A foray into...goats?

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eco2pia

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I have a teeny tiny place. A large suburban yard to be exact. I have too many critters, except...not.

I have chickens, ducks, rabbits and an indoor dog and cat. It sounds insane, but it actually looks pretty reasonable, because I am careful with how everything is managed, and I am extremely careful not to exceed the carrying capacity of my "pasture rotation system". The chickens are about to age out of productivity, and will be replaced eventually by quail for their more productive in a smaller footprint qualities. I have one last bucket list critter I really wanted to add--dairy goats. I had originally planned to add a pair of nigerian dwarf goats. I later considered a mini nubian for higher milk production, and a pygora (pygmy/angora cross) wether as a companion fiber animal (because a lonely goat is just a tragically sad thing).

Then I discovered the amazing (but still under development) Nigora breed, a tiny milk producing fiber goat!!
1715036159076.png
(photo shamelessly stolen from this article)

Yeah, I am crazy. No, I don't want anyone to talk me out of it.

I think it would be incredible to be able to host a pair of these ladies, milk them, feed them, and let their babies go back to breeders as additional stock if desired. I have kept goats before, in a space on a larger farm that was not much bigger than the space I plan to keep them here...so I do know exactly what that is going to be like, and I am prepared for this, with all the fencing/housing caveats that goats require to be happy in this rainy climate.

I am just wondering if anyone here has much experience with this breed. Or keeping dwarf goats in town if that is fun to discuss. I know it may not work out, but there is a whole book about what I plan to do, so if I am (for sure, definitely) crazy, I am at least in good company.
 
I have a teeny tiny place. A large suburban yard to be exact. I have too many critters, except...not.

I have chickens, ducks, rabbits and an indoor dog and cat. It sounds insane, but it actually looks pretty reasonable, because I am careful with how everything is managed, and I am extremely careful not to exceed the carrying capacity of my "pasture rotation system". The chickens are about to age out of productivity, and will be replaced eventually by quail for their more productive in a smaller footprint qualities. I have one last bucket list critter I really wanted to add--dairy goats. I had originally planned to add a pair of nigerian dwarf goats. I later considered a mini nubian for higher milk production, and a pygora (pygmy/angora cross) wether as a companion fiber animal (because a lonely goat is just a tragically sad thing).

Then I discovered the amazing (but still under development) Nigora breed, a tiny milk producing fiber goat!!
View attachment 41363
(photo shamelessly stolen from this article)

Yeah, I am crazy. No, I don't want anyone to talk me out of it.

I think it would be incredible to be able to host a pair of these ladies, milk them, feed them, and let their babies go back to breeders as additional stock if desired. I have kept goats before, in a space on a larger farm that was not much bigger than the space I plan to keep them here...so I do know exactly what that is going to be like, and I am prepared for this, with all the fencing/housing caveats that goats require to be happy in this rainy climate.

I am just wondering if anyone here has much experience with this breed. Or keeping dwarf goats in town if that is fun to discuss. I know it may not work out, but there is a whole book about what I plan to do, so if I am (for sure, definitely) crazy, I am at least in good company.
I agree with @Lil Acorn Acres Farm about the tiny teats. But you CAN find Nigerian Dwarf goats with reasonably-sized teats that won't instantly give you carpal tunnel syndrome, so you should be able to find Nigoras with teats bigger than your little toe... just maybe not in the near vicinity, or for anything other than an exorbitant price.... Maybe you could find an angora breeder to custom-build Nigoras for you. A breeder that worked at that would surely not have any trouble selling dwarf goats with good udders and teats, whether or not they ended up with usable fiber!

A Nigerian Dwarf doe and a fiber breed wether would be a nice combo, as well. Nigies give a pretty good amount of milk considering their size.

The only issue we've seen (or more accurately, heard, haha) with having goats in town is that some folks don't care to hear goats yelling all the time. Our Nigies are pretty talkative, but we're not in town anymore, and I think it's adorable that they greet us enthusiastically every time we step out the door. But they're a lot louder than rabbits. :ROFLMAO: (Though not louder than some dogs!)

I am a huge fan of our goats - when we got the first ones 3-4 years ago I had no idea they'd be so charming - so I'd never try to talk someone out of them, especially someone who already knows what they're in for regarding Houdini escapes, their appetite for every plant dear to you, etc. Go for it! 😁
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I think dairy goats are the bomb diggity! I have 15 right now. However..... They are not pets. They have a job. Give me milk so I can make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
How much milk do you need a day? Are you ready to milk Every Day? For me the answer is yes. Everyone should have a couple milk goats.
 

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I'm a little biased against goats (mostly because my fences aren't built to hold water) so I would go for a dairy sheep rather than a fiber goat personally, but if you enjoy the little pests then all the happiness to you and to them and I'll enjoy watching the adventures from the other side of the country.
 
The only issue we've seen (or more accurately, heard, haha) with having goats in town is that some folks don't care to hear goats yelling all the time. Our Nigies are pretty talkative
This would be a vote against mini Nubians. I love Nubians, raised them for decades, even had some with good conformation and a gallon and a half of milk a day--but their voice is loud, constant, and insistent.

It takes time to get a good quality fiber on the crossbred goats. The first cross often has coarse hairs interspersed with some fine but short down. You can use that as well for spinning-- fold a lock of fiber over your finger. The hairs will sprong out, and you can remove them, leaving the soft down behind. If you like to spin fine, it's fabulous. Further crossing for fiber quality will allow you to breed for more and longer fiber with less guard hair. I've spun some lovely Pygora. you can get nice fiber. I started with crossbred Angora goats (all I could find), but there was no comparison to the fiber of the purebred Angoras I was able to purchase later. Choose the kids with the best fiber, and in time you'll have a wonderful fiber herd. If you start with goats that have good udders and milk easily, adding fiber later will be a bonus. Milking tiny teats isn't fun, start if you can with good milking stock, it makes goat life so much more enjoyable. You can get small goats with good production, it's worth the time spent searching and a drive, if necessary, to start with good stock.
 
I have a teeny tiny place. A large suburban yard to be exact. I have too many critters, except...not.

I have chickens, ducks, rabbits and an indoor dog and cat. It sounds insane, but it actually looks pretty reasonable, because I am careful with how everything is managed, and I am extremely careful not to exceed the carrying capacity of my "pasture rotation system". The chickens are about to age out of productivity, and will be replaced eventually by quail for their more productive in a smaller footprint qualities. I have one last bucket list critter I really wanted to add--dairy goats. I had originally planned to add a pair of nigerian dwarf goats. I later considered a mini nubian for higher milk production, and a pygora (pygmy/angora cross) wether as a companion fiber animal (because a lonely goat is just a tragically sad thing).

Then I discovered the amazing (but still under development) Nigora breed, a tiny milk producing fiber goat!!
View attachment 41363
(photo shamelessly stolen from this article)

Yeah, I am crazy. No, I don't want anyone to talk me out of it.

I think it would be incredible to be able to host a pair of these ladies, milk them, feed them, and let their babies go back to breeders as additional stock if desired. I have kept goats before, in a space on a larger farm that was not much bigger than the space I plan to keep them here...so I do know exactly what that is going to be like, and I am prepared for this, with all the fencing/housing caveats that goats require to be happy in this rainy climate.

I am just wondering if anyone here has much experience with this breed. Or keeping dwarf goats in town if that is fun to discuss. I know it may not work out, but there is a whole book about what I plan to do, so if I am (for sure, definitely) crazy, I am at least in good company.
Sounds like a dream. A little jealous here. I used to dream of ducks and goats ( I can't tolerate cows milk) the area we live in used to be hunting cabins and outhouses, but has turned into yuppie ville. Too many rules. They all have big dogs they walk down the road to crap but too many restrictions on everything else. Rabbits and quail were the only things I couldn't find rules against and I have been very happy with them. I love my rabbit colonies and the little aviary with it's covey of quail gives us eggs everyday of the year.hubby's gotten good at quail on the grill. Enjoy your little slice of happy...not crazy!
 
I think dairy goats are the bomb diggity! I have 15 right now. However..... They are not pets. They have a job. Give me milk so I can make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
How much milk do you need a day? Are you ready to milk Every Day? For me the answer is yes. Everyone should have a couple milk goats.
Yeah, I am pretty good at the livestock vs pet distinction. :) I could elaborate, but let's just leave it at that. No reason not to adore the livestock you have though.

I am aware of the daily nature of milking. I only really need a quart a day, which is why the mini Nubian seems excessive, despite the larger teats.

Question--would you say does providing a lower quantity of milk are faster to milk? Or is the setup, clean up, and etc a large enough component of milking to make it a sort of less efficient use of time? Like if I need only the quart or so of a nigerian, is the half gallon or so of a mini nubian going to take about the same amount of time to collect--assuming roughly similar udder quality? I realize that the teeny tiny teats you mention change everything, which is why I was considering the mini nubian. I have already had carpal tunnel surgery once lol.
 
Speed of milking is combo of cooperating goat, supple udder ("dairy skin") and size teatcanal, esp that latter one, some animals have mini needle thickness teatcanals, others have much thicker ones.
Milkmachine saves your hands, there are simple ones on 12V or handoperated vacumpump systems on amazon (a sort of diy done for you stuff, but for 1-2 animals they'll do the job).
 
The mystery of this whole situation seems to be basically, I generally expect to start with kids. I know the whole thing about inspecting the dams udder, but seriously? It is not often a thing available when you are looking for a basic, non show, utilitarian dairy animal, unless you buy an adult in milk, which I also considered...

This is another reason I am still considering going with a mini nubian from a hand milked herd. I know they will be likely to have correct udders. My alternative would be to roll the dice, and if the doe proves unsatisfactory, eat her and roll the dice again. (see my comment above about my pragmatic approach to livestock 😒) If I did go with the mini nubian, I could then get a nice pygora wether and just move on from there...I guess it will depend on the quality of the nigoras I am able to find!
 
My 2 cents. Just like with rabbits, the kits may or may not be as great as their lineage. So I vote for an adult preferably in milk. If not perhaps bred. The thing is why not get what you want. We all are on God's timeline. We don't know his plans. Enjoy the dream goat. Worst case scenario, it's an adventure. Also get a milking machine, with a pulsator. Not a simple suction set up. It's worth the money. Then you have what you want and no problems with tiny teats or orifices.
The mystery of this whole situation seems to be basically, I generally expect to start with kids. I know the whole thing about inspecting the dams udder, but seriously? It is not often a thing available when you are looking for a basic, non show, utilitarian dairy animal, unless you buy an adult in milk, which I also considered...

This is another reason I am still considering going with a mini nubian from a hand milked herd. I know they will be likely to have correct udders. My alternative would be to roll the dice, and if the doe proves unsatisfactory, eat her and roll the dice again. (see my comment above about my pragmatic approach to livestock 😒) If I did go with the mini nubian, I could then get a nice pygora wether and just move on from there...I guess it will depend on the quality of the nigoras I am able to find!
 
My 2 cents. Just like with rabbits, the kits may or may not be as great as their lineage. So I vote for an adult preferably in milk. If not perhaps bred. The thing is why not get what you want. We all are on God's timeline. We don't know his plans. Enjoy the dream goat. Worst case scenario, it's an adventure. Also get a milking machine, with a pulsator. Not a simple suction set up. It's worth the money. Then you have what you want and no problems with tiny teats or orifices.
I like this advice. Thanks. Good tools make all jobs pleasant, and I will spend stupid amounts for good tools.
 
If you start with goats that have good udders and milk easily, adding fiber later will be a bonus
Angora goats are bred to produce more fiber, not more milk, so they tend to have short lactations with little milk, generally (there's always exceptions). So, if you start with good milking stock, that should put you ahead when you cross to Angora for the fiber. If you can find good Nigora stock that has already been bred for milk and fiber, you should be ahead of the game. Otherwise, look for the quietest milking doe you can find, then breed for the fiber in future generations.
 
I generally expect to start with kids.
I am a fan of starting with milking stock. You know for sure what the udder texture & support and teats will look like, how she behaves when milking, how much she milks, how loud she is. Kids are an unknown quantity. When I was building my goat dairy herd over 40 years ago, I found that while starting with kids may seem cheaper and easier, in the long run it was much more expensive, as you were buying 'promise', not production. I found I was able to buy milking stock, with known faults, with much better success. Just a thought. For me, it was worth a longer drive and more money to buy what worked for me.
 
I am a fan of starting with milking stock. You know for sure what the udder texture & support and teats will look like, how she behaves when milking, how much she milks, how loud she is. Kids are an unknown quantity. When I was building my goat dairy herd over 40 years ago, I found that while starting with kids may seem cheaper and easier, in the long run it was much more expensive, as you were buying 'promise', not production. I found I was able to buy milking stock, with known faults, with much better success. Just a thought. For me, it was worth a longer drive and more money to buy what worked for me.
This makes sense, however my big concern was that I would have a "herd" of two. In that situation they kinda have to like each other and get along. My concern would be that someone would get bullied...not a 100% eliminated concern with a pair of kids, but a lower concern.

My other best option might be to go for a mother/kid pair, so that they will be happy and ALSO already give a known quantity of milk....but that would eliminate the potential of combining animals of different breeds, as in the 1 fiber + 1 dairy goat scenario, and possibly eliminate the potential of getting any nigoras at all, due to lack of availability. :unsure:
 
Neutral terrain helps, so does doing things together that are not so fun like travelling.
Bring them home together on the same day helps them get along.
With just 2 bullying means bully has no friends either, such things are more likely with 3 animals rather then 2, needed safety of the herd i.e. staying together also helps.
 
They're goats. Someone is always going to be the bottom of the totem pole and get bullied, at least a bit. That's just goats period.

I highly recommend buying a milking doe from known milking lines. So many goats have horrible udders. Go to the auction and see a parade of the most horrendous udders imaginable and the worst kept hooves.

In my experience and what I see online is that people with small breeds will feed alot trying to up the milk production. Just get a standard size goat and you should get around a gallon. If you invest in known milking lines it will save you alot of possible issues.
 

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