knowing what you would like your goats to help you accomplish is the first step in determining which breed of goat is right for you. Goats are within the classification called ruminant. This classification includes those animals of whom possess four stomachs.
Goats should not be kept alone but should instead be part of a herd. Since they can live longer than seven years, if you are considering getting a herd of goats, you should be prepared to take care of them for this amount of time. Goats provide you as an owner with several benefits – food in the form of milk or meat, clothing in the form of fibre or skin, and fuel in the form of manure.
These animals also provide some indirect benefits. One such benefit, is the way goats have a habit of helping us realize where our food comes from. By being aware of your food source and how to better it, you can increase your self-sufficiency. Dairy goats can help you reduce or even eliminate your need to purchase dairy. Your goats will need to have kids to provide you with milk.
Once this occurs, they will be available for milking for another three years without the need to have more kids. You will need to stop milking pregnant goats at the end of the pregnancy during the last two months to help provide more for the kids. One normal-sized dairy goat can provide three or four quarts of milk per day.
Goat Cheese & Milk
Cheese can also be made from the milk. This process usually yields around a pound of cheese for each gallon of milk. In addition to saving money, by producing your own dairy, you will have full control over the quality and safety of the food you take in. Additionally, goat milk is an excellent option or those without the ability to digest milk from cows. As long as you abide by your local laws, you should be able to sell the excess milk to make a profit or help with the cost of raising your goats.
Goat meat is also rising in popularity. It has always been popular in developing countries due to the less expensive nature of goats in comparison to cows. However, as more people move from these countries to more developed countries and bring their customs and recipes with them, goat meat continues to grow in popularity worldwide. Another benefit of goat meat is it is a lean protein source.
When you raise your own goats you can also control how they are raised. Too often animals who are farmed in a confined space are not allowed to exercise or eat fresh grass. If you use your goats for their meat or milk you will know exactly what kind of medications they were given and what they had to eat. This can provide great peace of mind. Your goats can serve as an alternative source of income.
However, it is important to do your research before jumping into such an endeavour. You should first research whether there is any demand for goat meat in your region. This can be done by visiting local auctions to witness the prices being fetched for meat goats or by checking your local newspaper’s agricultural section. Next, it is important to find out how many animals can be kept on the size of the land you are occupying.
This will be important for calculating your potential profit. To start raising meat goats, you will need to first purchase some. This means you should check to see how much it costs to procure your initial goats. There are several ways the slaughtering of your goats can be done – you can do it yourself, sell them in an auction, have someone come to your farm to slaughter them or you can take your goats to a slaughterhouse.
If you need to take your goats somewhere, proper transportation must also be considered. Not all slaughterhouses are created equal. You should identify your nearest USDA certified facility. Laws and finances will play a big part in your decision-making regarding slaughter methods.
Fibre is another reason to raise goats. Different kinds of goats produce different kinds of fibre. Different breeds produce all Cashmere, mohair, and cashgora. Adult angoras can provide anywhere between eight and sixteen pounds of mohair every year. A young goat, called a kid, can provide somewhere in the neighbourhood of three to five pounds. Goats producing cashmere and cashgora are not able to provide as much fibre as angoras but the fibre is worth more.
Fibre goats produce fibre, which is used to make things like blankets, clothing and headwear. Many people believe there is a breed of goats called cashmere but this is not the case. Cashmere, instead, refers to the downy hair from certain breeds. Central Asia is the main region where cashmere is harvested. Cashmere sweaters are so expensive because it requires the fibre from four goats to make one sweater.
Goat as Landscaper
Goats can also prove to be handy landscapers. It is common knowledge they are skilled in eliminating weeds. Goats prefer rougher plants. Some people even rent out their goats to be used by cities to eliminate blackberry bushes and weeds, which have taken over a piece of land. Goats not only eliminate annoying weeds but can also reduce the need for herbicides, better the fertility of the soil, widen the range of plants in the area and reduce the danger of a fire breaking out.
Other animals like cows or sheep can coexist with goats in the same area. Even if you intend to use your goats for other purposes, they can still be handy when it comes to clearing land. Just make sure to keep them safe with fencing or a guard animal. It is important to understand goats eat weeds, not grass.
Goat Breeding & Kidding
Sheep are much more suited for eating grass. Breeding is usually a big part of owning goats. If you are using your goats to provide dairy, you will need to breed them to produce enough dairy in the long run. Goats who are sold or slaughtered will also need to be replaced, which most is easily done through breeding. Additional money can be made outside of selling dairy from selling kids. Another potential income earner is providing a bucking service.
Bucking is when you lease out your buck for breeding purposes. People choose to hire a bucking service for several reasons. Some do not have the space to keep their own buck or simply do not want to deal with the complications coming from keeping their own. Others are looking for certain genetic aspects, which can only be gained through breeding with outside bloodlines. Outside of mere profit-earning potential, goats make for excellent companions.
This is not common knowledge but is becoming more and more well known. Miniature goat breeds have grown in popularity, especially among city dwellers.
These breeds include – pygmy, Nigerian dwarf and a variety of miniature dairy breeds.
Goats as Pet
Goats are intelligent creatures that can also serve as comic relief. Many miniature breeds can be house and car broken. By taking them out with you, you are likely to meet new people and have the opportunity to help educate others on the wonderful characteristics of goats. If you are considering keeping a goat as a pet, it is important to understand they are herd animals.
This means you should always have at least two goats. Goats can also be leash trained and can go for walks just as a dog might. This can provide socialization and exercise for both you and your goat. Once a goat has established a bond with you, they will greatly enjoy spending time with you. They can go hiking with you and help carry your things. They can find food in nature most of the time and are therefore helpful without asking much in return.
Those who are seriously considering taking their goat packing should select a large sturdy goat and spend plenty of time training them for the journey. Goats can even make great therapy animals. Your goat should be specially trained for this kind of work. These animals have been known to help work with children who have autism. Goats can help improve sensory and social skills in the young and old alike.
Teaching children how to care for and maintain goats is a good way for them to learn responsibility. Caring for a goat requires chores twice each day and children caring for goats can be a part of a 4-H project. For children who decide to participate in a 4-H project involving goat care, should expect to create a budget, make a speech and write a report, demonstrate common care like hoof-trimming, attend a goat show to observe, participate in a fair with the goat, milk the goat and make cheese, leash train the goat and create a piece of work for a goat news source.
Before getting a goat, you should definitely make sure they are the right animal for you. This can be determined by researching them and their habits as much as possible. Additionally, you should try to spend some time with goats to get a feel for them and their personalities. Goats can live upwards of 15 years. If you are, buying goats as companions or for dairy, you should be prepared to be responsible for them for long. At the minimum, goat owners should spend 30 minutes with their goats in the morning and again at night.
If you have a larger number of goats or are using them for their dairy, meat or fibre, you will need to spend more time with them. Goats should be fed hay and grasses they would normally find in a pasture and should be given plenty of water. Time spent with your goats should include cleaning, watering, feeding and making sure they are safe and healthy. You will likely end up wanting to spend more time with them as you start to enjoy their personalities.
For those without the flexibility in their work schedule to handle emergencies, someone should be hired to look in on your goats while you are away. If you decide to get a goat as a pet there are a few things you should look out for when selecting your animal – sociable, tameness, and ones without horns. A buck should never be kept as a pet. Instead, you should get wether, which is a buck who has been castrated. A doe can make for a good pet but wethers require the least maintenance and tend to be sweet.
City dwellers should definitely get miniature goats. Miniatures are easier to handle and are therefore good for those with a physical disability. Laws and ordinances in your area often regulate keeping goats as pets. You should always check first before buying a goat. Goats may be prohibited in your area or you may receive complaints from neighbours. These can be managed by knowing the law and working to get laws changed which might negatively affect you and your goats.