Why Not a Dairy Goat?

I feel the dairy goat is an absolute must for the small homestead. I have raised dairy goats for over 37 years and love this small, personable animal. All my "girls" and "guys" know they need to earn their keep at Twin Meadows and they do not disappoint me. We found early on that you will pay as much to support a "Heinz57" goat as a Purebred - so why not go for the best and let her offspring help feed her and their other farmstead friends. I have developed a fine herd of Purebred Nubian goats.

Their milk is sweet and pure and white. It is naturally homogenized, easily digested and well regarded for its' health benefits AND the Nubians have the highest butterfat content of dairy goats soooo is especially delicious.

Two dairy goats (two because they are very social and need companionship) will provide an average family with plenty of milk and other milk products - and meat (which is lean and healthy). Goats are fairly prolific being generous with twin births, often triplets and quads not uncommon. The kids are such a delight to watch and just roll you over with laughter that I consider them a health benefit as well................

We try to keep our herd up on the best genetics so as to offer their kids for sale for show, breeding, 4H, family milk, pet and meat. This usually generates enough income to provide feed for themselves and support our "horse" habit and feed the chickens for the winter.....plus a little "mad" money for me.....not to mention the milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, smoothies, ice cream, etc. they provide for the family - which was quite a huge savings for us when all 5 children were at home - and still is a very appreciated savings for the 3 of us who remain.

I try to keep two bucks of excellent bloodlines and offer them for service to those seeking their particular genetics - as well as having them service my herd. So - they not only produce outstanding kids which generates income, but also bring income in from outside breedings.

All of that aside, I just find the "flavor" of a dairy goat on a homestead is one of the most enjoyable aspects of life in the barn. They greet you upon sight, love to be groomed and petted, are easily taught to have manners on the milkstand, come in a variety of beautiful colors, clean your fencerows of weeds and take care of the underbrush throughout your property (they are browsers, like deer).

Do consider a dairy goat to enhance your homestead "value added-on" and to bring great pleasure to you in your relationship with them. An excellent site to learn more about dairy goats is the American Dairy Goat Association - just google it and sit back and enjoy.

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Amanda Lewis (Amanda)

February 24th, 2011 at 5:08pm

Aw, I love goats. Someday I will have a few, dairy and fiber.

Don Stephan (Don Stephan)

February 24th, 2011 at 7:25pm

Many many many years ago when I was much younger, Mom and Dad came home from a frequent visit to Brown County with four "fixed" Saanen (white) dairy goat kids. They were an absolute riot, and gentle as could be. Almost every evening Mom would simply slip a looped bailing twine leash around each neck and they would follow her up the hill to the back of another barn, and merrily munch on poison ivy for 10-15 minutes. When she had enough they would follow her like puppies back to the pasture gate.
In early fall I started finding one outside the fence. One morning he came running across the pasture, jumped and first his front feet and then his rear landed on a 1" wide cross bar between posts and over the fence. Wagging his tail like a happy dog, he trotted over, let me pet him for a few minutes, and then quite willingly went through the gate and stayed in the pasture.
Guess I shouldn't say they also tasted pretty darn good that winter. Wasn't my idea, but my parents both were raised on small family farms . . .

Amanda Lewis (Amanda)

February 25th, 2011 at 5:37pm

Don, I think there is no better way to eat meat, than animals you raised yourself. I have never had goat, although I have heard it is good. Me, I love lamb, mmm....

Amy Finney (Demeter)

March 3rd, 2011 at 11:58am

Goats are near the top of my list for my (future) small farm. I've read a lot of articles promoting goats over owning a Jersey cow for milk. I really don't know anything about them - how to select them, keep them healthy, etc. But, I plan to learn. Somehow, the sounds of goats bleating just seems like it should be part of every small farm. Thanks for stoking more of my daydreaming. ;)

Julie Gauthier (Cabinfever'd)

April 6th, 2011 at 1:13pm

I just can't wait to get out of suburbia & get a few nubians of my own- it's been good, but...Thanks for the great blog and allowing me to dream a little dream. The "Farm Jar" almost has enough....

Amber Oatman (Elizabeth Oatman)

June 6th, 2011 at 11:31am

Hello =] Many people have referred me to your blog. We are interested in raising a couple nubians for milk, cheese, butter, etc. I haven't really considered the meat part yet but would like some advice if possible. We live on just under an acre. Can you offer any advice on shelter and grazing? Feeding and watering? Basically everthing lol. Thank you! I appreciate it!

Amber Freeman (MTtech hunter)

June 7th, 2011 at 1:33pm

We live in an area where dairy cows are really not practically sustainable on the dry grasses. Montana is semi-arid, and the goats do so much better! We raise LaManchas and I am absolutely in love with them! They have amazing milk and I am thrilled with their gentle spirits. My youngest daughter shows them at fair. I completely agree with keeping the purebreds, I concluded the same thing a couple years ago and we culled our herd down to "the best of the best". We have a very small group of Boers, also, for meat purposes.

Amy Finney (Demeter)

June 7th, 2011 at 1:55pm

Oooo! Lamanchas! I've heard that they have sweet dispositions.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 29th, 2011 at 7:35am

They do have good flavor. Look for my blog on spit-roasted goat. It's not up yet, but hopefully soon. While Boer is the ideal meat goat, the young Nubian I picked up from my old homestead Twin Meadows was very tasty after a day of slow roasting over an open fire.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

July 19th, 2011 at 7:23am

My blog on spit-roasted goat is now up.

Gwenivere Lambykins (Lambykins)

August 6th, 2011 at 7:39am

We have 7 goats here. LOVE all the milk and the goodies we make from it...cheese, cajeta, yogurt, etc. Our goats are *mutts* as that was all we could find for sale when we started out.
I notice that you dehorn yours. We don't for a rather practical reason...we live in coyote central! Even though we have good fences and pen the goats at night, it is not unheard of for coyotes to dig under or climb over the fences and go after a young goat or some chickens or even a pet dog or cat.
Our goats were more or less feral when we got them, but have tamed down beautifully! They love to be petted and fed snacks. Our milking does now jump up on the milk stand without encouragement as they know that getting milked = getting some sweet feed! (But the first few times....uggghhh...what a battle!)
I think goats have the most personality of just about any small livestock you can raise.

Kevin (Kevin Page )

August 11th, 2011 at 2:23am

Dairy goats were a mainstay of our self sustaining small farm when I was a "kid". We had 2 dairy cows as well as a modest herd of French Alpine dairy goats. Another excellent use for excess milk is to mix it with ground grain, let it soak 12 hours, and feed hogs. Nuthin' better than a milk fed hog.

rob hutchinson (rob hutchinson)

August 14th, 2011 at 1:55pm

thanks for your blog. my wife just bought goats for dummies yesterday( not kidding), as we plan out our homestaed exsistence. you answered many questions for us and provided alot of info.

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

August 14th, 2011 at 3:26pm

Lambykins - Be proud of the "mutts", they generally exhibit hybrid vigor, you're not stuck with the "breeding for type" of the registered crowd (No offense, I know you're out there, everyone and everything fills a niche), you can mix from the gene pools of your choice, and who knows, after enough generations you may have the new "hardy for your area, parasite resistant, perfect hooved, milk by the gallon, meat for a family reunion" Lamby goat that people will line up with fists full of dollars to buy. And I'm with you on maintaining intact goats. Even if your in an area with no coyotes (where is that?) there's still dogs to contend with.

Rob - The books are good prep if you don't have a mentor handy. Just remember, the goats didn't read the book and they ain't no dummies!

Stan O (Stan O)

September 2nd, 2011 at 9:20am

noone ever talks about the bad points of goats

Christi Crane (Christi Crane)

September 7th, 2011 at 7:52pm

Stan- I love, love, love my 2 dairy does, but I am not in denial of some of the downside of owning them, so if you want the reality, here goes!

1. They are social creatures, which can be a negative thing if you only want to keep one, or if you need to separate one out from the herd. A lonely goat will get on your very last nerve.

2. As alluded to in a previous comment, they are escape artists of amazing skill. The old saying that if a fence will hold water it will hold a goat was based in fact! Secure all of your barn doors and gates very well or expect that they will be into everything!

3. Bucks stink! This is true of most male animals, but the rutting season for goats can be awfully smelly. Those boys will urinate on themselves, and the does think it is the loveliest of perfumes. The smell gets on and into everything within reach- and it doesn't wash out easily.

4. Goat milk is naturally homogenized. This is only a bad point if you want to make butter from your nice fresh, unpasteurized milk. That will require a special cream separator, which is rather expensive- at least the ones that I have found.

I'm sure there are others, but anything I can think of to put on the list also ends up being a positive thing. Sorry, just can't help myself! :)

dave Dave (Dave)

September 9th, 2011 at 8:52pm

I have a couple of questions: I have one female Alpine that is about six months old. when can I breed her? also I have one male nubian about 3 1/2 months old, when will he be old enough to do his part?

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

September 10th, 2011 at 1:54am

It isn't so much her age as her size. Did she grown well? My friend says 60# And the buck will do just fine once cool weather sets in. They don't seem to have much of an age limit... I usually breed my doelings late, December or January and I will have grained them up. If she's big a little earlier.

Talk about nightmares! Goats are in there. All my kids were out the other day. They must have climbed 4' chainlink. I couldn't see any breach. They got into my son's corn and ate down my last blueberry plant the geese didn't kill. The two weathers are down the road as of this evening and the little doe and buckling will be gone soon. Then I get my new buck and all he will be interested in is the girls. He's about 7 months old.

Kendra Lavender (hapy4now)

September 11th, 2011 at 10:15pm

Before I joined earthineer I only thought about goats as 4 legged weedeaters. And pets. I just hadn't opened my eyes to all that can be goat. Before I get over my head what do I need to milk a goat?

Just call me Finn Pendragon (Finn Pendragon)

September 19th, 2011 at 12:04pm

60 pounds is small for breeding. 80 or 90 is more the norm.

I highly recommend reading at www.fiascofarm.com about general goat husbandry.

Ann Martin (Ann Martin)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:08am

@ hapy4now...yes, goats are wonderful...as was said, there are some drawbacks...but, i consider those very small and not nearly as important as the benefits...i don't just appreciate the benefits either...i absolutely, totally, love my goats!!!!!...we started off with 2 purebred nubian does...added 2 la mancha does, 1 la mancha buck, and 1 la mancha buckling (whom i named romeo - because he was such a little sweetheart!)...down the road, and after many beautiful babies, we have reduced our "herd" to 1 la mancha/nubian cross doe...btw - she gives wonderful milk...as long as you hurry - she's not very patient!!!, 1 purebred la mancha doe - my best milker, and the best disposition, 2 la mancha doelings, and mr. romeo!!! it's mating time right now, and yes, romeo smells really bad!!!

Lynn Homestead (Wood Ridge Homestead)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:16am

We have added goats to our homestead and love our homegrown, organic dairy products! We opted for purebred Nubians and chose a proven milker with Superior Genetics recognition. We also selected 2 half-sister Nubian doelings for our future breeding program. Our small herd is CAE-free and we're using the CAE prevention program.

Before getting the goats, we had to acquire the proper goat fencing and we also built a goat barn. The best parts of my day are with the goats -- they are loving, incredibly smart, and full of unique personality.

Ann Martin (Ann Martin)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:17am

...www.fiascofarm.com is a great resource...i would also talk to other goat people...that's what people say when i tell them where i live..."oh, you're the goat lady!"...yep! lol...we don't disbud (or dehorn) also because of predators in the area...we haven't really had that much of a problem, but, don't want to take any chances, either!

Ann Martin (Ann Martin)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:20am

also, about breeding...we try to wait until the does are about 2 years old, but we have bred at 1 1/2 years...it depends on their size and weight...

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

October 9th, 2011 at 10:23am

TF, I see you have Corgis, are they Cardigan or Pembroke? I am thinking of getting a Corgi in the spring and am researching the two for characteristics.

Sammi Sammi (Sammi)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:01pm

Ah, yes, goats. I have raised many varieties from my childhood. There is nothing cuter than a baby goat. The milk (be very clean about it and cool it quickly and there is no 'goaty' flavor) is wonderful as is the mozzarella, cottage, and ricotta cheese, yogurt and smoothies made with it. Smoked goat steaks are the best! Love the jerky, too. Wonderful, friendly, cute critters, but...MAKE SURE YOU HAVE REALLY GOOD FENCES UP OR THEY WILL GET OUT AND EAT EVERYTHING YOU ARE TRYING TO GROW!!!!!

Sarah Rumbaugh (Sarah Rumbaugh)

October 9th, 2011 at 9:19pm

So, hubby and I have been considering a small flock for our little "urban" farm (we don't live in an urban area, but we only have 1/2 an acre). I was wondering how much space goats need in a paddock and if different breeds do ok together. We are considering a goat for fiber production and another for milk, but haven't seen much on keeping different breeds together.

Any advice?

Christi Crane (Christi Crane)

October 9th, 2011 at 10:13pm

@ Sarah, our whole property totals a little over 1/2 acre, and we live in a small town; not really urban, but about 20 min south of Greensboro. Just a couple of thoughts for you. Don't worry about having different breeds together, they'll do just fine.

We have 2 (1 LaMancha and 1 Alpine) does with a Boer buck. Probably too many for the space we have once you add the kids (required for milk), but they are only temporary. If I had a chance to do it again, I'd definitely hold out for Nigerian dwarfs or mini Nubians, just because of our space limitations.

How many your space will support has a lot to do with how you plan to manage them. Will they be taken out for browsing on a regular basis? Will you be purchasing hay for them? Beacuse they will clean up your 1/2 acre in no time, and goats require more variety in their diets than strictly grass hay. You need to look for hay that is "weedy" or mixed with some forbs such as vetch or clover.

If you overload your space, you will end up with a pasture that is eaten down to the dirt. That becomes a right mess as well as unsanitary for your animals.

Our girls eat some of the grass, but they mostly eat hay that we buy from a local guy, supplemented with a little grain while on the milking stand. They also love to be taken out on the leashes for browsing on the vacant lot and "woods" nearby. Blackberry vines, various tree and shrub leaves, as well as weeds such as dandelions and wild scallions are just like candy to them! I haven't found that these things (in moderation) have affected the taste of the milk nearly as much as being close to the stinky, rutting buck. (We have to keep him separated from the milking doe or we find that the milk is practically undrinkable!) So if you have the time and access to a place to let them browse, it would be a big benefit as well as taking some of the stress off your pasture.

If possible, separate your available space into two or three different paddocks and rotate them around. Shelters can be movable, and don't have to be fancy. Especially with such a small area, even if you designate the garage or something as a feed and milking room, you'll still be close enough to retreive the animals for the task or carry food and water out to them.

Last but definitely not least, put your best effort into your fencing. Goats are escape artists, and will surprise you with how dexterous they can be with lips and tongue. If she watches you open the gate a time or two, she will try to duplicate the process so she can get to the feed barrel or rose bushes. She will kill the bushes, and too much feed will kill her.

Enjoy your goats! They are amazing creatures...

Barb and Chris Tietsworth (rabbitNgrasshopper)

October 17th, 2011 at 4:36pm

We have two female Nubian goats that we are looking to breed. My question is, when is the right time to breed them to have them give birth in the spring?

Jessica Aller (Earthy Mama)

October 17th, 2011 at 5:00pm

If you breed your does in October they will kid in March, November-April, December-May...I have a nifty chart that helps me tell exactly when but it is 20 weeks 5-10 days.
LaManchas consistently lean toward the 5 days side while my experience with other breeds leaves them leaning toward the 10 days....

Ann Martin (Ann Martin)

October 22nd, 2011 at 11:38pm

@ rabbitngrasshopper...another good site is Goat-Link.com...there is a kidding calculator that will help...plus lots of other good advice...

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

October 23rd, 2011 at 2:53am

Also, keep in mind the dairy does are mostly seasonal breeders, coming into heat only in the cooler months.

Jan Zimmerman (Twin Meadows Farm)

October 25th, 2011 at 3:22pm

At Spun Gold farm. This is Anna, Jans daughter, I'm fixing her profile. The corgis are Pemboke. They are WONDERFUL dogs. :-)

Jan Zimmerman (Twin Meadows Farm)

October 25th, 2011 at 3:24pm

Sorry to other people, she just figured out how to get back on earthineer. :-)Thank you for answering questions for her. hahaha

Anna, Daughter

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

October 25th, 2011 at 10:42pm

Great to know! I researched both breeds and had suspected the Pembroke was what I wanted. Glad to have it confirmed. Wish I had one now. I am tired of chasing cows in from the back pasture after dark :-)

Glo D (Glo D)

October 25th, 2011 at 11:41pm

I love goats but have been considering a milk sheep instead as my husband likes the taste of the milk better. :)

Bruce Bagwell (Bruce Bagwell)

March 19th, 2012 at 12:45pm

I live in a regular neighborhood and the side of my house has chickens. I was wondering if I could have a couple dwarf or pygmy goats there with the chickens. The area is a 7x42 foot space. Is that enough space? How much food would we be buying, since there wouldn't be anything growing in there? Or is this just something I will have to wait until I have bigger property?

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

March 19th, 2012 at 7:01pm

Bruce, if you've already got chickens in that space & the neighbor's cool with it, I wouldn't push for goats. Wait for the bigger property. Otherwise you'll just have a feedlot requiring regular cleaning, & how big a compost pile do you really have room for? Feed for goats is easy... hay, weeds, browse. Save the grain for small treats, pregnant does, bucks going into & coming out of service. To see a goat eat grain (or pelletized feed) you'd think they were all starved. They're just greedy, & will eat themselves to death in a sitting if they gain unrestricted access to the grain. There's several goat blogs here with lots of info... check 'em out!

linda hinkle (linda hinkle)

March 19th, 2012 at 9:24pm

has any buddy have trouble with your goat gust up and die.

Mike and Deb DripSmart (DripSmart)

March 22nd, 2012 at 7:10pm

"noone ever talks about the bad points of goats"

@Dan O

Had to chuckle at that one. Having befriended, milked, and raised goats and "spoke" goat, I will say their negatives are few:

1) They like to "tap dance" on your car. So if you have something nice to drive, keep the goats away.
2) If you like to grow plants, they like to eat them. Just keep the two separated, at least the plants you care about.
3) If you have a "milker", like cattle, they can be demanding for your attention.

Meat goats are a little different. Don't make friends with them or they won't be meat goats for long. Also, make sure you don't name them for the same reason. Just give them a "number". And when their number is up...

dave Dave (Dave)

March 23rd, 2012 at 1:01am

I finally got tired of chasing down escaped goats, as well as the car-dancing and little black 'jelly beans' on the back steps. I traded my goats for a couple of pigs and bought a couple of dairy calves. I understand cows. They may not be as 'entertaining' to watch, but frankly I prefer the mundane cows.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

March 23rd, 2012 at 9:01am

Good points, DripSmart. I do tend to name my meat goats, but only after I've procured one from Twin Meadows or elsewhere. The last couple have had names like "Tasty" and "Scrumptious." They turned out to be very fitting names.

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

March 23rd, 2012 at 11:09am

The character of the goat is--go as high as you can. To work with that, have good fences, a hot wire is very effective at keeping them in. I have friends to keep theirs in with just one hot wire at chest high. Personally, I would rather trust good fencing, I use chainlink fence panels and metal posts so I can move it to problem areas for them to earn their keep. I picked up 4' dog kennels used and they work great.

Heidi C (Heidi C)

April 2nd, 2012 at 11:32am

anyone try the electric netting fence for goats? I don't have goats yet but I keep dreaming....the fencing is the biggest problem for us.

gwen kahler (gwen kahler)

April 2nd, 2012 at 12:04pm

i keep mine in with 3 strands of polywire and temporary posts. as long as there's electric in it, they respect it just fine.

steve waller (steve waller)

April 8th, 2012 at 9:39am

We have nubian goats and we love them the milk is great and the goats seem to like us to they are the best pets to us. we started out with pygmy goats I did not like them as well but these nubians are the best

steve waller (steve waller)

April 8th, 2012 at 9:39am

Todd Baughman (Todd B. - PA)

April 18th, 2012 at 9:43am

We live on just under an acre and had 2 goats which I milked. We used a 4 wire electrice fence with a 50 mile fencer to cover 1/8 an acre pen. The fencer has to provide a good shock or the goats will go right through. We loved having goats but with square bales being hard to find and the hassle of taking them to get bred every year, we had to get rid of them. We still have chickens and now raise meat rabbits.

Lloyd George (Lloyd George)

April 30th, 2012 at 8:33pm

Some one mentioned books earlier..the Storey's guides are pretty decent too....and available at TSC...
I have only kept one goat in my life..A boer buckling I bought from a neighbor..broght him home and castrated him...we kept him for a year or so, and then (his name was Barb B. Que) put him in the freezer. I am considering three or four nigerian dwarfs or pygmies now. although, I would like to have mini nubians..there do not seem to be many breeders around...two within driving distance...I am just not sure it is worth the hassle...can get either pygmies or nigerians here locally and with decent bloodlines...

AndyH AndyH (AndyH)

May 1st, 2012 at 12:09pm

I absolutely love my goats. When we were starting with them we got a lot of help from Hoegger Supply, they are a goat specific mail order company. Every year when we sell the kids I always give the new owners one of their catalogs. They contain a lot of really good goat information. The also have a really great help site at www.hoeggerfarmyard.com for folks interested in goats.

Lloyd George (Lloyd George)

May 11th, 2012 at 9:33pm

well, our dairy doeling we wound up with is a half nigerian cross with an alpine/toggenburg...she is quite the little lady too..should have named her Inta.

because she is already Inta everything...

Kim Barclay (Feathersandfur)

May 13th, 2012 at 12:19pm

I love the name Inta ! Very good idea. We have 3 lamanchas and 2 boer goats right now. I had no idea how easy and how much fun goats would be. My oldest son talked is into giving them a try this year and we are so glad we did. I am looking forward to all the benefits the goats will bring to our small farm.

Fred (Square foot Fred)

May 13th, 2012 at 10:06pm

I have 5 pygmy's. Had 6 but lost one to a mountain lion, who paid dearly for it's aggression. Anyhow, we have 2 acres that needed weed whacking every year to cut down on the threat of fire. A friend of the family was raising pygmy's so I started chatting with her and decided to give them a go. Knew nothing about goats at the time, but took on 3 the first year and they did fairly good job of keeping the weeds down but realized I needed 3 more to really get the job done. Put in a request to our friend for 3 more and brought them home the following year and we now ask ourselves how we got along without them for all those years. I had no idea how much fun they are. They follow me around like dogs and I pet them and talk to them all of the time. I give them a scoop of goat ration everyday. Started doing that to round them up into their pen before sunset. After just a couple of days, they caught on and from that point on they are begging for their cob well before it gets dark. They also tell me when they are ready to go out in the morning. They also tell me if there is a predator lurking. The other morning they would not leave their pen and sure enough, I ran off a coyote not far from the bottom fence line. I have to be very careful opening and closing gates. They would love to get into my garden or other areas around the house. All in all, I think they are great little critters that earn their keep and are a whole lotta fun to boot!

Bloom Bloom (Bloom)

May 28th, 2012 at 8:56am

I've been researching goats. We are finally prepared to buy a couple of does to get started. While looking around at the different breeds, I found the San Clemente Island Goat - and fell in love. After we've prepped our Illinois home, we will get the girls. Probably late August or September.

Lloyd George (Lloyd George)

May 28th, 2012 at 9:20am

it does not seem to matter the breed...everybody picks one the falls in love...it isn't the breed it is the goats themselves...

Ben Nelson (Ben Nelson)

October 10th, 2012 at 9:23am

I filmed my friend Deborah Niemann at the Mother Earth News Fair, giving her presentation about goat dairying. (I also dragged her over to the Earthineer booth!)

She's been dairying goats for some time now and has some great experience with it.


April Connett (AprilConnett)

October 11th, 2012 at 6:52am

I read somewhere that to keep the milk tasty, you need to keep the buck away from the does (except at breeding time, obviously). If we were to only have one buck, would he be OK to keep separate, or would he also need a friend?

Ann Martin (Ann Martin)

October 11th, 2012 at 7:27am

in my own personal opinion and experience, it would be best to have 2 unrelated bucks....for companionship and to alternate at breeding time...

some goat breeds will only come into season once a year, others can come into season at any time of the year, if a buck is present...you will want to keep the buck(s) separate from the does at all times, until ready to breed...

i have read that buck being present can affect the taste of the milk...i don't know this for certain...it has been my experience that what the doe eats may affect the taste...

Sherry Joyful-Morn (Joyful-Morn)

October 11th, 2012 at 7:47am

Health of the animal can affect taste of the milk as well as feed, garbage in garbage out. Also keep equipment immaculate and chill quickly. Some goats just have poor tasting milk and I recommend tasting the milk of a doe before buying or the milk of a relative. Personally I think the breeds that have higher butter fats have better tasting milk, Nubians,Nigerians,& Lamanchas.
As for bucks alone, mine is penned alone, albeit he knows there are other goats on the property. I know they can be penned together,but often fight during breeding season and since he is cae positive I am not willing to have him spilling blood around.

Terry Manaiakalani Ridge (Kaialoha)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:04am

As a person on the VEGAN path, I'm APPALLED at the nonchalant comments from people about how their goats saying how so 'sweet and wonderful' they are, and what 'great pets' they make, etc, yet follow with comments about how good they taste. I'm disgusted and sickened that someone who professes to love their goats so much can then turn around and slaughter and then eat them. Why not try eating your dog or your cat? It's the SAME principle! If you LOVE your animals so much, what POSSIBLE civilized answer can you give me as to why you then would want to kill and eat your pet. Their 'meat' is NOT an answer ~ ~ ~ As far their milk goes, I did say I'm VEGAN, BUT, I would drink their milk (albeit sparingly) and, of course, I'll catch a shitstorm for that comment, BUT, if you have goats as pets, THAT to me is the ONLY legitimate us for them aside form their natural lawnmower method of eating ~ ~ ~ jus' sayin' ~ NAMASKARAM ~

Bobby Lyon (Bobby Lyon)

June 20th, 2013 at 6:03am

I just googled the word "vegan" and got 78,000,000 hits. Pick one.

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 7:36am

No, Kaialoha, you wouldn't catch a shitstorm here for sharing with the community. Intolerant ultra-PC Krusaders on the other hand should take Bobby's advice.

That said, got a real kick out of rereading your post replacing "goat" w/ "soybean", "dog" w/ "rosebush" & "cat" w/ "grass"!

To broaden your horizons, goats make excellent gloves, too, but are poor lawnmowers as they prefer weeds & are browsers (means they like tender bark & twigs & buds, ie: tree killers). Sheep, on the other hand, are excellent lawnmowers, usually resorting to weeds & browsing after the grass grazing is diminished. The older "unimproved" breeds are usually much hardier & tastier than the "production" breeds.

Dan Adams (Dan Adams)

June 20th, 2013 at 8:20am


I think you'll find a pretty broad range of opinions on the site, including vegans and flexitarians. You'll find most people to be respectful, so I'd ask the same.

Since Earthineer is about homesteading and farm life, you'll find quite a few topics about slaughtering livestock.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 8:22am

Sigh. As Shady says, Kaialoha, we accept all views here, but we like to discuss things open-mindedly. Many of us, including myself, have spent much of our lives on a farm. We love our animals for all that they provide us, but when it comes down to it, they're animals. Like us, they all have to go at some point. One thought you will find nearly all of us share here is that we prefer to know that our animals have been raised well, fed healthy, and led happy lives. Most consumers don't have the relation to their food systems that people who spend their lives with farm animals do. I suggest reading the following article with an open mind:


It discusses thoughts on raising and slaughtering pigs, making it a humane, family-oriented process. I will be writing a follow-up blog soon on my experience butchering goats. My daughter and her young cousins were around for the whole process and were curious more than anything. The difference between them and grown folks who have no connection with the land is that they are lucky enough to experience at a young age how one can raise goats for *meat* and *milk*, and also treat them well. They're not pets. They're our livelihood. If we're going to raise them for meat, we should treat them well and then do what needs to be done.

While many of us on here may joke, we take our goal regaining control of our own food systems and what we put in our bodies seriously. There's nothing wrong with having some fun in the process, though. I hope you stay around and view the many other contributions our members make. If you don't like the meat discussions you may want to stay away from them.

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 8:25am

(I try to stay away from rhubarb discussions, myself, but sometimes morbid curiousity gets ahold of me...)

Dan Adams (Dan Adams)

June 20th, 2013 at 8:25am

...and you may want to avoid reading Yeti's blog on eating goat balls.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 8:31am

Well, while my blog may be a bit tongue in cheek (ball in cheek?), I do take my butchering seriously and treat the animal well up until the very end. After that, it treats me well.

John Alchemist (Alchemist)

June 20th, 2013 at 9:31am

Amen, Yeti.
But you have to understand that for those of us who were not raised on a farm, our experiences and knowledge have come from other sources. In my case hunting. But many have not had even that to help them deal with the fact that food is not "manufactured" in little styrofoam packages... it has to be put there after other things happen first.

Therefore, people fall into 2 broad categories: Those who understand and appreciate the animals and their contribution; and those who have a visceral and explosive reaction to the realities of life.

I can remember my mother reading a Reader's Digest science article when I was young which stated that tomatoes actually "scream" when they are sliced.
Is there a vegetable branch of the PETA organization that I can join? I just don't understand how people can spend hours preparing, weeding, and watering, and harvesting (while risking skin cancer from the hours of sun exposure) their vegetable gardens only to slaughter those poor innocent vegetables and then eat them in a salad!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 10:00am

Those poor vegetables indeed. I concur with you completely about the not being raised on a farm part. I do understand and do my best to educate, but not everyone is willing to be educated. I'm not sure if there is a PETA (PETV?) for vegetables, but I did start a group on that other social networking site for us poor downtrodden English majors called People for the Ethical Treatment of English Majors (PETEM).

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 10:16am

Alch, I'm afraid the disconnect is as extensive for most non-animal-protein/amino acid partakers. For many the produce aisle or local farmer's market is as close as they get to the gritty realities of gardening & the harvest. It's sad, but for all the wonderful care that may go into a garden, there's still... the harvest.

Bearclover Bear (Bearclover)

June 20th, 2013 at 10:51am


"Why not try eating your dog or your cat? It's the SAME principle!"

Well, I probably would eat my dog if I was hungry enough. At 130 lbs and a life spent mostly on the carpet, I'm thinking he would probably be pretty tender. But Virgil the Vile fills an important job and therefore continues to earn the right to comsume valuable resources. I can't say the same for some people.

In truth, if you were the only thing standing between me and starvation (or especially btwn my children and starvation), I'd serve you up too. As a vegan, I think that qualifies you as grass fed :-)

But I digress...

RedHeadedYeti makes a good point here: Comment by RedHeadedYeti on Jun 20 2013 8:22AM, so I won't repeat everything he said. I would like to emphasise the open-mindedness though. My children (all girls) are mostly grown and gone, but at one time I had one that was a staunch Republican, one who's biggest concern was her hair, and one that decided to go vegatarian at 12-years-old all under my roof. There are few people more strident and unrelenting in their views than a 12-year-old girl on the cusp of puberty in a houseful of omnivores, though Intolerant ultra-PC Krusaders can give them a run for their money.

As Dan Adams pointed out, Earthineer contains "a pretty broad range of opinions on the site, including vegans and flexitarians..." and most of us a respectful of the opinions of others. You might find this link helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_discourse

Jonathan Whiting (Gentleman Farmer)

June 20th, 2013 at 10:56am

I am a Nubian goat breeder as well, and we get all our dairy from our goats. Milk, Yogurt, Ice Cream, Butter, all kinds of cheeses. We also raise Boer goats for meat as well.

I would like to point out a discrepancy in your article though, Nubians are not the goats with the highest milkfat. Nubians are the ones that produce the highest volume of milk. The goat the produces the highest milkfat is the Nigerian Dwarf goat, and right behind that is the boer goat.

John Harmonywithnature (John Harmonywithnature)

June 20th, 2013 at 11:38am

Oh boy. Another vegan here! Hide your kids (pun intended). :-) First, let me say that, I'd no more drink goats' milk than drink cats' milk, or eat a goat than eat my eleven-year-old Maltese dog. He wouldn't taste very good. Frankly, he's spoiled.

That said, I chose to be a vegan because for a few reasons; I love animals, I love living, and I hate the Hell out of the Hell that is factory farming. However, it was my choice. Just as it should be the choice of folks to respectfully raise livestock for food. I believe that those who are good stewards of their land and their livestock, have just as much right to choose their own food sources as I do.

I don't, for a second, believe that anyone associated with this blog treats any of their animals poorly. Heck - I know RedHeadedYeti, and I know for a fact that he is quite fond of goats. I mean - quite fond! ;-) Kidding, Yeti. Dangit...there I go again with that pun!

It's good to remember that, not all meat eaters are sadistic zombie-people, and not all vegans are smelly militants. Respect our food sources, and respect one another. In the end, we all just want to be happy and healthy.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 11:48am

Twin Meadows' secretary here...

Since Mother can't seem to figure out how to log in, I'll post some of her responses regarding milk/butter fat for her (with some minor editing):

First: Actually Nubians are not "highest volume" breed - I believe Saanen is but would have to double check. You are right on Nigerian but they are just recently really recognized and they are a mini breed. Boer goats produce very little milk - I was talking "dairy", not "meat" goat.

Then: Saanen has highest volume and that depends a lot on genetics too and Nubians have highest butterfat in standard size breeds (apx 4.8) and Nigerians (a mini breed) (6.4%) overall goat breeds.

And then we have: It is "butterfat" and lot of reason Nigerians is so rich and high in butterfat is their size - delicious milk and produce pretty good volume for such a teeny goat. Very cute breed. When I can no longer handle Nubians, I will do Nigerians hehehehehehe Thank you secretary........

Thanks for your comment, Gentleman. Just thought I'd post some clarifications. You'll find that we're all Gentlemen and Ladies here. Well, most of us...

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 11:51am

Hope to see more of you here John Harmony. Are you telling me you didn't have a single bite of goat when you attended my Tasty the Goat Party during your pre-vegan days? Oh, and sorry about writing Tasty on your windshield in shaving cream when you left your car at my place overnight. I tried really hard not to but something Tasty had overtaken me.

Bearclover Bear (Bearclover)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:01pm

Nice to meet you, John Harmony. I would love to pick your vegan brain sometime, but it's too off topic for this blog. I have lots of questions which mostly come from vegans that approach me at the farmers' markets.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:07pm

BC: John is an old Kentucky buddy who left the hollers for sunny San Diego. Who knows, you may run into him some day. California isn't *that* big, is it?

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:16pm

Why? I never did figure out why great granddad left Kentucky.

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:18pm

Why! I never did figure out why great granddad left Kentucky.

John Harmonywithnature (John Harmonywithnature)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:37pm

:-) It's okay, Red. I forgive you for vandalizing my car. And no - I didn't have a single bite of that goat. I do, however, seem to remember you feeding a large container of dirt to the mother of your child. Although, in your defense, she was wearing a knight's helmet. Actually, we have photos of the entire sequence of events, somewhere. I'll have to dig those up at some point.

Bearclover - I've often considered referring to myself as something other than "vegan." Perhaps, "vegivore" or "potato-killer-mmmmm-potatoes-tofu-can-be-really-gross-but-good-sometimes-depends-on-how-you-cook-it-dark-chocolate-is-the-best-ever-ivore" or, perhaps just "wino."

One reason I was hesitant to adopt a vegan diet was because I found many vegans to be quite difficult to be around. I don't like anyone telling me what to do - not at all - and it seems that we vegans are often telling people what to eat and what to wear. I don't like that. Not a single person was ever going to be able to convince me to change my diet...I had to make the choice on my own - and for my own reasons. Now, I'll admit - I'd prefer that no animals were ever harmed...but I love animals...I'm just a big softy. That said, am I going to harass someone because they own a small, organic farm and raise their own livestock? Heck no! There are plenty of farmers who farm the way one is supposed to farm; hands in the dirt, hands on the animals.

The best we can do is do what we believe is best, and take great care of what takes care of us.

And drink tasty wine. :-)

William Free (ShadyGlade Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:42pm

I tried vegan burgers. I don't care what you mix oatmeal with, if it isn't mixed with meat, it's never gonna' taste like a burger!

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 12:47pm

In the beginning, when God created the animals, it was good, but then there was the stupid snake and things all went south. So for now, we have to maintain the livestock, using good husbandry-which I believe we will be judged on and keep balance in the animal community. Trust me, there are more deer out there now than there were when Columbus discovered America and since I don't hunt or care to, someone else better do it. I won't harass them, but just don't ask me to eat venison. I'd rather eat eggs and cheese for my protein, but in the interest of family dining, I eat chicken or yak or even a little bacon on occasion to keep the meat eaters from revolting. It's just that I don't like to do the dressing, so I don't feel it is fair to ask some else to do so. If they do it, fine, just do it humanely and don't ask me to watch. I understand it is necessary. Frankly, I don't want 50 goats on the place or a dozen roosters, so I either sell the extra to someone who will butcher or someone else in the household does it. Not me. I support them in their endeavors, but don't participate in the early parts of the process.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 1:29pm

John Harmony: I posted one of the pics you mentioned on my wall...

John Alchemist (Alchemist)

June 20th, 2013 at 1:37pm

@John Harmonywithnature... since you have known Yeti for so long, maybe you would like to weigh in on something that we have heard, and to which you partially alluded. (Notice the proper grammar, Yeti?)

It has often been pointed out that "Yeti is quite fond of his goats"... But that is only when there isn't a sheep around.

Is that the truth of it?

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 1:55pm

I do prefer the taste of... Hey, what exactly are we talking about here?!

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 2:10pm

Time for a little soap, w/o water...

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 20th, 2013 at 2:25pm

Now now, John. I love goats, but I don't looooove goats.

John Harmonywithnature (John Harmonywithnature)

June 20th, 2013 at 2:34pm


Jenna Jenna-Lee (Jenna-Lee)

June 20th, 2013 at 3:27pm

Hahaha! Another rabbit hole discovered, quick, someone- SGF?- pull my Yeti out before he gets lost... ;-)

I prefer the taste of lamb over goat, myself (though I like goat plenty fine too). I think the meat is more tender and the flavor more to my liking; but the first 8 years of my life we raised sheep so there you have it.

Spent enough time on a small farm where most of our protein was from the animals we raised and seeing, understanding, and helping to tend the animals where that food came from without all the horror of the processing plants has given me a real respect for the work that small farmers do- especially the organic, humane variety. I can watch an animal die and be processed, but that doesn't mean I particularly like to. I do, however, respect the animal.

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 20th, 2013 at 4:57pm

Why would I want to pull him out? He might find another crunchy betty. But did you notice? I didn't lead him down THAT one. :)

Fred (Square foot Fred)

June 20th, 2013 at 7:12pm

If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?

Steve Cole (Stickboy)

June 21st, 2013 at 8:33am

Looks like I may be entering the discussion a little late, but in regards to eating farm animals (though, unlike Spun Gold, I prefer venison), I've finally come across a good source of horse meat recipes:
Seems like they can be pretty tasty critters, too.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 21st, 2013 at 10:31am

Stick, you may appreciate this. I've always found this particular aspect of the Western World's horse meat taboo to be interesting (from Wikipedia):

In the eighth century, Popes Gregory III and Zachary instructed Saint Boniface, missionary to the Germans, to forbid the eating of horse meat to those he converted, due to its association with Germanic pagan ceremonies.[22][23] The people of Iceland allegedly expressed reluctance to embrace Christianity for some time, largely over the issue of giving up horse meat.[24] Horse meat is now currently consumed in Iceland and many horses are raised for this purpose. The culturally close people of Sweden still have an ambivalent attitude to horse meat, said to stem from this time.

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 21st, 2013 at 11:23am

I LIKE my horses, you evil Stickboy. Leave them alone. They are members of my family.

John Alchemist (Alchemist)

June 21st, 2013 at 11:46am

Gee SGF... are we having issues with you AND Yeti?!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 21st, 2013 at 12:10pm

Alchy-Don't we always?

I can understand not wanting to eat them, but someday our culture will likely head back to a state in which we won't have the luxury of picking and choosing what we need to eat to survive.

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

June 21st, 2013 at 1:08pm

Are Yeti and I on the same side of the issue? I can't tell for sure. :) That WOULD be unusual.

Steve Cole (Stickboy)

June 21st, 2013 at 1:56pm

I've helped care for horses, and the general air and attitude of those I've been around puts them more on the level of a dog for me. In the current social/cultural context, should I be present for the slaughter of the horse, maybe I couldn't eat it. Maybe. If we've changed the location and mindset to one more rural and aesthetically ancient -- most definitely. Especially if mead and ancient Scandinavian garb are involved. But don't worry, Spun Gold; we won't eat *your* horses.

The Scandinavian reluctance to stop eating horse that Yeti talks about, most likely comes from ties to the Heathen temple at Old Uppsala in Sweden, where scholar Adam of Bremmen cites as a scene of mass animal and even human sacrifice. The bodies of the victims were hung in an oak grove near the temple. Portions of the animals would have been consumed by those in attendance -- there is some speculation as to whether human flesh would have been consumed also -- and that which was hung on the trees was an offering to the gods (at Uppsala, it was chiefly Odin, Thor, and Freyr). In Iceland, bulls seem to have been a more common sacrificial animal. That said, I'm a little surprised that the Swedes aren't more open to horse eating, as they are allegedly very open to the history of Uppsala and hold festivals there every year.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

July 16th, 2013 at 3:30pm

In light of an earlier discussion in this blog's Comments section, I'd like to bring up an article I've recently written for Sustainable Kentucky on how butchering goats can be a humane and family-friendly process:


Nathan Sampson (Nathan Sampson)

July 16th, 2013 at 4:57pm

I was scrolling through the post and saw what was there and decided to add my 2 cents worth in. I have owned my goat herd now since 2006. I grew up raising Angus cattle. I my decision to start in goats as a family with my wife and 2 sons I knew there would be many questions from them as well as family and friends. Me and the wife try to explain that we give our animals the best time they have on this planet be the animal that they are until we need them. So when we do need them they only have the few seconds of trauma in there lives to have to deal with. I personally think that this can be a beneficial trade between myself and my LIVESTOCK. Some are my pets but there children are not. Same with the chickens I have a little hen I call Henri she is a dutch bantam nothing there to eat but I do take her eggs every morning for breakfast. I know this is fairly long winded and not very grammatical but if you are on my farm and live here you have to pull your own weight I guess.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

July 16th, 2013 at 5:44pm

Well-said, LCS. Grammar be damned. I'm a writer, so that's my responsibility. I may chide others from time to time, but what's important is that you get your point across.

Not everyone understands the difference between pets and livestock, and how sometimes they can both be the same. In the end, though, we have them for what they provide to us, and should treat them respectfully for that reason if no other.

Christi Crane (Christi Crane)

September 29th, 2013 at 6:59pm

I recall a scene in the movie "Notting Hill" in which the dinner guest makes a point of being a fruitarian, believing that fruits and vegetables have feelings. As such, they should not be eaten until they fall from the tree/bush/vine naturally and die. Hugh Grant then asks her if she thinks that "these carrots have then, in fact, been murdered?" I've always thought that I would have to taste them to see. Some cooks can definitely murder a carrot!

All kidding aside, there is no limit to the ridiculousness that people will come up with given a long enough leash, so to speak. The point has already been made that it stems from a disconnection between (mainly) urban/suburban culture and the culture that provides all the goodies in the corner market. People who have never been hungry should not try to dictate to someone else regarding their food choices...

Sid Deshotel ( SRD)

September 29th, 2013 at 9:29pm

I thought PETA stood for People Eating Tasty Animals besides dog taste just like chicken

V Sacha (Spun Gold Farm)

September 30th, 2013 at 2:25am

Sorry, no dogs for me. I like white meat :)