Speaking of cheese, goat thoughts

gardengalrn(5KS)September 20, 2005

I had been looking up info on goats and have several questions. Would a lone goat be happy? Aside from cheese, is goat milk good to use in cooking? Am I right in thinking a goat would help keep weeds and grass mowed? On the same token, are they very destructive? My grandmother had goats around that she didn't milk but they seemed to be friendly creatures.Thanks in advance, Lori

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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

I think a goat is like every other animal, people included, and happier with a friend. Remember that you need a freshened goat ( mother) to get milk anyway. If you keep a billy with her, the female will be smelly too and the milk will be stronger. A goat will eat grass, but is usually picky and doesn't "mow" nearly as evenly as I'd like. They seem to be picky about weeds too -- love milkweed and won't touch thistle.
Destructive? No more than children. Daughter's goat got out once when the grape vines were starting to look very promising. No grapes that year!

Yes, you can use goat milk in any kind of cooking. We did everything with it except pour it in a glass -- mind block, you know. It made fantastic ice cream and pancakes with Goat milk and duck eggs were twice as high as normal. Depending on the breed of goat, the milk is usually quite rich. Ours were Nubians, the ones with long floppy ears, and that milk is supposed to be the richest, and also naturally homogenized. The goats were tremendously friendly, and baby goats are a sight to behold. You could even sell tickets to see them cavort around. The only real downside I can remember is the smell of the billy and HORNS!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 12:58AM
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littlereo(Conklin Mi.)

Hi, I just found this site. Hope you see it!
Goats need a buddy, be it a dog, horse, or another goat. But like the post above you have to have a billy (stinky, from Sep,-Feb) But if you know of someone that has a billy you won't need one there. If you get a Doe, and a billy you WILL need to keep him far away from her when you milk, because the milk will taste just like what he smells like!!!!!!!! When it comes time to kid, try to be there, and be with the kid as much as you can, or even bottle feed it, you will have a freind for life!
I use goat milk with everything, I can't have cows milk, so I make cheese, yogurt, soap. I have not come to eating them yet, don't know if I could. If it came from another farm maybe!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 9:45AM
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I love goats. They will nibble on just about anything. Poison Ivy and Mt laural are its favorites, but Mt laural is deadly. Use the does milk to bottle feed, especially the first few days 'cause of the viatamins. Definately need a companion. I had a Nubian with either a Tog or Alpine. Milk is can be used by lactose intolerant persons, and once you're use to it you won't like cows milk. Hope this helps...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 6:15PM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

The first few days of any momma, goats included, produce colostrum, super-fortified milk loaded with immunities and, yes, vitamins. Don't lose even a drop of it if you can help. Can be frozen if you have too much. Freeze it in plastic pop bottles (leave head space) and then you can just pop a nipple on them to feed. The colostrum isn't very good to drink or cook with, so wait a week or so before you start to use the milk. Hmmm, soap? Sounds interesting.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 11:13PM
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Here's a really great goat site that I like to visit & got lots of info from....

Here is a link that might be useful: Fias Co Farm

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 3:05PM
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albionjessica(z5 MI)

You should keep at least two goats because they are herd animals. You can keep 2+ does to get a year-long supply of milk if you plan their breeding out right. You can also get a wether to go with your doe. A wether is a castrated male, and they are some of the friendliest creatures alive if you buy right. I wouldn't suggest keeping a buck with your doe as it will taint your milk. I have also seen small farms that had a single goat living with their sheep or llamas. They just need friends.

Goats do love to forage, but they are picky. They can't resist your prized flowers or any kind of fruit/berry wood. They gobble up weeds like nothing, but tend to avoid eating a lot of grasses. If you want them to stay out of your flowers, put up a good fence. If you have problems with them stripping your poor apple trees, cover the trunks in burlap or protective plastic.

Make sure you research all the different breeds, and get one suited for you. And buy from a breeder, not from an auction or an ad in the daily paper.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 7:26PM
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chiefgraybear(East Tennessee)

I've had many goats in the past and have throughly enjoyed every moment with them. They are just like puppies when it comes to following you around. I noticed that some of the folks warned you about the Buck tainting the flavor of the milk. This is true. During breeding season the Buck becomes very smelly. This comes from him urinating on his beard. This scent causes the does to become sexually attracted to him. I have had several bucks at one time and found that the easiest way to deal with the oder is to take a rag soaked in Pinesol and wipe the beard down. This will not totally eliminate the oder, but will make it easier to get around him with out gagging. Use the pinesol rag about once a week, except during breeding season, and everyone around you will be happy. If you can, keep the bucks seperated from the does until breeding time, then put the does in with the bucks, not the other way around. This will keep the bucks focused on what they are doing and not on investagating a new area.
So far as the horns go, they can be "Budded" just after birth. This requires a "debudding iron" and some knowledge on how to use it. Ask the breeder that you get your goats from if they know how to debudd the kids and if they do, if they will show you how to do it when your does are kidding.
My favorite breeds for milk production would be the Nubian and the La Mancha. Both of these are very docile and easy to handle. They are larger than other milk goats, but that will serve two purposes; 1) greater milk production, and 2) more meat at a younger age.
Goat products are endless. You can drink the milk, make ice cream, cheese, soap, cream, meat, etc. The only thing that you have to remember is that you have to cool the milk as soon as possible and you MUST use CLEAN utinsils when milking. For these items, I recomend an outfit called Jeffer's. You can look them up on line and request one of their catalogs.
Goat meat is the leading source of meat in almost two thirds of the world. It is very lean, much like venison. If you have male kids born to your does, it is best to casturate them within the first two weeks of life. I use an "elastricator". It is an insturment that looks like a pair of pliers that streches a very small rubber band which is slipped over the testicals and released between the testicals and the body. You can purchase this at your local co-op, along with other things that you will need for your "medicine chest". This will insure that the meat doesn't take on the "strong taste" that is associated with the Bucks. The casturated males are called Wethers. It is best to harvest the meat before they reach 6 months of age for tender meat. I feed mine a mixture of alfalfa and "sweet-feed" for about a month before I harvest them.
I would recomend two does to start, depending on the amount of land you have for them to graze on. You also need to keep in mind that goats are browsers. Meaning that they would rather eat at their head level or above than graze with their heads down. They love to eat the leaves and young fruits off of trees. If you don't want them to do that, you'll have to protect the trees somehow. I use stiff wire fencing that keeps the goats out of reach of the trees. This doesn't mean that they won't eat up your garden if given a chance, they will.
Goats also have an ability to squeeze themselves through the smallest holes in your fencing. To deal with this, I recomend the use of an electric wire placed about 16" and 32" off the ground with red ribbons tied to it as a warning signal to the goats. This will keep them in and any preditors out.
I recomend that you find some good books on raising goats, (visit the ADGA.com site (American Dairy Goat Assoc.), and look at the Foxfire books for information on goats and making their products), and read them BEFORE you buy one, and have everything ready when you bring your first one home.
It will seem like a lot of work to prepare for the goats, but believe me, for the enjoyment you will get out of it, it is worth every minute of it. Good Luck, Gray Bear

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 3:05PM
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CGB, for the electric wires located at 16 and 32 inches from the ground- was that enough for 100% fencing?
Did you have any other wires?
I thought goats would both slip under and jump over just two wires!
Thanks for any insight on that.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 11:06PM
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chiefgraybear(East Tennessee)

Mountain Man,
I've used the electric wires at those hights for several years and not had any problems with escapees, although it took several attemps to find the right hights for the two wires. I have seen other goat fences with three strands, but it's been my experience that once a goat gets "bit" once or twice, they learn to stay away from it. Most of my goats are in the medium range, (30-36" in hight) with a few minitures and a few full size.
The biggest problem I have is that after a high wind storm, I have to inspect the wires for limbs across them or breaks in the wire. I use a circut tester to check the current before I go off checking the lines to save time. No use checking for something that doesn't exist.
I hope that this answers your questions. Gray Bear

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 1:18PM
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The link below should be helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Modern Dairy Goat

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 6:34AM
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    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 11:08PM
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Not sure exactly what you are looking for, but if you don't have a lot of land and want a managable type of dairy goat, look into Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are OH SO SWEET and good dairy goats, but of small stature. You can easily have two or three does, for what it would take for the normal sized dairy goat. And since goats really are herd animals, that would be lonely on their own, this may be the way to go. As far as breeding goes, there will probably be someone in your area, (if not the breeder you purchase your does from), that would be willing to offer the services of a buck, for a small fee...and that fee will always be less than that of keeping the buck for 1 year. Don't expect your goats to eat a lot of brush and such, especially if you expect to use their milk. Keep in mind that what they intake, will flavor or comprimise the taste of the milk! But a couple of Nigerian Dwarf does, don't really eat all that much alfalfa and grain. And the joy they bring into your life, will be easily repaid, in smiles, laughter and if you are lucky... milk, cheese, ice cream and such!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 1:07AM
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I am working on my fence and preparing to buy my first goats. I'll be getting two does. This is a great thread, I can't wait to try making cheese and soap with my goats milk.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 9:56AM
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