Monday, October 2, 2017

Setting Up For Dairy Goats

I'm ready to add a couple of dairy goats. While Saanans, Alpines, and other breeds are better milkers, I've settled upon getting a couple of Nigerians. They are smaller goats that are less apt to jump a four foot high standard field fence. And besides, I don't need lots of milk. Since Nigerians already exist on this island, it won't be a major problem finding a few for sale. 

The first task is to make a secure pasture. The area near the mini-barn has several large rock piles that would make a wonderful playground for goats. It's about half an acre. And it's a plus that it's near the barn, the electricity, and a water source. The only down side is that some of the area is pahoehoe lava with very, very shallow soil. Thus pounding in fence posts will be a challenge without bringing in a hydraulic hammer or a big rock drill. 

Keeping that pahoehoe lava in mind, I purchased some standard 6' t-posts, but also some shorter 5' ones. It turned out to be a good idea. Some of those 5 footers were needed. Since they couldn't be pounded in far enough, a bit of concrete at the base holds them well enough. 

A roll of mid-grade field fence was fairly easy to put up. Not that a fencing job is easy! It's not complicated, but it's hard work. Since the grass had grown up too much, the first step was to weedwack a path for the fencing. Pound in the posts, then roll out the fence. Working from one end, pull the fencing into place and clip it to the t-posts. Sounds simple. It's a workout far better than any gym will give you....and without the need of a membership fee! 

In that this fencing may some day need to be raised in height, I opted to buy a 6' high gate. It was only $10 more than the 4' high one. I thought it was good insurance to go with the 6' gate. But let's hope that the goats don't learn to jump the fence. 

Once the fencing was up, the next task was to erect a shelter for them. Here in my area, the only shelter they need (or will use) is a rain roof. 

I wanted the shelter to be near the mini-barn. So a simple rain roof was built up against the tool shed. This will work for rain protection just fine. Rains here are seldom ever wind driven. In fact, in the past 13 years I've never had rain come in sideways at an angle. But if we were to get a hurricane, I could nail up temporary tarp walls for better protection. 

I plan to build a milking stand against that shed wall under the rain roof, but that will be a future project. 

One extra benefit of that rain roof will be to help keep the goats' water trough full. I plan to get two small Rubbermaid livestock troughs and position them to catch the rain running off the roof. 

1 comment:

  1. Very exciting news about getting dairy goats! Of course, I'm a goat lover, so I wholeheartedly agree! I've had Nigerians and loved the personalities. Finding something locally available is important, so it sounds like a good choice all the way around. Some folks say Nigerians are good jumpers, but mine never jumped. I liked the larger end of the breed better, because the smallish ones sometimes had udders to small for my large hands to milk. Looking forward to your new endeavor!