Popular Goats for Desert Dwellers
I did a lot of research before I got my goat. I spent some time helping a very patient friend milk her goats on multiple occasions. I wanted to get a good idea of how to keep a goat healthy, happy and productive.
Nubians are a favorite of the Desert Homesteader-They are originally from North Africa and the Middle East-So they can take the heat. They are about 30-35 inches tall. They weight 135-145 lbs and I have friends who tell me that they give over a gallon per day. That is a lot of milk! They have adorable floppy ears. They are like giant dogs, and love attention. Actually, they need attention. Without it, they can be very loud.
Boer goats-are found at many homesteads in the desert. They were originally developed in South Africa as a fast growing meat animal. An adult can weight 200-300 pounds. They are very hardy and handle the heat well. There are those who raise them for meat and milk. I doubt that I will ever do that. Though I enjoy the taste of goat. I am simply not interested in that part of goat raising.
Nigerians- are a favorite of the smaller boutique farms in the desert. Their milk seems to have the highest cream content. They too come from Africa. I have found my doe sunning herself on a hot June day in the middle of the pen. Scared me. She is 18 inches at the withers and weighs less than me. Though she is gentle, there are times when I have to push or pull. They are more independent and quieter than the Nubian breed.
My favorite of the 3 is the Nigerian. I don’t need that much milk. So even if I had two of tem in milk, I would not be overwhelmed.
I found that I love the rich creamy-non goaty flavor of the Nigerian. Nigerians are smaller than most, quieter and seem to be more content when left alone.
I did some work for a friend who rewarded me with a Nigerian; unfreshened doe that was quite happy living alone. BTW, that is very rare for a goat.
Now, Bambi lives less than a mile away from me with the chickens and her new little friend “Fiona”. Because she has since become a mother, she is now on her 1st freshening.
I go milk her twice a day and get about 3 cups of delicious healthy raw milk each time.
I am experimenting with organic methods of feeding her. She gets lots of vegetation from my garden. Spoiled brat! I have found that when she eats the leaves and bark of fruit trees, grapes, strawberries and blackberries on a regular basis, her milk reflects it with a slightly sweeter quality. She loves to see me when I come with a pitch fork full of goodies.
Carrots also lend a sweet note, but with a carrot undertone.
Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, although her favorite, give her milk an aroma of yuck. I am able though, to use it successfully to make yogurt and flavor it with fruit. Remember, it has not lost its incredible health benefits, it just is not our cup of tea (or wine).
I have found that she also loves mint. I will be experimenting with that next. Wouldn’t it be fun to have some minty flavored milk?
OOOh how about Chocolate minty flavored milk.
It may not work well, but then again… there is always room for yogurt.