We just started raising goats on our homestead in September of 2017. Like adding anything to the homestead, there’s much to learn and prepare before hand. As I always do, I took to the internet, books, and talking to experts on what we needed to do to prepare for raising goats.
The reason we decided to start raising goats is because we found out that some of us are A1 milk casein intolerant and most cow milk is A1. Goat milk is A2 casein so that is why we went straight to the idea of raising goats. You can get A2 cows but they are bit more expensive than goats. We do plan to have an A2 cow in addition to our goats at some point. You can read the reasons why we want a cow too.
How to Prepare For Raising Goats in
6 Simple Steps
The first item of business it choosing a goat breed. What is the primary purpose of raising goats for you? What are the most important factors about the breed? We are raising goats for milk and we have a large family. The most important factors for us are milk quantity, butterfat content, and demeanor. We settled on Nubians because they give a larger amount of milk and it is sweeter and creamier than some other breeds. The breed is also docile and friendly. Their ears are just too stinkin’ cute and that’s super important too 😉 .
Setting up your property for raising goats. Goats are very good at getting out of fences. We use high tensile electric fence that is very hot. The goats have gotten out a couple of times when the fence was grounding out and not giving enough shock. When the fence is on full power, they stay in.
Many people find that a no climb field fence works well to keep goats in. I advise that you run a strand of electric above the fence because goats can climb (even no climb) fence. The size of the breed needs to be considered as well. If you are raising a small breed, you’ll want the wire very close to the ground so that they don’t go under it. Also, be mindful of gaps at your gates, goats can squeeze right through if it is just wide enough. Good latches are a must, goats like to open things as well.
What will your goats eat? For us, feeding non-gmo feed and no spray hay is very important. We have found a feed that suits or needs. We have also found a resource for organic hay as well as no spray peanut hay. It is quite the commitment for us to buy this feed because it is about a 2 hour drive to the locations. Our goats also have plenty of pasture most of the year to graze.
Finding your goats. This is probably the most important factor. You can easily find goats advertised and pick them up from any random person who has them advertised for sale but, I would caution you against doing this. Not to say that someone selling goats out of their backyard isn’t a good person to buy from, you just need to know enough about them to make an educated decision.
You want to be sure that the herd is clean and free of diseases. Be sure to ask for with test results as proof to show that they have a clean herd. You don’t have to get fancy and go for championship bloodlines but you do want to ask lots of questions to make sure you are getting quality goats that are healthy and produce well.
How will you transport your goats? Goats aren’t very large animals and can be transported inside a vehicle but you’ll definitely want to put some sort of protective covering down. We have 2 methods of transporting our goats. Derek built a “goat hauler” for the bed of his truck. This is perfect for hauling 2-3 goats at a time as long as they are all does. When we haul more goats or have a buck to haul with them, we use our livestock trailer. It has a partition so we can put the buck in one section and the does in another. You may also be able to arrange transportation with the breeder or someone you know.
What do you need to have on hand? There are several items that you should have when your goats come home. We started by getting our feed, goat minerals, baking soda, herbal dewormer, homemade electrolytes (recipe to make it on hand), collars, building a milk stand, milking equipment, and hoof trimmers. I’m sure there will be more things to acquire along the way but this is what we wanted to have on hand before we started raising goats.
Following these steps should get you ready to bring your very own goats home. Is there anything that I didn’t mention that you would add to it?
We love having our goats! They are sweet, loving (except Tango when she’s bred, it makes her cranky), and fun to watch. They have so much personality and follow us around the farm like puppies. The cuteness factor itself is enough to justify having them on our homestead.
Raising goats is definitely an adventure. You just never know what your goats are going to do or try to get into. I’ve found that I really love my goats…… even when they ate my citrus trees and bushes. I’m so glad that we decided to start raising goats and I don’t want to not have goats on my homestead again.
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