Hello from sunny Florida!

Hi All, I am new here. I found the site while researching NDG's. I recently purchased a house on one acre of land (all I could afford). I am in a rural area & have dreamed of some sheep or goats for a long time now. I have some experience with livestock- dairy production class in college, working sheep & goats with my dogs (Border Collies) but I've never owned any myself. I have been considering some sheep but I really don't have the space & then I saw these cute little goats across the road- I think they are NDG's but the owners will not return my calls :o( looks like they might be closing up & selling the house, etc... They are so cute I can't stand it. So I have decided to research small goats instead of sheep so that they can keep the brush/grass down on the lawn & I can train my herding dogs. A fantasy is to own an organic goat dairy but that is just pie in the sky right now-LOL. I know keeping livestock is tough here in the jungle called Florida but I have friends & herding instructors who manage. I am a veterinary technician so I hope I can handle taking care of the little guys. My first question is how many goats should I get. For herding purposes 5 or 6 would be good but I don't know how much space I need to keep them. I will let them graze the yard when I am home-maybe during the day when I am at work??? I will put them up in a pen at night to protect from coyotes, fox? black bear & even the bobcats we supposedly have around here. Okay that's enough for now...I'm off to read & learn some more :o) Thanks for having me! Cyn

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  • Hello and welcome! I was in your shoes not long ago. I have only been a ND owner for about 1 month. I started with two goats- fixed males (wethers). They are pretty easy and so friendly. I then introduced a young kid, which has been a bit of an adventure (see the poor kid post). In spite all of this, I must say that ND goats are so much fun to own- even better than a dog or cat!
    However- from my experience, research where you buy them. Stay away from hobby farms, as the goats are often not vaccinated and can be less healthy. While you might pay more to get one from a breeder, it is worth it. I started with wethers, since they are far less work than a buck of female. In terms of dairy goats, this cute little breed is great for that too. I am sure others on here can hel you more in that department.
    My two young brothers are a blast and are great with our toddler daughter- no need to worry about sharp puppy teeth or claws.
    This is definately the place for great advice.
    Again, welcome!
  • Welcome to the group!

    Goats are not the easiest animals to herd. I also have sheep and an English shepherd, and my goats are quite mean to him. They stand right up to him and have even butted him. This also means that they don't flock like some breeds of sheep do. I say "some" breeds of sheep, because my Shetland sheep are quite the challenge to herd for a green dog. As our herding instructor said, if he's able to herd Shetlands, he'll be able to herd anything.

    As far as how many goats you can keep on your space, five or six wouldn't be a problem. You'd just have to feed more hay than you would if you had several acres, so make sure you have a reliable source that you can afford.
  • Glad to hear from another Florida person - We are rural too - between Tampa and Ocala. I have the most trouble with Coyotes and I put mine in a barn at night. I am not originally from Florida and it is a little different. The toughest part for me is lack of good hay that I was used to in Ky. The not so good stuff is pretty pricey. Glad you have friends close to help.
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