As you’re building your homestead, you’ll no doubt consider adding more sophisticated livestock management to your list of tasks. Goats are a great choice for any homestead. Their small size makes them easy to manage, meaning you don’t need to add lots of expensive shelter, feed, or equipment to your budget. Here are some tips and benefits of raising goats.
Goats=a whole lot of fun
Like chickens (and probably any other kind of livestock), goats are a blast to raise. They are social animals, meaning they belong in a herd and will entertain each other (as well as you and your family). Make sure you install plenty of good fencing with easy access to water and food. Goats have a reputation for being stubborn, but as long as you respect them and make sure their needs are satisfied, this will not be a problem.
Goats=easy to feed
Goats are ruminant animals, meaning they eat similarly to deer. They like to browse, and will eat shrubs and small trees. Make sure you don’t shelter them in an area where you want to preserve the appearance of your shrubbery! They can’t, however, eat just anything–they don’t actually eat laundry like in the cartoons! That being said, goats can also make quick work of clearing unwanted sections of brush and woody debris. However, they still need certain nutrients. Make sure you provide them with proper nutrition via a pelletized feed.
Goats=milk and meat for years
Goats, obviously, are smaller in size than cows, yet produce rich and delicious milk that can feed your family for years. Goats’ milk is digested more easily than cow’s’ milk for individuals who cannot properly process lactose. It does require that you be vigilant about sheltering and milking your goats, especially during the winter months, but this is an easy accommodation to make in exchange for a constant supply of milk.
Goat is also a lesser known source of meat. Goats’ meat is delicious and lower in fat and calories than beef, yet quite similar in taste.
Some breeds of goat may also be raised for fiber, or material (such as wool). Not all goats produce equally desirable coats, so it’s necessary to research this before purchasing kids. The best goal for wool production is the Angora goat. These goats produce a long, curly wool similar to mohair. You do need to be vigilant about keeping the goat’s hair clean throughout the year, however, and shear it on an annual basis.
Goats are almost better than dogs when it comes to protection for your homestead. Goats are known to be noisy, which, of course, can be a tad disruptive at times, but also beneficial to the security of your homestead. Goats will bleat at anything and everything that passes by, alerting you to threats or even the occasional unwelcome solicitor.
With all of the aforementioned benefits listed, you can also build upon those to produce some sort of income for your homestead. Goat milk, meat, and fiber can all be sold (though sometimes certifications are necessary to do this commercially). The profits from raising goats can be used to enhance other areas of your homestead, or even to support your family on a smaller scale.
With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you raise goats? They are an easy step to raising farm mammals that will allow you to gain experience before moving on to larger species, such as cows. Plus, if you’ve ever been around a goat, whether young or old, you know the sheer pleasure that raising these animals offers to your daily life!