Eficacy of the Miniature LaMancha

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Daniel Babcock, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Daniel Babcock

    Daniel Babcock Member

    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.
  2. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    :biggrin Daniel I'll let you know how my goats fare when I come back in 2 weeks as they will be on burmuda grass hay and coastal burmuda grazing only well of course water and minerals but that is it for two weeks (alittle more) I have 2 acres and no browse persay.

  3. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    I totally agree Daniel, I really don't think folks get how bad it is going to get for most. And it's why in reality I know that I will be eating my Nubians and milking my mini-LaMancha's. I have 5 of my 9 does who will be able to keep adquate weight on forage and what I am growing and milk well..I starve them from grain right now, or they simply get too fat. The alfalfa pellet question for calcium is going to be my biggy...now that is part of what will happen that I am not willing to even toy with right now while I still plan on showing, appraising and selling breeding stock. We have lots of feed that is high in calcium here naturally, youpon etc...Vicki
  4. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

    My herd of LaManchas and MiniManchas scrounge for a living. We have 90 acres and they are let out once or twice a day to browse, being escorted the old timey way with one of us with a shepherd's stick. The stick, or cane is about 5-6 feet tall and provides something to lean on. It also, pokes around and looks for snakes. The goats recognize the cane and it is used as an instrument to signal the browsing goats. They learn what different motions of the stick means, like guiding planes on the runway. Certain motions mean "come with me", others means "don't follow", etc.

    When the goats get full and thirsty, they take a notion to run all the way back home. Their hooves thunder like buffalo, quite beautiful sounding really, 30 of them, the bucks not getting to go, as they are penned.

    These get about 80 percent of their diet from browse, the rest is a SMALL amount of coastal hay and a very small amount of alfalfa pellets, oats and beet pulp, maybe one or two pounds each, once a day, hard to say as they are all fed together. if a few look thin, they are penned separate for a few days and feed extra. If i need milk, the milkers are penned up. I still have ALL my spring kids which are all still nursing. I have 8 does still in milk, bred doelings nursing....so I need not milk every day.

    Also, I leave several goats out at night and all day as they will not leave with the main herd in the pen. They get to eat more that way, hanging around outside the pen, browsing. I give them turns doing this. The MiniMancha doelings are always out of the pen so they are pretty much on browse 100% of the time. Oh, and the goats have given us a great fire break around the place, we have been under a burn ban for around two years so that is important to us.

    Anyway, thats what i do.....Diane