Monday, December 03, 2007

Dairy Goat Deferred

I had said previously that I wanted to get a dairy goat this fall for spring milk (either already bred, or she could be bred to Bubba). It's been so difficult to find dairy goats around here that I would pretty much accept any breed, even though I would prefer a Nubian.

There was a lead at a farm about an hour away. They had goats, and wanted to sell a couple of Nubian/Toggenberg crosses (that were bred to a Boer cross buck). The does were four years old and had never been milked, and were due in February (yikes!). Still, the asking price of $125 each wasn't bad so we went out to take a look.

Well, it turned out that the buck had gotten out a few times, so the does were possibly due to kid at any time. They weren't in bad condition as far as their weight was concerned, but their feet were a mess. One of them had a hoof that was so long that it had turned under and she was walking on the sidewall. I've never had to correct a hoof that long, but my experience with bad hooves is that it takes a long period of frequent trimming to get them anywhere even approaching normal. That doe also had a mismatched udder, and the larger half was nearly dragging on the ground. Oh, and she had at least one extra teat sticking out of the side of the udder. She was such a mess that I wouldn't have taken her even if she had been free (you have to figure that each goat will add at least 500 lbs to your winter hay needs).

The other doe wasn't anywhere near as bad. Her hooves were overgrown, but they looked like they would take less than six months to correct. I think her udder was reasonably high, balanced, and without extra teats, but she was so skittish it was hard to get a good look. Because of the skittishness, hoof neglect, lack of a milk record, and lack of breeding record (as well as her age and crossbredness), I offered $100 for her. I actually think that was even a bit high, but I didn't expect them to go any lower. They hemmed and hawed a bit, but when it was clear that I was serious in my offer, they declined it, saying they could get that much for her kids. It was just as well, because I would rather spend $200-$300 on a decent, non-show purebred from proven milking lines. I just need to keep working the connections to find something like that.

At this point, it's probably too late to get a dairy goat for this year. I would want to keep her in quarantine for two weeks, and with the weather getting bad that would be difficult to manage. Time to start contacting all the goat breeders in the area, to see if I can get a freshened doe in the spring.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

That is terrible that you could only find does in that condition. Poor goats!