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Backyard Dairy Goats is a book focusing on raising dairy goats in a way that respects their nature, on any amount of land.

Backyard dairying is achievable for anyone. It doesn't have to be a dream that may happen one day in the distant future, it could happen now, and this book will show you how.

Topics covered include:

-Everything you need to know about goats - their behaviour, how to feed them, handle them, what they need to thrive, and so on.

-Natural goat health, how to prevent and fix most issues without a vet.

-Learning from observation, and goat behaviour in the wild to provide the right foods for goats to thrive.

-A permaculture approach, looking at the whole backyard ecosystem and the many interactions between goats, animals, garden, people, and trees.

-Goat dairy as a homemade staple food, for health, survival and self reliance. Recipes included!

-Small batch natural cheesemaking.

Backyard Dairy Goats is a practical book to be looked at whenever there is a question about goats, and also a guide that will take the complete beginner from knowing nothing about goats, to finding their first goats, through to being a confident dairy goat owner that can deal with (and prevent) common goat medical issues.

Not just for backyards

This book is relevant for larger bits of land as well, especially in the early years while you're waiting for perennials to grow or waiting to build more fences. Goat milk provides an instant harvest, with a minimal amount of brought-in feed, using smaller amounts of land and food than cows, while providing manure for the garden.

Where to get it?

Here on the Permies digital market
Book Depository

Related Threads

"Backyard Dairy Goats" book--thread about the kickstarter and the book!
A dairy goat’s place in the backyard ecosystem --an excerpt from the book!

Related Websites

Kickstarter campain to fund "Backyard Dairy Goats"
The Nourishing Hearthfire --Kate's blog about her farm and goats
steward & bricolagier
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Location: SW Missouri
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Backyard Dairy Goats by Kate Downham

I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.
This is a book for the small scale homesteader who has only a few goats, and wants to raise them naturally, as opposed to most of the goat books I have seen that are for people keeping huge herds of goats and medicating them and feeding them the minimal amount of food they need to stay alive. This is EXACTLY what I have wanted in a goat book!

Topics covered include the basics:
Basic illnesses

But also include things I find more useful:
Dealing with neighbors and landlords
Identifying good goats to buy
Borrowing a buck
Teaching a goat to get on the milking stand
What they are not allowed to eat
Herd dynamics
And how to make cheese!

Definitely an excellent book for the small scale goat keeper, and really worth the read. :D
master steward
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I also give this book 9 out of 10 acorns! I loved the information in it, and actually shared some of it with my goat-keeping neighbors, and it was stuff they didn't know. I loved learning how to be the head, and the different colored goats need slightly different amounts of different nutrients, and the cheese recipes look really helpful (I'm not at a place right now to start making cheese, but I'm glad I've got a handy reference!).

I do wish that there was a bit more in the book. More about the whys of certain natural treatments, and a list of references (I always loved having those references when doing research--it lead to many more great books to read!).

But, still, this little book is packed with information from about goats from baby to nursing mama and even how to whether a goat, and ailments and how to check for them and prevent them and treat them. I love the holistic look on goat and how they fit into different sized homestead and how to incorporate them into your permaculture system, rather than just keep them isolated.

This is a book to have, to reread, to use as a reference, and to lend to your goat keeping friends and neighbors. I know I'll be lending mine to my neighbors so they, too, can benefit from the knowledge in it. Even if you don't have goats or plan to have goats (I hope to have have sheep--and would LOVE a permaculture sheep book!), this book is a great reference to have, and a great wealth of knowledge to help you when working with other people's goats!
gardener & author
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There have been a few more reviews on Amazon now. I thought I would share them here:

Great facts and descriptive tips, loved all the natural suggestions, property tips, care and even yummy recipes to make with goats milk

This book is a great source of information about natural goat raising, and can be read by those who are completely new to raising goats, or by those who already have goats, but want to take a more natural approach.

I do not yet have goats, but thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as it gave me a very informative insight into what things to expect when raising them. The author addresses common goat keeping issues and offers plenty of advice and natural solutions to simple health problems, which has come from her own experience with natural goat keeping.

I found all of it very useful and easy to read, from learning about herd dynamics, right down to what to look for when purchasing goats. I know this will be a book that I will refer to often.

I look forward to learning milking and trying out the home made cheese recipes!

Great book for beginners! Although she is talking mostly about milk goats, you could use it for any goat! She doesnt talk about all of the type of goat, but the basics in detail. She talks about

Bringing your goats home
Cheesemaking and recipies
And much much more!

She talks about how to think when building a paddock. She said that goats dont like to eat food off the ground, Yup! She even covered something that small! So i definitely recommend it!

It's so lovely to have nice feedback!
Kate Downham
gardener & author
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A new five star review on Amazon:

I love this book, and highly recommend it! It's great comprehensive information, written in a very down to earth, practical style, organized in a way that makes sense. I'm new to goat stewardship, and this book has been a huge help, to me, as well as helping to calm many of my husband's fears, too.

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Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia
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I also give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

This book was quite refreshing compared to the various other goat books (about 4) that I have read which seem to lack information on feeding and natural parasite control.  

I feel I finally have a book I would feel good giving out to a friend interested in getting into raising goats.  The book covers goat keeping in a more holistic approach and makes it seem manageable - a "Yes you can raise goats and here is how to get started" kind of book. It has great information on the basics of goat keeping, without all of the information on how to treat a goat with shots/needles/medications.

I appreciated seeing in this book:
-The goat's place in the ecosystem.
-A goat herders responsibilities
-Natural prevention for Mastitis
-How to deal with escaped goats
-Goat Health System Checker

Why i am not giving this 10 acorns is the cheese recipes, which account for a large portion of the book(about 65 pages out of 167). I know if you are going to have goats, you might also want to make cheese. So I get why it is there, I just found myself wanting more on goat keeping. Like Nicole, I would have liked to see more about the why of the natural treatments.

Thank you Kate for writing this very down to earth book!
author & pollinator
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns. It's a book I wish I'd had when I was first researching goats.

I admit Kate won me over in the first couple of pages: goats are her favorite animal, she mentions Pat Coleby's book, Natural Goat Care (one of my go-tos), and she makes her cheeses with natural cultures (me too)! Even though it's geared toward folks in the early stages of goat keeping, I'm tracking in the same direction. So I knew I would not only enjoy reading this book, but would glean useful tidbits from Kate's experience and research.

What sets this book apart from most other books about keeping goats, is a keyword in the title, "Backyard." While most other books about goats assume acreage, Kate keeps her goats in her backyard. That makes this book unique, and I would say important in times such as these, when many folks are looking for ways to expand personal food security. More people have backyards than acres, and this book is perfect for them.

The book is divided into five sections: Understanding Goats, The Needs of Backyard Goats, Getting Your Goats, Day to Day Goat Keeping, and Cheesemaking and Recipes.

Understanding Goats begins with "A goat's place in the backyard ecosystem" and provides excellent reasons why keeping your own goats is good for you, the environment, and your property. This section covers goat behavior, herd dynamics, handling goats, introducing goats to the milking stand, introducing new goats to the herd, dealing with escaped goats, and how to herd goats. "Goat health and observation" covers common health issues with goats and how to prevent them.

The Needs of Backyard Goats covers shelter, different kinds of fencing, bedding, and feeding goats, including things you can do and grow yourself. All important water and minerals are covered in detail. You'll also find tips for acquiring a milking stand. This section concludes with everything a prospective goatherd needs to understand before committing to the responsibility of caring for goats.

Getting Your Goats contains information you need to know beforehand. Discusses what to check on before bringing goats to your backyard, and how to deal with potential objections from neighbors! Discusses horned goats versus no horns, dairy goat breeds, and how much milk you can expect. Tells you how to spot a good quality goat and where to look for dairy goats. The author gives you a list of questions to ask as you consider potential purchases, (something I wish I'd had when I got my first goats). Transporting goats is also discussed.

Day to Day Goat Keeping helps you sleuth your way through health observations and questions goatkeepers face, as well as basic natural "cure all remedies" to get the new goatkeeper started. You'll learn how to give an injection, how to check eye membrane color for internal parasites, and what you need to know about breeding, pregnancy, and kidding. The remainder of the section gives excellent details on milking and milk handling.

Cheesemaking and Recipes starts with information about ingredients and equipment. Quick and simple cheese recipes follow, and then you'll find a thorough discussion of how to make cultured and renneted cheeses. All the cultures discussed are natural alternatives to commercial powdered cheese starters. All the cheese recipes in this book use natural cultures. My own favorite cheeses are included, along with a good variety of cheeses I haven't tried. Yet! The recipe section finishes up with recipes for using your cheese. I'm especially looking forward to trying her Chévre pastry crust and cheesecake.

The information in this book to the point, yet personal, and well organized. It brings hope to people who might want their own homegrown source of milk, but thought they needed an actual farm to do so. You don't! This book will give you all the information you need to make a happy, healthy start with goats.
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