Either you should resign yourself to looking at starving ill animals your whole life or don't marry him. Anyone knowledgeable could tell him he is maltreating his goats and that they are largely of nearly-worthless quality, but if he won't listen to experience there, where else won't he listen?

A bit worried for you and more worried for any animals he's responsible for.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I just got off a 16 hour shift so bare with me, hopefully this makes sense, I'm just toast.

I will fight for these animals, as for taking care of them. I'm hoping we can sell down at a sales barn and just have a few that are bred decently and only rotate those with a registered buck. I'm not going to lie I was beyond worried myself when I first seen some of these goats and the approach he has to taking care of stock animals. He is actually coming quite a long way even if to purely keep me happy as far as taking care of them and I hope he keeps coming down this path. They are all wormed, vaccinated and fed fairly heavily at the moment, but when many have been bred back to back for I have no idea how long and what they would have looked like had they not been. I'm not sure any of them would have ever looked decent. They were cheap goats and cheap in his familys eyes is gold.

Sounds terrible but I shouldn't really say fiancÚ, we were engaged but have no date because of the stock animals since I was very upset about their condition. The goats just came to my property this spring and only a few at first like the white ones and then they trickled in (all from his farm, not from buying). I knew he had them but never really was out there staring at them. This issue is being addressed, he knows that I want to shift the "breeding program". He knows I want to sell the buck and either not have one at all or start fresh. Rather just not have one because you don't have to be on guard making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be all the time. Right now I'm just trying to get things under control with the goats he has as far as not breeding anymore at all, retiring a few completely or selling them.

If things don't progress it will end I wont put up with it. but sometimes I do take longer than I should to get to that conclusion (in hind sight as far as past boy friends). I do think he can change if he is brought to understand the care they require and that crappy goats that were taken terrible care of for years are no comparison to heathy goats with nice milking lines.]

If I were with him I probably wouldn't have had any goats but not that I have had them I would probably have just 2-3 does and get one bred a year to freshen up for milk and give them company. I am going to really push to sell these goats with cold hard facts on body condition, age, health, and udder condition. Sounds dumb but this is how I've gotten him to sell the last couple he did. I'll keep asking you guys questions and hopefully you don't get tired of me asking as hopefully things go the right way and we downsize and start a new. If not it will end completely.
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 04:56 PM
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My family raises Boers and we had a herd of mixed dairy breeds a while ago, so feel free to message me with any questions :)
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-12-2016, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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I I want to learn as much as I can, I usually like to before I get any of a new animals but since I kinda got baptized in goats I'm catching up. I did a mini photo op on the udders today. I want to know what to look for in a potential doe or one is milk, our does all kidded before may so they are a few months into milk now. I don't know much about conformation of goats either. WAY too much to catch up on.
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