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Vigilant
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Hey guys! If you read my previous post about ecoforming my BOL; you know my friend and I are gearing up for some pretty ambitious projects. Which brings me to an area in which my friend and I have zero expeirence. Goats! We had the idea that these guys will eat anything. Or so the myth goes. Now I grew up around a couple goats but they were little more than pets. While it seemed that they indeed would eat anything, we still supplemented their diet. It's been so long now that any knowledge I once had regarding goats is long forgotten. We'd like to know what breeds of goats would be best suited to our Floridian environment. We indeed want them to control the indigenous fauna; however the main goal is for meat. Fast growth and reproduction are more important than their voracity. Also good flavor shouldn't be overlooked. Prices for kids would be helpful. I realize at best you can only give me ballpark estimates. None the less they would be helpful.
Thanks
Karnus
 

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This may not help much for guessing price in Florida but here in Colorado I just bought a registerd Bore for $80 and a Kiko/Bore cross for $60. The Kiko breed is cross bred (from what I read) to just about ervything in the old world. It is more of a meat animal than a dairy animal.
Ive never had these breeds of goats but so far I gotta say Im not truely happy with their attittude. Not reel people goats if you know what I mean. But attitude and temperment probably dosnt effect the taste of a BBQ!
My advice is go to your local feed store and ask them who raises goats locally. If you find a good breeder you can tap into their experience and save yourself a ton of trouble. Good luck
 

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at one time a good friend of mine had a herd of around 20 goats, they did indeed eat anything that didnt have a heart beat. ten to twelve acres of heavy, nasty, dense thick brush and timber. over the course of one summer they cleared it to almost just the trees.

devils walking sticks, no problem.
other random spikey plants, good eating for them.

after they clear the ground for you just plant a grass for them and they should be good with minimal upkeep.
 

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Living To Ride
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Boar goats seem to be the most productive meat animal from what I have been reading. Your breeding stock get to around 250. Each female producing about three goats every two years that reach slaughter maturity in 90 days at 90 pound, dressing out to about 50 of meat. Boar goat are a white south African breed hence the Boar name. Boar goats are a hardy breed well acclimated to hot climates but not sure about the humidity. I am still learning / investigating how they do in high humidity and in the cold ie Washington climates. So any input in that regards would be helpful. Also anyone familiar with standard inoculations if any are needed for goats and what are they
 

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Boer goats are from Africa, so would be genetics-wise a hardy breed for Florida. They are smaller than some of the huge bodied dairy goats bred for high milk production.
Goats need to be innoculated for Tetanus, Caprine Arthritis,and "hardware disease"
some states require an annual TB test as well, check with your Vet or your state Agriculture department, each state is different. They will also need to be wormed, which can be done through a shot, feed additives, or pastes you put right in their mouths. You can find lots of info on care online. Basics are quality food, water, shelter especially from rain in Fl, goats don't take kindly to getting wet! Know how to give pills (a bolus with a gun) shots, trim hooves, and learn how to recognize the most common ailments. Compared to other livestock, goats are surprisingly trouble free.... except for the need for goooood fences!!!
 

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Our goat experiences

We got our goats a little over a year ago. We bought a purebred Nubian buck and two does who were half BOER, one quarter Nubian and a quarter Lamanche and all were just two weeks old.

I wanted half Boer for the meat end but some dairy blood since my wife's whole angle was the milk. We haven't been too disappointed though one of the doe's teats are very small and difficult to milk. Whether that's more Boer trait I don't know.

One thing I will mention though is that if you do get them to breed (can't stop them but I mean with the INTENT to breed) and get a buck like we did please learn a lesson from us. We raised them all together and a week or so before the girls were due to have their kids we separated the buck.

Big mistake. We should have kept him separate from the beginning and better yet put a wether in with him for company. Goats are social animals and don't do well alone to the point sometimes of stopping eating and dying.

I have a five wire electric fence with a stout wire fence outside of that about four and a half feet tall. Not tall enough. I am pretty much paycheck to paycheck and couldn't immediately afford new higher fencing but suffice it to say, Jack easily cleared the fence. But the problem was I had steel T-posts every two feet and it was lucky he didn't impale himself on the way out.

He kept breaking into the girls quarters and they were due to drop any day which could have been disasterous to the newborns, likely not intentional on Ol' Jack's part but he likely would have stomped them to death as he was really just a big dumb kid himself.

I had to shoot Jack and though I have been killing rabbits and chickens for awhile, Jack was my buddy and I didn't want to do it. But did.

We have two bucks and one doe from the girls and are keeping one boy a buck and the other a whether.

Another sad mishap was that the second birthing occurred very early in the morning five days after the first. Next time I will literally sleep out there when we know it's coming (we weren't positive since the first batch occurred without a hitch in the middle of the night.

When the second boy was born he evidently was oxygen deprived and the mom had a little tear and due him now being somewhat retarted, he wouldn't suckle. We tried for two weeks but every bottle feeding (three times a day) was over an hour just to watch it trickle down his throat.

The mom goat would not let him nurse right from the beginning. Maybe she sensed he was damaged, we don't know.

So I had to dispatch JJ as well. Lessons learned.

I should have stayed up all night even if it meant calling in "sick" the next day and we would have likely been able to prevent the prolonged birth that JJ experienced resulting in his demise.

Here is a link to my wife's blog on the goats.
 

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Must have book...

We've been pleased with all the Story's line of livestock books.

Chickens, rabbits, milk and [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Storeys-Guide-Raising-Meat-Goats/dp/1580176615/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1273028558&sr=1-1-fkmr1"]meat goats.[/ame]
 

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Tennessee Ranger
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When I was growing up my dad had about 150 or so goats on our farm. I'm not sure what breeds they were, but they kept the fields clear of briars and just about everything else. The would even nibble on tree bark along the fence line.

I have a neighbor down the road that has about 20 or so, and the idiot got them ALL fixed. She said that her herd was large enough and she wouldn't be able to bear parting with any of them if it got any larger. I then explained the concept of BBQ to her...
 
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