Looking for answers...

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by ksitton, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. ksitton

    ksitton New Member

    Hello all. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share some information with me. I have had goats since high school(ffa), but recently the opportunity has presented itself to go into the dairy goat scene. My husband and I would both like to be as informed as possible aobut the realities of a small dairy goat(10 or so animals) herd, since my goats have not been much more than pets. Any help would be great. I have been reading lots of posts, but still have ??'s
    What are the aproximate costs per month for that many animals??

    If all housed together(all does) how many square footage of barn space do I need? (pasture is no problem)

    How important do you feel is CAE testing/free animals for a personal herd? What are benifits to having CAE free animals?
    My "pets" have never been tested, and two are getting quite old, but still going strong, two "middle aged" and healthy.

    Thanks so much! -Kelly
  2. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

    $$ Money, Heartache, Livestock
    CAE free animals save you from the Heartache of having to put down babies with pneumonia like symptoms old does with the same, big old knees that hinder walking and swollen udders that give NO milk at all. also If you breed 10 does a year, you may have 10 - 20 doelings you will want to sell some, People prefer CAE negative herds to buy from.
    If you decide to start a herd I'd test those old girls to see. You can quarantine your new from your old, if you have enough space to keep the new separate.
    It's been said that a goat cost around $ 250 dollars a year to keep, I haven't done the math this year. 10 goats will need one bale of Good hay between them a day. If they are milking they'll need approx 2-3 lbs of grain a day on the stand.
    so simple math for feed alone
    $ 5 a Bale $ 1825 or could be higher in your area minimum for 10 goats
    Grain mix say $ 10 for 50 lbs I spend around $ 70 dollars a week on grain I think but I have twice that many goats. They will also have a dry period when not milking and graining of about 6 weeks for each doe.
    Then there are Med costs.
    Blood test IYDT
    vet costs

    Barn space, anywhere from 5 by 10 for two goats to as big as you have available! : )
    Pasture you only need 5 acres the rest trust me you have to hold their hoof for them to explore. Lol. Mine have 40 acres to explore. Even this spring when we had a Hay crisis it was Pulling teeth to get them to walk the pasture, we took them daily.

  3. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

    They will range better with horses or cattle. I've also heard if you have guard dogs that will work too.
  4. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

    And there are breeding fees or get a sire. Or learn to artificially insemenate (AI). Some breeders are really expensive and some are not. I found it actually a better deal with more girls to purchase a buck. His cost is approxiamtely $750.00 to $850.00 a year. But then again we have two types of breed and have to breed out with the nubians until we get a nubian sire. Tammy
  5. Leo

    Leo New Member

    It depends on how much land/quality of land they browse on, quality/health of goats, and just area differences.
    For feed & hay alone, it costs me about $5 per week per goat.
    Another depends. ;) Some does are Really space hoardy, and bash the snott out of anyone within 4 feet of them, I sell them or eat them.

    My does and bucks are friendly, and in Florida, my DH built me a barn 10 x 12 to hold 6 does with a 4 x 4 pen inside to hold my bucks. It did it's job well, and kept my herd safe from predators diggin under the barn walls and that one large cat(never i.d it as a bobcat or panther) from jumping in through the roof or climbing up the walls. Eventually, I was able to build the boys their own run in, it was one shovel wide and two shovels long, with a two foot opening for a door. :D Two bucks, and their kids(bucklings) kept well in it. Perry would sleep on one side with his kids alll over him and the new buck would sleep on the opposite side.
    You can never have too many stalls though, or too much space.

    Very important. I've heard of CAE animals living long happy lives, but I've never seen it. I've seen animals horribly debilitated by CAE, they scream in pain, unable to or barely able to walk, I'm talking 1-2year old goats. Once you've seen it, you'll know. I just really don't want to have something preventable hurt the goats. Economic wise, CAE goats cost more, in care, feed, time, energy, the list goes on. Luckily it's easy to test for, prevent and control.
    Either way, it's always a good idea to start with the best you can get. ;)
  6. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

    Ashley we have had horses, they have a dog, and there are cattle out there!! I will go tell them that tomorrow at 5 am, Graze you have friends lol! :lol I think every year though they will wander farther till maybe 10 years from now the herd queens will take them way out back with out being led first. Well I hope anyhow they have had access to the back 40 for Many years now 4-7 ?
  7. ksitton

    ksitton New Member

    Thank you all for your imput. So I have another question....

    How much does it cost to test for CAE?? Do you have to have a vet come out to do it? or can the owner(me) draw blood and send it off, or buy tests? ( I assume it is a blood test)

    How much milk on average does one doe give per day or per milking??
  8. NWgoats

    NWgoats New Member

    I live in Oregon also. I had considered a goat dairy, until I looked into it further and realized just how much cost and hassle it was going to be. Unless you are planning on making it a full time job, I don't know if it would be profitable to have just a few does.
    In Oregon you have to test your goats EVERY year for several things other than CAE. You have to have a license. You have to have your place inspected and your water and milk tested. Also have to have a plan for disposal of waste. This is for a Grade B dairy. If you want to go Grade A, there are lots of other requirements.
    I have several friends who have goat dairies and show goats. But, they have full time jobs and don't make a living from their goats.
    I have found that while CAE is a big concern, in our area CL is extremely prevalent. In both meat herds and dairy herds. I have been told by several people (including one vet) that CL is "no big deal, just inconvenient and unsightly". If you want to start out right, all animals in your current herd and any purchases you may make should be tested. It took me months in my area to find a "clean" herd to purchase my girls from.
    Last year with hay being so high, it cost me over $1000.00 in feed for only six goats. That doesn't include any vet visits, medications or incidentals. These same six goats have 2 acres, but refuse to go out in the rain to eat. That means for about 5 or 6 months they are in the pasture very little.
    I don't know if this answers many of your questions, but I hope it gives you some things to think about.
  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    I always tell new folks how much work it is. The goat stuff will come, and you already got really good answers, but do you know how much work it is? First do you have to be licensed, or can you bootleg milk in Oregon like you can in TX? Can you physically do the work yourself? To think that your pets will have any part of a working dairy, most pets don't work well even in an environment of 10 does. And you do know that even in having 10 does in milk year round you are really talking at least 20 does, kidding one in the late winter, one group in the late spring, so you have year round milk. Bucks, 20 to 30+ kids twice a year to raise until sold. Feet trimming, barn cleaning, death, and the realities of a working farm where animals are put down because they are a drain on your bottom line, which means your pets. Running it as a business from day one, no sentimentality, no feeling sorry, their job is to milk, your job is to milk and take care of their every need...most dairies even micro ones do a very very poor job of the second part of their job.

    From 1/4 gallon a day out of a young first freshener to 2 gallons a day out of a high production Swiss breed doe when first lactating, down to 1/2 to 3/4 gallon as lactation gets into summer and breeding season in the fall, or you miss milkings, have severe storms, dog problems.

    Tons' of info on CAE...we have blood drawing info in goatkeeping 101 with a website up for you to visit that shows you how to draw blood, done by a child. From $6 at biotracking.com to more at other labs, just make sure they run Elissa tests.

    I wish when I started out 22 years ago with this notion of mine...I knew anyone who was honest with me about how much work it really was. But it's doable if you love the animals. But you have to be diversified, like with your Boers and hair goats...you can't live off meat sales with your Boers or only hair sales of your cashmere, same with your dairy goats, you HAVE to add value to your milk with breeding stock sales, which means having registered stock that is clean from disease. You will already have one mark against you being a 'dairy' first....so having proof of testing, having recognizable bloodlines.

    Let us help you, especially with purchases (there simply are those you do not want to purchase from), copper is huge for you being in the pacific northwest, without dealing with your copper you will have foot problems (rot/scald/soft hooves), breeding difficulties, worm burdens. Read read read, and always visit the websits or farms of those you are listening to, because some advice comes with some awful proof in the puddin. Vicki