Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Should I Raise....a Doe?

It is important to evaluate whether or not you have the time, facilities, capability and dedication BEFORE you buy a goat. They are living creatures that require a great deal of care. You can’t just return them if you decide you get too busy! 
Now if I haven’t scared you off, raising animals is very rewarding. Goats are naturally very playful and curious creatures. They are a constant source of entertainment, love to be petted and can even learn their names just like dogs.

So if you think you are ready to become a goat farmer, I have a 3 part post that evaluates 3 basic options: doe, wether or buck.

Option 1: Raising a doe 

Two pregnant does, Delilah and Honey.

Pros for raising does:

  • Does are relatively small in size and generally good natured.
  • For showing in breeding class, training and taming is required, but due to size and temperament it is relatively easy.
  • Does can be very profitable because they have kids. (See the second ‘cons’ bullet point!)
  • Does can win (cash) prizes and produce show quality kids to extend the winning line.
  • Does are kept for much of their lives and because of the interaction with humans they become very friendly and social.

Cons for raising does 

  • Does still have horns, and could pose a potential risk especially to smaller children. 
  • Does are only profitable provided you have access to a buck AND the knowledge on how to birth and raise kids.
  • Does have a higher risk of an early death because of difficult pregnancies and life threatening complications. The loss of a mature doe with multiple kids is emotionally devastating to the farmer, but then can be made worse if the kids also die as a result of the mother’s death.

My final take:

If you are looking to start out, does are not recommended because you can’t be successful with only one. Having one doe does nothing for your farm because does need bucks to breed. You can pay a fee to have a buck impregnate your doe, but without any prior experience with goats, it wouldn’t be an ideal situation for a beginner. Smaller kids looking for a fair animal might be overpowered by a doe if they weren’t confident and capable in their abilities. Confidence is something that only comes from experience and becoming more comfortable around animals. 

That being said, if you have the support of a good 4-H or FFA leader, friend or mentor, does can be profitable and fun. I know we enjoy our does because we love seeing their kids and we don’t sell them for meat! 

Keep an eye out for kids! Our Delilah is going to kid ANY DAY NOW! CAN YOU TELL I'M EXCITED?? Whew...sorry about that! You can expect the next post in this series of  "Should I Raise...."  on Wednesday, 2/13. Check back every Tuesday for our Goat of the Week!

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