Picking the next member of your herd is very important and we know that! We will always be very transparent about what our main goals are so that if you choose a goat from us, you know what design it's likely to live up to. Your best bet in bringing in new stock, is to pick one that's been bred for many generations to possess the goals you have for your herd.
Below is a list of traits we personally love to work with:
Important traits to our herd:
I think everyone says they like a doe that kids easily, but we are very strict about birth here. When we say kidding ease, I mean does are fast, efficient, and hearty kidders. We don't have any does on my kidding schedule right now that I have had to help birth in any way, shape, or form. There are bones located inside the doe that will have a significant bearing on how well she is able to birth and how the babies present during birth. Because of some bones the inside the doe, there is no way to tell if she is going to have recurrent dystocia issues outside of making sure that generations of relatives have not had issues. There are also goats that have the genetic predisposition to process minerals in a way that can make births long, sacks unnaturally thick, or so many other birth problems. We don't have the time or money to waste on does like this, no matter how much we like her otherwise. The first important role in a milking doe's life is to make sure they are able to birth efficiently.
strong, steady lactations
A strong, steady lactation here is: consistent in the beginning, peaks around 60-90 days, and then after a small dip, carries on through all types of weather we get. We switch to once a day (OAD) milking around 120 days fresh. Does must be able to maintain at least 60% milking capabilities when switched to OAD milking. My favorite does freshen around 4lbs, peak around 6lbs, and move to around 4+ or so when on OAD. Milking only once a day is an important goal for our herd as having an easy to maintain doe, and an easy to manage herd, makes our lives easier and our farming experience more rich.
Having strong, conformationally correct animals is not a goal only for show herds. Our primary goal has been, and always will be milk production- first and foremost. Conformation was made by goat breeders over many generations to try and help guide responsible goat owners. It is beneficial to maintain traits that help your goat have a long, healthy, productive life no matter what they are doing. It doesn't matter if you are buying a pet, a show goat, or a backyard milking doe. We will always value the physical integrity of your animal through their whole life.
Each dairy goat brings a different flavor profile to goat milk. Nigerians are known to be the highest in butterfat, and the most palatable of the dairy goat breeds. Our goat milk has a soft, gentle flavor because we are tasting and testing each of our goats individually for the best milk. We just started Casein profiling our goats so we can be sure that in addition to our own experience, our dairy goats are also genetically passing favorable traits.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are known to be able to ovulate, incubate and deliver more kids than any other goat breed. Litter sizes are something that we pay attention to on our farm. We will not continue to kid a doe who only has singles each freshening. The litter size of a doe who is freshening affects overall milk production. In our experience, a doe with triplets or quads freshens here with the best production. Here, kids are healthy consistent weights at birth, grow strong, are hearty, and more kids do not correlate to more instances of dystocia.
How do we achieve our goals???
Our farm practices strict culling strategies by design, to ensure only the best we have to offer is available to our customers. We raise wethers (fixed males) for our home meat consumption, and we also eat does and bucks that do not live up to our breeding standards. Examples of animals we have eaten and will continue to eat: Bad kidders, unproductive animals (in any facet), fence jumpers, unhearty stock, goats with Carpal Hyperextension, or anything else conformationally deformed.