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goats rule!  RSS feed

 
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really they do! goat were one of the first domesticated animals and with good reason. they can provide milk and meat on a managable scale. Many people scoff at the idea of owning goats, I have got more than a few incredulous snickers when I tell people I raise and use goats for milk and meat. Some how the old ideas have permeated through the generations and persist. Cows were always a sign of status and wealth and goats were associated with poverty. Why? because cows are expensive! you need much more land to feed a herd of cattle than goats and people of lesser means had to be more practical. Indeed several attempts at colonization of the new world would have been more successful if the adventurers had left their egos behind along with their cattle and brought goats instead.  Goats are so much easier on the land in comparison to cows. They are alot safer than cattle and produce more milk per lb of body weight than cows. Goats can survive  and thrive on forage that cows would starve on. A dairy goat could be kept on a small lot with a little care in providing feed and provide a family with plenty of milk and a few kids to sell or put in the freezer each year. one of the best things about goats is how personable they are usually more than happy to put on a show running and jumping off of anything they can get on. 


 
steward
Posts: 25152
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Ahem  ....

And just to round out the picture a bit ...

Goats require far more industrial strength fencing - although some people have domesticated goats so that they are house trained and are eventually not fenced at all. 

Goats will kill a baby tree by eating all of the bark off of it. 

Bucks will stink like you never knew stink could happen (although there are ways to mitigate this). 

If you are used to the taste of cow milk and cheese, it is possible to get goat milk and cheese to taste pretty close to what you are used to, but it could take a lot of trial and error. 



 
Leah Sattler
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I'll admit that goats require more complicated fencing if givenplenty of room they generally would much rather eat tender leaves than bark. the resort to bark when the yummy stuff is gone.

I your only experience with goats milk and cheese is the commercialy available kind I am sorry for your terrible experience. I cannot stomach the goats milk from the store it is NOT what goats milk from a homestead tastes like. My theory is that the dairys utilize breeds that are known for producing large quantities of milk with high protien for cheese production not milk that has drinking quality and those breeds also happen to be known for producing stong flavored milk outside of the dairys.  I have tried to get someone to distinguish between my goats milk and cows milk tastewise. They can't. like many any things the icky stuff you buy at the store that is mass produced is nothing like the real stuff. If you want to try REAL goats milk go to a small farm,homestead or dairy with nubians or lamanchas.
 
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Goats have been used to control weeks, especially kudzu, in overgrown areas. Some goat owners even make money renting goats to do this. One would need to consider temporary fencing, water, plants toxic to a goat, other hazards, liability for both parties, protecting plants the goats need to avoid.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I'm anti-goat and pro sheep.

My sheep do want I wanted my goats to do without standing on my deck, peeing and pooping and peeping in the sliding glass doors. They also don't spent all day circling the house trying to get in. They also didn't escape in less than 60 seconds when I first got them. The don't get hog tied if I tether them.
 
Posts: 43
Location: NW Montana
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I think that goats are hilarious, and that (young) goats taste good and the milk is great too.

However, I shy away from owning an animal that is potentially smarter than I am. )

I am glad to see people who own goats and that LOVE owning them. I am that way with chickens--and they do not leave hoof shaped dents on my hood.

 
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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I have to say that I'm in the I-LOVE-my-goats camp. We have 5 and I can watch their antics for hours. It's wonderful how they form such a strong family unit with Granny, Mummy, and baby all lying snuggled up together, and in the other stall the other Mummy and her lad. Yes, I've been there with them escaping but they didn't go far - in fact only the other side of the hedge so they could eat some of that! Yes they have debarked trees (but not killed them) but then I didn't know that sheep did that too and the SHEEP wrecked my orchard!
 
Posts: 93
Location: Seattle, WA
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I'm totally with Alison on this topic.

My mini-lamancha dairy goats are hilarious and loving and some of the best creatures I know. They really do have tight matriarchal and family bonds, and "friends" in their herd. And they seem to recognize both goats and people that they knew well but haven't seen in over a year or two.

When I teach classes about permaculture dairy goats, I also say sometimes it is the most fun you can have being more mad than you can imagine!

My hubby didn't latch a gate properly once and they did devastate my garden and about 3 years worth of blueberry growth very fast. Now they are double gated Except when we are home and out working in the yard and they then have free run with us. All know their names pretty well, several have "come when called" that is the envy of many dog owners. And their milk is fundamental food that we thrive on here.

"Dairy" goats are selectively bred to have excess milk beyond what their kids need. And yes they are "kids" to me, vs "children" are those 2 legged ones :grin So we only take the excess milk, as I am breeding to improve the breed, the kids are valuable, and get all the milk they need for the first few months.

I sometimes take the "teenagers" to gardening clients with me to work. I'm working on a project trying to quantify how much gasoline and carbon is saved both by the trips for yard waste that aren't taken, as well as less hay is needed with so much hyperlocal food, and I believe they are healthier with the diverse and mostly woody forage that goats are designed to eat. And I'm in a totally urban setting, you just have get creative and flexible.

Anyway, when I take them to work gardening, they will stick right by me and work right alongside me. It has taken some training to get them to eat their own, and not eat of the can of stuff I've pruned or weeded and will take back to those at home. They jump in and out of my truck like anyone who takes their dogs around with them. They are not quite as 100% about potty training but can be pretty good, and their poop is like rabbit pellets, not awful like dog.

Its often more about who is training whom, and goats are something you have to negotiate with to have a happy existence for both, accept feed back from the system and make adjustments. If you are a control freak, goats might frustrate you, like cats people have said, but so much more productive!

Its a very symbiotic relationship and meets a multitude of needs for both us and them here. But goats aren't for everyone for sure! Generally those getting goats and trying to get by "cheap milk" seem to have less satisfaction than those going for quality in genetics, fencing and setup, and nutrition that then goes directly into us. That's not to say its elitist, its that I'm healthy again with my goat milk, being sick a lot was far more expensive. I say, "money can't buy my milk"... I know the feed, how the offsprinng are treated, the health, sanitation etc. Its very satisfying for me on many levels.
 
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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Commercial goat's milk and cheese is awful.

Fresh goat's milk is better than cow's milk. In fact, it's sweeter.

Yes, goats will need better pens than other livestock, but nothing that a good electric fence can't contain. (Minimum of 1 joule)

Buck goats do stink during rut. They smell like buck deer during rut. We rub our coats on my buck when we go hunting to throw off the human scent. True story.

 
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
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I'm new to having goats, so perhaps I don't know some of the difficulties involved, but they've been great so far. No attempts to escape, and they've respected the regular 4 ft wire fencing I use for the chickens-- I haven't needed electric or barbed wire. I know they can bark your trees, but I thought they only did that if there weren't sufficient leaves available.

It seems to me that there is a tremendous opportunity in letting animals turn our waste stream into fertilizer. Chickens, pigs, and ducks do a great job dealing with food waste, but goats seem to be in the best position to handle yard waste. Any wood left after goats have stripped it of leaves and bark could easily become the base of a hugel bed.

 
M H Bonham
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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Mountain Krauss wrote:I'm new to having goats, so perhaps I don't know some of the difficulties involved, but they've been great so far. No attempts to escape, and they've respected the regular 4 ft wire fencing I use for the chickens-- I haven't needed electric or barbed wire. I know they can bark your trees, but I thought they only did that if there weren't sufficient leaves available.

It seems to me that there is a tremendous opportunity in letting animals turn our waste stream into fertilizer. Chickens, pigs, and ducks do a great job dealing with food waste, but goats seem to be in the best position to handle yard waste. Any wood left after goats have stripped it of leaves and bark could easily become the base of a hugel bed.



Goats are awesome IMNSHO!
 
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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I have 5 pygmies and I love them too. I agree that they can be aggravating, they might rip my fence open, but it's chicken wire and I don't expect it to hold anything more than... well, chickens. I'll eventually get a better fence, and fence my whole property with a good fence. It might be my fault any way since we have left their horns on and they use them to pry the fence open... I have never seen them eat any bark, like a lot of people complain about, and I truly think that has to be from starvation/nutrient deprivation. If you feed them enough of the good stuff, you should not have a problem. We let them free run nearly all hours of sunlight and we have had no problem. They poop everywhere, but that's what I want. FREE FERTILIZER!!! It was pretty dry when we got them, so when they ate the grass in their pen down pretty low it started to dry out. But with all their manure in there and with the rains back it is greener than before!! Mine don't climb on my cars, but they are only pygmies and are not very tall. We were scared when we first got them every time they got out, but now that they know where home is they always return to their pen. Besides, when they do break out, they show me where the weak points in the fence are, and by the time I am done reinforcing it, it'll be able to hold in a rhinoceros!!. Goats rule!
BTW I've owned goats foe only two months now and that was my first time buying them.
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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Tried to attach photos to my post, but my computer didn't want to, so here are pictures of my goats. I hope this encourages others to sharing their pictures/memories of their lovable goats!
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The Herd
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Rambo, our alpha buck
 
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I enjoy my friends' goats but want none of my own. They are a lot of work and attention and I love my blueberry bushes.

I have had many friends have goats for a whileand then decide they don't want goats after all. Only two families out of maybe ten have stuck with it for the long haul.

I am a big fan of goat cheese
 
M H Bonham
Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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We had a surprise last week:



 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Growing up on the arctic circle "milk" was dehydrated powder or Borden's condensed in a can. Nearest cow was about 200 miles away in Big Delta. But there was this one woman with 2 dairy goats in a stout log barn. My mom sent me there on an errand and I got handed a quart Mason jar of still-warm goat's milk to take home. So delicious! (Of course it was the first whole fresh milk I ever tasted.). You'll never convince me that goat milk tastes bad...
 
Posts: 73
Location: Nova Scotia
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I agree with you Leah. They are the star of our farm. Don't listen to Paul on this one.

M H Bonham your right too, nothing compares to fresh goat products.

The key to goats is moderation to me. 2 goats works awesome for us, we get 11 months a year of milk production and mow most of the "lawn"for us.
3 wires spaced 14" on 6' posts has never had an escape. I make sure goats no what the fence is with a nudge against it or two, the first day and never have a problem after. We keep the kids for 1 month in a large pen w/mom and don't bottle feed, unless nescessary.

Goats rule!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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