Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

How old to start breeding? & Ideas to tame the little buggers

Hi Folks! I love reading your posts and appreciate the advice so far on my journey to responsible goat ownership. I have 2 little sweeties, 5 month old does. I would like to breed these two when they are mature enough. They are registered.
At what age do you start breeding? and what else do I need to know? I'll be researching the subject but first hand advice is always better.
Also, They came to me VERY skittish, never being handled. I have spent the past 3 months, hand feeding them, playing with them and just trying to earn their trust. One has come around beautifully (practically crawls in my lap) the other is still very afraid. I'd love to hear your ideas.
Thank-you!

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Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on September 15, 2010 at 10:59pm
I don't ever really take them away from their moms. If you spend time with them, they'll be friendly. I would challenge anyone to see me with my milkers and tell me which ones were bottle-fed and which ones were dam raised. They're all in my face and wanting scratches under the chin and fighting to get into the milking parlor at milking time. The less dominant kids that are dam raised are not in your face as kids -- like what Amy described -- but when they grow up, they're fine. When they're babies, I love to sit in the barn with them and give them scratches and cuddles, and they're spoiled for life. If you start right away, it doesn't really take that long for them to totally bond with you. If we have too many kids born at once, the more shy kids wind up not getting as much attention because the dominant ones are always in my lap, so I have to remember who hasn't had as much cuddle time as the others.
Comment by Debbie Nightingale on September 15, 2010 at 10:10pm
Deborah, how long do you leave the kids with their moms? I've heard some say that they will only be truly friendly if you separate them immediately and bottle feed......
Comment by Amy Sousa on September 15, 2010 at 10:06pm
Thank-you, You are right, the tamer one is the dominant one. I started playing a game with them where I run and they chase me and the shy one seems to like that she's coming at me for attention instead of the other way around. It's so cute to watch. They still look pretty small to me. ??? but I'll see what they look like in a couple more months. (I'm comparing to the goats that I saw at the breeder that I bought from.)
Thank-you also for you past nutrition advice (when I first bought them) they seem to be doing great on the diet you recommended.
Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on September 15, 2010 at 9:33pm
I saw someone answered your question about breeding age on the forum. I was just thinking that it's tough to know what's big enough when you don't have any other goats to compare them to. I should measure and weigh some of my girls that look big enough to breed.

Sounds like you're doing what you can to tame your does. The tamer one is probably the more dominant, so as long as she's around, she's going to demand your attention, and the other one will be second fiddle. Spending some time alone with the shy one should help.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most of them do come around after kidding. It's odd, but they do seem to calm down and get friendlier after they have babies, which kind of seems like the opposite of what you'd expect. Maybe it just works like that here because when they have babies, they mom and babies are separated from everyone else, and I spend a lot of time with them to make sure the babies are friendly? But we don't really have any trouble milking them.

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