We all need to start somewhere, and we're honored to have you here. Thank you for your interest in Spanish goats.
First we'll answer the most common questions:
All of the purebred Spanish goats we've found so far are listed on our Breeder List page. We add to the page every few weeks, as we're actively searching for and finding more purebred Spanish goats. When we find them, we put them on the list. Everyone likes the idea, and we don't charge for the service, and the breeders know that we're grateful to have them listed, so they are ALL there.
Until recently, "Spanish" meant "any nondescript brush goat." That's why you'll find some people selling 'Spanish' who are on the web but who are not on our breederlistwhat they call 'Spanish' might just be a Boer/Nubian cross, but that's just the name in their area for what they have, no harm intended.
The Spanish goats we're interested in and list are those that have histories that check out, and also who have been personally (or by photo) approved as being Spanish by our goat geneticist/leading international goat conservationist/American Livestock Breeds Conservancy technical advisor/vet, Dr. Sponenberg. He's pretty good with that stuff. And he was the guy who worked with Spain to find out that yes, DNA checks out: what we call "purebred Spanish" really are Spanish, and their forefathers (forebillies?) were dropped off by Spanish explorers 500 years ago. (Back then they didn't have vets, and only the strongest survived.)
Once you've seen the Breeder List, don't be put off if there are no Spanish goats close to you. For starters, we're adding to the list every few weeks as we find them, or as new breeders get them in. Spanish are an endangered breed so there are few local goats unless you're very, very lucky. Don't despair. . . many Spanish breeders do deliver across the country. You'll have to call them up to ask.
To narrow your search, you may wish to visit our Bloodlines page. It gives the story on every bloodline, and the bloodlines we have listed were isolated for a long time, so they're really strains. But it can help you find goats which best suit your own style: heavy cashmere, no cashmere, big, small, color variation or similitude, grain-fed or wild-raised, you name it. If you read all of the stories, you'll start to get a feel for what kind of management strategies appeal to you best. So not only will you narrow down who to buy goats from, but you'll also gain some insight into how you'd like to run your own herd.
Another often-asked question is about fencing. Different herds are used to different things. Some breeders have goats trained to electric fencing, some goats are used to a thousand acres and may hop the fence if brought onto a 5-acre farm. Talk to the breeder, they know their goats, and they can advise you best.
And food. . . Start out with a few goats, see how your forage does for them, get a feel for whether you're still covered in weeds or whether they're eating your place to the ground. Reduce or expand your herd accordingly. Feed hay when there's no good forage, but mineral salts are always a must. . . get loose mineral salts that are developed for goats. Copper kills sheep, but goats need lots of copper, so those sheep/goat combos are not your best bet.
Conservation? Yes. we're trying to conserve Spanish. But if you want to breed Spanish to other breeds, no problem. . . we're happy to keep up the demand for purebreds, and are interested in the results of different crossbreeding programs. Keep in mind that if everyone wants crossbreeds, we'll get short of Spanish again.
There's one more thing that beginners should get: a subscription to Goat Rancher magazine. At first glance, you might see lots of Boer show-goat features, but read a little further and you'll learn everything you need to know about keeping costs down and selling your goat meat to the end market, whether that's going to be commercial or local. And Frank Pinkerton, staff writer, is one of those guys that answers every question. www.goatrancher.com
You can't lose on that one. They have much more detailed advice than you can get from this site.
One thing Spanish goats don't have is registration papers. If you really want to pay us $10 for a certificate showing that you had a buck and he sired a dam and you had a couple of kids, we could do it, but you're better off to just type it all out yourself in Microsoft Word on nice paper and print it for free.
Seriously, though, Spanish goats don't have papers. Nor do we have $4,000 sires. Or artificial insemination. If you want all of those things, you're missing the point. We have honest breeders, great goats, big herds, big hearts, and an attitude. We believe in good goats. We don't do market-skimming or support artificially-inflated markets. We can do "fluff" like bumper stickers or papers or calendars upon request, but that's not really where we're headed. . .
Purebred Spanish goats are what they are. And they're great, even without us.
We're here to help, so please feel free to contact us by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 8283295350. We're glad to have you on board.
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