Friday, September 16, 2011

How Can I Tell If My Goat Is In Heat?

Our goats start coming in heat when the sunlight gets shorter in the fall. In Alaska, we are loosing over 5 minutes of sunlight each day (September) and all four of the Red Fence Farm does are showing signs of being in heat. The doe will act and sound different than normal when in heat. The constant bleating and the wagging of the tail (flagging) are the most dramatic signs of being in heat. In addition, their milk production slows and their appetite wanes.   When a doe in heat gets close to a buck, she will also stand close to the fence nearest the buck and not move. Take a look at one of the Red Fence Farm Nigerian Dwarf does in heat.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Buying a Goat For Milk

Raising Milk Goats
There are a multitude of considerations that need to be taken into account before selecting the very best milk goat for yourself. I will assume that you are not reading this article because you are interested in starting a goat dairy or any sort of a major milk producing endeavor. I am also guessing that you are interested in a goat for your backyard or maybe a small herd of goats. The good news is that the choice of breed is purely a personal one. Past experiences indicate that the breed of goat a person starts with will end up being your favorite. Having said that, I have to admit that I have switched breeds. I was initially hooked on the Alpine, I still have Millie that is too old to breed or milk but she is a wonderful part of our Red Fence Farm. I have switched to the Nigerian Dwarf breed and am very happy. The Nigerian Dwarf goat is a miniature dairy goat of West African origin. Dwarf goats are gentle and lovable and they breed year round. Kidding is always an exciting time; the babies are truly cute and cuddly. They weigh about 2 pounds at birth but grow quickly. Dwarf does can have several kids at a time, 3 and 4 being common. They can also provide a surprising amount of milk for their size. Among the dairy breeds, Nigerian Dwarf goat milk has the highest levels of butterfat, making it so creamy that it’s often preferred over cow’s milk. Nigerian Dwarf milk has about 10% butterfat, as opposed to about 6% for other breeds. Since butterfat is what gives milk its sweet flavor; it’s the sweetest, richest milk of all the dairy breeds. 

Other shorts you may enjoy:
Does Your Goat Milk Taste Like Your Goat? 
How to make Goat Cheese? 
The Henry Milker: How Does Goat Milk Taste
Buying a Goat For Milk
More breeds of dairy goats, take a look.