Little Nickelbush Farm

Home of Happy Animals

We have 2 main breeds of goat on our farm at this time; Saanen and British Guernsey.

 

Saanens are large white goats with straight ears and delicate faces. They produce a lot of milk, but have a relatively low milkfat content. The milk isn't goaty at all, but it isn't particularly creamy either. 

What we love about the Saanens though, is their temperament. They are truly gentle giants... Quiet, mellow, friendly, loving and patient, they are a true pleasure to have around. And when you raise animals that are as smart as goats are, a calm and content temperament is SO much more important than flashy colors.

In the spirit of gaining popularity for this amazing and underappreciated breed though, I am in the process of buying a Sable Saanen buck. Sable Saanen is just a Saanen with color. I'm hoping to make the Saanen breed a little more interesting to first-time buyers who are tempted by the more colorful (but much more high-maintenance) breeds. 

I got into Guernseys completely by chance (and by following my gut), and I thank my lucky stars all the time.  I've had every standard-sized goat that's common in the states, and these are the only ones I've ever owned with temperaments that I like as well as my Saanens. Maybe even better... They are true gems. And added onto (imho) the best personalities in the goat world, they also have significantly creamier milk than the Saanens, and that stunning golden coat. 
My Guernsey buck, sweet Gunner, is my prince. At breeding time I call his name and he trots over and stands patiently. I open the gate and he comes out and covers my doe without any fuss. I touch his collar and open his gate, and he goes right back into his stall. Even hard in rut, he's one of my all-time favorite goats. 
And his daughters.... His daughters are improvements on their dams in every way. Killer production, beautiful conformation, delicious milk, large orifices for easy milking, and their attitudes!! I caught a video of my daughter, out in the middle of the goat barn, milking Millie right into a cup she'd set on the barn floor.  One hand on Millie's collar, the other one milking away! At that time Millie was only a few weeks into her FIRST freshening! At that age, most does hardly stand that well for milking at all, even on the stand eating grain.
I've only had Guernseys for a few short years, but in that time I have fallen truly in love.
Another breed that I have in my program is the LaMancha. LaManchas come in all sorts of colors and patterns, with tiny little ear nubs and sweet faces. Their affectionate, playful personalities and creamy milk make them a wonderful dairy goat. 
The downside to these goats though, is their mischievous nature and tendency to bully the other goats in their herd. I buy these beautiful goats over and over again, and so far I have not had a single purebred LaMancha that hasn't been either A: an escape artist, B: a timid weakling that everybody picks on, or C: a bully to an EXTREME degree.  
I had one doe that would guard an entire 16-foot manger for HOURS and not let anybody else eat... Craziness.

That said though, my LaMancha CROSSES are fabulous.  If they are over 50% LaMancha they tend to be a little bully-ish, but not terrible. Less than 50% and they are dreams. One of my absolute favorites is 33% LaMancha, with the rest being a mix of Saanen, Alpine, and Boer. Sweet, wonderful little doe.
One of the things I love about goats, is that they also double excellently as pack animals. Once out of sight of familiar territory, goats will follow their owners absolutely anywhere. Saanens and Guernseys will do anything that you ask of them, they are like puppy dogs in their willingness to please, and LaManchas are alert, brave, intelligent, and loyal. 
Sure-footed, agile, strong and loyal, many of my wethers (neutered males) go to homes as hiking companions.

So there you have it! We have a couple other breeds mixed into a couple of our does, but those are the breeds we're focused on.

 

But even beyond breed, all of our goats were hand-picked and carefully considered. An expensive or show-quality goat means nothing if it isn’t one that meshes well with your lifestyle. So we researched, purchased, raised, fed and monitored them, and then sold the less well-matched goats until we were left with the ones that truly suited us. Keeping an animal that you don't get along with because they’re a good producer, or an animal that you love despite their horrible milk production, doesn’t do anybody any favors. Find the perfect home for the animal, and find the perfect animal for your home.

 

We don’t have many registered animals. If they come with papers, that's great, but we don't focus on them. People can lie just as easily on a registration form as they can to your face, so we just focus on the animals themselves (what a concept!). 


So after a lot of research, practical experience and trial and error, these are the goats we have settled on. For now!!