New to goats

abigalerose

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I'm probably getting a goat Sunday, a Nigerian dwarf goat, I'll be building a secure pen this weekend with adequate shelter, a bucket for grain, a feeder for hay, and maybe something to play on. I'll be looking for a goat friend to be with her as well. I'm buying her to milk.
I have a few questions lol.
I don't know much about hay, so is there any kind that I need to just avoid?
Can I get a round bale and peel enough off every night and put in their feeder so it lasts 24 hours that way I don't have to make room in the pen for a whole bale but she still has access 24/7?
What's rumen?
Do loose minerals last longer than mineral blocks?
What's IME?
Is there a smaller or lower maintenance type of goat I can get as a buddy?
What's the best kind of grain?
Can I just buy one kind of grain that covers all basis or will I need multiple kinds?
If I have a buck will the milk really taste funny?
Oh, and are goats like dogs in the way that if you go out of town for a few days you need to have someone come feed them every day, or are they more like cows in the way that if you leave for a few days they're fine as long as they have access to grass and water?
(Not all the time, obviously)
 

Mini Horses

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Hello & WELCOME from VA.

There are a lot of goat people on here & will reply as they get around to logging in....I read this about 4AM this morning but just didn't think I could type a reply then. Will give a few things to consider now, other members will add to it. We have various methods & systems that work for each of us, so read and use what seems best for you & your situation.

Rumen is a part of the stomachs/digestive system in the goat. Like most animals, changes in diets can create issues so always try to switch over during a few day period by mixing what they are used to with anything new. A loose goat prefers to browse, so your favorite bushes and young trees are at risk if they have access to them. Yes, they will go thru a field and select weeds, underbrush, etc. before most grasses.

Loose minerals are best because goats just don't like to stand and lick for a long enough period to acquire all they may need.

Hay can be feed free choice. But if you are starting with only 1 or 2 nigies, most round bales will be way huge amount! I'd get a few square bales to start. (you may have access & storage for round bale with less cost) Oh, they love to waste. If it hits the ground it is bedding. AND when they are full, if they can climb into the hay feeder, it will be bedding. :cool: IF they have horns, fence and any feeders need to be designed to keep them from sticking their head thru & getting stuck. TRUST me, the grass just always seems greener on the outside!!!!

Feed. If they have nutritious pasture & hay, grain isn't usually necessary. Most often it is provided when on milk stand as a lactating doe needs far more nutrition than a dry one. You say you plan to milk her -- is she in milk now? With most, yes, the buck can create off-taste in milk if 100% with doe....not always, though. I don't run my buck with my milking does. So, whatever the seller is using is what you need to continue -- at least to convert to any other feed. Yes, a goat pellet can be purchased at most all feed stores. I use alfalfa hay &/or pellets for my milkers, as you need extra calcium & protein for that production.

As a buddy, another doe or a wether (castrated male--normally far less to buy) will work. With only 2 this would be fine but, goat math will rule and soon you will have more. :lol: If wether, be sure it was done at least 4 weeks prior as live sperm is still in repro track for a short time.

OK, leaving them. Of course, if you are milking this must be done on a reasonable schedule. Most do 2X day, some only 1X -- production is better with 2X as she produces for what is used. That will require someone to do it while you are gone. If not milking, yes they can have hay & water be ok for short period, say overnight. BUT -- they look for a way to get into trouble, loose, hung up. So, even if you don't need to do anything else, I feel better just having someone "look & count noses" every day if more than an overnight.
 

NH Homesteader

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I read this earlier too but lots of questions means long responses! How old is she and is she in milk already? I feed all my goats some grain, but not much. I can't get very good quality hay here so I need to supplement. I use loose minerals also, Manna pro from Tractor Supply. The blocks can damage their teeth if they chew on them and they won't get enough minerals from the block anyway.

Smaller?Nigerian dwarf goats are as small as it gets. Pygmies can be small too, but it depends on what you're looking for out of the buddy. If you want to milk you'll need a buck to breed or know someone who has one that you can breed her to. And the buck has to be a Nigerian or Pygmy. I don't keep my buck with my does. Their lovely buck smell can taint the milk.

I agree with what @Mini Horses said. Good advice. Also I would never leave my goats to their own devices for over 24 hours. If that. But that's me and I'm kind of neurotic about the darlings.
 

abigalerose

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Thanks for the responses!
I'll do round bales because I have horses to and it'll just be easier on me to get round.
As for the buddies, I didn't know if Pygmys were smaller or not. I don't really need anything out of the buddy, I'm just milking for myself so one milk goat will do. I wish you could keep bucks with them so I could kill two birds with one stone, but I guess I'll look for a wether. Are there any breeds that are "easy keepers" I know all goats are high maintaince but maybe there's a breed that's not so picky about food and doesn't get into as much trouble as Nigerians?
And she's four years old, she's kidded a few times but is not in milk right now, I don't think she's bred right now either, I plan on breeding her in November
 

NH Homesteader

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I don't know that Nigerians are notoriously picky or get into trouble more than other goats. Goats are troublemakers in general but my Nigies are just as easy as my other goats. I prefer my mini -alpines because they're a little more fun and social. But they're bigger. Wethers, in my opinion, are the best pets. If you do get a wether you will need to make sure you don't feed him too much grain.

Do you have someone who has a buck you can breed her to?
 

abigalerose

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I don't know of anyone but I'm part of a Facebook for dairy goats in MO so I should be able to find someone
 

abigalerose

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Oh, time for an update on that. Yes, I did. I got two actually. One is the 4 year old black one, she's pregnant. The other is a white and grey 9 month old, who's DEFINITELY pregnant. The black one has something going on with her udder, one side is bagged up and the other is not. It's not mastitis. Maybe she blew one side? Or maybe it'll bag up once she kids. These two probably weren't the best choices for a beginner, but I live with my cousin and her boyfriend and before they moved in with me they lived on a goat farm (I'm talking over 700 goats) as farm hands for a while, so they're here to help.
Anyways, more to update on, a couple days after I got them they were attacked by dogs, BIG dogs, so big they jumped the fence. Luckily no one was seriously injured, the black one had a few scrapes and was super traumatized, she didn't eat for a few days, she looks thin but is eating now so hopefully it doesn't affect the babies. My cousin is the one who caught the dogs, she beat one with a shovel until the shovel broke, so far they haven't returned but she said if they do she's shooting them. I'm thankful I have her because they'd probably be dead if she wasn't there, and I also don't think I'd be able to stomach shooting the dogs (particularly because I use to own one).
Anyways, everything is back on track now and I'm loving them, although they're feisty little buggers so I'm gonna have to figure out how this milking situation is gonna work.
 

NH Homesteader

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Pictures? Sheesh that is quite the start. Sorry about the dog attack. How far along are they, do you have any idea?
 

abigalerose

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Well, the people I bought them from weren't sure exactly when they were bred :barnie but guessedamated the younger one has 4 weeks or so left and the black on probably has 2 months left. You can tell the young one doesn't have long, she is faaaat, and she's got milk. The black doesn't look very fat right now on account of not eating, and like I said there's only milk in one side.
(The purple on her tail in the udder picture is wound spray)
 
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