Author of "Poultry Farming for Women," etc. Continued from page 4359, Part 36

Hints on Buying Goats - How the Buyer May be Deceived - Signs of a Good Milker - The Test for Age - Price of a Good Goat - Grazing and Feeding - Suitable Dry Foods - Importance of a

Supply Of Salt

Buying goats from dealers who drive herds from town to town is not to be recommended, since strict adherence to the truth is a quality frequently lacking in herdsmen.

For instance, a milking Nanny is being negotiated for. The animal has a huge udder. That characteristic will certainly be pointed out to the intending buyer as a positive proof that the milk-yield will be an enormous one. But, as likely as not, it may prove the reverse, since it does not always follow that because an animal's udder is very large she will consequently prove a deep milker. Again, if an animal having the appearance of being in kid is being dealt with, the dealer will point to the fulness of its stomach, which, after all, may only be blown out by an abundance of green food.

Milking Nannies

When milking Nannies are advertised for sale, the milking of the animals should, if possible, be seen before a deal is transacted. Where a personal call on the advertiser cannot be made, a well-known goat-breeder should be seen or written to, when a guarantee of the quantity of milk yielded by his animals can be obtained, in the event of a transaction taking place. Hornless goats have outstripped the horned ones in popularity, and, as these have been extensively bred with a view to improve their milk production, such should be preferably chosen.

The Characteristics of a Good Milker

The good milker has a delicate feminine appearance. Its horns, if it has them, are thin and nicely tapered. It has a deep body, well-sprung ribs, and ample room for a big supply of food. If the animal is thin, it matters not, so long as it is a good feeder, as, like the good milch cow, the good goat cannot produce meat and milk at the same time. The profitable Nanny turns most of the food she eats into rich milk. The udder may be large or the reverse, as its size is no indication of the quantity of milk it yields. It should be soft in texture, and its teats should point well forward. The number of teats is generally two, but instances of goats having three milking teats are on record. The coat of a good milch goat is fine, long, and silky to the touch, and the animal's eyes are bright and sparkling.

When negotiating for a milch goat age must be taken into serious consideration. Even as a sheep's age is judged by the number and condition of its teeth, so may the goat's be judged. When goats reach the age of five

Woman's Work they possess their full complement of teeth. After that stage is reached the telling of age becomes more or less guesswork. If the would-be purchaser of a goat is in doubt as to the animal's age, the services of a shepherd or sheep-breeder should be requisitioned. Generally speaking, a goat's most profitable period ranges from her second to her fifth year of age. Some exceptionally good animals prove profitable at seven and even eight years of age.

The animal coming into, and not declining in usefulness is the one that should be sought for. Good milking Nannies always command good prices. Goats range in price from ten pounds down to as many shillings. The former are well-bred and deep-milking animals, whilst the latter are either too young, too old, or too low in milk yield to be worth their keep. Roughly speaking, good, sound animals, capable of yielding from three to four pints of milk a day, are worth from thirty-five to forty-five shillings apiece.

The Feeding Of Goats

I will now deal with the feeding of goats. As pointed out in my previous article, the man in possession of a couple of acres of good grass land will be able to keep three goats without having to provide extra green food. From this the reader must not conclude that two acres of grass land must be devoted to the sole use of three goats to render them profitable. The land may be grazed over by cows first, and afterwards by the goats. The cows will consume the rankest growth, and the goats will feed on the finer grass. If cows are not kept, then a rougher kind of grazing land will do for the goats, common land affording excellent pasturage. The goat likes to graze where food exists in variety, and where it is not continually compelled to go over the same ground. If sufficient grazing land cannot be given to the goat, it will be as well to look upon the small plot devoted to its use as an exercising ground, and to supply the animal with all the greenstuff and other foods needful for its welfare.

Goats, like cows, are safest under cover during the inclement days of winter. On fine days they may be allowed to exercise in the open for a few hours following their feed of corn. The land on which they are tethered, however, should be dry, and it will be as well if no grass exists upon it, as grazing is not to be recommended during the winter months. When spring arrives and the grass is in a sappy state, care must be exercised in the grazing. The length of time they are allowed to graze must be increased daily. If the animals are suddenly put off dry food and placed on a vegetable diet, they will be liable to suffer with scours.

When goats are well on their grass food, little beyond a feed of bran and oats at milking time will be necessary to keep them in a profitable condition during the whole of the summer months. Where grazing cannot be allowed, the animals should be given a variety of vegetable food. The goat is not particular what kind of vegetable food it eats, provided it is always fresh and clean. Cabbage leaves, vegetable trimmings, dandelion leaves, chickweed, sow thistles, clover, tares, vetches, and, indeed, anything else in the way of greenstuff that is safe to eat will be greedily devoured.

When green food is scarce, and when the goats are being wintered, their vegetable food may consist of roots, such as mangolds, swedes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips, which should be washed and split into halves before being fed. Goats are clean animals, and will almost starve themselves before touching dirty food.

As regards dry foods suitable for goats, undoubtedly oats stand first, and these should be of good quality, weighing about forty pounds to the bushel. Bran the goat-keeper cannot very well do without, as, apart from its milk-producing qualities, it is relished in the form of a mash by the mother goat at kidding time. Bran should always be fed with oats or other corn. Maize is a useful corn to use as a night feed for milch goats during the colder seasons of the year. Middlings and barley meal served in the mash form are good at times when the milk yield declines, or when the animals are inclined to scour.

Leages Lustre, a prize winning goatling. An animal of good milking strain will be found a profitable investment, being hardy and immune from many diseases which attack other domesticated animals

Leages Lustre, a prize-winning goatling. An animal of good milking strain will be found a profitable investment, being hardy and immune from many diseases which attack other domesticated animals

The Thirsty Goat

If milking Nannies can be got to eat brewers' grains, they will do well upon them. They greatly aid the milk flow, and may, therefore, be fed with advantage during the winter months. Oilcake is useful, as it adds richness to the milk. It should be used

Woman's Work in conjunction with roots and hay, corn being dropped from the bill of fare. Half a pound per goat per day is the quantity to feed. Hay is an absolute necessity during the winter time, and at any other time when the animals are in their stalls, as they need something to fill out their stomachs. The hay should be of good quality, and the racks should be kept well supplied. Goats should have clean water to drink at least twice a day.

Some animals will go a surprisingly long time without water, but because any one animal refuses to drink when water is offered, the attendant must not conclude that other animals are not thirsty. The rule should be to offer all the goats water two or even three times a day. It should be remembered that the thirsty goat is the good milker. Goats relish salt. It is as good for them as for man. The more salt a goat eats the more often will it drink, and, therefore, the greater will be its milk yield. Rock salt should be kept in a box near the manger.

Goats in full milk should be fed three times a day on a mixture of oats and bran, two handfuls of each being ample for each animal. Feeding should take place during the time the goats are being milked. As the yield of milk declines, the animals should be milked twice instead of three times daily, and, therefore, they will require but two feeds of corn a day. As to the exact quantity of food necessary for milch goats, no hard and fast rules can be laid down, as the appetites of different animals vary so much. A little observation on the part of the attendant will, however, soon convey an idea as to the requirements of individual subjects.