New and Questions

We are fairly new to goats (4years). My oldest wanted to do goats for 4H and I wanted to make goat milk soap. We bought a Nubian wether kid as companion to Nubain doe kid. Nubain doe ended up with Founder at 1 year of age (our mistake). The company sold us moldy grain and upon returning it, all goat grain was moldy so husband bought sheep grain after seeing it was similar but not similar enough apparently. We also bought a Market Boer this first year. This one was hard at fair time. The nubain wether was shown when he was 1.5 years old as a wagon cart goat. 

Fast forward 2 more years and my next daughter wanted to also do goats for 4H. We then bought a market Boer doe (our hearts could not send her to market once fair time came around so we kept her for breeding) and another Nubian dairy goat (Shelly). 

Last year, we tried to see if Shelly would go into heat by a urine soaked rag from a neighbor's nubain goat dairy farm. Shelly wanted nothing to do with it. We was way too busy to try much harder with breeding her or the Boer. We did not go to fair last year d/t covid restrictions. 

This year they are too old for breeding class without actually being bred for 4H showing (If they are 3 years old, they have to be bred to show). So, I signed my daughters up to show Nubain wether as cart goat, Nubain doe as pack goat, and Boer as pack goat so they could still participate in the fair. As I am researching, neither of these breeds are good representations of pack/cart goats. My Nubain wether was so good and calm right off the bat pulling wagon but we have not hooked him up in almost 2 years. We will be working with all them on pack/cart starting soon. Fair is end of August through Labor Day. 

Question...Do I try to find my own bucks and make a pasture for them or use the dairy farm from down the road to breed (Nubain goats)? Making goat milk soap

Should I try to cross breed with a goat that would be good as pack/cart and milk production? 

We can use our goats for pack/cart but around here is mostly flat farm land. Husband does cut wood and we could use them for that purpose. My oldest did enjoy doing harness cart the one year she did it but, she couldn't last year because of the obvious. My other daughter will be new to pack goat this year. 

How should I move forward? I need to plan now for breeding purposes and getting a pasture set up if I go that route.
Hello and welcome!

For 4-H purposes, I don't think you need to worry one bit about what breed you are using for cart/pack classes. In fact, I think the Nubian breed is particularly well-suited to pulling. I've only trained a few cart goats and all of them have been Alpine/Nubian crosses, but the ones with the more "Nubian" personality tend to take to harness work a lot more readily than ones with a more typical "Alpine" personality. I don't have any personal experience with Boers, but with their strong bodies, broad backs, and and short legs, I think harness work would be a better fit for the breed than pack work. Boers can be difficult to fit pack saddles to because of their wide, dipped backs and mutton withers. However, 4-H classes--particularly at the lower levels--do not typically require a fully rigged wooden pack. Usually for kids just starting in 4-H utility goat programs, a soft pack is the most that is required. Obedience training is emphasized more than having all the exact equipment, and any goat can be trained to lead properly, trust its handler, and complete an obstacle course.

For breeding I suggest leasing a buck from the dairy, or doing a driveway breeding. Find out what they are willing to offer. Driveway breedings are my preference, but you have to be able to tell when your doe is in heat and drop everything else to take her to the buck since heat cycles only last ~48 hours. If you're not sure on those points, leasing a buck is a better option if you have good fencing and if you can find someone to lease you a decent buck. A lot of folks won't lease because a good buck is a valuable animal and not everyone has the ability to properly fence, manage, and feed one even for the short time of a lease. Also, disease is a bigger concern with leasing than with driveway breedings. Talk to the dairy down the road and see what your options are. I only recommend owning a buck if you are a more serious breeder with several does to service. Bucks are a lot of work and can be hard on the feed and fencing bills so you have to have enough females for them to earn their keep.

I wouldn't worry about crossing your does with a "pack" breed at this point. Think about whether you plan to keep or sell the kids and what you plan to do with them. I kind of get the feeling from your Boer market goat experience that you won't want to sell the kids on the meat market. This makes breeding the Boer doe a little complicated. But for the Nubian doe I suggest breeding to a Nubian buck if possible so the kids will be purebred and easier to sell as straight dairy goats. If you can't find a Nubian buck, choose another full-sized dairy breed so you still have registerable dairy kids. Another market that is gaining popularity is miniature dairy goats. If you breed your Nubian to a Nigerian buck you could have mini Nubians. But these cannot be registered or shown with ADGA so you would need to do some research and make sure there is a market for those kids in your area. Thankfully you've got all summer to think about what your goals are and research the market in your area before choosing a buck this fall. Talk to others in the 4-H goat program and see what their experience has been. Goat breeding tends to escalate and you don't want to be stuck with kids you can't sell.

Good luck!

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)