This is the fifth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers considerations for how to raise goats on your homestead, including research strategies, space planning, herd management, the fundamentals of milking goats, pasture development, and making cheese and yogurt.
When starting a farm business, make sure you know your states rules and regulations. You can contact your states Department of Agriculture and/or your county Cooperative Extension Agency for info. Make sure you know what you need to know about the basic safety and maintenance of goats to begin with: What are their needs when it comes to health, shelter, food, etc., and what are concerns such as plant toxins and predators?
Goat rentals are a good way to "value-add" your goat herd, as well as provide additional rotational-grazing space. But, sometimes you run into problems. This blog series about how we started our rotational-grazing goat-rental service wil outline what some of those problems are and how to deal with them.
Getting ready for goats means setting up a stall and pasture and making sure you have all the right food for them.
You've heard of a one-horse town? Well, we are a one-goat micro-dairy! That doesn't mean we only have one goat to milk, but that our milking parlor is set up to take only one goat in at a time for feeding and milking. Here is a story about a little goat kid who wouldn't give up so, how could we?
Farm life has its risks and we don't need to add to them by acting in unsafe ways. Read more for 10 Simple Ways we follow here on Serenity Acres Farm to keep us safe.
Rotational grazing can reduce the parasite load of goats, but this is difficult to accomplish with a dairy herd which needs to return to the same location every day for milking. On our homestead, we developed a rotational shelter and management system that allowed us to keep the herd on pasture 24/7 during the warm season. This significantly reduced our reliance on chemical de-wormers and helped us feel better about the quality of our milk and our soils.
Goat packers who have goats with horns that have become an issue around the home or farm is that, depending on age and sexual hormone levels, there may be options less dire than surgical complete dehorning or banding at the base of the horn, which compromises your pack goat’s defensive capability and confidence on the trail. Certainly talk to at least two vets before committing to any plan of action regarding full removal of horns from goats over the age of 6 months old.
Follow these 11 easy tips to experience a good kidding season as shared by Serenity Acres Farm.
Last year was the year from hell. Literally. We lost 7 baby goats, 4 llamas, 2 dogs, and 1 cat due to different causes. But I did have victories. I'll be talking about what I learned here and in my next blogs.
Portable fences made of electrifiable netting allow practical movement and protection of small livestock on pasture. It’s important to use and maintain the nets properly, and to train goats to respect the barrier for their own safety and security. Well-managed net fencing offers significant benefits to the health of herds and pastures, and to the homesteader’s peace of mind.
Finding balance between farm work, work life, family, fun and business.
Goats need sound feet, knees and legs to carry a pack in the backcountry. Here are some problems and solutions that pack goats experience with their legs, including proper goat hoof care.
Tricky access lowers land prices but provides for lots of amusing episodes.
Training wethers to pack can be an option for dairy goat breeders looking for alternatives to less attractive means of dealing with the problem of too many males.
Not many people in our sphere of influence drink goat’s milk, so we have a great opportunity to educate those we come in contact with about the benefits. These are our four main reasons why we drink goat's milk.
Serenity Acres Farm shares its experiences with WWOOFers so yours will be a good one.
There are many ways to use raw goat’s milk, but these three favorites are quick and fantastic. Let us tell you about them!
Goats tie you down, particularly dairy goats. Even an overnight absence, or a short trip to visit family for the holidays, creates a management problem for the daily needs of your left-behind livestock. By developing working relationships with other goat enthusiasts, you can have your milk and travel, too.
Mark pulled out the camera this week to share a few short videos about our winter garden and goats. Explore our December garden and goat pasture in these short homesteading videos.
How should you choose good hay for your dairy goats? Hay should be composed of plants goats like to eat, cut and cured properly for best nutritional content and storage life, and free of unwanted chemicals and weed seeds. If you can, buy hay fresh from the field of a trusted source, where you can inspect it and its growing conditions.
Our DIY goat barn was built using mostly reused materials and cost us less than $1,000. In this post, we show you how we did it and give you tips along the way!
Starting with gentle livestock breeds is key to success for new homesteaders. Scottish Highland cattle and Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep proved easy-to-handle and good producers for a retired Missouri couple.
Raw milk, so controversial to buy and drink, can also be used in the kitchen for everything from cheese and yogurt to soufflé and custard.
Serenity Goats has discovered a sustainable farm revenue stream in creating and selling goat's milk goats. Follow the farm's path from the USDA grant in 2014 to the finished product 18 months later.
Many garden vegetable crops produce excess leafy material perfect for feeding goats. Using these materials as milking snacks helps reduce the need for purchased grain & hay while recycling these waste products on the homestead.
A farmer shares tales from 10 years of living La Vida Goat-a.
This year was hell. No matter what I did, I was losing goat kids at an alarming rate. Here’s what happened and what I learned from the experience.
Goats need to be held still in various contexts, including slaughtering, hoof-trimming, and milking. Ideally, the method of restraint should be comfortable/humane, strong, portable, easy to use, and affordable. We’ve developed a homemade goat restraint that fits these categories and has worked for many years.
HOMEGROWN Life contributor Rachel recounts a kidding season full of problems.
White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) is a potentially toxic plant, particularly for dairy animals as the toxins can be passed through the milk. It caused many human deaths during the age of European settlement in eastern North America, due to dairy animals grazing in brushy areas and woodlands. Modern homesteaders using such landscapes for their goats or other ruminants should learn to identify and remove white snakeroot to ensure the safety of their milk supply.
Are you planning to buy a goat? Here are 12 tips to consider when you are shopping for a goat.
Homestead dairy goats need proper shelters. Ideally these would be easy to set up and move, while providing all the animals’ needs. A variety of basic shelters can be based on simple, reusable pieces like cattle panels, pop-up tents, and chain-link panels. These structures make pasture-based goat management easier on a budget.
Over 6-1/2 years, goats became an integral part of the author’s life. He experimented with shelter designs, pasturing methods, the elimination of grain and chemical de-wormers, fencing styles, and milk management. This hard-won knowledge of homestead dairy goat management is introduced in this post.
When you have as many goats go through kidding as I do, eventually you have to do something with all that milk. In the past I’ve done things like feed the milk to the chickens, but it always seemed wasteful. Many people I know who have goats and pigs often feed the pigs the extra milk. If you’re butchering pigs, it’s not as bad, because the milk does a great job in fattening up pigs. But there is another way to preserve that milk goodness, and that is to make cheese.
Every year I go through playing goat wet nurse because I seem to have one or two goats who have difficulties.
Includes a list of 21 must-have medical supplies a goat farm should never be without and a list of some nice to haves we have at Serenity Acres Farm.
So, while I’m making mead, tanning skins and staring out at the weird weather, two of my pregnant goat does are having a race to see who will deliver first.
Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash are easy to grow and provide healthy supplemental nutrition for working goats.
In the year of the goat we must compare the personalities and characteristics of goat people with goats.
Homegrown.org blogger Dyan Redick of Bittersweet Farm honors - and helps keep alive - the legacy of fellow Maine goat herdswoman Pixie Day.
Here are 12 simple tips that will help you to fight the war on worms and coccidia in goats.
A mysterious "ailment" brings our first frost to the goat pen.
A basic overview of why shelter and bedding are must haves for your goat operation. Also, some of our personal experience with a few options.
There are some goats you don't want, no matter if the price is right. In this case, the goat was free.
Our little farm received the USDA Value Added Producer Grant and we are embarking on an exciting future. Be with us from start to finish.
There are some questions worth exploring, find out if there is a BEST way to clean your goat's udder before milking.
Spending the time to get to your goats is more important than you may think
When you have too many bucklings, you need to neuter or wether if you're going to keep them. Here's how I do it.
HOMEGROWN.org blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm says keeping animals in the garden improves her soil and fights weeds and pests.
One woman's vision of a family farm comes to life in her back yard thanks to one friendly goat.
If you have dairy goats and plan on getting milk, inevitably you have to deal with difficult kiddings. Most of the time, you walk in the barn and there’s mom and her kids staring at you, all dripping from birth slime. To be honest, that’s how I like it. All I have to do is dry the kids, tie off the umbilical cord, and dip it in iodine.
Ilene White Freedman contemplates sharing goat milk with the nursing kid.
Do you know where your Goat is NOW? A quick overview over fencing materials, fencing type, fencing do's and don'ts.
Ilene White Freedman’s goat is in labor, reminding Ilene of her own natural childbirth experiences.
Since Lulu and Belle had their kids, I'm now waiting on three more does to have their babies. Only, they aren't. So here is how the experts claim you can discover if your goat is going to kid. Only, it's really wishful thinking...
When it rains, it pours, when it comes to kidding goats.
One of the most exciting facets of raising goats is when kids are born on your farm. Knowing how to prepare for the grand event makes for a smoother and more successful kidding process.
Preparing for kidding time is always crazy, and sometimes things never go the way you planned.
Hints for kidding in the very cold weather.
The blog describes the experience of applying for a federal grant and shares some advice for others who might want to follow in those foot steps.
This video of goats playing shows how simple it is to keep your goat herd entertained.
21 things you should know—or wish you had known—before starting a goat farm.
The joys and heartaches that can come with kidding season are a part of life on a goat farm.
How to make a cheap hay feeder for goats that cuts down on wasted hay.
More goat babies and finding ideas to make money on a farm.
When the temperature drops below zero Fahrenheit, you have to keep an eye on your goats.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick gets through winter — and goat breeding — by taking a page from her herd and sticking together.
How to prepare for a successful kidding season.
After a rocky start, the second half of breeding season ends happily for both goats and owners.
Describes the heartache that can come of now observing and working with nature when raising goats.
Dairy goat farmer Julia Shewchuck learned a lot about keeping dairy goats in her first few months (and much more since). It was a learning curve too steep to be repeated willingly, but which has saved many other goats’ lives since.
The Yule Goat is an ancient Scandinavian tradition which predates Christianity. Learn about how our oldest farm animal became the symbol of Christmas.
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
Safely bring a new goat herd home and getting them used to you and their new surroundings.
Goats will get into and out of everything. Some thoughts on why you need to keep your feed secured.
This series of posts chronicles Betty Taylor's adventures in goat farming. This first post covers selecting a goat breed and breeder, costs, and preparing for arrival of my goats.
Follow Sarah Cuthill's search for a dairy mentor and her very first experience milking a goat.
The goat herder extraordinaire, Annie Warmke, talks about the care of breeding bucks, and a life in the day of a goat herder.
Owning an intact male goat can be difficult, even if you know about their little idiosyncrasies. Learn about (and laugh at) one goat owner's attempt at doing something simple, like switching female goats in a buck pen.
A chemical-free way to keep goats' teats clean and the milk pure.
A dairy goat owner chronicles the frustrating beginning of her first breeding season.
Author Maggie Bonham recounts the various ways she's managed to obtain free goats, including Craigslist ads and trading for chickens.
A new homesteader commits some classic mistakes when buying her first goat.
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
The cold, hard facts about how Annie Warmke, goat herder extraordinnaire, found her calling in a barn with Eleonore Rigby and her two tiny kids.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick honors the determination of women farmers, even as she observes a bittersweet month on her farm.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel recounts how she went from half-hearted to full-breed-ahead when it comes to breeding goats.
Maine and Minnesota Goat Schools are over, and a great time was had by all; Janice Spaulding recaps the events and prepares for the next one is in Ohio in September.
"Garbage in, garbage out," is as true to goat nutrition as it is to the computer world and more folks should take heed!
Submit your goat stories for possible book publication.
There is no “one size fits all” bunch of information that works every time in every location, every person, and for every goat.
There are so many different “types” of goats! My last post was all about Angora goats and their fiber; this post will be about the meat aspect of goats. So what makes a goat a meat goat?
Angora Goats are not the easiest of the breeds to raise, however, even though the work can be intensive, the rewards are incredible!
A beginning farmer learns that keeping does and keeping bucks are two different things.
Keeping goats inside during nasty weather isn't easy, but it's worth the time! Dealing with sick goats, fever and runny noses isn't fun, so taking precautions makes things much easier.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan recalls how the seasons affected her childhood and how they guide her activities now on her Maine dairy farm.
Often time choosing the right name for your kids is the most difficult part of kidding! Here is a little help on picking out names that are appropriate!
Dyan writes about the changing season at Bittersweet Farm, and introduces us to the newest member of the flock, a black sheep named Little Man.
At breeding time, things aren't always what they seem. Sometimes things can really go awry!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a goat herder, it’s that at breeding time, the goats are in charge.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
Autumn is very busy at Stony Knolls Farm between the Common Ground Fair and Fall Goat School!
Milking is a fun and easy chore! Here are some hints on milking in an easy fashion.
Why keep a buck? Because they are wonderful, friendly, lovable creatures! Here are all the reasons why having bucks on your property is a good thing.
The summer days are getting longer, and so is the list of barn chores! Goats are kidding, cows are arriving, and a dream of having a raw milk dairy is becoming tangible.
Hand milking and the ease of doing so, always lends itself to many questions. I try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in this post.
Goat School needs a class room, visit our Kickstarter project and enjoy our video of Goat School!
Goat School is over for a few months, and now the routine will be a little more normal! Great questions were asked at Goat School and some of those answers are shared.
So, yes, I have become a lover of goats (and ducks have won me over, too). But the truth is, I can’t wait to eat the boys.
Overdue does, goats with bloody milk, harried milkmaids... Oh where does it end?! Life isn't ALWAYS roses in the goat life; sometimes it does leave you tired frustrated.
Getting ready for Goat School is always a daunting task, but once all of our new friends start arriving, we get excited! What a great time learning all about goats!
Why raw milk? Why goat milk? Things to consider for good health and nutrition for you family. Also a trick to get stubborn kids to nurse from a bottle.
An all-day adventure to the Oregon Megabucks show!
A beginning farmer makes the most practical fencing choice available to her: electric nets. And gets tangled up, occasionally.
Horns or no horns, that is the question! Why should you disbud your goats, or is it okay to leave the horns on? This post discusses both options with a link to a great article about horns and their beauty.
The kids have finally arrived, and we have plenty of photos of them!
How to use herbs on goats, blends, suggestions, and tips.
No babies yet, so a few anecdotes about Angora kidding,labor
The newest member at Goat Song Farm: A 3 week old, purebred Nubian doeling named 'Rose Of Summer'.
Spring clean up on the farm doesn't only include cleaning fallen branches, but cleaning up the goats too! Getting ready for kidding and making sure the goats are all set is our most important spring task.
Chad Gadya. Not just a Jewish song anymore, but now the future name of Goat Song Farm's herdsire.
After the kidding is over, we take good care of our girls! And, the babies need to be bottle fed, so here are the instructions on how we feed our kids.
The third and last part in choosing a herdsire.
The babies have arrived, now is the time to take care of all of the other parts of caring for the newborns!
The second part to choosing a herdsire for the dairy goat herd.
Baby kids do not always present in the correct position when descending the birth canal. Learn about the different positions and how to handle them.
Stony Knolls Farm has a new dog and getting him here was a wonderful, and amazing journey that is well worth sharing! Rescue dogs are so grateful for their new homes.
What to look for in a buck, and how to choose a herdsire.
Be prepared for kidding season! Set up your kidding kit ahead of time. This information will help you have the right equipment at your fingertips.
This fall, while the chickens were still living with the goats, we had decided to fence off the leg and seed it with pasture seed. I wasn't sure if we should seed it for the chickens or for the goats. After doing some research we ended up going with
A look into each dairy breed, on how much milk each one averages and what to expect in taste.
The tale of Carlotta's last day. A trip to the processor. Real happenings on a goat farm, it's not always lollipops and rainbows.
An introduction from a goat-crazy Oregonian.
Kidding is quite a process! This blog covers the very first signs of impending birth.
Traveling with Goat School on the Road, and learning all about newborn kid hoofs.
Janice Spaulding teaches goat husbandry both at her farm in Maine, and around the country with her "Goat School."
The Africans showed up at our door on a sunny, chilly November afternoon. Two men introduced themselves as Stone and Abraham. In the background stood a young woman with a gregarious little boy, Henry, about 2 years old. They were looking for goats.
When one of her goats starts looking for love for the first time, and hollering her little head off, Angela has to do some quick thinking to keep her precious pets from becoming that night's dinner!
Rachel and her husband committed to a year without groceries, and they made it! She shares her experiences in local food in this post.
Even dairy goats can have self-esteem issues...
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner.
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner!
One woman's journey from life in urban America to a small town in Austria, then back to a suburban homestead in Dallas on which she tries her hand at keeping dairy goats.
Cam babysits a baby goat for the weekend.
I am loving my time spent at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington thus far. There are tons of great and interesting people to meet, delicious food, fun and information-packed lectures and demonstrations, and, best of all, adorable anima
Confrontation with life and death situations are unavoidable when living on a farm. Seeing baby animals come into the world is beautiful, but sometimes these beautiful moments can be full of anxiety if things aren't going just right.
Play on the farm in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
Sherry’s son worked hard to raise a goat. Read how he, with the help of family and friends, butchered and prepared the meat for a homegrown Chevron treat.
Farm life is not always predictable, and some of the surprises turn out to be the most valuable lessons. This story from the ranch about some strong winter-born goats, a protective cow with motherly instincts, and a calf that’s making it against all odds will not only inspire you, but it may teach you something about the wonderful spirit of community support.
Life with goats, sheep, cows, chickens and other livestock isn't all roses. Publisher Bryan Welch considers the value of finding and keeping the right partner for tackling life on the farm, goose poop and all.
Jenna gets a pack goat to help carry gear for hiking trips. Share her experience of buying a buck kid and raising him to be a pack goat.
Try this expert advice to keep goats from getting out of the pasture.
Of all the baby animals born on the farm — the chicks, lambs, puppies, calves — the goat kids are in a class of their own. Racing, playing, causing mischief, find out what makes kids so much fun and so invigorating to watch.
These kids just won’t quit! Jumping up and standing on horses is one sure way for goats to get up higher than the rest.
Raising dairy goats has benefits that extend beyond fresh milk and cheese.