Where to purchase my first goats?

I am sure these questions have been discussed before but I couldn't find a recent conversation, so accept my apology if this is a dead horse that you have beaten enough. Also these questions might be "controversial" so if the answers would create an argument please feel free to message me with your opinion instead. I do not want to create any controversies but really do seek informed answers. Ok with that said here are my following questions: My family and I are hoping to get into Nigerian Dwarf goats in 2017. We want the goats for dairy, cheese making, and some brush clearing. I am working currently to get everything setup so we are ready for our first purchases. I do have a few questions when it comes to purchasing goats. 1. As I look at websites for various herds, I have noticed both "closed herds" that do not show and herds that are really into showing. As a new purchaser of goats is there a reason to go with one kind of herd over the other? 2. I am located in central South Carolina are there are breeders that this group would recommend with good dairy lines in this area? I do not mind driving to North Carolina, Georgia, maybe Virginia, or Eastern Tennessee for good goats. Thank you for your time and opinions, Aaron White

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  • Deborah and Julieanna, thank you for your responses. Yeah I am not interested in showing the goats at all. Animal shows are just not my thing. In fact I intentionally choose a dog breed for our farm that isn't even recognized by the AKC to avoid the whole show thing. I had not thought about the financial angle to choosing between show and no show herds. I was thinking more along the lines of health and disease issues. But the financial issue of buying show lines makes sense and pretty much seals it that I will not be looking at show lines for my goats.

    I just need friendly goats that are good milkers. I do not care if they fit some judge's image of the perfect Nigerian Dwarf goat.

    Julieanna, I would love to know who you got your goats from. If you are happy with them then that is a great referral to me :)
  • I agree with Deborah, there's no reason to go with show goats if you're just looking for good milkers. My goats would be considered "grade", (I hate that term) but I get the sweetest, best tasting milk from them. One of my does is registered and one is not. The registered one is older and has more milk and better teats and bag, but is fractious and very difficult to milk. My unregistered one is a first freshener and topped out at only 24 oz. this season, but she is a sweetheart and easy as pie to milk.  She also gave birth easily to a healthy kid. 

    I guess the bottom line is getting your goats from someone who has the same goals for their herd that you do for yours. And remember that nurture has as big an influence as nature, in my opinion.  Good nutrition, fresh air and kind treatment go a long way towards giving you a good milker. 

    I live in North Carolina and can give you the name of the breeder I got mine from.  They usually have kids for sale in late winter/early spring.  

  • Welcome to the group! 

    Unless you are going to show, there is no reason to buy goats with big show pedigrees. They will be more expensive than goats that don't come form show lines. Plus, showing does NOT equal good milkers. There are some does with beautiful show udders that are not very good producers or that are challenging to milk. Teats are only worth 5 points on the scorecard, so a doe can be a finished champion with terrible teats, which are very hard to milk.

    If you want milkers, buy from someone who has milked their goats and has some kind of milk records. If they are not on test, they should at least have decent barn records -- NOT "she fills up a quart jar at every milking twice a day for six months" or nine months. There isn't a Nigerian anywhere that would have a milk record like that, but I've seen people say things like that. They peak around 2 months, and the supply starts to go down after that. The steepness of the decline is one of the things that separates the better milkers from the average and poor milkers. Poor milkers may dry up by 6 months. Ten months is the standard lactation, but some does can continue milking for as long as 2-3 years without re-breeding.

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