Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's A Start

I can't believe its taken me this long, but I finally put a few things in my Etsy shop! How shocking! Still lots more to put in there, but that's for another day...


Michelle said...

I just saw your comment over at Cold Antler and wanted to say hello. I have Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats, but have seriously considered switching to a dairy cow. I am VERY anxious to hear about your experience with a cow. I would love to learn from others who have walked that road already.

Goat Song said...

Welcome to my blog, Michelle! Have you tried a standard sized dairy goat before, or just the Nigerians? I have both standard and mini goats, and have tried the cow (and know quite a few friends who have cows), and in the end I stuck with the goats. I think it boils down to which animal you like better, really. And you may just have to get a cow to find out which animal that is! Yeah, the cows give 3-5 gallons of milk per day, but you have to feed them a ridiculous amount, whereas I can get 3-5 gallons of milk from 2 goats, and only go through 2 lbs. of grain per day. But you can't skim cream off of goat milk. :-/ But the goats are smaller! So it's a seesaw of pros and cons.

My personal experience with my cow was a bad one. Maybe it was because I got her as a 12 day old calf, and she thought she grew up thinking she was a 120 lb. goat. But when she hit 400 lbs. and started rough housing with me and the goats, it was NOT fun. I just really like my goats. :) I like their size, their friendly, affectionate disposition, their milk, their ease of care, etc. I'm just a goat person.

But you can read my entire cow experience here :

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I thoroughly enjoyed reading back thorugh your cow experiences. I did learn a few things. One of which is that if I get a cow, I need to plan on having at least a few cattle. I have wondered about this. I've heard of lots of people just keeping one cow, but as herd animals, it makes sense that they need to be with their own kind. I think that is where some of Poppy's issues stemmed from. She needed to pick on someone her own size! LOL!

I do have one LaMancha doe. She is due to kid on October 19th. This will be her first freshening. Her breeding was this spring to my very first Nigerian bucklings. I wasn't worried about HER being bred since LaManchas are not supposed to breed until the fall, but as with everything else in life, there are exceptions! So I will have some mini-'Manchas running around. My understanding is that LaManchas are the smallest of the standard sized goats. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't researched them very much. My LaMancha was a gift. I never set out to own them. I bought Nigerian Dwarfs because I felt I had the best chance of being successful in my dairy goat (ad)venture with them, but what I REALLY want is Nubians. Everyone I talk to dislikes their dispositions, but the properties of their milk are almost as good as the ND's and I think Nubians are absolutely beautiful!

I'm very interested in your feeding regimine. My ND girls easily eat two pounds apiece a day. What type of feed do you use?

Jazkabor said...

Better late than never! Beautiful photos! Now if I could only find the time to knit....

Goat Song said...

^ Thank you! :)

Michelle, that is so exciting that you are expecting goat kids soon! I can't wait until kidding season comes around in my barn... La Manchas are actually one of the larger breeds of goats. Right up there with the Saanens, Alpines, and some of the larger Nubians. Their milk is typically good tasting, but as always it varies with each goat. I say if you want to try the Nubians out, DO IT! ;) I have had every single breed of goat, and the Nubians are my top favorite. :) I've always found them delightful when it comes to dispositions; they love little kids especially. I think what most people find annoying about Nubians is that they are more dramatic and vocal than other breeds. I find it funny to watch them, and I don't mind the extra "singing" that they do, so it works out well.

Feed wise, I use a hand mixed ration that I am still tweaking. Right now it's:
50 lbs. whole Oats
50 lbs. rolled barley
1 lb. salt
3 lbs. linseed meal
And enough molasses to bind everything together. (8-12 cups)

With my latest batch I made, I left out the salt (gave it free choice instead), linseed meal and the molasses, and put in black oil sunflower seeds instead. So far I really like the results (everyone's nice and slick coated!), but I have yet to try it out on lactating does. All my girls dried up due to the liver fluke in summer. Grr.

Each doe gets 1/2 lb. of grain during milking (I milk 2x's per day), just to keep them occupied. When I started decreasing their grain amounts, I did it by 1/2 cups. If they were still milking well, I would take away a 1/2 cup of grain, and keep them on that for a week or so before taking away another 1/2 cup. Over time, their bodies have adjusted to getting minimal amounts of grain, and I'm getting 1 1/2 to almost 3 gallons from each doe. I do however, feed high quality alfalfa hay/pellets (depending on what I can find), and I use rotational grazing methods so they always have fresh, green grass; and I think that is the key to why I'm able to get away with only 1 lb. per doe, per day.

Goat Song said...

Oh, and I think having a second cow around would have helped immensely, but we don't have enough property for two of those monstrosities, and at that time, a second cow was the last thing I wanted! LOL. I had to choose: either cows or goats. The land couldn't support both, so I went with the more lucrative animal: Goats. :)

You may have already seen this, but here's my website link:

Michelle said...

Yes, I'm very eager to see my mini-'Manchas. Even though it wasn't intentional, I'm happy that Miracle's first kids will be on the small side, giving her an easier first birth experience. I'm nervous about assisting a first time mother. Maybe she will just pop them out in the night! :-D

Really? I'm surprised! My "goat mentor", Michele, had a Saanen that was quite a bit larger than her LaManchas. I could have sworn she told me that about LaMancha's size. I definitely need to get to researching!

I think I am going to take the Nubian leap in the future. I just need to get them living quarters established, first. I know for sure that I don't want to house them together. I've seen too much bullying done by larger goats to smaller ones. Right now my single LaMancha doe IS in with the ND's, but I am not thrilled with the arrangement. She was about the same height as my senior ND doe when she came home, too, so it helps that she basically grew up in my herd. She IS queen these days, though. :-)

Your feed regimen is interesting to me. I currently feed 4 parts ADM Dairy Goat Ration, 1 part BOSS, 1 part alfalfa pellets, and one part beet pulp. I would REALLY like to get away from the ADM because I don’t' like the potential for unknown additives and I really don't want soy in my animal's diets. Where do you get your sorghum? What is the function of the linseed meal? Do you just get that at your feed store?

I'm with you on not having room for several cows. We are also in the same boat. We have about 2 1/3 acres, and so we have to keep the livestock to a minimum as well.

Goat Song said...

I get almost all my feed from our local feed store. The whole oats come from a local farmer though. The linseed meal is their protein source (I believe it's 32% protein), but I'm hoping I can use the BOSS instead of the linseed meal. Then I won't have to use molasses anymore! I don't put sorghum in my feed. I don't think my feed store carries that...

Hehe, we only live on 1 1/3 acre of land, so you have more than we do! I kind of like it though. It really makes you use every bit of space as efficiently as possible, and I have been so amazed at what all we have been able to do on this teeny plot.

I always worried about keeping ND's with standard goats, but it's been working really well so far. Have you ever seen the online forum called 'The Goat Spot'? I absolutely love it! It's a great group of people on there, and you can get answers to your questions in no time at all (and I'm on there every day too ;D).

And I'm sure the kidding will go smoothly. But I can completely understand the nervousness. I always get nervous and tense when my girls are kidding, even though they always do a fabulous job! I guess I'm just a worrywort... LOL.

Michelle said...

LOL! Where I come from sorghum IS molasses. :-) Conessours would say there is a difference, but they are both syrups produced from the sorghum plant. That's very interesting about the linseed meal. I had no idea it was high in protein. Sunflower seeds are $33 / 50 #s here, so the linseed *might* be cheaper for me. I am not familiar with The Goat Spot. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the invite. :-) Thanks for the encouragement regarding kidding. I added up the actual days instead of just figuring five months from the date Miracle was bred, and 145 days is the twelfth. Eeek!!!

Goat Song said...

LOL! I'll laugh too, at my ignorance concerning the molasses! ;D I get it from my feed store though; $9 for 5 gallons.

BOSS is almost $60 for 50# in my area, so I use it sparingly! I sure wish I had your prices though...

And you are expecting goat kids anytime now! Hoorah! :)

Michelle said...

I really hope I didn't offend you. That wasn't my intent at all. I was just pointing out the different name for the same thing. I apologize if I came across as antagonistic.

Has the price of BOSS gone up in your area lately? It's doubled in price here over the past year. I imagine prices are lower here overall because the cost of living is lower, as are wages.

Yep. Kidlets should be here any time. I can't wait! *biting nails*