We had to modify our goat housing plans a little after bringing home the “big goats” over the winter, but we are back on track for adding some bucklings to our herd! It has been ridiculously busy over the past few months. We added a few new chickens to our farm (as of today, we are up to 48). This, of course, required that we build them a new home (more on that in a separate post). And since most of those chickens are actually just little chicks in different stages of development, we have a lot more “farm chores” taking up our free time. Not that I’m complaining – just running out of time!
So, back to the goats… Our first little guy is a wonderful, tiny buckling, who we have named Prince. We brought him home on April 29, 2016. He was born February 12, 2016.
Prince has very delicate features, a cute little face, and is tri-coloured. Primarily black with white markings, he also has some brown patches on his belly and legs. He is blue-eyed and polled (without horns naturally).
Of course I’m always monitoring all of the Facebook groups and online ads for any goat/chicken information, and when I saw this little guy, I knew we were going to bring him home! The funny thing is, he comes from the same farm where we got Amberle and Eretria – in fact, he is related to our two littlest does (so his “breeding buddies” will be limited to our other three does).
Prince is the first “boy” goat on our farm (although we do have three wethers now, we could really see a change in everyone’s behaviour when they all met Prince).
Our Breeding Program
We did a lot of soul searching (and research) before deciding on how we wanted to proceed with breeding. Our primary goal is to be more self-sufficient, and we want to be able to milk our does. At the same time, we want to offer some very special miniature goats for sale in our area. We understand that having horns is often looked at as a concern for some people when purchasing goats. However, we have decided we do not want to disbud our future little goat kids.
Disbudding is an issue that seems to come up quite frequently in many forums discussing goat management and husbandry processes. The conversations can get pretty heated, and everyone has their own opinions on this topic. We wish to respect others’ choices here, but have decided we do not want to subject our goats to the procedure. There may be special cases that we encounter in the future, but for now, this is the decision we have made.
As a result, we have purchased two polled buckings. Prince, discussed here, is our first little boy. Our second polled bucking is coming in a couple of weeks, once he is weaned. He is a lovely, strong little black and white buckling who is part Pygmy and part Nigerian Dwarf. Genetically, we may still end up with horns on our little ones – but that’s ok. We have found there are actually a number of people looking for mini goats with horns, and with the goats we have chosen at our farm, we should have some very strong lines with great features. No matter what ends up happening at kidding time, they will all have a wonderful home here with us!
In the meantime, we are trying to build (ANOTHER) new barn for the little boys. Prince has a great little temporary house, in with the does and Leo (our rescued wether). Prince gets to hang out with all of them, but is separated by a fence for now (we don’t want him figuring out he is a boy just yet). We have supervised play time for Prince to run around with the other goats (with us watching to make sure he doesn’t do “what comes naturally”), and soon his “roommate” will be here. At that point, they will move to their brand new house, a little further away from all the girls. Then comes the interesting part – figuring out how to manage the breeding!
Wish us luck – hoping for lots of (polled) babies next spring!
You have a lot of mini goats! I really like your goat barn design and was wondering how many mini goats can you house in one of those? Besides keeping the males separate from the females, are there any other considerations for construction of housing?
I am in Michigan and in process of establishing a goat and chicken farm on our forty acres (12 of which are pasture land). My research has not found a lot of information about pasturing and housing the two together, although some say it is fine. I was thinking that the chickens and goats could pasture together and this would allow me to rotate pasture areas for a more regenerative approach and to keep down parasites. Do you pasture your goats or are they mainly fed from a manger? Great website! There is so much information that is appreciated.
Hi Denise – Thanks for your comment. We keep 6 of our bucks in the one barn. They cuddle up a lot in the winter, so the space works well for them. However, some of our bucks with larger horns have since broken their door, so they don’t get tucked in at night like the does (who live in a new, larger barn now). A couple of considerations when keeping chickens with goats, is that chicken feed can be very toxic for your goats, so you’d have to ensure they don’t have access to it. Chickens also tend to eat all of the vegetation/grass in an area, so some of your pastures might suffer. We keep our chickens in a separately-fenced pen with their own coops, so that the goats can’t access their feed, and it has a number of large trees to keep overhead predators (like eagles) from getting in. Sounds like you have some good plans for rotating your pastures – always a great idea. Our goats are also kept on pasture, but always given hay throughout the day too. You might be able to find a way to keep your goats and chickens together, as long as you have enough different areas to keep moving them around to, you have a good way to keep the chicken feed away from the goats, and you are able to provide suitable shelter for all of them from both the elements and predators. Good luck!