This is Part 2 of How NOT to Buy a Dairy Goat. Part 1 Should be read first.
During our search for a perfect homestead dairy goat, we ran the gamut.
A list of some places visited:
- A very small homestead of 5 unregistered goats.
- a small farm which bred registered animals
- a dog breeder who got into goat breeding.
- 2 larger goat dairy operations, one had pure breeds, one mixed
- a large homestead with many unregistered goats.
- a large homestead with many registered goats.
We have purchased goats from every conceivable type of farm or homestead. (However, we do not buy goats every time we go to look at one, the more craigslist goats you go look at, the more you realize there will be another craigslist goat to look at.)
I believe the best source for your homestead dairy animal is a small size farm or homestead. One where each animal is named, and preferably, registered. At the very least the farmer should have an idea whom was bread with whom, and for what reason. This shows that the farmer cares about good breeding.
I know as a homestead you may not care about owning a registered animal, (and probably don’t want to pay for one as well…) but a registered animal shows the owner cares enough to keep track of good and bad traits, and breeds wisely.
Remember, if your first dairy experience goes well, this will not be your only goat, but rather is your seed from which your entire herd will grow. Choose a good source. (If you find a farm that selectively breeds for milk, without bothering to register, that is still a good source to buy from)
Once you find the right source… Remember the tips from Part 1:
- Try not to jump on the first available option. So you have found a small farm that selectively breeds registered milk goats. Is this the right breed for you? If not, Pass.
- Never buy without getting her on a milk stand. If your looking to buy a goat in milk, milk her. If your buying a kid, see her mother on the stand.
- Don’t Ignore annoying traits. Just because this farmer breeds a great Nubian goat, doesnt mean you will like to listen to them moaning (thats what they sound like) at you!
- Look closely at the farm and goats around you. If you have found the right small farm, you have already done this
- Don’t Ignore signs of a problem animal. Remember to ask if there are multiple goats for sale, not just one. If someone says the reason for selling is to downsize, there should be a few for sale. If only one is, ask why that one was chosen.
- Never Rush! Don’t buy a goat you will want to sell the next day!
Our Perfect Goat… Lito
Lito was purchased from a small farm. She was registered. Lito comes from a line of great milkers. We could choose from many animals, we finally decided on her because of looks (we could be a little vain in this choice!). She was a breed we were familiar with, LaMancha, and after research, had decided to go with.
And lastly, because we can depend on good breeding to tell us what sort of production we will get from her, we bought her at a month old.
I’ve chased enough goats around the yard to know the value of bottle feeding your future dairy animal. I know, you’re excited to get this operation off the ground. You cant wait to make your first bar of soap and try your hand at your first batch of Feta. Remember, don’t rush!
Bottle feeding your young doe on the milkstand every night creates an amazing bond in an animal (what, you don’t have a milk stand yet? Get started. Build one… Don’t find yourself milking without one!). Little Lito hops up onto that milkstand like a puppy does the couch. She follows us all around the yard, and come milking time, those habits will be worth the years wait!
Having a bottle-fed kid allows the relationship between you and your dairy animal to begin forming at it’s most basic level. You are providing this animal with what she needs to live. When she grows, she will return that gift to you and your family one hundred fold.
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