Homesteading with our Nigerian Dwarf dairy herd
Our goals include high quality production with improved genetics for dairy character, strong structural support and good temperament. Showing is not part of our personal goals.
At La Buena Vida Farm http://labuenavidafarm.com we live a rich, homesteading lifestyle and enjoy the abundance that God provides. Our family loves our Nigerian Dwarf goats because they are the perfect homesteading animals for sustainable living. Our wonderful goats give us ample rich, sweet milk to drink, make cheese, Kefir and sweet deserts with. Their manure is composted and put back into our organic gardening system. Our animal husbandry practices include allowing our herd herd “browsing time” on native grass pastures during the day. This gives them a variety of nutrition as well as lots of exercise. The herd is brought in towards the evening (to protect them from predators) and given high quality, locally grown Triticale or first cutting alfalfa. We keep our herd numbers small to ensure that we have enough time to dedicate to the care and attention each one needs (yes, our goats are very spoiled!) We raise our Nigerian Dwarf goats with a natural and holistic approach to animal husbandry. We try as much as possible to dam raise the kids that are born here. We feel this plays a very important role in the overall health and well-being of both the kids and their dam. That being said, we do bottle train our babies so that when it comes to our monthly milk testing time the kids are ready and willing to take a bottle.
Our goals are quality milk production with an emphasis on correct structure. We started our herd in 2007 with no experience with goats whatsoever. It’s been a fun journey and we’ve come a long ways. As of April 2014, we began participating in year round DHIA (305 day) milk testing program through ADGA. Then in 2016, we choose to get involved with the Linear Appraisal program through ADGA. We pay to have an appraiser come out to farm for a private stop to assess our entire herd yearly. Genetic selection is structured through these performance programs. Our Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats are working farm animals that our family has come to depend on for a variety of quality homesteading dairy products. We believe that correct structure will support a doe in her long career as a working asset to our farm. Our animals are easy to work with and have pleasant temperaments, (the children don’t like dealing with a “fussy” goat when they have several chores to complete.) Because we are a working homesteading farm, we have a strict culling policy. We only breed and offer for sale what we feel are the highest quality animals.
Biosecurity: The management practices we use to protect our herd from the entry of new diseases is to keep a closed and isolated herd. We tested our beginner herd many years ago and have done periodic testing randomly over the years, all with negative results. We also have clients that have tested animals they bought from us, again all tests ( CL, CAE, and Johnes) have always been negative. We rarely bring in new animals, but when we do it’s always from a trusted, confirmed tested negative herd. We do not show our goats or allow others in our goat pen area in effort to reduce any exposure risks.
All of our Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats are registered with American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). We will register all does and breeding buck kids at our expense. We will provide a certificate of registry and transfer at time of purchase. Registration in any other registries is the buyer’s responsibility. We DO NOT support federal animal or farm ID programs.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Our Animal Husbandry Practices
FEED: We feed our entire herd (except milking does or pregnant does past 90 days) a locally grown, pesticide free Triticale hay. The herd has access to native grass pastures for part of the day to browse as they wish. *Milking does – Get fed local, naturally grown, pesticide free, alfalfa (first or second cutting). Alfalfa is sometimes called “the king of herbs,” In his book, Herbs and old time remedies, Joseph VanSeters says if he could give one herb to everyone to improve overall health it would be alfalfa! In addition, our milking does get Purina Noble Goat “Dairy Parlor” 16% protein twice daily mixed with Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Our doe’s love this brand and it keeps a consistently high butterfat content in their milk. *Bucks can get 2-4 TBSP of grain during breeding season, when they are working hard.
WATER: We provide lot’s of clean, fresh water at ALL TIMES! We add a little raw Apple Cider Vinegar to the goats’ water. They love it! It provides potassium for easier kiddings and aides in Urinary Calculi prevention in bucks and wethers. We get it from Azure Standard Co-op. During the colder months of December through February we choose to give our goats warm water twice a day. This helps to keep them hydrated. Our goats drink more water if it is warmed then cold. This also helps the bucks keep their urinary tract cleansed.
MINERALS: We provide a high quality, selenium enhanced mineral blocks in each goat pen. In addition, they all receive a daily ration of Kop-Sel from Fir Meadows. Our milking Doe’s have access to a large cobalt block at all times.
SODIUM BICARBONATE: We feed free choice (good ol Baking Soda) which helps aide in digestion and healthy rumen activity. Baking soda is great for controlling the acidity in the gut, thus helping to prevent bloat. We get 50lb bags of aluminum free baking soda from Azure Standard Co-op. The goats will eat only what they need.
BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER SEEDS (B.O.S.S.): We give our goats a daily handful of this great source of Vitamin E for healthy, glossy coats and to help aide the body’s absorption of selenium.
DEWORMING: We just started using Herb Mix DWorm by Fir Meadow, it came highly recommend by another breeder. We like this natural approach for a deworming program and don’t have to dump any of our precious milk. *Note: If necessary, we will use an over the counter wormer like Ivomec.
VACCINATIONS: We do not give any vaccinations.
BREEDING AND PREGNANCY CARE: A Nigerian Dwarf doe should be a least 9 months old and/or at least 40 lbs before considering breeding. This will help allow the body to give nourishment to the growing kids and sustain the doe’s own health and growth. She also needs to be in good condition; not too thin nor too fat. The key here is have your doe in the proper weight and size before breeding and maintaining that good condition throughout her gestation and lactation periods. Hoof trimming should be done no later then 8 weeks prior to kidding. The pressure placed on the doe’s abdomen during hoof trimming is very uncomfortable, and not necessary.
These are notes on how we maintain the health of our herd at La Buena Vida Goats. My comments or thoughts should not be considered general medical advice. Please do your own research and consult your own veterinarian when making decisions regarding the unique health requirements of your herd.