Goat Talk #3: Choosing Your Goats

PART 3 IN A 6 PART SERIES

We believe that goats make a greater contribution to creating a sustainable homestead for our kind of land and soil than any other animal. If you are still thinking about raising goats, even after learning how much time and work is involved, we would LOVE to help you. Selecting the breed of goats you want depends on your purpose for them in your lifestyle. The reasons for having goats ranges from keeping them for milk (some are better for milk to drink and others for cheese, butter, etc.), meat, fleece or keeping them as pets.  Some people use goats to control weeds, but be careful with the milkers; you probably don’t want your milk to taste like horehound. There are cross-breeds that can serve multiple purposes for milk and meat. Goats can also be trained to pull a cart. Goats of all kinds provide manure for composts and gardens.

We learned it will save you much time and money to clarify your purpose in raising goats before selecting them. As we said before, this intentionality was not how we began our goat rearing experience. We obtained our first seven goats from neighbors who could no longer take care of them. Whatever breed of goat your select, purchase the best quality you can afford. Registered goats will cost quite a bit more, but you may well have fewer health issues in the long run.

This is not to say you should avoid buying a kid (goat, that is) from your neighbor. Just try to get as much information as possible on their lineage, discover any health issues the parents may have had, and carefully observe how they have been kept—check the condition of fur, hoofs, weight, etc. What kind of shelter are they used to? Find out what they have been fed, their feeding schedules, if minerals were set out for them. Watch their behavior and dispositions. What part they played in the goat politics in the pen.

Once you have determined what you want your goats to provide for you, the internet can give you loads of information on what breeds are best for which application. You can also see what to look for in  terms of conformity, physical features, etc. when picking out the individual animal. Love that Youtube U.

http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/animals/livestock/12-popular-goat-breeds

http://theselfsufficientliving.com/15-famous-breeds-of-dairy-meat-and-other-types-of-goats/

https://thefreerangelife.com/best-dairy-goat-breeds/

https://owlcation.com/agriculture/how-to-choose-a-goat-breed

https://www.caprinesupply.com/recognizing-a-good-dairy-goat

https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-sheep-goats/choose-a-healthy-goat-ze0z11zkon

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