Raising Goats For Milk and Meat

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Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, 4th Edition: Breeds, Care, Dairying, Marketing

Although there are rumors and contrary to popular belief, goats have a unique diet and don’t eat tin cans and garbage.

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Goats are unique and there are different types of goats for the purpose of commercial use and for show. Depending on what type of goat you have, milk goat or meat goat, they both serve a great purpose. They are a clean animal and healthy to eat. As far as goats go, they are very low maintenance as long as they are well watered and fed then they can pretty much take care of themselves. When you get salt blocks or mineral blocks for goats, you have to make sure you select the right product. It is best and proactive to worm your animals from time to time because they will get worms and its best to keep them healthy by getting a goat wormer and its best to make a schedule for at least 4 – 6 times a year. Make sure to have hoof trimmers since part of their maintenance is keeping the trim so it can lessen the chance of infection. Natural Goat Care
– When it comes to having a structure for your goats it is all about creativity. The reason why its good to have structures within the grazing area of the goat is because of their nature and how they like the roam around and climb on steep hills. It is possible to gather some pallets and stack them high and also place rubber mud flaps so the goats’ hooves can easily track on it.

Spanish Goat

One of the oldest breed of goat for meat is the Spanish goat. This particular goat is one of the oldest breeds from 400 years and has also become very profitable. The Spanish goats tend to be small, agile, and were dominated in the wild which is feral and more easily excitable. Spanish goats are also well known for the use of brush and weed control. There is no specific breed ancestry and these goats have developed through natural breed selection and were founded in south Texas. A lot of the Spanish goats are recognizable by their body shape, ear shape, horns, and their hair color being not consistent. They are considered as the Brahman cows of the goat community since they make excellent mothers and are usually parasite resistant. They also thrive and produce with little management given the reputation of a very hardy animal.

Boer Goat

The Boer goat is an improved African breed with some influence of European, Angora and Indian breeding many years ago. It’s primarily a meat goat with several adaptations to the region it was developed and it was imported to the U.S. in 1993. The Boer goat was used very effectively in South America in combination with cattle due to its browsing ability and limited impact on the grass cover. It is a low maintenance animal that has sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing. The Boer goat is one of the larger breeds of meat goats since they do gain an average daily gain of excess .44 pounds a day.

The Kiko Goat

The Kiko goat was developed by Goatex LLC in New Zealand. It was developed from the most fertile and substantial native goats in a breeding program in which population dynamics were rigorously applied to produce a goat with enhanced meat production ability under browse conditions. It was imported into the U.S. in the early 1990s. It is a commonly known goat and its key characteristics is its hardiness and its ability to achieve substantial weight gains when run under natural conditions without supplementary feeding. It’s not as heavily boned as some breeds but it does have a large frame. The Kiko goat comes in different colors but most North American Kikos will be white since it is a dominant gene color. The Kiko goat is very economical because it displays a rate of growth at least of any goat breed but is achieved without the management and fee inputs generally required for satisfactory meat production in any other breed.

Myotonic Goat

Myotonic goats are known as the Tennessee fainting goat since they faint for a few seconds after they become frightened or nervous. Most of these goats found in Texas and are much larger and is probable due to selective breeding for the meat market. These goats are common for milking purposes and for some, household pets.

Feeding Goats

Goat feeding is pretty simple as some goats’ don’t require much attention but it is important to keep them well fed for peak condition. The best thing for a baby goat is to keep them with their mother for the necessary supplement you can replace it with kid milk replacer which is a great way to get them up and going and to get that growth rate going and then once they’re weaned it is recommended to feed them goat chow. Goat chow is a very palatable supplement and is a balanced diet of corn, oats, and very nutritious pellets that are all natural. It is best fed with goats’ natural forage. There are minerals in goat chow but all areas no matter where you are in the country, is deficient in certain types of minerals. Goat minerals are also a palatable food that contains all the necessary vitamins for a goat and also contains a high level of copper which keeps the hair growing and looking healthy. There is also a high amount of sodium in goat mineral to prevent urinary calculi (also known as a kidney stone). It is recommended because it keeps the goat looking at its best.

Shelters for Goats

If you plan on keeping the goats in the yard it would be economical to have metal wire fencing as it is cheaper than a wooden fence but both would be sturdy enough to prevent the goat from escaping. When we think about shelters for goats one thing we need to keep in mind is that at one time goats were wild animals and they were adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions but over time we have domesticated them so it’s best to protect them against three things: wind, rain, and the cold. Those are the big things that influence the health of a goat and if they become cold or wet goats definitely become sick so it’s best to invest on some good housing. Since they are sturdy and hardy animals they don’t necessarily need much space to sleep because they tend to all cuddle in one place so a structure can be a hand -made low rooftop hut. It is a very easy one day project and can be made off of creativity.

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Housing doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to fit your operation whether you’re raising goats for milk or meat. It could be something simple or structures that you already have. It could be as elaborate as something newly built facilities or metal buildings but just make sure that it’s economical and fits in your exact situation. The basic structure is a three sided structure and the most inexpensive to construct and it’s still the shelter that these animals need. Basic structures can be used by plywood and metal sheets as long as you’re careful not to add any paint which contains toxic chemicals as goats are prone to chewing on wood. The flooring of the structure can be many things but the main thing is to keep it dry. If the animals are dry, they’re going to stay warm easier. Types of flooring can be natural dirt, concrete (although it’s not going to be as comfortable), and hay on dirt can be used as well to maintain some heat.

Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat and More

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