Raising Goats is quite common on small farms and homesteads whether as a dairy animal or a meat option goats can be a great addition to the farm. Goats have many great benefits, but they also come with certain needs that don’t always make them the right fit for everyone. Before you dive in to the world of goat keeping it’s important to do your research and make sure that they will be a good match for your homestead or family.
Before You Get Started Raising Goats
Before you run out and get goats you need to do some research, start by checking if you have any restrictions or covenants on your property. Next see if you have enough land for goats, a miniature breed require less space then a full size breed. Now you need to decide if goats are right for you.
To get you started on your research:
Are Goats Right For Me?
Some things to consider when deciding if goats are right for you:
- Goats are escape artists- if you have a weak point in your fence they will go over, under or through it.
- To get milk you need to breed your goats which means babies every year.
- If you are interested in keeping a dairy animal, do you like goats milk?
- If you are interested in meat goats, do you like goat meat?
- Are you prepared to deal with horned goats? If not are you comfortable with finding someone to disbud them for you?
- Do you have room to keep a buck? It will need to be kept separate from your girls when the babies are born and when the does are in milk.
- If your don’t keep a buck you’ll need to find someone that will allow you to “rent” their buck.
- You’ll need to do testing on your herd (especially if you are renting a buck) yearly for CAE/CL which will require a blood test.
- Selling the babies – if you don’t have room to keep them all you are going to need to sell the babies every year.
Raising goats is both rewarding, and can be a pain. Goats have loveable personalities and quirks but they can also be a lot of work and trying on your patience.
Raising Goats: Picking The Right Breed
Now is the time to decide if you want a meat breed or a dairy breed of goats. There are a wide range of breeds out their for you to choose from. Here is a good guide to meat goat breeds, and diary goat breeds. For small homesteads, like ours a Nigerian Dwarf breed may be a good option for you.
How To Raise Goats
Raising goats can be challenging at times, so it’s a great idea to find a mentor that can help you. You also want to learn about caring for goat, this will help to set you up for success.
Raising Goats: Baby Goats
Baby goats are adorable! And absolutely addicting, but before you dive into the wonderful bouncy world of baby goats here are some great guides to raising baby goats:
- What Do Baby Goats Eat?
- Caring For Nigerian Dwarf Baby Goats
- How To Bottle Feed a Nigerian Dwarf Goat Kid
- How To Wean A Nigerian Dwarf Goat
Raising Goats: Caring for goats
One of the most important aspects of raising goats is knowing what you can and can not feed them. Goats are not as easy as a cat or dog. You can’t just pop by the pet store for a bag of feed, they need a good quality hay, fresh water, minerals, a secure pen, shelter, and access to pasture to graze.
Raising Goats: Pregnant Goat Care / Breeding
Before you get milk you first have to breed your goats, this can be both an exciting point in raising goats and a nerve racking one. These guides will help to walk you through the process:
- How To Tell If Your Goat Is In Heat For Beginners
- The #1 Ultimate Guide to Breeding Goats
- How Long Are Goats Pregnant?
- The Ultimate Pregnant Goat Care Guide
- 10 Signs A Goat Is In Labor For Beginners
Raising Goats: Winter Goat Care
Depending on where you live winter goat care will be a big part of raising Goats when the weather turns cold. You’ll need to ensure you have a good source of hay to get you through the winter, a shelter that they can get out of the wind or rain in, and a way to keep their water from freezing. Here are some guides to help you out:
- The Ultimate Guide How To Care For Goats In The Winter
- The Ultimate Guide To Feeding Goats In The Winter
Resources For Raising Goats
Raising goats can feel overwhelming at times, so being well armed with resources is a must. I’ve compiled some of my favorite homesteaders, farmers, goatherds and more to help you out. These pages are filled with helpful tutorials, wisdom and all things goat.