Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi All,

Now that I'm over the panic about my first kidding & helping my doe through anemia issues, I'm thinking about the future (though I know I've probably overreached my adding discussion quota for the week)! :-)

First a little background: I have 2 does that just turned 2 years old and haven't freshened yet. I tried to find them a buck this fall, but I had my own baby in October and I simply missed the boat. Now the clock is ticking for them, but I'm on the fence about whether I should cull one of them. I am planning on a core herd of 4-6 does and 2 bucks. I will be retaining the doeling out of my 3rd doe, who is from the same breeder but with a different basic pedigree. I might select a buckling out of the same doe to retain + find an unrelated buck that will bring more natural hardiness to my herd, but my final decision there is TBD.

My Top 3 Breeding Goals for my NDGs:

Temperament (calm, easily handled, & outgoing)

Production & Milking Ease  (for home dairy & direct farm product sales on a small scale)

Hardines (resistance to parasites/illness, easy keeping, strong mothering instinct)

The Doe in Question:

Sugar Moon O Moon Flower (Farin) 

Sire: NC Promisedland RC Odyssey --[ Sire's Sire: Rosasharn TL Cauldron/Sire's Dam: SGCH NC Promisedland Rain-Beau

Dam: Sugar Moon Two2 Tango --[ Dam's Sire: Sugar Moon Up Brioso/Dam's Sire: NC Promisedland RB Rumba

My Concerns About the Doe In Question:

#1 Concern is Hardiness. Possible hereditary malabsorption of zinc & copper. Major hair loss & flaky skin, especially this last winter. Continuous need for supplementation beyond free choice minerals & good diet. Secondary immune system compromise due to malabsorption issues (need for extra immune support, or she'll get mild upper respiratory infections in winter). Difficulty keeping her at optimum condition. Mainly, she easily gets overweight, even with carefully managed grain-free diet. Right now she looks like a tank, and she's on a tiny bit of browse + no more than 1 flake of the least rich grass hay we have in the barn.

#2 Concern is Temperament. She is just an odd ball. This one's harder to verbalize. She head rolls all the time, which I know some goats do, but none of my others do this. She tries to butt the barn cats. She's less outgoing overall + harder to handle for hoof trimming, etc. She also has a more dramatic reactions to things that she doesn't want to do or that stress her.

Photos Attached for reference, but they're just pics I had on-hand. I can add specific conformation photos if need be. I'd love some opinions on whether it's worth it to breed Farin ASAP, making a final cull decision after I'm able to gage production/udder/mothering ability/ease of milking, or whether my concerns warrant removing her from any breeding plans?

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Sorry. Technical difficulties with photos. Just figuring out how to upload in-text. Probably really big, but don't know how to resize. Here's another attempt...

Most dry does get overweight, so I wouldn't hold that against her. Most of my goats hate the barn cats. They know they're carnivores and predators, and it doesn't seem to matter to them that the cats aren't big enough to hurt them. My goats even attacked my old bichon frise!

As for the issues with supplementation ... since you don't have a lot of goats, you can't really say if her need for supplementation is all that unusual on your farm. All of my goats need to be supplemented, but before we knew that, only about 1/3 of them had really obvious problems, such as miscarriages. After starting to supplement the whole herd, I saw improvements in fertility, milk production, and hair on all of them.

Since you want milkers, I'd probably give her a chance to freshen and see how she does.

Thanks so much, Deborah. I posted this because I didn't want to judge Farin too quickly, and I'm really glad I made that effort. For all her quirks, she's from nice lines and I would like to see how she does on the dairy front.

And your poor Bichon! Our goats have all been raised with farm dogs, and they all accept the cats just fine except Farin. Sometimes when we hike with our goats, our female cat tags along, and Farin can't concentrate on anything but butting her into oblivion. Luckily the cat is quicker than the goat. This all makes it harder for the cats to do their job of mousing in our particular set-up, but it makes sense that some goats are just going to be aggressive to our carnivorous pets.

I'm glad to know that Farin isn't necessarily the weak link when it comes to supplementation. Our other doe that we've had since kid-hood has such great condition all the time that it seemed really dramatic that Farin was almost hairless this winter. 

I really appreciate the feedback and perspective.

NOW, for the breeding question!! When I have to separate Maple's bucklings, it would be SO much easier to put them in with Faun and Farin rather than build a separate dwelling for them. Maple and her doeling could have another area easily, the 3 different living areas would require more effort. My thought was that for this time, since Faun and Farin need to freshen and the clock is ticking, I could let the bucklings integrate with them and breeding happen naturally sometime between August and December. I know this isn't ideal in terms of dates or knowing for sure who daddy is, and that 3-8 month old bucks may not get the job done, but it would be nice to try if it's not a totally stupid idea. If it is a totally stupid idea, I'm thinking I need to find a proven buck from a different line soon!


Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Most dry does get overweight, so I wouldn't hold that against her. Most of my goats hate the barn cats. They know they're carnivores and predators, and it doesn't seem to matter to them that the cats aren't big enough to hurt them. My goats even attacked my old bichon frise!

As for the issues with supplementation ... since you don't have a lot of goats, you can't really say if her need for supplementation is all that unusual on your farm. All of my goats need to be supplemented, but before we knew that, only about 1/3 of them had really obvious problems, such as miscarriages. After starting to supplement the whole herd, I saw improvements in fertility, milk production, and hair on all of them.

Since you want milkers, I'd probably give her a chance to freshen and see how she does.

If you don't mind not knowing who the sire is, it sounds like you have a good breeding plan. And you could do DNA testing if you really wanted to know.

Oh, phew! I'm relieved to know that's not a totally stupid plan. :-)

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

If you don't mind not knowing who the sire is, it sounds like you have a good breeding plan. And you could do DNA testing if you really wanted to know.

Oh, and just in case anyone was gripped with nail-biting fear that we might eat this adorable little goat (not that there's anything wrong with culling for the table) ... culling for this particular doe would have meant giving her to our son's 12-acre farm school along with a castrated boy from Maple's brood come fall. She would have had a second career as an early childhood educator and groundskeeper where I could have kept an eye on her and supplied her with all the supplements needed to keep her healthy & happy. ;-) If she doesn't take to motherhood or milking, at least she has a back-up plan. 

How cool is it that your son goes to a farm school? It's so neat that kids have these opportunities now. I'm glad Farin has options. 



Old Haunt Farm said:

Oh, and just in case anyone was gripped with nail-biting fear that we might eat this adorable little goat (not that there's anything wrong with culling for the table) ... culling for this particular doe would have meant giving her to our son's 12-acre farm school along with a castrated boy from Maple's brood come fall. She would have had a second career as an early childhood educator and groundskeeper where I could have kept an eye on her and supplied her with all the supplements needed to keep her healthy & happy. ;-) If she doesn't take to motherhood or milking, at least she has a back-up plan. 

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