Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Goat Dairy Diary Part III

As promised, I am continuing the posts on the dairy goats, and other breeds as well.

The questions are great!

What is my favorite breed? The nubian dairy goat. There is something special about a nubian kid. It could be the long ears that reach way below the muzzle. It could be the lankiness (dairy characteristics) of the kids. It could also be the sweetness of a nubian bottle kid. But it goes further than that. I love the nubian milk the best, especially for cheese and soap making.

Similar to cows, different goat dairy breeds produce a higher and lower butterfat. In my herd, the saanans produce the most milk, followed up by the alpines, but the nubians have the highest butterfat. Reach for some refrigerated goat milk after a nubian has been in milk for a week or so, and what you find is cream on top. That is some rich milk!

I covered two questions, I prefer the nubian personality and their milk for the soap. But wanted to add, the only downfall to a nubian is that they can be very vocal. I used to say, "But, my nubians are not noisy!" Oh, yes, some of them now are! Carmella, for example, lets out a hoot sort of noise when she is excited. Cammille tends to follow suit, and does not stop until she is satisfied. So does Bosco, the buck. Oh yes, when he sees me coming to feed the HOOT is sounded, loud and clear. The nut!

Do you own any toggs (toggenbergs)? No. They are a nice breed. My girlfriend up the road raises and shows them. She purchases some fine toggs from across the U.S. .

What breeds and genders do you raise? About half of the herd are boers. I keep the boer does right at 30, with 3 breeding age bucks that I switch from time to time. The other half of the herd are nubian, alpine, saanans, and crosses of all three. My favorite cross breed are the snubians (produced from a saanan dam and nubian sire). They have nice udders, volumes of milk, and are fairly easy to handle. They seem to come to the milk stand naturally, in all aspects.

How many does do you milk? I currently have 9 girls in milk. My number is normally at 11. The remainder of the herd is younger. They will be involved in the milking process some day, a rotational type of set up over the years. But not yet. I breed at a later age.

It is said that a dairy doe produces more milk over a lifetime if she is bred at a younger age, but I personally do not want to have to pull another kid. I would rather the doe gain some girth and mature before she is subjected to kidding. My entire focus now is keep the does that are good mothers (boers), keep the does that produce nice kids (without troubled presentations), and keep the does that produce good milk. It makes it difficult to decide who to part with, eventually.

Love the questions, keep 'em flowing...just like that good rich milk!


Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Because I do not want to mess up the spacing on the post (you know Blogger)...I will add comments here. The pictured goat is Charolette. For those of you that have seen my company logo, this very picture was given to a lovely young woman whom made a pen and ink drawing for the logo. I was quite pleased.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Just received the May/June Dairy Goat Journal magazine and the Toggenburg's are featured in this issue.

We now own 8 Nigerian's but only 4 in our possession at the moment, will have all 8 by the end of the month.

I wish the Nigerian's didn't come into heat so young and so often, my young SweetPea is knocked up and we are worried. We did not intend for this to happen.

How young have you had a doe get pregnant? What was your experience? Should I take her to a Vet? She's starting to bag up and likely due in the middle of May. She's only 7 months old. We're really scared.

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Hello Joanna.

I subscribe to that magazine too. My favorite section is the judging.

The youngest I have had a doe breed is 10 months old. I kept hoping that she would grow a bit more before she gave birth, but she didn't. I thought we were going to lose the kids. I had to go way up inside and get a good grip on the first kid. They were tiny, still are, but healthy. She would not allow the kids to nurse on her either, she just did not understand what had just happened to her. She gave birth on day 144, a bit early. We were all lucky.

The youngest I purposely breed is 12 months old, and that is only for a full-grown, well matured doe (and I do not recommend it). As a rule, I go with 18 months old, and that will depend upon the size of the doe too.

Accidents do happen. I would contact your vet. Since the nigerians are on the small side to begin with, and unless your hands are very tiny, I would imagine she is going to need the vet's assistance, but that is only my guess. With Sweet Pea bagging up, I am sure you are growing nervous. I would watch her ligaments closely (check her spine, right before the tail head) each day. YOu will notice a difference in that area as she grows closer to her due date. With many does, not all, when they are ready to go into labor, the ligaments totally loosen. It feels as if you can nearly wrap your fingers around that area of their spine.

Good luck!

Stacey's Treasures said...

I had some Toggenburgs while I was in high school. FFA goats. I had big plans of raising lots of them, but instead got married & havn't had a goat since.

Anonymous said...

Good answers, I'm commenting from TN on my Mom's lap top.

KathyB. said...

I too, preferred Nubians, and I like the noisy, talkative aspect of their personality. If I ever get goats again ( I don't count the 2 pygmy/Nigeria wethers) I will get Nubians and breed them to Boer bucks...that seemed the best to me toward the end of my goat keeping years.

You do have a lot of goats, and your life sounds heavenly!( and well organized)

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Amy, I know you will enjoy your trip! Be safe.