The articles below cover a number of topics about dairy goat health and farming. There are more articles in Goats, Angora Goats and The Basics sections too. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.
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The finding of MmmLC in a dairy goat herd in July 2001 led to a disease investigation undertaken by MAF, because MmmLC was previously considered exotic to New Zealand. The conclusions of the investigation were that MmmLC has probably been present in New Zealand for some time, and given the movement of dairy goats between herds, that many herds may be infected.
This eight part series deals with the care of goats of the dairy breeds such as Saanen, Nubian and Toggenburg. It will consider only goat farming on lifestyle blocks where a few goats are kept for hand milking or as pets. It doesn't attempt to describe the complexities of commercial dairy goat farming - that is a specialised business. Goats of dairy breeds are generally good animals to have on the lifestyle farm for many reasons...
Dairy goats, like meat and fibre goats, need good feed. If they are pregnant or lactating or both, they need up to three times their basic maintenance ration. Yet they are fussy eaters and if they are to be healthy, happy and productive, it's important to know what to feed them and how much.
Pasture is the main source of feed for goats in New Zealand, and the general principles of grazing management for livestock apply: Make efficient use of pasture by reducing wastage and improve pasture quality by managing pasture growth properly.
No matter how much we love our goats, we have to subject them to some unpleasant procedures from time to time, like disbudding, castration and ear-tagging. These are inevitably painful, but they are usually short and sharp, and of course they are only carried out to make it easier to farm the goats well.
Milking goats provide milk for the family, even butter and cheese, at little cost. The down side is the time and effort it takes to manage does and their kids, to train the does to be cooperative and to milk them at the same time in the same way every day.
Goat milk is popular because it is more like human milk than cows' milk is. It's suitable for a range of dairy products and is particularly good for making cheese.
This last part in our series on dairy goats considers keeping of one or two pet goats of a dairy breed. Hand reared pet kids can be useful on the lifestyle block to help with weed control, but often they end up being tethered by the roadside and this article discusses some of the pros and cons of this.
Keeping goats in can be a challenge for the farmer! They don't just have to be kept behind fences, they sometimes have to be individually restrained for various procedures, the flock has to be yarded from time to time and the goats have to have secure shelter and housing to protect them from the elements. All this can be difficult, but fortunately dairy type goats generally adapt well to life on the hobby farm. Sheep facilities are generally suitable for them, although adaptations are beneficial and effective shelter is imperative. Here we discuss these issues - physical restraint, shelter, housing, mustering, fences and yards, and mixing goats.
Hand milking goats is not an easy procedure. Before does can produce milk, they generally have to produce kids, and that means you have to manage the mating process, pregnancy, kidding and the day-to-day farming of the does and kids as well as the milking process itself. This article by Dr Marjorie Orr looks at mating, pregnancy and kidding in dairy goats and covers dealing with weak kids.