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why to not raise goats

 
Posts: 118
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
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I have had goats now for 16 years, and have learned a thing or two.

1. My property is heavily treed with lots of bush = lots of good browsing and nutrients = low feed and almost 0 vet bills.
2. 2 week old babies that you bottle feed are more likely to see you as mom and want to stay close even into adult hood = no fencing, that's right, my goats are free range!
3. When choosing a goat, I look at the young ones, the runts who are by temperament and natural selection insecure. They are more reliant on you, and see you as the head of the herd.
4. Goats are creatures of habit, keep a regular daily schedule of activities with them and eventually it will become automatic.
5. Goats are very intelligent, so talk to them, like you would your dog, they do get it and will respond in kind.
6. You don't need a Billy to keep the milk coming. I had two Nannies that I milked continuously for eight years without Kidding, this had much to do with husbandry practices I developed (if anyone wants to know what the practices are I'll happy to share).
7. If you're going to fence, I've found 5 foot tall square top picket fencing at 4 inch intervals to be the best.
8. Goats are social animals, so never have less than two.

In short, I have now a total of 5 goats; 1 who is 14 years that I bottle fed from 3 weeks old, and from whom I learned much of the above, she's the matriarch and keeps everyone else in line. 2 milkers (4 and 6 years) who are by nature wusses, so don't get into trouble, and 2 adolescents (runts that were bullied in another herd) who will be breed this fall. Once the young are weened they will be returned to the breeder in exchange for the breeding. The goats have their part of the barn where they come and go as they please, free range access to forage and water 24/7, No Billies, no fencing, no stress, etc., keeping in mind, the layout of the property has much to do in providing natural boundaries for the goats.

In conclusion, rather than try and dominate the situation, that had mediocre results at best, I decided to work with what the property had to offer, the goats natural tendencies + traits, and Voila = harmony on the homestead at very little cost.

Friends call my girls Miracle Goats, I call it Being in Sync.,

K
 
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"A goat's natural diet is from brush that have deep roots and can reach all those yummy minerals from the soil. We feed them hay, which is lacking in this crucial substance."
and
"If your pasture is bare the goats WILL BE HUNGRY. Don't blame them for your mismanagement when they get out to eat."

Seems to me a lot of this thread is trying to make goats (intelligent browsing animals) act like cows (not smart grazing animals.) To me the idea of permaculture is to figure out what an organism WANTS and give them THAT. Goats don't WANT hay, so they jump a fence to get to more interesting food. They like fun stuff, they don't want a bare lot, they want things to play with. I can't prove a negative, but I think if you give them what they WANT, you won't have that many problems. If you treat them like mindless grazing animals, you are going to have problems.

It's a matter of trying to stuff something into the wrong function/niche. A daisy will never vine up a tree, no matter how much you think it should and try to force it. We all know this, so why are we trying to force goats to be cows or sheep?

Plant them browse crops instead of grass. Give them things to do besides stand in a bare yard and chew cud. See if it works better for you. If not, change it, that's what permaculture is about, figuring out how to change things so all species, including you, are happy, healthy, and thriving.

and YES:
"In conclusion, rather than try and dominate the situation, that had mediocre results at best, I decided to work with what the property had to offer, the goats natural tendencies + traits, and Voila = harmony on the homestead at very little cost. "
 
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Hey Kate Michaud, I can't believe no one has asked about how to get milk for eight years without kidding. Are you kidding me? If you are still out there, please elaborate!
Thanks
 
pollinator
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ronie dee wrote:Whew... I had hoped that goats were easy... How in the world did people raise animals in the old days without all the things that we "HAVE" to do to/for them nowdays?



In the old days (pre-mid 1800's), wire fencing didn't exist so you couldn't easily fence in large areas. Fencing was limited to dry stone walls and brush or wooden enclosures that were mainly used to pen the herd up at night for protection against predators. Each day a goatherd/cowherd/shepherd (very often one of the family's children) would take the herd out on a circuitous grazing route that varied each day depending on where the best browse/graze was. They stayed with the herd all day, and returned to the corral each evening. The population density was much lower in those days and, in addition to private land, there was a lot of commons land available for grazing livestock. If the predator pressure was low, they would sometimes overnight the herd in fallow grain fields where the nutrients that the livestock had been gathering during the day's graze in outlying areas would be deposited on the field in the form of manure for the next crop and they would trample or eat any weeds coming up in the fallow field.

Our modern system of fencing a relatively small parcel of privately owned land and confining the livestock to it is harder on the livestock since they have a greatly reduced choice of browse/graze and the worm load is higher since they are spending more time feeding off the same ground.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I met a fella the other day that was excited to raise goats.

I think heaps of folks are charmed by goats and might not know the downsides.  So I thought I should start a list of the downsides so these folks can be aware

Anybody have anything else to add?



Sorry I have nothing to add and your reasons against are rubbish! That's as nicely as I can put it.

We've been raising goats since last December. Cuteness was not a decision factor. We've gone from 6 to 14, sold two young bucks and breeding for next season now. Since this forum is against raising goats I don't see much point in adding my 2¢. The first 2 posts are enough to send me off. If anyone is looking FOR reasons to raise I can personally debunk all reasons posted here. Send me your personal messages.
 
clovis hebert
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Kate Michaud wrote:I have had goats now for 16 years, and have learned a thing or two.


6.  You don't need a Billy to keep the milk coming.  I had two Nannies that I milked continuously for eight years without Kidding, this had much to do with husbandry practices I developed (if anyone wants to know what the practices are I'll happy to share).

K



Yes please explain!
 
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Since this forum is against raising goats...


This forum is not against raising goats.
This one thread is meant to be a forewarning for the newbies who think that raising goats might be fun.  For somebody who has never raised animals, picking goats for a first attempt might not be the wisest choice.  The 'cuteness factor' might induce the uninitiated.  This thread merely points out that there are some downfalls to selecting goats, especially as a first attempt at animal husbandry.

 
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clovis hebert wrote:...We've been raising goats since last December. Cuteness was not a decision factor. We've gone from 6 to 14, sold two young bucks and breeding for next season now. Since this forum is against raising goats I don't see much point in adding my 2¢. The first 2 posts are enough to send me off. If anyone is looking FOR reasons to raise I can personally debunk all reasons posted here. Send me your personal messages.




This thread is a warning about some of the challenges around raising goats.  However, many people here keep goats and love it.  If you don't like this thread, why not do something productive about it?  You can start your own thread and maybe call it "why goats are awesome" or "Keeping goats is the best thing I've ever done" or whatever positive goat related thing you want to talk about.

This site is about seeing things wrong with the world and doing something positive about it.  You found something you didn't like in the world, now we are encouraging you to take the next step and share your experiences about how great goats are.  
 
r ranson
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clovis hebert wrote:

Kate Michaud wrote:I have had goats now for 16 years, and have learned a thing or two.


6.  You don't need a Billy to keep the milk coming.  I had two Nannies that I milked continuously for eight years without Kidding, this had much to do with husbandry practices I developed (if anyone wants to know what the practices are I'll happy to share).

K



Yes please explain!



My goat guru keeps her girls in milk for 4 to 8 years between breeding, depending on how healthy they are, the demand for milk, and if she wants more kids off them.  She does this through a rigorous nutritional program, customizing minerals to each goat, and by milking fully at least once a day (but she says twice a day is better).  She currently has about 40 girls in milk.  This year she only bred one and last year, I think she bred two or three.  

I don't know that much about it, but I know several people who get two to four years of milk from a goat before she dries up and needs to kid again.  What I do know is that it takes dedication to milk them on schedule and thoroughly each time.  That and the ability to understand the nutritional needs of the goat are apparently the key.

This would be a great topic for a new thread.
 
Posts: 8
Location: NW Montana
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More reasons to avoid goats...
Think its a way to make money? Haha break even if you do not count fencing costs maybe...
It is not real soothing to hear bucks screaming like they are being eaten alive because they cant be with the girls all the time...
Weaning time  everyone is screaming like they are in pain.

Once A neighbor came to my farm because they thought one of my animals were trapped or hurt cause he was screaming all day.  

Oh and Montana snow can be so deep they have to be in a barn all winter of suffer and die...  Ya know Boer Goats are from South Africa.... Whos idea was it anyway to take them to frigid north lands?  Are you a goat vet? well you might have to become one. Montana vets might kill your goat with Micotil. Fatal antibiotic cause heart attack in a goat. Two times it happened in 6 years...good thing I study or I would have killed goats by that injection. A wake up call. I was lucky to have just read that info.

Who said "build Better fences" eh? see the vid of a 5' fence jumper?  

Witnessed a tall 175 lb dairy doe goat with a full 1 gallon udder sail over a cattle panel with ease to my amazement.  I cull jumpers and breed bigger fatter goats.
 
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