In our endeavor to start a homestead dairy operation, we have gone through more goats that you can believe. There was the goat that busted out of the escape proof pig pen, and the goat that was too loud. The goat we listed on Craigslist two days after purchasing her from an ad… on Craigslist. There was Hops, our escape goat. Guess how she got her name. Yep. Right over our fence made of goat panels. And of course there is Yoyo our little hairy momma.
And then there was Lito. Lito is the epitome of the correct goat buying experience. The way I believe goat purchases should be made. Lito is a Regestered purebred Lamacha doe. She comes from great milk lines. More on Lito later. First… How Not to Buy a Goat When one is going to buy a goat for a homestead dairy, (and not a big dairy operation) they need to remember how the attitude and quality of the animal chosen can make or break the dairy experience. If the first goat you own is a master of escape, kicks while you try to milk her, has small teats and 3 too many, and milk tastes like you licked the goat and not the milk, well you may very well give up on the dairy idea all together. So how do you buy the right goat? Don’t do what we did… DON’T
- Jump on the first available option. Decide first what you are looking for. Is your dairy a 4h project for your little one? Or do you want to feed your family of six milk, cheese and butter from your harvest? (in that case just forget the goat idea, go for the Cow!) Figure out your objective, and match with the appropriate breed.
- Buy without getting her on a milk stand. Our first goat buying experience, the man selling the goat walked us around the corner to find his goat already on the milk stand. We assumed she liked to be there. She didn’t. Ask the person to walk the goat from the pen to the stand. Does the goat go willingly? Ask to see her milked. Better.. Ask to milk her yourself if you know how. If you have a dream of hand milking your doe, and the farmer whips out his Henry Milker, that may be the wrong goat for you. INSPECT THE UDDER!!! We purchased a goat during a rainstorm once. With the wind and rain blowing sideways, we took the farmers word that she would be a good hand milker. She has 2 small teats, hard to grab, and 2 extra teats. Disappointed we were.
- Ignore annoying traits. What annoying traits can you handle? All goats will have them. Some will be too loud. Some flighty. Some fence wreckers. So what can you take and what can’t you? I found the disturbance of the peace that came from the loud bleating of one of my nigerian dwarfs was too much, whereas my wife couldn’t stand a goat that kicked while being milked. Both were sold. (for less than what we paid.) When looking at a potential goat for purchase, notice how loud the animals are at feeding time. What does the fencing look like, is a light gauge woven wire going to be enough, or are these goats escape artists.
- Ignore the farm and goats around you. Fortunately, this was one mistake we did not make.. but almost. While looking for a dairy goat we visited a few larger goat dairy farms. While falling in love with a beautiful, LaMacha/Alpine mix doeling, we happen to notice a large puss filled abcess on a nearby doe. This is a sign of CL, a very contagious goat disease. Always look at the herd. Do they look healthy and happy? This is especially important when bringing your goat home to an already existing herd.
- Ignore signs of a problem animal. A major sign that your buying a problem goat is if the person whom your buying from is selling one particular doe… IN MILK! Who gets rid of a doe that they have gone through the trouble (and expense) of having bred, kidding, only to sell it during its most profitable time? Someone getting rid of a bad goat. Thats who!
- Rush. Milking is a hard job. Every morning, and evening, you will see this animal. You will have to spend lots of time working with it. If every time you grab ahold of its teats, you’re reminded that you forgot to check the udder when you purchased her, you will not be a happy homesteader. Take time when selecting a future dairy doe. If the person selling to you is rushing you, they are not the right person to buy from.
So how do you buy a great dairy animal? One whom you will form a close bond with, who will provide you with quality milk in the right quantity for your family? Tune in Next week for… How TO Buy a Goat! (Read that last sentence aloud in your best announcer voice) Join our EMAIL List to receive the exciting conclusion of our goat buyers guide!
This post was shared at the Homestead Barn Hop on Weed ’em & Reap
and the From the Farm Blog Hop on The Mind to Homestead