Traveling Without Goats: Three Ways to Share the Workload of Dairy Animals

| 12/22/2015 9:32:00 AM


Goats tie you down, particularly dairy goats, making it difficult for many people to enjoy the myriad benefits of 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. For much of the year, goats need daily (or twice-daily) milking without fail, regular access to fresh pasture, a safe place to overnight, regular monitoring to ensure fences are secure, and so on.

Most homesteaders enjoy being anchored to their land and all its benefits, but it’s still nice to get away once in a while. In fact, for 2015 we chose to (temporarily?) go goat-less to allow for some long-overdue travel and life flexibility, yet also clearly noticed the lack of natural pasture management and fresh milk supply. Over the years, we’ve experimented with various approaches to having our milk and traveling, too, and share some ideas below.


Try training friends or neighbors in goat management. Many people are intrigued by goats, but don’t have the time, resources, flexibility, or confidence to raise goats themselves. Our vegetable farm’s workers generally loved our homestead goats, and welcomed a chance to work with them; many learned how to move fences and herd animals, and a few even took on regular milking shifts.

We’re also fortunate to have homesteader friends nearby who also raise dairy goats. The relationships and shared skill sets we developed among all these folks became a real asset when we needed someone to cover goat work for a night and/or morning, even just so we could attend an evening event somewhere.

If you don’t have goats, acting as a goat-sitter for someone else is a great way to get started. Rather than take the plunge before you’re ready, look for ways to help out on established goat farms or homesteads. You’ll gain much-needed skills and perspective, and chances are the goat-herds will welcome another reliable, knowledgeable person they can call on when needed.

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