Last Thursday,we were able to pick up Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats!
We had ordered three doelings from Tiny Hill Farm in Milton Mills last year. When their does started birthing,it was clear that it was the Year of the Buck. They had been hoping for at least five doelings,so they could pick out which ones they wanted to keep and then sell us at least two,which makes sense. They only got three,so they had none to sell. They did,however,have plenty of bucks,and we decided to buy three so each of us could have a pet goat. Tiny Hill has a friend who has bought does from them,and her does are in the process of birthing this month. One doeling was born in late March that she wanted to sell,so we bought that one. Tiny Hill has been so kind in helping us out.They are keeping us in the loop regarding other doelings. We really would like to get two more. The bucks are fixed,and all the goats have been debudded.
Since we don't have a whole lot of space,we decided to go with the Nigerian Dwarfs. They are half the size of normal goats,but the females,once bred,can give up to a 1,000 gallons of milk a year. We are going to wait until Half Pint is at least nine or so months before we breed her (9-12 months is a suggested time for first time breeding). I didn't want unfixed male goats because when they go into heat they pee on their faces,and the smell is less than pleasant.The main reason is that if the males are not kept far enough away from the females,the smell can work it's way into the milk,giving it an odd taste.
We bottle feed them twice a day with a goat milk replacer,and will do so until they are past 8 weeks old.We do have fresh water on hand for them,and give them a bit of goat feed if they wish to have it (which they really don't at this stage). We keep them in our garage for now in a 6 ft high link fence enclosure (just like we have for the sheep).We keep the floor covered with pine shavings,and have a an igloo dog house for them to curl up in at night,which we also laid shavings down in. We do take them out to run around the yard or up and down Avon Lane,much to the delight of our neighbors. Honestly,who wouldn't love seeing these cute little things running,jumping,twisting,and hopping?
(From bottom left clockwise:Blizzard,Barrett,Half Pint (our doeling) and Scout)
It's funny to see folks driving by slow down and watch the goats on the front yard. Thankfully it's not a busy road!
The goats love to chase people. Zach ran around the house with the goats right behind him: