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.
At La Buena Vida Farm, http://labuenavidafarm.com we live a wonderful, homesteading lifestyle and enjoy the abundance that God provides. We started our herd in 2007 with no experience with goats whatsoever. Our family loves our Nigerian Dwarf goats because they are the perfect homesteading animals for sustainable living. Our lovely 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. 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 herd goals are: quality milk production with an emphasis on correct structure. As of April 2014, we began participating in year round DHIA (305 day) milk testing program through ADGA. In 2016, we got involved with the Linear Appraisal program through ADGA. Genetic selection is structured and evaluated through the information gathered from 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. Most of our animals are very easy to work with and have pleasant temperaments. 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 meeting the breed standards. Our Nigerians are registered with American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). All does and breeding bucks are registered at our expense. A certificate of registry and transfer will be provided at the time of purchase. Registration in any other registries is the buyer’s responsibility.
BIOSECURITY: Our herd is closed and isolated to protect our animals from diseases like CL, CAE, and Johnes. We do not offer buck services to outside herds. We have done periodic testing randomly over the years, all with negative results. We rarely bring in new animals, but when we do it’s always from a trusted, confirmed negative herd.
Please contact us with anytime with any questions you may have. Jennifer@labuenavidafarm.com, 520-558-0036
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 milking does are fed local, naturally grown, pesticide free, first cutting alfalfa. 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!”
GRAIN: We give our milking does a mixed ration of Purina Noble Goat Dairy Parlor, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (B.O.S.S), and Dumor Sweet Feed twice a day. The addition of the black oil sunflower seeds is a great source of vitamin E, which helps aid the body’s absorption of selenium. Bucks sometimes get 2-4 TBSP of grain during breeding season when they are working hard.
MINERALS: A high quality, selenium enhanced mineral block is provided in each goat pen. In addition, we offer free choice of Sweetlicks Magna Milk loose minerals. Our milking Doe’s have access to a large cobalt block at all times. If we feel that our animals are lacking in some minerals, we give them different herb mixes from Fir Meadows based on their specific needs.
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. The goats will eat only what they need.
WATER: We provide lot’s of clean, fresh water at ALL TIMES! Sometimes 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.
DEWORMING: We use an herb mix called DeWorm made by Fir Meadows; it came highly recommend by another breeder. We like this natural approach for deworming because it is healthier for the goats and we don’t have to dump any of our precious milk. If necessary, we will use a heavier, medicated wormer like Zimecterin or Ivermectin Gold.
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. We typically breed our does at about a year to a year and a half old. This extra maturing time helps sustain the doe’s health and growth. She also needs to be in good condition; not too thin nor too fat. Hoof trimming should be done no later than 8 weeks prior to kidding. The pressure placed on the doe’s abdomen during hoof trimming is very uncomfortable, and not necessary.
Disclaimer: These are notes on how we choose to maintain the health of our herd at La Buena Vida Farm. Our comments or thoughts should not be considered general medical advice. Please do your own research and consult your veterinarian when making decisions regarding the unique health requirements for your herd.
La Buena Vida Goats