À chacun son goat.

Today’s blog post heading comes to you courtesy of my dear pater, a punster of the first order, who passed his love of the well-crafted, clever pun on to this daughter. When this came at me via email, in response to the goats yelling video (which you really must see if you haven’t), I asked if I might poach. Poaching rights were granted.

Deciding to keep goats is the only first decision of many. Goats come with four basic functions: fiber, meat, dairy and pet. If you wish to keep goats for fiber, you need to look at Cashmere and Angora goats; meat goats are primarily the Boer breed; I knew I wanted goats for dairy, and there are five full-size dairy breeds, and one mini.

I was immediately drawn to the idea of a mini breed. My dog breed of choice is the Great Dane, and, having had to make difficult decisions predicated by the fact that I could not lift my dog, I liked the idea of a breed that topped out at about 75 pounds. The Nigerian Dwarf Goat milks very well, relative to its size, and has the highest butterfat content in its milk (on average) of all the dairy breeds. And, as if that weren’t enough, they make delightful pets. Sold!

You’d think that would be enough deciding, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong.

I am now contemplating at what level I am going to breed. Do I want to buy solid, good dairy, unregistered foundation stock, knowing that their progeny will be not only unregistered but unregisterable, and in perpetuity? Or, do I want to start with significantly more expensive foundation stock that is registered, from proven show lines?

Do I want to show? Do I want to participate in the improvement and propagation of this relatively-young breed? It’s a tough call. Were I to begin with unregistered animals and change my mind, I’d have to pretty much begin again.

I have a year to figure all of this out, but I am leaning toward buying registered animals, and breeding at that level. It bears a great deal more discussion, that’s for sure. I have a brief but colourful history of dog showing in my checkered past, when I took my Great Dane Karador’s Blue Rodeo to his Canadian championship. The idea of aiming for this level of breeding strongly appeals to me.

That said, there is not a darned thing wrong with breeding unregistered animals just for dairy and local sales. So…what’s it going to be?

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4 thoughts on “À chacun son goat.

  1. That video cracked me up!

    We are going to get some goats instead of sheep this time around. We thought the sheep would be better behaved, but they weren’t. I always wanted goats. Now to think about which breed..

    • I’m assuming you want dairy goats. If you want mini, there’s only Nigerians, which milk really well for their size and have the highest buttermilk percentage of all breeds. They are also very pet-like. And, hey! You could could get them from me :)

      If you want full size, Saanens milk the most volume, but I’d get Nubians because they look so beautiful. Those ears! They have higher milk fat than Saanens. Here’s a pretty good primer: http://barnyardsandbackyards.org/2011/01/10/goat-breeds-which-one-do-i-choose/

      And you could always get a mix, of course. I’m drawn to the purebred, but Tricia of Tricott Dairy does very well with mixes.

      • I like Nubians. The ears.. you’re right. They get me.

        We are going to have a large guard animal, so minis would make me nervous. They are adorable though.

        Have you watched this video? Geez.. So cute.

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