Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi all love the site and look foward to contributing. 

I have a small 3 acre hobby farm here in the Pacific Northwest (WA).

I have about a 5000sqft fenced goat pen, for being a small area it has hill small gully and trees.

What are some good ways to properly use a smaller space like this, to maintain healthy happy Nigerian  dwarfs goats 2 maybe add a 3rd down the road.  Solely for milking for family consumption.

Can ND be free ranged on my 3rces and expect them to get back to their pen without to much hassle?

Thanks all!

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Welcome to the group! It's great to have you here.

A pen that is about 70 x 70 is fine if it is part of a rotational grazing pattern, but if you put them in a pen that size and leave there, they will eat down the grass fairly quickly. Once the grass is less than 4" they will be consuming worm larvae and will probably wind up with a bad case of worms. Dewormers are not the answer because there are only three classes of dewormers in the US, and the worms will become resistant to them if you use them too often.

Is there much grass in there, or is it mostly trees? If there isn't much grass in there, you might be okay, although if the trees are not mature, they'll kill them. Goats are browsers, not grazers, meaning they prefer bushes and small trees.

If you have three acres, you can use temporary electric netting to do rotational grazing, assuming you don't have too many rocks. The fence posts have spikes on them that you can just push into the ground, but if you have tons of rock, that can make it challenging. If that doesn't work, and if you have some flatter areas, you can use four livestock panels to make a 16 x 16 pen and move that around.

You need to start with a minimum of two goats because they are herd animals. If you get one, it will be unhappy and looking for a friend, which often means looking for trouble. Since you want milk, you could start with two does. When goat shopping, be sure to ask if you can bring the does back to be bred or if you can lease a buck to breed your does. Because of biosecurity reasons, most goat owners do not provide buck service. I only do it for does that were born on my farm and never been bred by another buck. 

Here's a post that someone did a few years ago about how she did rotational grazing with four livestock panels and four goats.

http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/forum/topics/movable-pens

And she has photos, which are super helpful in this case.

Can I split my 50'×100ft pen into 2 pasture and rotate the 2 pastures?  If so what is length of time I need in each?? 

On weekends and evenings i have separate fenced area where I can let them free range at will.  Just not predator proof when not around.

Thanks!!

It would probably be better to split it into three or four pens. You want them to stay out of each pen for at least a month, but six weeks would be better. If it's raining a lot, that allows the larvae to survive longer on the pasture, so they should stay off of the grass for even longer. If you're having a drought, you may be able to get away with only two because the larvae will dry up and die on pasture without water. 

If you use Premier1 Electronet, you could utilize those other areas around your farm without worrying about predators because it's electric, so it also keeps out predators.

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