Raising Milking Goats for Profit

MOTHER's children article showcases a young farmer who makes money raising milking goats for profit and selling goat milk, includes picking a breed, raising the goats, breeding, kidding, milking and selling the milk.


| November/December 1985



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If you want to raise goats, the first thing you'll have to do is to pick a breed.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

MOTHER'S CHILDREN: A a young farmer makes money raising milking goats for profit and selling goat milk to other homesteaders. 

MOTHER knows that many youths undertake interesting, original projects and start their own small businesses. To support these endeavors, we buy and publish well-written articles from children and teenagers concerning their efforts. However, we recommend that all young authors query (that is, send us a letter telling about the story they'd like to do) before writing a full article. Send your queries to MOTHER's Children, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. 

MILK MONEY FROM GOATS

When my family moved to the country eight years ago, the very first animal we purchased was a grade (or mixed-breed) goat to provide us with some milk. We've come a good way since then and make money raising milking goats for profit. Now we have a purebred French Alpine buck, and fourteen does that give us plenty of milk for our family and some extra to sell. Taking care of the goats is my responsibility. Selling their surplus milk to our friends and neighbors helps the animals pay their way and earns me some extra money.

PICKING A GOAT BREED

If you want to raise goats, the first thing you'll have to do is to pick a breed. You'll probably have to experiment some until you find the one that is best suited to your climate and needs. After our original grade doe had come and gone, we purchased two purebred, registered Nubian does for $100 each. They were very beautiful and gave rich, creamy milk. Then a friend sold us our French Alpine buck, and we got two grade Alpine does. We soon found that Alpines give more milk than Nubians. Today most of our herd is Saanen-Alpine mixed and provides plenty of good-quality milk.

RAISING THE GOATS

I drylot-feed my goats, since I don't have enough good pasture to provide all the grass they need for good production. I feed them a high-protein dairy goat grain formula (I found the recipe in Jerry Belanger's Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way), which I have mixed up at our local grain mill. I also feed them a mixed alfalfa hay. I give each doe one pound of dry matter (usually about evenly balanced between grain and hay) for each pound of milk she's producing.

GOAT BREEDING

The doe will usually come into heat after the first fall frost, though I've had some does be as late as December. If you keep a buck near the does, they will probably come into heat sooner. But be sure that he's in a stall with high sides—most bucks are good jumpers! (We've had bucks in stalls that we thought were tall enough . . . and ended up with some unplanned breedings!)





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