Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

We live on just over an acre in NE Florida. Here is a little bit of info to start with.

We currently have two pens set up for our goats, one is 1/4 acre and the other is 1/2 acre.

We currently have 4 young does and 1 whether.  

The grass is excellent, even in the middle of winter (Keep in mind this is FL winter so that usually entails 2-3 months of "cool" weather. The coldest it ever gets is about 25 degrees and that's usually for a few hours right before the sun comes up, and only about 5 days a year).  It has a lovely mixture of weeds all through it and my goats adore it. Over grazing is not an issue in the slightest. 

We are about to build a third pen (in the back 1/2 acre parcel) that is going to be 32' x 72' (2304 sqft) because we want to purchase a buckling soon (he and the whether will live together). 

Our eventual plan is to have a least 5 or 6 different pens to move the animals around. Our pens are made out of 16' cattle panels with welded wire (2" x 4" rectangles) over that. 

Now for the actual questions:

-Will 3 pens be enough to start out with? We are trying to do things slowly for financial reasons. 

-Is cattle panels with welded wire over them enough to keep a buck in? (16' long, 50" high).

-The pens are all separated by the posts that hold them in place so technically the pens don't "share" walls They are about 6" apart, will that be enough to stop them from breeding through the fence? (I don't know anything about their *size* lol I'm still a noobie. 

 -One random question about heat: I've had 2 does since August 10th and my other 2 since August 12th they are now age ranges from 4 months to 8  months and none have gone into heat yet. I've read that often they go into heat at regular intervals year round, what age should I expect to see them go into heat? The 8 and 5 month old does we got from a not-so-great situation (hoarder who also happened to hoard goats) and they were kept in the pen with a buck, is it possible that they could be pregnant and that's why they haven't gone into heat, or am I just being a worried first time goat mommy?

Thanks in Advance for the help!

The pictures attached are of the house/pens before we bought it and reinforced the fences. We converted the carport into barn for the goats that they can access 24/7 and they have access to pasture 24/7.

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Cattle panels with wire will keep your bucks in, but if they share a fence line with your girls, they can still nail them through the fence. I had to add electric wire to the inside of the boy's pen on our shared line after I learned that the hard way. I think your 6" spacing would be good. It's entirely possible that the girls in your buck could be pregnant, if your buck is old enough. 

When I first got my does it was a year before I got a buck and I never saw them go into heat once. Of course it was my first time having goats ever so I could of not known what I was looking at. Now though some of my does I can tell but some have what I think is called a silent heat, they show no signs, until they are in the pen with the buck.

The older ones may very well be pregnant, you can do a pregnancy test through biotracking at least a month after they were exposed to the buck. Do you know the age of the buck they were with? If he was younger then 5 months then I think the chances are lower that they are pregnant. (Sorry some how, earlier, I missed reading the part about the older ones being exposed to a buck)

I don't have a buck yet, so I know they didn't get pregnant here. I wanted to wait to breed anyone until they are 9 months old so I can get them CAE tested before breeding them. The lady who had the older two had them in with 2 different bucks. One was 4 months old and the other was 2 years old. I hope they aren't pregnant yet because I really like to know when I should expect babies, and the 5 month old isn't even 30 pounds yet :( I'll be watching closely for signs of heat in the hopes that they aren't pregnant yet. I'll probably give it another month before doing a pregnancy test to see if maybe the new environment threw off their cycles. I know my little 4 month old does aren't pregnant because they have never been exposed to a buck. My whether is in the pen with them until I finish the 3rd pen and purchase a buck, and I've heard that whethers are good heat detectors and he has shown no interest in any of the females (he is also 4 months old). If the older ones are pregnant, I don't think they are far along because they aren't showing yet (that I can tell).

Oh! OK. I misunderstood. Good that they aren't still in with a buck! Were those two from the hoarder, then? 

If they were in with a 2 year old buck, they may very well be pregnant. Probably too young. Weigh them now, so you know if they are big enough to be having babies... they should weigh about 40lbs before they are bred. The 8 month old might be, but I doubt the 4 month old will be. 

The 8 month old weighed 48 pounds yesterday and the 5 month old only weighed 29 pounds :( I really hope she isn't pregnant, for her sake. Yes the 8 month old and the 5 month old both came from the hoarder. she had about 30 goats on an acre of mud. Everything was wet and their hooves were all rotten. I wasn't crazy about getting a goat from their (they sucked me in with a decent website) but I didn't have the heart to leave them there.

As a heads-up not all wethers are good heat detectors. We have one who is. In fact if it weren't for the lack of testicles you'd have no idea he can't do the job as he looks and acts completely like a buck, just less smelly. If we leave him in a breeding pen he'll actually prevent the bucks from being able to access the does. We have had wethers that have been absolutely clueless though. They live with the does all the time and show no interest ever. Hopefully you've got a useful one.

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