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Livestock/Horses Cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, and other four-legged friends.

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Old 06-28-2016, 04:42 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Default Raising goats or sheep on little to no pasture

Hello! I'm new around here, so please feel free to correct me if this is the wrong place or if this topic had already been discussed in another thread.

So... our story: we used to keep two dairy goats, which gave us plenty of milk, cheese and yogurt. It was great, but the fact was, our barn was't any close to good enough. The goats escaped several times and ruined our neighbors' flowers, etc. We had to face a choice: invest in a better, reinforced barn or sell the goats. Since we were on the point of moving, and since things were a little stressful, we chose to let the goats go.

I do miss having dairy animals and am hoping we might be able to return to this satisfying venture again. My husband and I have discussed this several times. If we do go for it again, we plan to learn from our mistakes and build an absolutely secure barn and goat pen.

We are going back and forth on whether we should get dairy goats or sheep. I say goats are easier to hand-milk; my husband says goats are easier to keep inside a fence. Your thoughts?

Also, we will have very little pasture available, so the animals will be fed primarily hay, with supplements in the form of kitchen scraps and garden clippings. Is this a good idea?
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:34 AM
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Mesquite_Bean Mesquite_Bean is offline
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I've not had dairy sheep before, only hair sheep. Black bellies more specifically.
Currently we have nubian goats, no sheep.

I prefer the personalities of goats. But they are naughtier and prefer the grass on the other side of the fence.

Our sheep respected the fence a whole lot more. I can't recall a single escape....even when we had a crazy ram bashing out panels. But as skiddish as they were, I couldn't imagine trying to milk them.

Our goats get hay, fruit/veggie scraps, and just a small amount of grazing in a temporary fenced area as we haven't finished securely fencing ($$) what will be their pastures. We had hoped to have been done with it a couple of summers ago.
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Last edited by Mesquite_Bean; 06-28-2016 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:52 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesquite_Bean View Post
I prefer the personalities of goats. But they are naughtier and prefer the grass on the other side of the fence.
That's for sure!

Thank you for your reply. I would rather have goats, TBH, among other reasons because their milk is also fit for drinking, not just cheese.
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:58 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesquite_Bean View Post
I prefer the personalities of goats. But they are naughtier and prefer the grass on the other side of the fence.
That's for sure!

Thank you for your reply. I would rather have goats, TBH, among other reasons because their milk is also fit for drinking, not just cheese.

Oh, I meant to say sheep are easier to fence, of course.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:14 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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We have had both goats and sheep on small rotating pasture, and ended up selling the sheep and keeping the goats. The climate here can be brutal, and the growing season is short. We only milked the sheep when the lambs were born in very cold weather in order to hand feed the lambs--both to ensure the health of the young ones and to make them more friendly as adults (to humans). We had sheep for about 5 years when our daughters were at home, for they used the wool for spinning and weaving and sold a number of things at craft fairs to supplement their income. We found that the sheep were cheaper to feed, as they would eat hay that the goats wouldn't touch, and their fencing was less challenging. The goats were more entertaining (we had both Boers and Nubians), and the Boers taught the Nubians to be grazers--they learned to like grass, and, although they would still destroy trees if they got access to them, they were less driven to do so once they learned to enjoy the grass. We employed a rotating pasture system using welded 16-foot, 60-inch high fence panels, and I never had an escape if I did the fence moving. Sometimes goats got out of fencing put up by my wife or children, but I never had a failure. We used T-posts at least every 8 feet around the and secured the joints with recycled plastic baler twine. (the goats would chew on loose ends, but never the twine wrapped all the way down the fence from top to bottom). We varied the pasture size according to the number of goats we had at the time--the most we had was 30, but most of the time the number was 10 to 15--and moved the enclosure whenever the grass and weeds were pretty well mowed down but not completely, as that quickened the recovery. I injured myself in 2014 and my wife found that she was unable to do the heavy winter chores, so the goat herd was sold in February of 2015 and the old goat pasture areas are now very productive gardens. During the winter, we kept the goats in a 30-foot round enclosure made of recycled cedar fencing in front of our small barn where they could be grained, milked, watered, and fed hay in a more convenient location. We had goats for 23 years.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:25 AM
sher sher is offline
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Default goats!

We live on a farm that was used over the years mostly for horses. My grandson decided he wanted to show goats for 4-h and I agreed to keep them here. Well, 3 years in now and two birthing season, when the herd went from 3 to 9 within 48 hours!! I have enjoyed the Nubians so much. I had never really been around goats before, and yes, fences are a challenge to say the least, but what calming animals. Now I am trying my hand milking and making cheese and so excited to get to spring and have babies on the farm again!!
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:42 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Doninalaska, thank you so much for sharing your insight. We live in a hot climate, but summers can be brutal too - dry everything and very little pasture.

Sher, how fun that you got into goats. I sure do miss having these useful and entertaining animals around.

Sometimes I get this nagging impatient feeling of wanting everything at once: goats! Sheep! Large garden! Solar panels! Bigger chicken coop! - and I realize I just need to be patient and take little baby steps in the right direction. I know we're traveling down the right path.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:37 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Oh and something else... what I'd really, really love beyond anything is goats who'd work both as dairy and fiber goats. Is there such a thing? Perhaps crosses between dairy and fiber breeds? I tried to look it up but couldn't find much information.
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:00 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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I suspect you could create such a thing, but it would yield animals that wouldn't be as good for either purpose. Perhaps you could buy a hair-breed wether, and keep him with a couple of dairy does. Then you could freshen either with a stud or with AI. You would then be able to get both fiber and milk without overloading the capacity of your land.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:32 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Doininalaska, that's something I hadn't thought of at all! Indeed, a wether would do just as well for fiber.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:27 AM
doc doc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmallFlocksMom View Post

I sure do miss having these... entertaining animals around.

.
I never appreciated the word "capricious" [capra--Latin for goat] until we got a goat. You apparently use the word "entertaining" as a euphemism for "pain in the galoot."
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:13 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
I never appreciated the word "capricious" [capra--Latin for goat] until we got a goat. You apparently use the word "entertaining" as a euphemism for "pain in the galoot."
LOL! I never made the connection between "caprine" and "capricious"... until now! Makes perfect sense.

I think the difference between "entertaining" and "pain in the galoot" depends not just on goat behavior (some are just more trouble than others), but on your facilities. Sturdy barns and good solid fences make goats a lot more manageable.
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