21 Things You Should Know About Goats Before You Start a Goat Farm

| 2/7/2014 11:37:00 AM

Tags: dairy goats, raising livestock, dairying, farm business, Florida, Julia Shewchuk,

Double Trouble 

You always wanted to keep dairy goats. You wanted your own fresh — and free — goat milk, goat cheese, goat milk yogurt and maybe even goat meat without having to worry about antibiotics and hormones in the milk.

In this blog series, we share with you things we wish we would have known before getting into dairy goats. We hope our experiences will help you, whether you have two or fifty goats. We are not perfect, we are not veterinarians, and we definitely still have a lot to learn, but if we can help you avoid some of the mistakes we made, we have achieved our goal of keeping not just ours, but your dairy goats healthy and happy, as well. There are eight parts to this blog series, and today we will start with Part 1 (please see the end of this post for subsequent parts).

Part 1: 21 Things You Should Know About Dairy Goats Before You Start a Goat Farm

1. Goats in general are very social, curious, gentle, independent and intelligent creatures. They get bored and lonely when alone. It is never a good idea to just have one goat, you need at a minimum two goats. Two does or a doe and a wether (a neutered male goat) or a buck and a doe, if you are ready to start a little herd. They huddle and cuddle, they eat and they sleep together. And no, a human, even though much-loved, cannot substitute as a companion. A lonely goat will climb on cars, get into your garden, and sit on your porch or escape. A lonely goat will be a noisy goat, because they will call for a companion.

2. Baby goats are kids. Males are bucks, females are does. Neutered males are wethers.

3. Goats can climb, jump, crawl and run over or under anything they want to. If they stay in their pasture, it is because they want to be there. You need to have good fencing before you get a goat or two.

ahmad safwan ibrahi
9/30/2015 1:23:46 PM

I love animals and I love goat for they are very good companions

ahmad safwan ibrahi
9/30/2015 1:20:33 PM

I am an animal scientist I need to broaden my knowledge in the goat production.

7/7/2015 12:55:58 PM

Hi Samantha, any animal that you bring into your house or onto your farm brings with it the responsibility for its care and health. A farm is a 24/7 project of responsibility and care and a vacation is only possible if you have someone knowledgeable who can take your place while you are gone. You need to evaluate your lifestyle to see if you are ready to make that commitment if you don't have a helper. Julia

7/3/2015 4:07:52 PM

Hi- I want to be a goat farmer, but I also love to go camping. Would this be a big problem? Also, how much money, per year, would I be spending on my goats?

6/26/2015 4:55:00 PM

hi I have a goat but not sure what breed he is. is there anyway I send a pic and you could tell me?

6/10/2015 12:05:45 PM

Hi Nadine. Yes a doe has to give birth to give milk. We let the kids have all the milk for the first 6 weeks. By that time they are already munching hay and grain. At that time we keep the kids separate in a pen overnight, milk the Moms about 1/2 to 2/3 in the morning to leave the kids breakfast, then turn Moms and kids back out together for the whole day until about 8:30p for the slumber party. We have to milk a few extra goats to keep the milk supply up, but we feel we have pretty happy, healthy and well-fed kids. Julia

6/10/2015 12:01:08 PM

Hi Janette, thank you for your comment. While I still think that dairy goats live a much safer life disbudded, I agree that disbudding (without proper training and aneasthesia) is something that should be in the past. For that reason we are focusing now on breeding naturally polled goats and hopefully won't have to disbud anymore at all in the near future. We also own Black Angus Cattle which used to be horned and through selective breeding are now naturally polled. Julia

6/4/2015 10:35:49 AM

Hi - I am curious about how you keep the milk coming. I assume the does had to give birth. Where are the babies and what do they drink if you are using the milk? I also agree with Janette about the dis-budding. Do pygmy goats also fall under these guidelines for health and such? I would be interested in having them as pets/companions and nothing else. I like the way they bounce and play but do not want a couple of 200 pound pets.

6/3/2015 9:16:39 PM

Great article! I have one disagreement. Goats do NOT need to be dis-budded. They are part of the skull, unlike other animals who loose there horns/antlers annually. As part of the skull it is living bone, with blood supply, flesh and nerves and they feel pain. It is likened to amputation. Most de-budding is botched and they are left with unsightly scurs They do not pose a danger and they do not attack. I have been working with a goat rescue in WA for almost a year. I have never had issues with horns and I feel, with the education and training that I have, believe it is inhumane. I too have fallen in LOVE! Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

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