The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of goat.
Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species. Goats have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world.
Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, intact males as bucks or billy's; thier offspring are kids.
Note that many goat breeders prefer the terms "buck" and "doe" to "billy" and "nanny". Castrated males are wethers. Goat meat from younger animals is called kid or cabrito, and from older animals is sometimes called chevon, or in some areas “mutton”.
A goat is useful to humans either living or dead, first as a renewable provider of milk and fiber, and then as meat and hide.
How To Start A Goat Farm
goats can be one of the most enjoyable farming experiences. There are
many ways it can be done. This is some common ways.
- Pick which breed(s) you want. Decide if you want to do Meat goats, Milk goats, Fiber goats or maybe variety of each.
- Get a good goat book. Something that will teach you all the
basics of goat care such as how to preform a health check, goat
diseases, Breeds of each variety of goat, Recommended space per each
animal and probably some handy first aid notes. Most consider this a
invaluable reference, Even something to look back to in the future.
- Buy some supplies. Shop around for food and water buckets,
compare grains if you will be feeding your goats. Pick out a good
balanced mineral to be fed free choice to provide what your goats may be
lacking. Goats will get hurt minor or major and will need medical
attention, so make your own Goat first aid kit, your vet can help you
with recommendations for what to stock it with.
- Build a pasture. Buy fencing supplies online or at your local
farm store. Get help from someone who has built a pasture before. Goats
will climb and rub on even the toughest fences if not prevented. They
may also try to squeeze through even the tiniest spaces even if you
don't think they can. Make sure to build a separate, strong buck pen in
which the fences must be very strong, sturdy and very high. Keep in mind
this fence will keep your bucks in rut from your does in Estrus (heat).
- Build shelter. Your goats will need a place to go in the winter and when it's raining.
A small pole barn will work just fine. Make sure that the door is
facing south - away from the weather. Goats can withstand the cold to
some degree but not cold rain or snow, Having a draft free building will
help them keep warm enormously. Make sure your buildings are
compatible for renovation in future additions to your herd. Even if you
don't think you will need the room, all too often you do and don't have
the resources to do so with your current building.
- Buy a couple Does and a buck. Get another goat owner's help
here. Make sure to buy good quality goats, and not something someone is
just trying to get off their hands. Your goat book will be helpful here,
Tell the seller what your looking for, Honest breeders and owners will
let you know if the goat is not from you. Be discerning.
- Breed your Does! Watch your Does carefully. When they go into
heat, put them in with the buck for a couple days, or until you think
they have taken. The longer they have been with the buck, the larger
range the expected due date will be, Naturally this is important to some
and not to others. A normal gestation period is 145 to 155 days, 150
being average. Remember, bred and milking does need some extra care then
a open doe or a buck.
- Choose where to sell your product. whether for meat, fiber,
milk and cheese and even Goat kids (baby goats), There are websites
online devoted to goat sales, or you could go personal. You choose.
Whichever way, make sure you have someone who will buy.
- Sell your product. Research what others are selling for in
your area. You don't want to charge so much that you won't get business
or so low that you loose money.
- Build up your farm. As you get more customers, your demand
will grow. Enlarge your pastures and buildings to accommodate the new
additions and breed more goats. Good luck!
- Get attached and bonded to your breeding Does and keepers, but
not to your meat goats. It's hard to bring yourself to butcher a goat
when they are your best friends.
- Frequently check your fences for holes. Goats can get out of
very small holes - especially kids. "Good fences make good neighbors."
- Sanitize all of your milking equipment and keep your milking area very clean. This is important for the taste of your milk.
- Be careful what you feed your goats. Certain feeds can affect the taste of milk and meat.
- Have fun! What's the point of having those adorable goats if you can't have fun?
- Be careful with your buck. He is a strong animal and is used to
being boss. If at all possible, get one that is very mild mannered. Even
so, always watch your back when you are in his pen, He may jump up on
you. To avoid owning a buck completely, Look for breeders who have bucks
available for stud (breeding). This will give you a slightly better
selection of bucks to use. If you choose to keep your own buck, you will
probably want and need another buck or periodically change your
breeding buck as you will be inbreeding.
- Goat farming can tie you up at home when you'd rather go out on vacation. Count the costs.
- When building fences, stay away from wire mesh and barbed wire. Chain link or stock panels are much sturdier, and safer.
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