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Old 10-21-2009, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Northern NH
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My husband and I would like to get some goats for NH but we don't know much about goats. What kind would people suggest? Any advice would be appreciated! I have owned and cared for horses for much of my life so I do have plenty of livestock experience I would sort of like smallish cute goats
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:05 AM
 
Location: CA
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I'm reading a really fun book right now - Goatsong. It's by a guy who decided, without much experience, to begin raising dairy goats.

I've had my goat dreams for a decade and a half... someday I'll do it too!

Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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To be perfectly honest with you, you are inviting trouble on yourself and almost sure failure if you are basing your decision on how "cute" and animal looks. Getting into livestock is a serious undertaking with serious money involved as well. Just the cost of the livestock and their fencing, shelter, feeding and watering needs is enough to scare anyone.

But this post is not intended to scare you or keep you from your dream, its simply to show you that such a serious undertaking requires some thought deeper then the basis of "cute". Trust me, when those goats get out three times in one day, they no longer look cute, they tend to look like chops! (LOL). So rather then buy the goats based on what they look like, you should pick a species and breed that would match YOUR HOMESTEAD!

For instance, if you have very woody and brushy terrain, but not a lot of open grassland to pasture, you would need to look at Boer Goats which are meat breeds and will do well on that forage. Dairy goats will eat browse too, but they need more legumes, grasses and weeds to convert that type of feed into milk. Then there is the fencing needs required...and goats are notorious for getting out of fences. If you have close neighbors that do not like the idea of livestock eating their prized shrubs, then maybe goats would not be a good choice for you at all. I mean it takes a quality fence to hold them in, and they do have a fierce appetite. Under these conditions sheep would do quite well...they forage on saplings and browse, but they are far easier to keep in.

It is far easier to decide in the planning and preparation stages that one type of livestock over another might work better on your particular homestead. Selling a dozen goats and buying sheep instead is not always easy to do.

Despite a lot of experience with dairy cows, after doing some farm planning I realized beef cows were not going to be ideal on my farm, but instead sheep would be. In the end I am very glad I got into sheep. But that statement does with one caveat...if you have your heart set on goats, then you may not have a passion within you to keeping slogging onward when the hardships come...and trust me they will come and make you consider selling the entire flock/herd!

So if I was you, I would really look at your farm...not from a human point of view, but from a livestocks point of view. What is the available feed and water situation. (Sheep don't require water while cows require gallons of fresh water per day). Cows graze better on rather flat or rolling terrain, where as sheep and goats prefer to graze mountainsides, but fencing that can be difficult, so a sheeps less stringent fencing needs may be easier to do.

But all that is useless if your family dislikes lamb and goat meat, but instead eats lots of beef, chicken and eggs. Do you see where I am going with this? Figure out what your homestead has for assetts, then figure out what your family eats, then match your livestock choice down to a species and breed that best matches those things.

Just my take on a very complex, very personal subject!
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Northern NH
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I appreciate the information very much. I don't know if you noticed but I have owned and cared for up to five horses at a time for thirty years which is quite a bit of time, money and effort so I am quite familiar with livestock keeping. I am thinking goats might actually be less work and money although I guess I don't know....do goats cost over $50,000 to buy and about $100,000 to keep on the road showing I would like small goats not big goats. I am no way looking to eat these goats more on the way of pets and something to "do" since my husband is retired.

Which are more fun to have sheep or goats? I would only want two goats but I suppose I could consider sheep as well. I sort of don't want something as big as a cow since I would have to build a larger barn for a cow. Might as well get myself another horse at that rate!
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:00 AM
 
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You want goats. Sheep make lousy pets as they have only one defense and that is to run like heck from any predator. Since they consider a human being a predator (and rightfully so) they are not the cute, cuddly, Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb pets everyone thinks of.

I am sure with a little bottle feeding, constant nurturing and only two animals they will be better then my commercial, free range, large carcassed range sheep, but instinct is still instinct and they will run. Goats will be more pet-like I would think, but if sheep are still your thing, get two Whither which tend to be really friendly. I got a Withered Teg now that is going to slaughter in a few weeks and this ole redneck, farmboy almost hates to see him go. Of the entire flock he is the most gentle and most friendly. :-(
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:40 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,260 posts, read 15,230,371 times
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Raising Goats | Buying and Keeping Goats | Raising Farm Animals

goats Breeds of Livestock - Goat Breeds

Goats and more Goats: The Goat Pages

RAISING GOATS MY WAY (IF I COULD DO IT OVER AGAIN) : PART I
Written by a veterinarian
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Up in the air
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I raised show quality dairy goats for 15 years and showed all over the western states for most of those. Had a herd of between 15 and 50 (depending on how kidding season went ) in 3 different breeds. Goats are not 'throw in a pasture and look cute' animals. Since you have horses, you'll understand I showed horses for a few years too, but the goats kind of took over. Hoof trimming, yearly shots, balanced nutrition and goats also have the fun habit of getting in all kinds of trouble, so always have a vets number handy.

This is a GREAT site to get started: Fias Co Farm- graphic and logo design, cheesemaking, dairy goats

All kinds of fun goat information To start, I'd probably get a young doeling (under a year old, and preferebly under 3 months and still being bottlefed, which you can continue. It helps bond them to you) and a wether (castrated buck), hopefully a sibling. Goats have strong herd heirachy and it's easier to get two that are already familiar with eachother. I'd get ones that are either polled or disbudded just for safety reasons... horns hurt.... a lot, and they tend to get stuck in fences which makes them easy to pick off for predators.

If you like smallish cute goats, I'd go for a LaMancha if you want a full sized dairy goats. They're the smallest of the 'big ones' and have gopher ears, so they look kind of like little alien goats . You can always go for a Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf which are smaller.

Goats are super fun, I only have 5 left (3 of which are finished Grand Champions) who are retired from milking and showing but they're still great old gals.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Northern NH
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Thanks Jet Jockey and NY Annie!
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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Sheep are stupid. Goats are intelligent, inquisitive, empathetic and make loyal companions.

A couple goats really aren't that much work, my dog is much more work. Fresh bale of hay on the ground every few days and a handful of grain per day, some shade and wind shelter, and a poly pail bucket of clean water, 2 buckets if they freeze in winter. Vet bills are minimal if you treat for parasites and trim hooves yourself. You can buy extra kids for $25 or less if you ask around in early spring.

Two pet goats is better than three. Two keep each other company, three will be in constant competition for who is top goat. Other than his food, the main thing a goat thinks about is 'am I top goat today.' Two females is vastly better than 2 M or MF. The F don't smell. Goats are clean.

I never had a goat escape from a fenced area, not even once, with 5 foot common cheap wire metal fence, $4 landscape ties for posts, and a gate I made with a section of metal fence, some poles, wire "hinges" and a bucket handle for a latch. They can be leash trained. Portable 3 foot orange plastic mesh electric fence with a 9 volt solar controller works great too. After they get their nose zapped a few times they will never go near anything orange.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,926,210 times
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My neighbor had goats for awhile and this is how he "trained" them to stay in:

He strung an electric fence around them and tied pieces of ribbon to the wire. After they'd been bitten enough times to avoid the fence, he took it down and tied those ribbons onto tree limbs, other fences or anyplace else he didn't want the goats to go.

Having been conditioned by the electric fence, they never ventured past ribbons again.
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