DEB P NIGERIANS

Sunset, Texas


 

These section is going to be sort of a grab bag of hints, how to's and that sort of thing.

 I hope you'll find something you can use! I'll be adding to this section every now and

 then, so be sure to check back once in a while.

 

HOW TO MAKE A SHOW COLLAR :               

                                                                         

  

 You can buy these wonderful collars and pay a pretty

  wonderful price for them....

  or you can do like I did and make your own.

  Now this one I just clipped with a zip tie and I really

 recommend that you don't do that - it's very painful

 when it pinches my hand. Instead use a metal link,

one of the little oval 'quick-links' or a small caribiner.

Do NOT use keychain rings, they aren't strong enough.

 

 

 

 

OTHER EQUIPMENT : Lots of new folks ask me about feeding equipment....you

 can go to your local feed store and buy those sturdy rubber feed pans and water troughs,

the cheapest usually run about $12 each. OR you can go to the garden dept. at

 Wal-Mart or Home Depot etc and get some sturdy plastic flower pot drip

trays for less than half that price. I love them....they're light, low enough that

 the babies can get in there and eat, and very sturdy. I have some that are at

least four years old. What I don't recommend using is the straight sided metal

 pans...they rust out very quickly. My favorite water trough comes from

Wal-Mart, too....a kiddie wading pool! They hold enough

 water to last even a sizable herd several days to a week without a refill, the

 sides are low enough that our little goats can reach over and also low enough

 that a kid who's accidently knocked in is very unlikely to drown. I do like to keep a

 cinder block in them so anything that does fall in has something to climb out on.

 And the dogs just love them in hot weather! Granted, you have to replace them

once every year or two but at $8 - $12 each it's not a big deal. You can buy

replacements for about 10 years before you've spent the equivelant cost of a

metal tank the same size.

FENCING : Don't repeat DO NOT waste your money on regular woven field fence.

The vertical wires are merely wrapped around the horizontal wires, so when a hungry

 goat reaches through the fence the vertical wire slides....hey, Mom! Look what I can

 do!....and you get to watch your clever little goat walk right through your fence.

Personally, my favorite fence material is combo panel....the babies can't get through

 the bottom, neither can predators; bucks can't break it and installation is a one person

 job. Love the stuff. Don't love the price, though, so I watch for farm auctions and go see

if they have any....they now have goat fence available by that name at Tractor

 Supply, and it's great stuff but also not cheap. Ditto chain link. Welded wire and

 chicken wire is simply too weak unless used as a lyaer over another more solid fence.

Which is a good choice when using field fence or cattle panels, and what we've

done around our whole pasture, BUT it would have been cheaper if we'd not worried

 about saving money and just done it right the first time. The painful truth is that

fencing is the biggest challenge there is with our little goats. The old joke about "if

it'll hold water it MIGHT hold a goat but don't bet on it" is even more true with

Nigerians. My best advice is don't try to save money on your fences - it'll cost

you in the end. Go with the best you can afford, even if it means building a smaller

 pasture at first and enlarging it bit by bit. When you're picking out your materials, and

 checking the installation, ask yourself if a Chihuahua could get through it or under

it....if the answer is yes then a baby Nigerian can too. And don't place anything near

 the fence that they can jump on top of, because they'll use it as a launching pad to

 jump over the fence. Trust me - been there, watched 'em do that! lol And don't

be misled into thinking that because our goats are short you don't need a tall

fence...on Dec. 17, 2009, a pack of coyotes jumped completely over a 4 foot fence

 without touching it and killed two of my does. I strongly advise the strongest fence

 you can afford, preferably with hot wire on the top. For the over-achievers reading

 this, my perfect fence would be 5 ft chain link with hot wire on top and also about 

12 inches off the ground both on the inside and outside. I do very strongly advise putting

 up a small pen around your goat's sleeping quarters, wether it's a barn or an Igloo dog

 house, made out of Combo panel. To be even safer, after you put up your combo

panel go get some plain cattle panel, cut it in thirds longways, and fasten that up to make

 your fence that much taller. Remember, you're not trying to keep your goats in, you're

 trying to keep predators OUT. Lock the goats up in that safe pen every night, and

 you'll sleep much better. I've gone out in the morning and found what the coyotes left....

I don't ever want that to happen to you. My goats now get put inside the barn every night, period.

 

HOUSING : If fences are our nightmare, houses for our Nigerians are our joy....it doesn't

 take much to build a good, comfy house for our little goaties, and if you 'think outside

the barn' you can really save yourself some construction costs! These are two of my

favorite alternative housing methods I use for my bucks.

 

About five years ago a neighbor pulled in our drive and asked if we wanted

some 'truck toppers' for our goats....they're the caps you see on top of

semi trucks. Made of fiberglass, they're tough and light, and we have drug

this one all over our property over the years. During the winter we'll wrap

a tarp across the front of it to keep the rain and wind out. The bucks love

to play king of the hill on it, too. The only problem is you've got to tie it

down very, very firmly as it's light enough to go sailing if the wind hits

the opening. Make sure yours faces AWAY from the prevailing winds.

 

I can't take credit for this little hut, as another breeder 

built it. Actually this is one of his 'rejects' as he ran out of the

metal strips he nailed across the roof to make them waterproof

and just tacked on this folded up tarp instead. But it's big enough to hold

several bucks, and my does have used them as kidding huts. I just

wish I had a few more!

 

 

 

                      Of course, if you can build a "real" barn, or modify one already on your

property, go for it. But if you're new to Nigerians, go talk to someone else and look at

their barn before you start. Ask them what they'd do differently, what they love and most

importantly what they hate about their barn. Eventually I'm going to build a new doe barn,

and if I can sweet-talk my husband sweetly enough it's going to have the following features :

1) Cattle panels across one corner of the barn with heat lamps hung above it, creating

 a 'heat creep' for babies that moms can't get into. I've done this in my current barn

and it works really well.

2) A separate milking room - even if it's just a fenced off corner of the main barn.

3) A water faucet inside the milking room.

4) Electricity!!!

5) A storage cabinet in the milking room to hold a first aid/kidding kit, flashlight, a couple

 of leads and a pair of hoof trimmers.

 

HAY FEEDERS : The traditional hay rack, slanted in towards the bottom, is a lousy design

 and I don't know why it's been so popular for so many years. It puts the animals' eyes

right under the falling bits of hay, and so drastically increases the risk of eye injury.

 In goats, this means pinkeye. Yes, goats are browsing animals and they naturally reach

up, not down, for their food. But a much better design is a flat-fronted hay rack...my

favorite one is a cattle panel wired to a wall, or to another panel if you want

a two-sided feeder. Simply slide the hay in between the panels, where it's held flat so

that there is much less risk of eye injury.