This year is the second freshening (kidding) for our three original Nigerian Dwarf does (Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box), and they’re really starting to look good and produce milk well. Tinker’s udder looked nice and she produced well as a first freshener; but Jewel and Honey didn’t produce impressive quantities of milk as first fresheners. However, as second fresheners, their udders are starting to look impressive and milk production for Jewel and Honey went up significantly.
Jewel made the biggest jump in milk production, she’s now consistently producing over 2 ½ lbs. (5 cups) each milking (last year she [...]
Continue reading Nigerian Dwarf Does Maturing Beautifully
Many goat-herd owners choose not to keep bucks because they’re only needed to breed the does once a year, it takes time and money to feed and maintain them year round, and they can have a strong odor - particularly during mating season. In the past, we chose not to keep bucks for those reasons, and used bucks owned by our friends at Wild Wind Farm instead. But, after a lot of thought, I finally decided to get a buck.
I’m interested in breeding polled (naturally hornless) goats; but because of an article written in 1944 that linked polled goats to increased rates [...]
Continue reading Bramblestone Farm’s First Herdsire
We’ve been getting lots of questions about and requests for pictures of the new goat kids, so here they are from oldest to youngest (they are also posted on the 2013 kid page at Bramblestone Farm here). Chai Tea and Tigers Eye are sold and Pearl Tea and Silvermist are retained, but otherwise, they are for sale. The first three are bucklings that have Jewel Box as their dam and Old Mountain Farm Palindrome as their sire. They are Moonstone, Obsidian, and Tiger’s Eye, and any of these three would make very nice herdsires:
The next three have Hot Tea as their dam and Palindrome as their [...]
Continue reading The New Goat Kids
The four Bramblestone Farm Nigerian Dwarf does (Hot Tea, Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box) all kidded over the past week, and everyone is doing well. Our sister (Julie) is a highly skilled veterinary technician who stayed with us and helped during kidding – we learned a lot from her and the process was easier for the does because Julie proactively helped each (as necessary). I think a couple of the does would have been quite exhausted (if not worse), and a couple of the kids may not have made it without her assistance. I’ll be posting pictures and sale information for each [...]
Continue reading 2013 Kidding Success – A Baker’s Dozen!
It’s obvious now that four of our Dwarf Nigerian does are pregnant (these pictures are of last years kids – see the Kidding Schedule for delivery dates this year), but we carefully considered their maturity and needs during pregnancy before taking this step. Basically, there are three stages of care to consider: 1) breeding, 2) early gestation, and 3) late gestation. At each of these stages there is a preferred BCS (Body Condition Score) that should be maintained, specific feeding guidelines, and preventative vaccinations/health precautions that are recommended.
Before breeding, it’s typically recommended that first freshening does be at least [...]
Continue reading Basic Goat Pregnancy Care
Well, the original “dates” that our Nigerian Dwarf does Hot Tea and Jewel Box went on didn’t work, so we took all four of the girls on new dates on either November 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Based on past experience, my best guess is that Hot Tea will freshen at 145 days, Jewel Box at 146, Tinker Bell at 146, and Honey at 147; so we should be seeing kids on March 25, 27, and 28. If they’re pregnant this time, we’re going to be very busy that week welcoming kids.
We utilized the services of bucks from Wild Wind Farm again; specifically Hot Tea, [...]
Continue reading Nigerian Dwarf Kid News – Again
It seems that the question of how much milk a Nigerian Dwarf doe will produce comes up fairly regularly. Some think that they produce too little to be of practical use – but a good quality doe actually produces a substantial amount; and a couple of does can supply the needs of a family.
DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement) testing is the official method for monitoring milk production for dairy goats, and we have one goat that has been on official test - 3*M Old Mountain Farm Hot Tea 3*D. In her first lactation, she produced the following, as officially recorded in the DHI records:
What this shows is that at [...]
Continue reading Nigerian Dwarves – How Much Milk Do They Produce?
Two of our Nigerian Dwarf goats, Jewel Box & Hot Tea, went on dates this weekend; so more kids should be arriving in spring. Jewel Box (click here for her pedigree), went on Friday, and we’re expecting that she’ll deliver kids on February 28th – 146 days after her “date”.
Hot Tea (click here for her pedigree), went on Saturday, and we’re expecting that she’ll also deliver kids on February 28th – 145 days after her “date”. Nigerian Dwarf does tend to take the same amount of time each year to freshen, and for Jewel Box that’s 146 days while for Hot Tea it’s 145 days.
Their dates were both with Old Mountain Farm [...]
Continue reading Goat “Dates” = Spring Kids!
Tinker Bell Being Milked
The first time I saw a Nigerian Dwarf goat being milked using a machine, I was shocked. We were just beginning to investigate them as a possible breed for Bramblestone Farm, and I’d assumed that they were too small for a milking machine. But, lots of folks use a machine to milk Nigerian Dwarfs; it can be faster, easier, and more convenient than milking by hand.
As it turns out, it takes longer to write out the steps describing how to milk using a machine than it does to actually do it. It’s an easy process that takes [...]
Continue reading Machine Milking Nigerian Dwarf Goats
We’re often asked this question, and like to have anyone asking taste goat milk for an answer – they’re usually surprised when they find that it’s creamy, sweet and mild – virtually indistinguishable from whole cow milk. But, we raise Nigerian Dwarf goats, which produce milk that’s quite high in butterfat, hence the mild and creamy taste. Other goat breeds produce milk that’s typically lower in butterfat, so the flavor and consistency can be quite different.
As mentioned above, one of the big differentiators in goat milk is the percentage of butterfat. A goat that produces milk at 10% butterfat is [...]
Continue reading What Does Goat Milk Taste Like Anyway?
“Sigh” – it seems that our first kidding season has already come and gone – the last of the bucklings left today. The three Nigerian Dwarf does (Tinker Bell, Bit ‘O’ Honey, and Jewel Box) produced eight kids (seven bucklings and one doeling) between them this spring, and we put all the bucklings up for sale. I was worried that it’d be difficult to sell that many bucklings, particularly since the does kidded late in the season and most human kids already had their goats for 4H projects. However, all the bucklings sold quickly and were picked up immediately after being weaned at eight weeks.
We retained the doeling [...]
Continue reading Kidding Season Success
This was our first kidding season, so I tried to read and prepare for all possibilities when it came time for the Nigerian Dwarf does to freshen; but we learned so many things actually going through it (that just don’t seem to be covered in books). One thing that really shocked us, was that Jewel Box rejected one of her triplets (Dillinger) when he was five days old - totally surprising us. He went downhill so fast after she rejected him that we nearly lost him, and ended up learning how to tube feed a kid to keep him going (see Tube Feeding A Goat Kid).
It was actually our [...]
Continue reading Kidding Lessons Learned: Kid Rejection
Well, our first Nigerian Dwarf kidding season has ended; and the girls had one doeling and seven bucklings collectively. Seven is a few more bucklings than I’d ever imagined having in our first season, and the five latest to arrive need homes. They come from very good bloodlines and would make good herd sires or, they can be wethered and would make wonderful pets or 4H projects.
Their parents are all ADGA/AGS registered, and come from herds that have been tested to ensure that they’re disease free. The five bucklings still for sale all have the same sire, he’s Old Mountain Farm Palindrome, and he’s [...]
Continue reading Bucklings Need New Homes
On Monday (4/23), the second of our Nigerian Dwarf does due to freshen (Jewel Box) kidded, and we now have three more bucklings. It was an experience for everyone – Jewel started labor around 7:30 Sunday evening and didn’t kid until around 3:30 in the morning (by then I was concerned). We believe it took so long because the first (and largest) kid was born breech – the next two practically fell out after him. The good news is that everyone is doing well, the bad news is that there are no does.
I’m very pleased with the way Jewel Box carried the kids, made it [...]
Continue reading More Kids!