The ABCs of Homesteading: G is for 'Goats'


| 8/5/2016 1:30:00 PM


Tags: goats, Nigerian dwarf goats, raising livestock, cheesemaking, home dairying, yogurt, Tasha Greer, North Carolina,

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Goats might make sense for your homestead if you have two hours a day to spend on care, money to burn, plenty of pasture, and a yearning to have them. (Otherwise, consider raw milk shares or trading for dairy with other homesteaders.)

After reading Goat Song by Brad Kessler, I fell into the had-to-have-them category. Plus, I am a cheese fiend, so our homestead wouldn't be complete without dairy animals. Given our mountainous, forested terrain, and limited acreage, goats made more sense than cows. I am stubborn as a goat, too. So, I kept at it even when it was more work and expense than expected.

Getting Started with Goats

There is a ton of great information available on raising goats on sites like Fias Co Farm, extension office publications, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogs, and in Deborah Niemann's must-read book Raising Goats Naturally (available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store). There are also big differences in care requirements depending on breed, purpose in keeping goats, and your homestead setting. And it's easy to get information overload and lose sight of important things. So, as you begin your research, keep these elements in mind.

Determine your purpose for keeping goats. Do you want to raise meat, dairy, fiber, brush- clearing, or multi-purpose goats?



Identify your conditions, requirements, and available resources for keeping goats. What infrastructure do you have or can you build to house goats? Do your goats need to be family-friendly or predator resistant? Is climate a concern (e.g cold winters, hot summers)? How much land do you have for pasture? How will you confine your escape artists?






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