When it comes to homesteading, consider raising goats for milk, meat, and profit. There are many benefits of having goats as pets; including goat milk, goat meat, and the goat dairy products such as goat milk soap; not to mention they are cute, clever, and easy to keep! Here in our Homestead Handbook on Raising Goats, we've included everything you'd need to know to get started raising goats on the homestead! Follow the table of contents below to begin.
You are reading our Raising Backyard Goats Homestead Handbook:
Table of Contents:
Preface (See Below)
- Types of Goats
- Where To Buy Goats – Dos and Don'ts
- Goat Shelter Options
- Fencing Your Goats
- Goat Behavior & Personality
- Order of Hierarchy
- Handling Your Goats
- Feeders and Waterers
- Foods to Give Dairy and Meat Goats
- Various Parasites and Diseases
- Injuries and Illnesses
- Keep Them Healthy
Bonus: How To Ear Tag Your Goats
- Goat Gestation
- Various Breeding Methods
- How You Can Tell If a Goat is pregnant
- Birthing Process
- Caring for the baby goats
- Methods to Prepare Goat Milk
- Procedures for Milking Goats
- Marketing Your Goats
- Promoting Your Business
- Vinegar Cheese with Goat Milk
- Queso Blanco with Goat Milk
- Feta Cheese
- What is mutton
How to Make Soap
- Goat Milk Butter Bar for Dry Skin
- Goat Milk Soap for Oily Skin
When most people think about raising a farm animal home they often think about getting a chicken, pig, or a cow. Beef, pork, and chicken are common foods just about everyone is aware of, but what about the goat? Not only are they the friendliest and one of the easiest livestock you could ever own, they are also very clean animals. Historically, goats may have possibly been the first animals to get domesticated even prior to the dog. They are very social and do well with human interactions. There are many myths concerning goats that are often false. Most people believe they have an offensive musky odor to them that instead occurs if they are not well taken care of and are not living in a habitable environment. If you do choose to eat them, you will have very little health issues to worry about because of their diet. They dislike dirty food and will reject it. They also will not eat a can, another misconception, but rather may take a sample of the paper wrapped around it out of pure curiosity. Even still, the paper is nothing more than wood fiber in another form. These days’ goats are rapidly growing in demand across the United States. If you are looking to start up a small farm that has an exponential growth potential, getting a goat a great road to follow. If you enjoy the process of making dairy products a goat can make your job easier than the cow would. Compared to the cow, goats are smaller in size which means less food you have to give them, less poop to worry about and better milking manageability because well – it’s not necessarily a fun experience. A goat is the size of a large dog, and if you have a small family they are the perfect choice to handle your milk and dairy needs without excess like you would get with a cow. Overall, a goat is an animal that requires little time from you as long as you feed and provide them adequate shelter. They are such wonderful parents too! Typically goats can give birth to one kid each year, some can continually sprout out twins annually instead. Goats drop about a pound of manure daily, and if you have a garden or a farmer, the goats manure are fantastic fertilizers for the grass and plants. If you are curious as to what is so great about goat manure, it is because it has a high source of potash, nitrogen, phosphate. In other words, it is simply high in a lot of minerals that allow plants to thrive. It is best to collect them while they are in pellet form. Oddly enough, they are great for security purposes as a ‘watch goat’. They will ensure you are made aware of any trespasser near your property by bleating away. The surprise can be enough to startle away potential intruders. Or maybe just your ex or solicitors that never seem to stop bothering you. They possess a great sense of loyalty, affection, and companionship when you are around them long enough.
This guide will be helpful for just about anyone who is thinking of raising a goat for self-needs or profit. To get started on your journey, you should know the various breeds that there are and which would best fit you. There are over 250 breeds that each has various strengths. Goats are bought as livestock typically for meat or dairy. One key factor to keep in mind is that you should buy at least two goats because they are instinctively herd animals who crave to be around one of their own. This way you don’t have to worry about being around watching them all day every day. Still, even that may not be enough since human interaction alone is not enough for them. Many people make the error when they buy a single goat. They will probably become pretty annoying to you because of their loud calls for ‘Goat Company’ and trust me there is nothing you can do to stop it. They feel a great level of safety by remaining in a herd. On average, a goat can regularly supply you with ninety quarts of nutritious milk each month for three hundred days out of the year. You can choose to drink the milk or, after a bit of magic, make cheese, yogurt or even ice cream. If a goat is not or will not be the only animal, you plan on owning, you can also use the goat milk to feed your other livestock. Many people now discovered that goat milk is much easier to digest for those who suffer from lactose intolerance or some less serious dairy allergies. If you or anyone in your family are sensitive to dairy, going for goat milk is an amazing alternative. The same benefit goes for goat cheese that has a yummy tangy flavor that spreads very easily. They are great to add to many dishes such as frittatas, lasagna, and quiches. The dairy and meat that you raise and produce will be healthier, tastier and cost effective. Most stores food contain additives that are used to extend store life, prevent the goats from contracting diseases or enhance flavor. When you first think about it, you want to buy foods that will not spoil as easily; you want your foods to be clear of diseases; you enjoy foods that are flavorful and creamy. At first, you see nothing wrong with purchasing these products. Until a bit of research, you may not find out that none of these additives profit anyone except the producer that sells them as they are potentially harmful. A great way to avoid additives is to choose not to buy these goods in general markets by getting more goods that are organic. Now you can be part of it too. Goats can provide you anywhere from 25-45 pounds of lean meat you can fry, bake, broil, stew or barbecue. They are truly a reliable source of protein than other types of meats and contain less fat and cholesterol.
There is also a third category as to why people buy goats – you can use them for fiber. Fiber, such as wool and cashmere wool, are used when making clothes. If there is a sewer in your family, you can get your material for cheap by raising a goat rather than going out to purchase it. Even if you are not particularly keen on making them on your own, it is profitable, and you can easily sell it. The best part about it is that the process does not hurt your goat, and they can grow their undercoat back swiftly. The last category most people may not think about is using their goats for soap making. The soaps made the US industry today, unfortunately, include some ingredients that are not needed, and some that can be harmful. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it is full of pores where anything and everything placed on it can get absorbed. Today people are interested in not only eating food that are organic, and safe, they want the products that they use to be just as safe and natural too. Soap making can become a fun hobby as there are various soaps you can make while you experiment. Goat milk is especially great for those who have sensitive skin because it is soft and gentle. Their soap is a great treatment for rashes and eczema. When you are ready to make that first step and buy your goats, you should be aware of the best places to buy them and the places you should avoid. Depending on how much land you have, the layout, and how close in proximity you are to others you have to find the best housing or fencing needs that that will match you and your goats. Ideally, it would be best you have an outdoor area with adequate space so that your goats can roam around and exercise. It is important not to keep them too confined or overly crowded, so they do not become stressed or possibly spread diseases.
Goats are very curious and intelligent animals. It can become a pretty hectic attribute to handle if you deter are not careful for prepared enough. They could attempt escaping or cause some other sort of destructive behavior from boredom. Most people are not initially aware of this so as long as you have measurements prepared, it is nothing to worry over. As much as movies or cartoons love to depict it; goats are not that fond of grazing. They will only resort to it if they are starving. So if you were hoping they would be excellent and cheap lawnmowers, they would disappoint you with their lack of interest. They are, however, very good browsers and love to eat foods like blackberries, poison ivy, brambles, and weed. Goats will not technically get sick or fall ill the moment they eat it, rather when it somehow becomes their primary diet. Or they can be economically used to clear brushes if properly managed. It is easier to ‘hire’ them to eliminate the unneeded vegetation. Certain foods are very toxic to goats, if ingested, that you should learn. Most fruits such as cherries, apricots, peaches and plums should not be given to them. Tree leaves like bracken fern, rhubarb, buttercup, and yew are also toxic. The great thing about some goats is even when they are young you could start milking them when they are as early as a few weeks old. Of course you should expect the amount to be minimal – probably only a pint or so – but it is fun and interesting to realize you can start sooner than you think if you get a baby goat. Though they have a small frame goats are pretty strong and make great helpers. If you are walking around with a 20-50 pound backpack to visit the mountains, go on a camping trip or go on a pathway, bring your buddy along with you too. They can hold 20-30% of their body weight with ease and will trail beside you like a dog wherever you go. Goats can also be taught to push carts and aid you during any transportation needs. You would probably never expect that these animals are also very easy to train and can interact very well with others, even with children. Additionally, goats can survive in just about any climate so no matter where on the globe you are or what season you are in, be sure that they can adapt. Gosh, aren’t they the best?
Raising a farm animal is pretty similar to raising a baby, and it can be a rewarding and fun experience just as much as it is work. Though this guide is not an all and may not work for everyone, I want it to be a great reference for those confused and concerned about getting started. With a good knowledge base, you will be sure to make the best decisions for you. While it may seem tough and daunting at first, you will get the hang of it. Sometimes it is tougher in your imagination than it is when you do it. If you are worried, don’t be. Breath. Raising a goat will certainly be a blast you will not regret once you start.
That was Table of Contents and Preface from our Homestead Handbook: Raising Goats
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