By Ut LaManchas
Ogden, Utah, United States
Posted Nov 21, 2011
Efficacy of the Miniature LaMancha
The ability to convert browse into milk is one of the reasons I decided to get into Miniature
LaManchas. My mentor almost exclusively grazes her MM's feeding a little alfalfa/grass hay and a
handful of grain on the milk stand. She has been working the last 10 years to perfect her line of MM's focusing on 75% LaMancha and 25% Nigerian strain. Her goats are very hardy, they convert browse and their grass graze into milk, her goats have great will to milk, and the hybridization brings about a low somatic cell count, and the milk tastes the best.
Taste was important for me and I visited many farms to determine the best tasting milk. Everyone
seems to prefer one goats milk to another, however many are biased because they started with one
breed and have grown accustomed to this type of milk therefore any other than the milk they started with tastes ‘different'. I approached it never having tasted goat milk having no biases as an uninformed consumer would, I sampled different goat milk and did some blind tasting with family and friends, the consensus was Mini-Mancha milk tasted the best!
Feed to Milk Conversion
Back to allowing goats to browse. My mentor believes the hybrid vigor overcomes some of the
challenges associated with the inbreeding of any highly domesticated animal thus making the MM's more efficient at converting feed and browse to milk. Many of the challenges faced in the commercial dairy cow industry today, comes as a result of the overly inbred Holstein dairy cows (inbred 60% and more). Many of the problems due to the cows health, longevity and lactation are being fixed by outbreeding a Holstein with other breeds, researchers find the hybrid vigor
increases vitality, disease resistance, and significantly increase effective production life. This is true with the Hybridization of the Nigerian Dward and LaMancha goats. As the economy continues to struggle, I believe the cost factor will become more and more important and that more people will begin to look at the hardiness and the efficiency at which the MM's are able to convert what some may consider 'scrounge' into good milk! Using the 75% LaMancha strain of the
MM insures more of the dairy characteristics of the full sized goats, the great personality and quiet
nature of the LaManchas, the ease of hand milking, resultant from teat size, higher capacity from less feed, the higher butter fat and protein levels that come from the Nigerian Dwarfs, and once again great tasting milk.
I plan to follow my mentor, Karen’s lead in creating a strain that 'scrounges' well, even though I have
only 3 acres, the browse I can produce will significantly support (during my growing season here in
what is often called the frozen tundra of the north) my small herd. Of course I will supplement with
high quality alfalfa, free choice minerals (right now onyx) and some grain on the stand, but I hope to