Edendale goat breeder too happy to share his knowledge

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“Goats are like grass-eating dogs,” says breeder Donna Morton.

On a 100 ha dairy farm in Seaward Downs, near Edendale, Ms Morton raises around 40 Saanen goats in her Ardee stud.

Ms Morton said goats, like dogs, were “very intelligent, which can be really good or really bad.”

Good because goats could be trained, but less well if they opened doors or went to a place where there was food they liked.

If they find something good to eat, they will go back every day. They never forget. ”

Unlike cows, they did not need an aisle to orient themselves.

“They know this is their shed, so they cross the yard and go there.”

Each goat had its own personality.

“They have a number but they also have a name and to me they are part of my family.”

She met her husband Ross online around 2007 while living in Morrinsville and started a friendship.

Around 2011, Mr. Morton purchased what he believed to be an unmated Saanen to eat gorse on the property.

To his surprise, the hinds all had children.

On a visit to the south, Ms Morton, who was intolerant of cow’s milk, drank the milk of one of the goats whose kid had died.

When she returned home, she bought a doe which later became one of the founding does of the stud farm.

One of the elders of the stud, Bel Bonnie born in 2015, was the daughter of this doe.

In 2014, the couple got married and Ms Morton moved south later that year.

When she started raising goats, she thought she knew a lot about them.

However, he was talking to other goat herders who provided valuable information on how to keep animals.

This is why she has always made herself available to help others get started, she said.

At present, Ms Morton had 13 goats and was in the process of building the herd.

“I would like to get up to 50 or 60.”

This year’s joke had produced 12 more does and 10 dollars.

The kids would go to the goat in March. She did not keep many males for breeding purposes.

“If you use the same buck on every doe you have and it’s useless, you’ve backed off.”

She preferred to put the money on different hinds to “interweave genetics”. Other goats were inseminated with semen imported from France.

“The attraction was different blood – it’s not necessarily better blood.”

She was picky about the animals she kept for milking and chose animals that had good width. It started with a wide muzzle.

If they have a good broad face, so will the rest of the animal.

If he has a small, skinny mouth, he can only eat a limited amount, while an animal with a large, wide mouth can eat a lot more.

“Therefore, she will have so much more milk.”

Contrary to popular belief, goats didn’t just eat weeds.

If you want to feed a genetically raised dairy female and get the most out of her, you need to feed her dairy-grade rations.

“It’s a mix of weeds that she’ll want to eat and some decent grass.”

A new milking shed was being built on the farm and she was hoping it would be certified next year.

“I want to get to the point where I put my milk in a tub and then it will go somewhere else for further processing.”

The shed would be a twin lowline rafter with six cups on each side. She used the milk herself and fed the kids and lambs.

“I normally dry them at the end of May so we have a break.”

Goat’s milk had to be treated with care once it was taken from the goat.

“Every time you pump it, it’s bad. “It separates very easily into fatty globules and that affects the taste.”

The hinds took about six weeks to reach full production. Currently, the 13 goats produce approximately 76 liters of milk per 24 hours.

Each goat weighed an average of 5.8 liters, which was “insane”.

“It will decrease over the season. Unlike cows, goats could produce for about three years before giving birth again.

Goats could provide three sources of income: milk, offspring and semen. There was a strong demand for goat’s milk, even though it hadn’t been marketed much. ” Cheese makers are clamoring for it. ”

Goat’s milk was also good for babies who couldn’t drink cow’s milk, but was mostly available as powdered milk, which sold for $ 70 a box, she said.

“If you can buy fresh milk, not much more than what you pay for cow’s milk in the store, why don’t you feed it?”

Running goats can be more environmentally friendly than cows.

“If you have 500 goats in a shed, you’ll have manure but it’s not sloppy like a cow.

“This will be deep litter that can be composted.”

Goats ate differently from cows and sheep, biting only the top of the grass.

“They’re a grazer, like deer, so if you watch them graze around a 10-acre pen, they’ll do about three runs a day.”

While goats were susceptible to worms, when they shared the pasture with cows, the likelihood of goats ingesting worm eggs was reduced.

“ When the cows pass, they wipe the paddock to the bottom and clean the pasture of the parasites that affect the goats. ”

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