How to Raise Healthy Goats

There are many advantages to learning how to raise goats. The author, an experienced veterinarian, provides useful info on their breeding, feeding, and care.


| September/October 1980



065 raise healthy goats - French alpines

Rugged French Alpines rarely have any kidding problems, and thus are a good choice when you're learning how to raise goats. 


PHOTO: RANDY KIDD

You can produce all the milk you'll ever need—for pennies a gallon—by raising goats. And that homegrown drink will be fresh, delicious, and exceptionally healthful. In fact, many folks (including some babies) who are allergic to cow's milk can readily digest goat "nectar."

(And by the way, the myth that goat milk has a disagreeable "off" flavor is simply untrue. If you keep your equipment clean and quickly chill your nanny's daily offerings—as you'd have to do to keep any dairy product tasty—you'll find that goat's milk is every bit as good as, if not better than, "moo juice.")

There are many other advantages to learning how to raise goats: Each doe will, every year, produce two or three youngsters that can be used as replacement stock, butchered for their tasty meat (called chevon), or sold to other goat farmers. The animals are excellent browsers that can forage for much of their own feed. The beautiful hide from butchered bucks and does can be made into vests and rugs. Some goats (the mohair varieties) grow luxurious coats of usable wool each year. The livestock can become great companions as well as helpful cart pullers. Goat's milk can be used to make yogurt and—with a bit of know-how and practice—delicious butter and cheese. And finally, every caprine critter you raise will contribute valuable manure for your vegetable garden. 

Recognize Your Market

Goats are often called "poor man's cows," because they're the most practical homestead milkmakers imaginable. A good dairy cow, it's true, can produce as much as five gallons of bovine beverage per day ... more than most households can use, and she'll eat a heck of a lot of grain and hay. A goat will average a usable yield of a gallon (or less) of milk daily, during its annual 305-day lactation period ... and will consume a lot less feed while doing so.

Of course, even a gallon of the liquid nutrient is a lot for many families to consume each and every day, so you may be tempted to think of turning your goat-raising hobby into a small home business. If so, it's best that you forget the idea. As I've explained in previous articles, you should consider your own household to be the market for almost all your homestead livestock products. This "rule" is especially true when applied to goats, because the laws regulating milk sales in most states make setting up a small caprine dairy almost impossible. (You can, of course, check your local county or state health department to find out about the requirements for milk sales in your area.)

There are, however, many ways to use your excess milk supply. You can make yogurt or cheese, and feed other livestock with it (chickens and pigs love goat's milk). It's also possible to use goat cream to make butter, but let me forewarn you that this process is somewhat difficult because a nanny's milk has such tiny fat droplets that, in effect, it's already homogenized. Most folks find they need a manual or electric cream separator (the units are available through goat supply houses) to collect usable quantities of cream.

charles
1/5/2016 8:49:17 PM

Possible to tether a goat with 50ft of steel cable as opposed to fencing?


organicgoatfarmer
6/10/2015 4:48:09 PM

Thank you for your post on how to raise healthy goats. This will really help me with my organic goat farm. http://obafarms.weebly.com/


joe_28
5/16/2007 8:42:18 PM

IF U HAVE ANY INFO ON WHEN TO GIVE YOUR KIDS A SHOT.WHEN WHAT AND HOW MUCH.I WILL BE VERY THANKFUL






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