How to Raise and Keep Goats

This long excerpt from "Grow It!" covers how to raise and keep goats for milking.

| July/August 1973

At last! For the first time since the HAVE-MORE Plan was published way back in the 1940's, a fellow named Richard W. Langer has come up with a 365-page book that really introduces a beginner to small-scale farming. Wanna raise your own fruit, nuts, berries, vegetables, grain, chickens, pigs, ducks, geese, and honeybees? GROW IT! tells you how to get started, we like it, and here's another chapter from the book.  

God gives the milk but not the pail. -OLD ENGLISH PROVERB  

Milk and cheese are staples in our diet, and the apprentice farmer's first thoughts on dairy matters are apt to be of a cow. But while there's nothing wrong with having a cow on your spread, sometimes she's more trouble than she's worth.

A cow will produce twenty quarts of milk or so a day, which is a lot for one family to consume, yet not enough to make a real business proposition out of daily milk sales. In a communal situation, of course, consumption would be no problem. But milking might. A cow will adjust to being milked twice a day at just about any hour as long as the schedule is regular; however, milk production is best if she deals consistently with the same person. Unless you have a real bovine buff in your midst, this might present a problem in labor allocation.

It may well be simpler to build up your flock of hens to the point where you can swap eggs for milk on a regular basis with a neighboring dairy farmer. Still, by the time you've been in the country a year or so, you may want a milk-and-cheese source right on your property . . . maybe meat and leather too. Well then, a goat is your answer.

There are many advantages to goats, not the least of which is that goat's milk, sweet and tasty, is more readily digestible than cow's milk and hence more nourishing. You are what you digest, not what you eat. Also, goats don't get tuberculosis; you don't have to worry about pasteurization, which not only takes time and equipment, but, as with any other food-heating process, can cause vitamin loss as well.

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