Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mini LaMancha Goats Coming this Weekend!

So in writing about what is coming up next for my little homestead in Pungo, I mentioned the possibility of dairy goats.  The dairy goat plan is now a reality, and I am so excited!
Coming this Saturday:

Meet Ein Geti's Opal and Ein Geti's Opera (officially), who we may call Lucy and Ethel.

Why mini LaMancha dairy goats?

When we decided to get goats, the first decision to make was which kind.  My daughter has a friend who has standard size goats and offered us an unregistered Nubian-cross doe (female) and whether (castrated male) at a very low price, and it was tempting!  However, in looking at the cost of feed- both hay and goat chow, plus calculating in the reduced value of the kids (baby goats), the cost of owning goats was not worth the value of the milk they would produce. 

I wanted to get goats that were easy enough to handle that our children would not be intimidated by them.  Lucas, especially, is interested in learning about goats and milking, and a mini goat will be easier for him to handle. This made me look into the possibility of miniature goats.

Mini goats are not without problems, though.  Because they are a smaller breed, we will need to reinforce our electric fence so that they cannot go under or through it.  For the time being, we are using field fencing to create a small paddock within our horse fence, but eventually we want to allow them to roam the pasture freely to remove small trees and weeds that want to grow.  This will be a significant expense as our fence is approximately 1200 feet that will all need to be re-inforced.

We decided to get goats that would be high quality, registered, and from a good dairy line so that they would produce adequate milk for our family and so that their offspring would be valuable enough to cover the costs of owning goats.  I thought at first the only mini goat that fit this description was the Nigerian Dwarf, but then I found out about other mini breeds, which are registered with the MDGA (Miniature Dairy Goat Association) and TMGR (The Miniature Goat Registry). 

Mini Goats are produced by originally crossing the Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat with another kind to get a mini first generation goat. The first 4 generations of this cross are considered "experimental" because you use these generations to experiment with the breed to ultimately get the wonderful traits you want to see in your goat.  Goats later than 4th generation are considered American and then Purebred and must conform to more strict standards.

Here are some of the mini goats that are being produced:

Mini Saanen, a white goat known for its easy going temperament
Picture taken from www.homesteadingtoday.com

Mini Nubian - cute droopy ears and beautiful markings, but they can be loud and sassy!
This goat is from www.bellsgoats.com

Mini Oberhasli, a goat with a stronger flavored milk that some people love
Pic taken from www.Glimmercroft.com

Mini Lamancha, best known for its ears, or actually the lack of outer ear!
Pic from www.echohillsfarm.com
We decided on the Mini Lamancha based on it's friendly easy-going nature, the high butterfat in the milk, and because my husband likes the tall lean look of the Mini Lamancha's frame.  The Mini-Lamanchas we are getting will be 4th generation from good dairy lines, meaning their offspring (if they meet the standard) will be 5th generation American registered dairy goats.  We have already found a couple suitable bucks (intact males) that are 4th generation from excellent dairy lines to choose from for this fall's breeding!

Look for more goaty info and pics next week when the babies arrive!

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