New South Wales, Australia
Posted Feb 23, 2012
I have been specialising in the Australian Melaan dairy goat for 10 years. I feel in love with the black coats because we have always had white cashmere goats and white sheep and it was lovely to own a goat with a completely different colour. Little did I know the amount of research on minerals and vitamins that owning this animal on my particular farm was to lead me to. But with all the acquired knowledge I have gained we have then put these practices into our sheep operation with excellent results. We drench only a couple of times a year, we have excellent lambing and growth. But back to the goats. Dairy goats are an excellent animal for the very small acerage and produce vast quantities of milk for their size. A goats of good milking lines will give about 3 to 5 ltrs of milk a day and can be milk through for two to three years without having to go into kid every year.The can live up to ten years and a goat that is cared for every day easily becomes a part of the family and thrives on as much affection as they can squeeze out of you. I especially like the melaans because the black coat is short and glossy. They are stunning in the sun when in full health. They are also a good indicator if you do not have enough minerals in your soil (especially copper) which is so vital to livestock and their production. Goats require two to three times more minerals than sheep and they do this by being browsers and not grazers. Shrubs, woody weeds, briar and blackberry bushes and young timber are their favourite foods. Dairy goats are just as effective as paddock improvers as any other breed of goat with the added advantage of an udder full of milk that can be used for a variety of things such as soap, cheese making and of course consumption. Some people that have health issues such as lactose intolerance, eczema, asthma, psoriasis, babies with colic etc, find a vast improvement in their health when they change from cows to goats milk. Raw goats milk tastes sweet, it has no smell and no off flavours. If you do find your milk has an aroma it can be caused by a few things, eg. mastitis, diet, bucks, etc. Most can be remedied. Like most animals goats require a few things to keep them healthy and in top condition. They will need their feet trimmed about every 6 weeks, they will need to be disbudded at a few days old so they do not grow horns, which are very dangerous around children and their own udders, they need a high fibre diet with very little grain, fresh water, some form of shelter from the elements (dairy goats dislike the rain) and a clean, dust free environment for milking. When sourcing melaans, make sure they are from a healthy herd, ask for a cae free certificate, a johnnes diseases free certificate, and what ever other disease might be common in your area to livestock. If you are not sure, then speak to a vet or ask them to inspect the animal for you. Melaans are great with children of all ages, kids between the ages of three months to six months are sometimes a bit too robust for the younger child, but they grow out of this stage and if taught to behave when young become excellent full grown milkers that bond with the young members of the family as well as the old.