Breeding For An Elegant Dairy Doe That Dances Like a Ballerina and Milks Like a Cow
WE LOVE NIGERIAN DWARF DAIRY GOATS!!!!! True miniatures of the dairy breeds, Nigerian Dwarf goats pack a lot into a small package. Sweet and intelligent, they make ideal pets. Productive milkers, they provide lots of rich milk for drinking and cooking. Colorfully and unpredictably marked, they are a pretty addition to any farmscape.
IN THE BEGINNING...1998
Our first goats were purchased in 1998, pets to provide family diversion as we dealt with the challenges of foster parenthood. We wanted our children to experience the unconditional love offered so freely by animals ("Feed me, hug me, spend time with me and I'm yours!") and also to learn about the enormous responsibility inherent in keeping these winsome creatures.
Well, as all things go, both the children and the goats grew and our family began to dream big dreams. We purchased acreage and became modern pioneers, opening up the land and constructing our homestead in a five-year process. We also realized how integral the Nigerians were to our natural lifestyle. We began to compost their waste for garden enrichment and use their appetites to help with brush disposal! Most importantly, we started to breed our goats and appreciate their gift of pure, sweet milk.
TOWARD THE FUTURE
Breeding For The Milk Pail
Looking Ahead to 2016 and Our Fourteenth Breeding Season...
We are breeding for a high-milking, elegant, show quality Nigerian with a calm dairy temperament--Please check out our promising foundation sires and does!
Many years ago, at the very beginning of our goat endeavor, we lucked out with the purchase of our first herdsire, ROSASHARN TOM'S WATER TABBY+*S++B, one of the last two sons born from the pairing of AGS National Champions (no ADGA for Nigerians at that time!), ARMCH Goodwood Tom Thumb+*S and ARMCH Goodwood Water Lilly 2*D "VG". Tabby went on to sire many beautiful does and handsome bucks who continue, in turn, to produce quality offspring with his signature style: long-bodied, sharp, and refined. After a long and fruitful life as our main man, Water Tabby passed on in December 2012, a few months short of age eleven. Although we believed Tabby would live forever--he was full of himself the entire autumn season!--he slowly lost the spark of life, dying peacefully in his sleep at the onset of winter. We are comforted by the thought that we filled every day of Tabby's life--from babyhood through old age--with love (and lots of pampering.) In order to continue with his legacy, we have retained a son, Dawnland Tabby's Duncan (out of Morning Star Dixie Chick), several daughters, and many grandchildren.
The old-time (and now quite rare) Texas genetics of our doe TX Twincreeks Butterfly Dance, (MCH/GCH Twin Creeks WB Madam Butterfly 2*D 1IM "VG" 2009-LA 90 VEEE--Permanent Score x MCH/CH Pecan Hollow Willy's Dance Fever*S 2007 LA-91 EEE), a Twink's Pixie granddaughter, have also played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Dawnland herd. Butterfly, now retired (but looking great!), is dam to an incredible selection of offspring. In her time, she produced quality daughters and sons no matter to whom she was bred. We've happily retained MANY of her daughters and granddaughters, as well as a son, and consider her lines to be the backbone of our herd.
What We Want to See With Our Milkers! Morning milk from a two-week first fresh Water Tabby+*S granddaughter.
NOTES ON MILKING: We take milking seriously here at Dawn Land Farm. Although we are not currently enrolled with a DHI program, ALL of our freshened does are hand milked daily, with the milk being utilized for kid rearing and household consumption. The "milkability" of our does is therefore very important to us. Does retained for our herd have proven themselves to be the kind of milkers that make it worthwhile to milk! We value girls that are even-tempered and willing milkers with the udder structure that makes for milk capacity as well as easy expression of that milk. And finally, we have designed our breeding program with the high hopes that daughters will surpass their dams in all of the milkability qualities that we value so highly.
Morning Milk From Dawnland Tabby's Morning Glory--5 Year Old Second Freshener--4 Weeks Fresh
Back in the Day...Morning Milking--Our Rosasharn Bella's Linda Lou Was a Very Cooperative (As Well as Productive!) Doe. Linda Lou was our first Rosasharn purchase, and she really stood out, in comparison to many of the coarser Nigerians of her day, as exceptionally elegant and dairy.
We are freshening only five senior does in 2016 with definite plans to hit the New England show circuit with the ladies.
Our First Home-Bred Champion, ARMCH/GCH Dawnland Tabby's Halifax+S++B "E". Photo Courtesy of Joanne Karohl of Dragonfly Farm, who showed Halifax to his champion status.
Back in the Day...August 2007 at the "Summer of Love Goat Show"--The Assistant Goatkeeper and His Lost Valley TB Saleen Earned RJrGCH and JrGCH Honours. Photo Courtesy of Joanne Karohl.
Spur of the Moment Showing After Eight Years Away From the Ring...Dawnland Tabby's Whirlabout (Water Tabby x TX Twincreeks Butterfly Dance), as a Four Year Old Third Freshener in 2015, Earned Her First Leg in Her Very First Show, Besting 26 Other Beautiful Does!
Early on in the herd's history, with the encouragement of the New England Nigerian Dwarf Association--NENDA--we started to show our goats and have found it to be both fun and educational. (It has also been a relief to find a like-minded community of goat enthusiasts who don't roll their eyes when the conversation shifts to debates about mammary systems, body conformation, and milk production--say what?)
Back in the Day...Anna Margot, One of Our All-Time Favorite Goats, and Her Accomplished Showwoman at the Bolton Fair, the Finale Show for Our 2006 New England Show Season
We Maintain Strict Biosecurity: No Leasing/Exchanges/Breeding Services Offered
All Babies Raised on Pasteurized Milk in Separate Kid Areas
No Wasting, No Abscesses, No Sore Mouth, No Foot Rot
Never a Positive Blood Result for CAE, CL, Johnes With Any of Our Stock Ever
Blood Testing for Current CAE To be Done in Spring 2016
Dawn Land Farm takes great effort to maintain a healthy herd of Nigerians. We have never had a case of foot rot, sore mouth, nor of Caseous Lymphadenitis (contagious abscesses). Our goats are not exposed to other ruminants. We have purchased our animals from conscientious breeders who monitor their herds carefully for disease and likewise maintain high standards for herd health. All adult goats entering our herd are quarantined and blood tested, unless written results of recent negative bloodwork are available. In keeping with our efforts to maintain a secure and healthy herd, we do not accept "goat returns" nor do we offer breeding/leasing services.
We have incorporated whole-herd testing for CAE and Johne's Disease into our herd health maintenance practices. (New Hampshire is certified as TB- and Brucellosis-free.) Since we began testing in 2004, all blood (CAE/Johnes) and fecal samples (Johnes) have consistently been NEGATIVE for both diseases.We plan to repeat whole-herd screening for CAE, utilizing the sensitive ELISA blood testing through WADDL, sometime in the spring of 2016.
OUR HERD MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES INCLUDE PLENTY OF "HANDS ON" TLC! Check Out Our Happy Kids... And Read About Our Nutritional Management Too
Sneaking the Last Grain Remnants
PROPER NUTRITION IS A NECESSARY COMPONENT OF CAREFUL GOAT CARETAKING
While "hands on" loving makes up a large part of our day-to-day herd management, we also place great value in a sound nutritional program--something we have tweaked during our many years of goat keeping. Although we have a multi-acre pasture area for our does, we consider ourselves to be dry lot farmers, so all of our goats are provided with both purchased hay (leafy, second-cut mixed alfalfa and/or legume) and browse (cut from our extensive acreage.)
We are firm believers in giving grain to ALL of our goats (some of the fatter open does are shut off in the summer!) during ALL seasons, adjusting the components and amounts depending on sex, age, reproductive status, and weather. Our area is deficient in several key minerals and our high-iron water also reduces assimilation of essential minerals, so we feel that grain is an important supplement for our goats. Routine feeding for bucks comprises a 1/1 mixture of organic alfalfa pellets and BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds in the hull.) Does receive a 1/1/1 mixture of Green Mountain organic 16% dairy pellets/organic alfalfa pellets, and BOSS. Because research has shown that industrial toxins (Round-Up, pesticides, and antibiotics) can be detrimental to goat health--and are passed through to goat milk products (and then to their human consumers!)--we never use medicated or GMO feeds.TO READ RESEARCH: CLICK HERE.
The barn is plumbed for hot water and all of the goats receive hot/warm water twice daily, even in the summer. The heated water seems to be preferred by our spoiled animals and they drink lots of it. We think that the bucks especially benefit from the increased fluid intake, which helps keep their urine dilute, avoiding calculi build-up. Finally, we provide free-choice sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), loose mineral salt (our preference is for Sweet Lix Meat Maker), and feed-grade kelp meal (North Atlantic Kelp brand.)
To supplement our feeding program, we administer injectable Bo-Se (a Vitamin E/Selenium preparation) and Vitamins A & D. In lieu of copper bolusing, we now give an oral mineral supplement, Replamin Plus, to all goats on a weekly basis.
Our baby regimen...Kids are pulled at birth and receive "First Arrival" probiotic paste along with heat-treated colostrum. We have had good luck--vigorous and growthy babies--using pasteurized dam's milk, supplemented as needed with Sav-A-Kid goat milk replacer. To insure that kids receive love and cuddling, as well as attention to the amount of milk they are drinking, all bottle babies are individually held during feeding. Kids are weaned at about eight weeks of age.
Visitors Receive A Warm Welcome From Our Kids!
WETHERS MAKE GREAT PETS! Our "resident wether", Pip (for Pipsqueak, since he was a teeny, tiny guy at birth), is a gentle, friendly, and tolerant fellow. Pictured here, Pip is being "trained" for the (imaginary) show ring.
Stylish Weather-Appropriate Clothing is Provided for ALL Kids
Age-Appropriate Toys are Provided for ALL Kids
OUR GOATS REALLY DO DANCE! Under the Tutelage of Our Resident Goat Whisperer, A Freshly Clipped Witchy Dances For Joy
WE ARE A SMALL FAMILY FARM EMPHASIZING EDUCATION, COMMITMENT TO THE HUMANE AND INDIVIDUALIZED CARE OF OUR ANIMALS, AND RESPECT FOR THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE THAT SURROUNDS US...