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Breeding Dairy Goats

breeding dairy goats

Breeding Dairy Goats can be a huge undertaking that gets out of control and stresses you out or it can be an enjoyable process on your farm.

So often things are what you make of them 🙂

This article will differ from most you read about breeding dairy goats. Most article focus on the ‘stuff’ you need to make sure the actual birthing goes smoothly. That’s important, but it’s not the only thing to having a successful dairy goat breeding. 

Kidding time used to be very stressful here! Then I learned a few things:

  • Breeding the right number of goats for us. I didn’t need to be breeding as many goats as I thought I did. Once I figured out how much milk we really needed, that helped! You might like this article if you are trying to figure out the same:  How much milk does a goat produce per day?
  • Planning the breedings to fit my schedule. I didn’t need to breed at the times everyone says too. My farm and needs are unique. Plus, I invested in good nigerian dwarf milk goats, so I have more flexibility since they breed all year! My breeding schedule doesn’t look like anyone else’s, but it fits our needs. That’s what matters.
  • Goals. I wrote goals for my herd. This helps me stay focused and not add the wrong goats to my herd or feel like I have to keep so many doelings to freshen! Having goals for your goat herd that fit your needs also keeps you from getting dairy goat burn out! 
  • A plan for bucklings. With the over saturation of dairy goats in most areas, have a plan for the boys. If not, having a “buck year” will stress you out like nothing else!

Breeding Dairy Goats: Goals

Homestead burn out it REAL! Even more real is dairy goat burn out! Dairy goats can be a lot of work or not as much work. Again, its what you make of it.

I hit the ground running with goats. My goat barn was done before my house was! I did everything wrong and I’m pretty sure I did some things wrong that no one had thought of doing yet! I had no plans other than to get goats, produce milk. That was a mistake.

After over a decade, I know now that goals for my herd are so important. Breeding for a purpose helps keep me focused and helps keep me from buying to many goats or breeding goats that don’t fit my needs. Which leads to frustration, overwhelm, unsatisfactory results and yes, dairy goat burn out! 

Some people have the goal to breed for extended length of lactation. Some breed for show types. Some breed for DHI so they want large quantities of milk.

3 main things I breed my dairy goats for and why:

  1. Hardiness. They need to thrive in this environment without a bunch of added stuff from the feed store and the vet! Non-hardy goats are not sustainable goats! Unhealthy goats also suck your precious time away.
  2. Size! Nigerian Dwarf sizes are creeping up bigger every year. Pretty soon they won’t be dwarf anymore and that’s what makes them amazing! That such easy keeper, thrifty goats can give such a wonderful life giving product! Size makes them more manageable too. I recently sold a ND doe that had great bloodlines because she was bigger than I want to breed for. At first I overlooked her larger size, but how much more she ate and how much harder she was to handle just enforced my goal for breeding the true SMALL nigerian milking goat! She was registered but so much bigger than my other does. I also had to search for a new buck that wasn’t over height too. It’s crazy how big some of the ND bucks are now. Always ask height before you buy if you don’t want oversized ND’s. Buying registered helps but not always! For more info on registered goats you can read Why did I buy Registered Goats
  3. High Butterfat. As we know, some breeds of goats have more butterfat in their milk. Nigerian dwarf milk goats have the highest butterfat of all goats. Within the breed, some individual goats will naturally have more butterfat in their milk. I focus on high butterfat more so than high amounts. It’s the butterfat that gives the good flavor, the creamy yogurts and the higher cheese yields. How you feed also plays into how much butterfat a goat will give. Starting out with the goats that give more fat gives you a better chance at the best though!

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