Yay! My doe's having babies! Now what? One aspect of owning a pregnant doe, is feed. There are many, many, many different feeds, and ways to feed. I am in no ways an expert, but here's my 2 ¢'s. For the first 3 months of pregnancy, the expectant mother needs only good grass hay. By the end of the first 12 weeks, the unborn kids are about the size of newborn kittens. A newborn Nigerian Dwarf goat weighs about 10 times the weight of a newborn kitten, and the unborn kids must gain this weight and size in only 8 weeks. Needless to say, the 2 months before kidding is when the kids pull the most nutrition from the doe to fuel their growth. If the doe is underfed, she may lose weight, she may not produce enough milk to feed her offspring, or she may develop life-threatening conditions like Hypocalcemia (also known as 'Milk-fever'), Ketosis, or Pregnancy toxemia. At the start of the 13th week, gradually start giving your doe a handful of grain, and a little alfalfa. Very slowly, boost the grain and alfalfa, so by the 2nd-to last week, she is getting about 1-2 cups of grain, and 1-2 lbs. of alfalfa. If your doe is HUGE feel free to give her a little more as you feel necessary. She is your goat, and that means you can feed her however you want. But remember, if you let her free-choice her grain, her kids could (and probably will) grow so big that she will have a hard time delivering. If you choose to have your mother-to-be ultrasounded, lucky you! You now have an accurate idea of how many Mom is eating for, and can adjust accordingly. It doesn't really matter if the alfalfa is pelleted or in hay-form, because the doe is still consuming lots of grass-hay for roughage. I must say, that loose alfalfa is better for her, and is a little cheaper, ($15.95 per 100 lb bale vs $11.49 per 40 lb bag) but pellets are much less messy, and less likely to be wasted.
That's about it! Re-cap: grass-hay free-choice, grain and alfalfa the last 2 months. Easy!
Last December, our dear sweet Molly passed away. After her funeral, we started looking at puppies. We like starting with babies, their easier to train, and of course who wants to miss that cute fuzzy-wuzzy-chew-everything-in-sight stage? Not me. I reaaally wanted a Livestock Guardian Dog. We have only lost a few chickens so far, and we lock the goats in their little house every night, but who wants to take any chances? We looked around, but mostly we would either find Adults ,or out of our price range. We also had a couple of restrictions, since we live in a rented home. No Huskies, Akitas, Pitts, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Wolf crosses, etc. Basically if it is known for being on the aggressive side, we couldn't have one. We looked on Craigslist, Facebook, and animals shelters. We mentioned to a friend, that we were looking, and she referred us to a friend who had some Great Pyrenees/Chocolate Lab oops mix puppies. We texted back and forth, and after a while had a deposit down on a male puppy. After several weeks of waiting for the puppies to be weaned, we went to pick up our pup. While waiting, we had already named whichever puppy we got 'Max.' Once we got there, we were over run with FLUFFY. And that was only all the adult Great Pyrs. When we got to meet the puppies, it was like beautiful fluffy stuffed animals. There were 4 chocolate colored ones, and 1 brindle boy. After lots of debate and cuddles, we picked the brindled boy. Once we got him home, we introduced him to our dog Millie. Max is super mellow and sweet, and smart. He immediately settled into his role of 'lowly puppy'. It's so funny to see Millie and Max together, since Max is already as big as Millie. Now they snuggle together at night, and I'm sure that soon they will be best friends, and partners in crime.
The GCH, CH, MCH, ARMCH, or PGCH titles
for awarded for becoming a Permanent Grand Champion. To become a Permanent Champion a doe must win a minimum of 3 Grand Champion titles in a sanctioned show.
A doe may win one champion 'leg' dry, either as an adult, or a kid.
Bucks can also win CH, MCH, and PGCH.
CH, GCH, SG and SGCH are awarded from the American Dairy Goat Association.
MCH and ARMCH are awarded from the American Goat Society.
PGCH is awarded from the Nigerian Dairy Goat Association.
All those letters can make your head spin! (Just wait till I start explaining the *'s and +'s! Go get the Aspirin now.)
It's really quite simple, listen closely:
CH means that they have won Grand Champion at a sanctioned show 3 times.
GCH means that along with the Grand Champion title, the doe has earned a Milk Star (see below)
MCH means pretty much the same as CH. MCH stands for 'Master Champion.'
ARMCH means the same as GCH. Except to get AR (Advanced Registry) the doe needs to earn her milk star BEFORE the 305 deadline. If the doe has earned her AR without earning her championship, the AR is still placed in front of the name.
PGCH means is the same as CH and MCH. Bucks however need four Grand Champion show-ring wins to earn this title.
SG means 'superior genetics'. This means that this goat is in the top %15 of production for his/her breed.
SGCH means that the doe/buck in question has his/her SG AND his/her CH title.
Take the Aspirin, we are starting *'s and +'s.
* is a Milk production award, it is called 'star'. It is earned by a doe producing either enough pounds of milk, butterfat or protein in either a one-day test, or a 305-day test. Any animal can earn these through their progeny or parentage.
+ is an award for bucks, they can earn these from their parent's and progeny's awards. In ADGA and AGS the + is only for the bucks, but in NDGA a doe can also earn her + award.
"But I have seen so many *'s and +'s! Sometimes there are multiple symbols, and letters and numbers mixed in! Isn't it complicated? How do you keep track?"
Well my confused friend, as with the champion titles, each registry has their own set of symbols and letters.
American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA)
M = Doe B = Buck
American Goat Society (AGS)
D, AR = Doe S = Buck
Nigerian Dairy Goat Association (NDGA)
DLT, DAR, DS, DD, DP = Doe DS, DAR, DG =B Buck
The numbers mean generations of does who have earned their awards. Lets say that Ella earns her 1*M. Her daughter Charisma also earns her *M. Charisma's title would be
Fun Size Farm Charisma 2*M.
If Charisma has a daughter who earns her *M, she would have a 3*M etc.
See? Very simple.
*DLT can be earned by making the requirements in either milk or butterfat, while milking the whole 305 days.
*DLT+ can be earned by making the poundage in both milk AND butterfat, if milked the entire 305 days.
*M/*D can be earned by making the poundage and/or butterfat. In ADGA this can be earned by protien too.
AR *D/*DAR can be earned by making the required pounds before the deadline.
*DD can be earned on a one-day test.
*DAR+ can be earned if the amounts are made before the deadline in BOTH milk and butterfat.
Parent/Progeny Awards (To be eligible for awards, the goat needs to be registered/recorded with that certain registry. If a buck/doe is registered with NDGA they cannot earn their *S without being registered with AGS. All progeny and mates should be registered with the SAME registry that you are getting the award from.)
*DP/*M can be earned by a doe for having:
3 daughters by at least 2 different sires, who have a *, OR
2 sons by 2 different sires, who have their progeny Awards, OR
2 daughters by at least 2 different sires, who each have a *, and 1 son who has their +DS Award.
+DS/+B/+S can be earned by a buck for having:
3 daughters out of 3 different dams, who have earned their * (In AGS they must earn AR.) OR
2 sons out of 2 different dams, who have earned their progeny Award, (+S in AGS.) OR
2 daughters out of 2 different dams, who have earned their * and a son who has earned his progeny award. (In AGS the awards must be AR * and +S.)
The +DS can be awarded more than once for the same buck, but no offspring can be used more than once. Example: 6 does out of 6 different dams, = 2+DS
+DAR can be earned by a buck for having 3 daughters out of 3 different dams, who have earned their *DLT or their *DLT+
*DS/*B/*S Can be earned by a buck for having:
A dam who has her *DAR+ or *DD/*D/*M or and his sire has his +DS or +DAR/+S or *S/+B OR
A dam who has her *DAR+ or *DD/*D/*M and his sire's dam has her star also.
*DG Can be earned by having a mother who has her *DP. This award shows that this buck has the potential for being a great herdsire.
++S/++B Can be earned by a buck for having 3 (in AGS AR) * daughters, and 2 +S/+B sons.
++*S/++*B Can be earned by a buck for having 3 (in AGS AR) * daughters, 2 +S/+B sons, a sire who has earned his +S or *S/+B and a dam who has earned her *.
Explaination of how Champion "leg" is earned
In the ring the goats are separated into different categories, so that animals are only judged with animals of their own breed and approximate age. After all the ages groups are judged, all the 1st place blue-ribbon winners, are judged for either Senior or Junior Champion.
If the JR. and SR. show-rings are sanctioned separately, then the Champions of each ring earn one of their Legs. If the senior and junior rings are NOT separately sanctioned, but are a Combined Show, then the Senior and Junior Champions do NOT win a Leg. If this is the case, the Senior Champion and Junior Champions compete for Grand Champion. Only the winner earns a Leg.
In ADGA, if the Grand Champion is already a Permanant Grand Champion, the Reserve Grand Champion earns his/her leg.
ADGA Milk Requirements for Nigerian Dwarf goats:
AGS and NDGA Milk requirements for Nigerian Dwarf goats:
If I have forgotten anything or if you have any new information, please, comment. Hope this really helps! <3 Tessa
It looks like a furry white blob from outerspace!
Oh my! IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!
Whew! Its only you Blossom.
Whatcha doing down there?
Ok. Finish your breakfast and then we'll practice show-ring walking.