Squash Hollow Farm

How to Buy the Perfect Dairy Goat

a black goat on a white rock 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)

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Once you find the right source… Remember the tips from Part 1:

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t Ignore annoying traitsJust 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!
  4. Look closely at the farm and goats around you. If you have found the right small farm, you have already done this
  5. 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.
  6. Never Rush! Don’t buy a goat you will want to sell the next day!

Our Perfect Goat… Lito

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 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.

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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

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This entry was written by Aust and published on April 28, 2014 at 5:28 am. It’s filed under goats and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

17 thoughts on “How to Buy the Perfect Dairy Goat

  1. Thanks so much for sharing on the Homestead Barn Hop. We would LOVE to have a few goats in the future whenever we find a place we’d like to stay for awhile (or forever). Saving this for future reference!

  2. Such good advise! As a dairy goat owner and being the secretary at a vet’s office I get so frustrated when people come in with random goats they “just bought for my kid”. Ugh. They’ve done ZERO research, don’t know the breed, and have no idea if it comes from a disease free herd. Not to mention they know nothing about caring for a goat. It is frustration and I feel for the poor goat they are taking home. They truly believe they eat anything and they “won’t have to mow their grass”. Ugh.

    • Thanks! Yes, no animal should be purchased too quickly! Especially a goat! What breed of dairy goat do you have?

      • We started with Nubians and La Manchas. I hated the whining in Nubians (the first one I had wasn’t a whiner so I thought people exaggerated about Nubians being obnoxious… Then I got more. No thanks!) I LOVED La Mancha’s but in the end we fell in love with Oberhasli’s. We have driven to Idaho (from Georgia) and Ohio for the ones we have now. I adore this breed.

      • We were looking at an Oberhasli recently, it didn’t work out, but what do you love about them most? Why them over La macha?

      • I actually blogged about why but it was in a light hearted, comical way: http://goatgirlgazette.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/oberly-excited-about-oberhaslis/
        But to sum it all up, La Macha’s and Ober’s were tied until almost the very end. I truly love the breed. They finally lost for two reasons. 1. In our area almost everyone raises meat goats, not dairy. Sadly, that means that when you do find dairy goats … They are HUGE. My La Mancha’s (and all the others I found within 100 miles) were 150+ lbs. The night I RODE one out of the barn was the final straw. 2. Every breed has their own personalities. Some traits are found in every breed but as a whole every breed dominates certain traits. (Nubians are loud and obnoxious as a whole… But so pretty!) La Mancha’s don’t have an attitude like Nubians tend to but ALL of ours held grudges. Weird to say but.. If you hurt their feelings (let one milk before another, vaccinate, or not give one enough attention) they would ignore us completely for at least a week. I felt like I was dealing with teenagers. Sure, you will have a sassy Ober or a dramatic one. Every herd has a queen. But as a whole Ober’s are docile and that’s what I love. They are very smart and sweet but I love their laid back quiet nature. We’ve had 7 Ober’s now (we currently only have 5) and this is still true of their nature and I love it. I will also say that I really liked the creaminess of La Mancha milk BUT for my husband and I we like that Ober’s is a little (not much) less on the butterfat scale. It is still sweet and creamy but a little lighter and I like that.

      • Yea, were hoping little Lito will have the same creamy milk we got from Hops, our other Lamacha! Our Yoyo gives us really creamy milk now, but as a Nigerian Dwarf, she docent give enough to feed us all!

      • Is Hebe an LGD?

      • Yes. Hercules and Hebe are both Great Pyrenees but have very different personalities.

      • I love Oberhaslis too…I am hoping to get some soon to add to my Nigerian herd! 🙂

      • James do you milk your Nigerians?

      • Yes I do.

  3. Thank you for the great article. One of the first animals we want to buy is a milk goat so this helped.

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