Goats

DAIRY GOATS

Alpine

– Alpines don’t do well in wet climates, though modern breeding is improving their hardiness.

– Can be any color except white or light brown with white markings.

– Seasonal breeder, usually from August to December.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average 30″ and weigh 135 lbs.

– Average 1+ gallon of milk per day; 3.3% butterfat; 2.9% protein; longer than average lactation cycle.  They can produce for around 284 days.  They are the top dairy goat breed for milk production.

La Mancha

– One of the best dairy goats with high butterfat.  Known for small ears.

– Seasonal breeder, usually from August to December.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average 28″ and 130 lbs.

– Average 1+ gallons of milk per day; 3.7% butterfat; 3.2% protein.  Can produce for 2 years without having to be bred again.

Oberhasli*

– Shades of brown with black markings. Does can be black.  They are gentle and friendly.

– Alpine breeds don’t do well in wet climates, though modern breeding is improving their hardiness.

– Seasonal breeder, usually from August to December.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average 28″ and weigh around 120 lbs.

– 3.8% butterfat; 3.0% protein.  They tend to produce for around 284 days.

Nubian

– Large ears and Roman nose. Primarily a dairy goat, but also dual-purpose.  High butterfat and protein, but do not produce as much milk as other breeds.  They are gentle and friendly, but I’ve read they are not as naturally healthy as other milk goat breeds.

– Some Nubians can be bred year round, but they are usually a seasonal breeder (from August to December).  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average 30″ and weigh 135 lbs.

– Average of 1+ gallon of milk per day; 4.7% butterfat; 3.8% protein.  They tend to produce for around 180 – 200 days.

Kinder

– A recently developed breed that crossed a nubian with a pygmy, creating a dual-purpose goat.

– Does average 26′ and weigh around 120 lbs.

– Average 2 quarts per day; 7% butterfat.  They tend to produce for around 284 days.

Saanen (Sable is the colored version of Saanen)

– A calm dairy goat with high volume and wonderful quality of milk.  Saanens are all white, sometimes with a few spots.  Colored Saanens are now recognized as their own breed: Sables.

– Seasonal breeder, usually from August to December.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Being the largest of the dairy goats, Saanen and Sable average 30″ in height and weigh around 135 lb.

– 1.5 gallons of milk per day; 3.3% butterfat; 2.9% protein.  They tend to produce for around 250 – 300 days.

Toggenburg

– Can be rather nervous.  Shades of brown with white or cream face and lower legs.  They have average milk production.

– Seasonal breeder, usually from August to December.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Medium size dairy goat, with does standing about 26″ and weighing 120 lbs.

– 3.1% butterfat; 2.8% protein.  They tend to produce for around 284 days.

Nigerian Dwarf

– Small, colorful dairy goat that produces a very high butterfat milk.  Most are kept as pets.  Can have blue eyes.

– Bree year-round.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average about 22″ and weigh 25-35 lbs.

– 1-2 quarts per day; 6.2% butterfat; 4.4% protein.  They tend to produce for around 300 days.

Pygmy

– Small goat, mainly kept for pets, but were originally used for meat and some dairy.

– Bree year-round.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

 

MEAT GOATS

There are a many breeds of meat goats, and really, any goat can be used for meat production.  Below are just a few that are easier to find (depending on your area).

Boer

– Boer is strictly a meat goat, or a pet, or to control brush around your property.  They produce only enough milk for their kids, and dry up sooner than dairy breeds.  Boer crossed with a dairy goat can be hit or miss.  It’s said to have wonderful milk, but the lactation period is still shorter than a full dairy goat.

– Bree year-round.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Males can reach 300 lbs.

Savannah

– A new breed from South Africa, the Savannah has been developed to be hardy and low maintenance.  Can tolerate a variety of climates.

– Does average 125 to 200 lbs and males average 200 to 250 lbs.

Spanish

– Low maintenance, but not the friendliest of goats.  They just as soon be left alone to eat their way through the brush growing in the hills.  They are hardy and can tolerate a variety of climates.

– Spanish is a purebred goat, but many Spanish goats have been crossed with other meat goats, threatening the survival of pure Spanish populations.

– Year-round breeder.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Vary in size from 50 lbs to 200 lbs

Nubian

– Nubian’s are a good dual-purpose goat, producing high quality milk and a good amount of meat.

– Some Nubians can be bred year round, but they are usually a seasonal breeder (from August to December).  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Males can reach 175 lbs.

Kiko

– A new breed that was developed in New Zealand.  It can tolerate a variety of climates and are low maintenance.

– Bree year-round.  A doe will be in heat every 18-21 days and can stay in heat from a few hours to a few days.  Gestation for most does is about 150 days (about 5 months).

– Does average 100 to 150 lbs; males can reach 300 lbs.

 

BRUSH GOATS

The best goats for clearing brush tend to be a cross between meat and dairy goat breeds that are hardy and resistant to parasites.  Wethers are a favorite because there is no danger of temperament change during breeding season, and they won’t damage their udders in rough terrain.

You’ll want to choose small, medium, and large size goats.  Small goats (pygmy or nigerian dwarf) will better reach the low growing branches, and the taller goats will reach the higher growth (as high as 7′).

Also, choose horn-less goats.  Horns can get caught in brush and fences while the goats are out being goats.

 

 

Shows in NW Oregon
Roseburg Goat Show – June

 

http://adga.org/knowledgebase/breed-averages/

Goat Info from Fias Co Farms

Fias Co Farms – Lots and Lots of Goat Info

From the front page of Fias Co Farm’s goat page:

This site [Fiasco Farms] provides a multitude of information on the care and keeping of dairy goats, with an emphasis on a natural and humane approach. These pages contain information on all aspects of goat raising and goat care including: health & husbandry, feeding, medications, wormers & worming, natural, herbal & holistic health care, breeding, kidding, milking, behavior, how-to instructions, free downloads, and much more.

Growing Fodder for Chickens

I bought a 50 lb bag of barley last year with the plan to soak it for the chickens each week.  The bin was recently dug out of the garage and I figured I needed to either do it or dump it, so I grabbed a foil pan and got started.  A few days later that pan smelled so roncyh it was evicted to the patio.  It hadn’t gone bad, it was fermenting!  I plan to do another pan this weekend, but realized it’s a waste of money to use a foil pan once and toss it, so I looked into what kind of container I can reuse that is healthy and easy to clean.

This beauty was at the top of my search…

fodder trays

I’m tempted to buy it, mainly because it’s so pretty, but it would be easy enough to DIY.  Find two food-grade plastic containers, drill small drainage holes in one and set it inside the other.  Of course, you don’t get the shelf with this, but not everyone needs the shelf. You could also soak or ferment large batches by using two buckets, drilling small drain holes in the top bucket that holds the grain.

In my search, I ran across other great info, such as the best seeds to use as fodder and how to prep the seeds for sprouting, growing, and fermenting.

The most popular fodder seeds are:

barley

alfalfa

millet

oats

wheat

grain rye

ryegrass

buckwheat

field peas

clover

sorghum

Interesting that black oil sunflower seeds aren’t on the list.

How much fodder to estimate per chicken: 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day, or 1.5 pounds of feed per chicken per week.

How to prepare seeds:

*do not feed moldy food of any sort to your animals

*clean water is always best (rain water, well water, etc). Living in the suburbs in the semi-desert, this isn’t an option for us. An old chicken farmer I met said to add a splash of bleach to my water to prevent mold, which turns out to work the best for us.

Sprouted Seeds

  • Rinse your fodder seeds in a small-holed strainer. Put the strainer full of seeds in a bowl and soak over night. Be sure the seeds are covered with water. Mix in a small splash of bleach*.
  • The next day, rinse the seeds, stirring so they’re turned, and put the strainer in the bowl with a canning ring or other way to lift the strainer out of any draining water. Leave in an area where it won’t get any light. Rinse once or twice a day for 2-3 days, till the seeds start to puff up and sprout.

Grow to Fodder

  • Fill a tray with about 1/4″ of seeds.  Rinse the grain, then soak overnight in clean water with a small splash of bleach*.  The next day, drain off the excess water.  Keep the seeds moist, but not wet, till they sprout to the size you want. A spray bottle works well.  Be sure the sprouts have adequate airflow or they’ll get moldy.  They’ll also need light once they sprout.

Fermented Seeds

  • Rinse your seeds, then cover in water and let soak in a cool place, out of bright light. Stir daily, adding water to keep the seeds submerged. When the seeds start to smell sweet, like sourdough, remove the seeds from the water and feed to the chickens. Add new (rinsed) seeds to the fermented water for a quick start to a new batch. (toss the water/batch if it starts to smell sour or become moldy).

Plants Poisonous to Livestock

The list composed by a student at Cornell is specific to goats.  I noticed clover is on the list, which I thought was a good plant for goats.  Granted, there are no botanic names on the list, so maybe it’s a particular kind of clover, or an over abundance of clover in the diet?  I figure the list is a starting point, but it’s not the holy grail of lists.

http://poisonousplants.ansci.cornell.edu/goatlist.html

Goat_eating_ribbon

Hatching Quail Eggs

Coturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail, are one of the most widely raised species of quail. Originally domesticated and bred in Japan as early as the 12th century, Coturnix quail are most often raised for meat but they are prolific egg layers, with each hen laying as many as 300 eggs per year. This abundance of eggs often makes it necessary to hatch Coturnix quail eggs in an incubator to produce the highest number of live chicks.

incubator4
To hatch Coturnix quail eggs, you need a good supply of fresh, fertile quail eggs, a good incubator with steady temperature and humidity control, and some patience. Always buy your eggs from a reputable, local source. If you plan to buy eggs online, from a local source, or from a distributor in another state, make sure your distributor has a good supply of laying hens and fertile roosters, the eggs are shipped fresh, and most importantly they are shipped fast and with proper protection against temperature variations and rough handling.

A day or two before you receive your quail eggs start your incubator and test it for temperature and humidity stability. If you have a new incubator, or are running your incubator after more than a month of inactivity, run it for 12 hours and check your temperature and humidity levels about every 30 minutes. Write down your results and indicate the time for each reading. Your temperature and humidity should remain steady between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit and at 50-55% humidity. Temperatures above 102 will kill majority of the developing chicks. Anything below 98 will cause prolonged incubation period which can again cause high mortality rate. Humidity control is as important as temperature. For the first 14 days eggs should be in 50-55% humidity. During the last three days however, you should increase the humidity by 10% to about 60-65%.

Once you have set your incubator at the proper levels, you are ready to proceed. When you receive your eggs, let them sit at room temperature for approximately 24 hours. This will allow the eggs to rest and adapt to the environment. After this “wait” period, check every egg for cracks, and any other defect. Set aside any eggs that have cracks. These eggs will not hatch and most likely will spoil during the incubation period. You do not want to take a chance of having one of these eggs go bad and explode in your incubator!

My homemade incubator has very good temperature and humidity control, but I do not leave it alone. It is important that you check your incubator’s temperature and humidity at least twice a day.

Once you have checked all your eggs for cracks, you can place the good eggs in the incubator. Make sure you lay eggs with about half inch space between them. Once you have placed all eggs in the incubator, replace the lid and let them sit for an hour or two. At this time, check your temperature and humidity levels and adjust it as necessary.

If your incubator has an automatic turner, turn it on and make sure it is working properly. If your incubator does not have an automatic turner, you’ll need to turn the eggs at least 4 times a day, ¼ turn each time. I suggest you place a small X with either a pencil or a thin tip marker so you can verify the eggs are turned properly. If you are new to hatching eggs, you might want to place an O on the other side of the egg from the X so you can tell how far each egg is turned.

After 14 days of incubation, you can stop turning the eggs. From here on, you need to increase the humidity to 60-65% and let the eggs go through their final stage of development. This is usually when I candle my eggs to ensure proper development of the chicks inside. I take the eggs out of the incubator one at a time to check them against a bright flashlight. If all is well, I place the egg back in the incubator in the same position as they had been before being removed. If I see any development issues, or lack thereof, I take the egg out and toss it. Now all you have to do is wait another three to four days and watch your new guests arrive.
incubator4

If you think you’re done, think again. Now you are ready to raise a clutch of very demanding babies. I hope this article has given you enough information to get you through the process. If you have any questions, please send me an email or post your question and I will do my best to answer them.
Next, how to set up your brooder box.

Happy Gardening!

Pops

Maximus Gardens

Southern California Aquaponics

2013

Raising Quail for Food

Raising quail for food is one way to make yourself more self-sufficient, and to control the quality of the food you eat. Most commercially raised quail (chickens, beef, pork…) are filled with hormones and antibiotics, some of which can be harmful to humans.
The best way to raise quails for food is to make sure the stock you get are healthy and have been raised on a good, hormone free diet. I highly recommend you start with about a dozen baby chicks. Some of the babies might not make it to adulthood. After all, raising quail is like raising any other animal. You learn as you go.Here are some lessons I learned either from my research on the internet, or from personal experience: Lesson one- no matter what, do not let your children, or your wife, name them. Once they have been named, it’s all over. You might as well set them aside as pets, egg layers, or breeders.

 

incubator 7

Lesson two- always read the label on the food you’re planning to feeding your quail. So far, the best food we have found for the babies, is a combination of chicken crumble and high protein fish food. The ratio is about one part high protein fish food (30% or more protein) to five part chicken crumble. If you don’t have chicken crumble, you can use chicken pellets and grind them in a coffee grinder – I don’t suggest you grind your coffee in there anymore. Make sure the crumble is ground fine enough that it is almost like powder. You don’t want the pieces to be too large for the babies.

Lesson three- any new born baby or any baby less than three weeks old needs a heat lamp of some sort. You don’t need an expensive lamp from the pet store. I use a cheap clip on lamp from Home Depot and a 60 to 100 watt old-style light bulb, not the new CFL, which don’t produce as much heat. You need to keep the babies at about 95-100 degrees F. You can drop the temp about one to two degrees every week.

Lesson Four- you need a place for them to grow. Babies can’t be left outside for the first three to four weeks because they need to be kept in a warm, draft free place, preferably out of the way. One thing you have to be prepared for is that the more protein the babies have in their diet, the more “fragrant” their droppings will be. If you can’t tolerate the smell, reduce the number of chicks in each bin and clean it out more often. We just use newspaper as the substrait. It’s the easiest to clean, compostable and readily available.

Lesson five- make sure they have plenty of water, but also make sure their water stays clean. They tend to walk across their water dish and leave a mess of droppings and food, so check the water on daily. Bad water also contributes to the smell.

These tips apply to all coturnix quail and button quail, regardless of why you’re raising them.

Once the babies have passed the three week mark, you can slowly decrease their protein intake. At this time, I suggest you start getting them used to the wild turkey/wild game bird crumble. It has the right combination of minerals, vitamins, and protein.

If you’re going to build a coop, make sure you leave some dirt floor so they can roll in DRY dirt. It helps them get rid of some of their smell and any possible parasites, or pesky bugs.

As a general rule, allow two square feet of space per quail. An 18″ tall quail run is plenty if you have easy access to all parts of the coop. Our coop is high enough that we can squat inside it. It’s uncomfortable, but it works for us and looks nice in the critter yard. The most important thing is for them to have a place to stay out of the wind and rain, and an area that will always stay dry.

Once your quail have reached six weeks old, they are ready for “harvest”. I suggest you check out videos online and see how it should be done. If you wait another couple weeks, they will be bigger and put on a bit more weight, but six weeks is a good age to start with.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Happy Gardening!

Pops

Maximus Gardens

Southern California Aquaponics

2013