I typed this up in response to a question about browsing goats in the "Dairy Goat Info" portion of this forum. Before I finished it I realized it was more of a post on the MM than it was an answer to browsing. Let me know what you all think. The ability to convert browse into milk is one of the reasons I decided to get into Miniature LaManchas. My mentor almost exclusively grazes her MM's feeding a little alfalfa/grass hay and a handful of grain on the milkstand. She has been working the last 10 years to perfect her line of MM's focusing on 75% LaMancha and 25% Nigerian strain. Her goats are very hardy, they convert browse and their grass graze into milk, her goats have great will to milk, the hybridization brings about a low somatic cell count, and the milk tastes the best. Taste was important for me and I visited many farms to determine the best tasting milk. Everyone seems to prefer one goats milk to another, however many are biased because they started with one breed and have grown accustomed to this type of milk therefore any other than the milk they started with tastes 'different'. I approached it never having tasted goat milk having no biases as an uninformed consumer would, I sampled different goat milk and did some blind tasting with family and friends, the consensus was Mini-Mancha milk tasted the best! Back to allowing goats to browse. My mentor believes the hybrid vigor overcomes some of the challenges associated with the inbreeding of any highly domesticated animal and making the MM's more efficient at converting browse to milk. Ken might provide some good information on this relative to the challenges being faced in the Dairy Cow industry with the overly inbred Holsteins. Many of the problems are being fixed by outbreeding a Holstein with a hereford (I think its a hereford). As the economy continues to struggle, I believe the cost factor will become more and more important and that more people will begin to look at the hardiness and the efficiency at which the MM's are able to convert what some may consider 'scrounge' into good milk! Using the 75% LaMancha strain of the MM insures more of the dairy characteristics of the full sized goats, the great personality of the LaManchas, the ease of hand milking resultant from teat size, higher capacity from less feed,the higher butter fat and protein levels that come from the Nigerian Dwarfs, and once again great tasting milk. I plan to follow my mentor, Karens lead in creating a strain that 'scrounges' well, even though I have only 3 acres, the browse I can produce will significantly support (during my growing season here in what Sondra called the frozen tundra of the north) my small herd. Of course I will supplement with high quality alfalfa, free choice (right now onyx) minerals and some grain on the stand, but I hope to be succesfull in allowing my goats to browse for a significant portion of their diet.