How To Raise Goats
Some Important Facts About How to Raise Goats
Raising your own livestock can be a fun and interesting way to make a bit of extra money, and learning how to raise goats is a surprisingly easy way to begin. Goats are a very low-maintenance animal and require little more than a shelter and land to graze on. They can be raised for a variety of purposes, so it's easy to find a type of goat that will meet your particular needs. Whether you wish to raise your goats for milk, meat, fiber (goat hair) or show, owning goats can be a wonderfully rewarding and profitable experience.
There are many different breeds of goats, but as with any domesticated animal, some are more popular than others. Boer goats are generally the best choice if you are raising your goats for meat, while the Nubian goat is the breed most commonly chosen by those raising dairy goats. The Angora goat is the classic fiber goat, producing twelve or more pounds of mohair in a year. Which breed you choose will depend largely on the purpose you have in mind for your goats.
If you are just starting your own herd, four goats is a good initial purchase. A female goat, or doe, will give birth to babies (kids) once a year, and generally will have twins. With one male and three female goats, you can anticipate having six kids after one breeding season. This will give you a good start on a herd of your own, without becoming overwhelming as you learn how to raise goats.
Before you buy your first goats, make sure that their living area is ready for them. It is important to provide enough land to keep your goats well-fed and exercised, so you should plan to have at least one acre for every four goats. Goats are notoriously intelligent and curious, so you will need to surround the land with a fence that they can't jump or push over. If you don't wish to fence your land, you can tie your goats out as long as you give them plenty of room to exercise and move them frequently. You will also need to provide a shelter to protect your goats from the heat and cold; placing animal bedding in a three-sided structure with a pitched roof works well.
One reason goats are so easy to raise is that they get the majority of their nutritional needs met from the land. Their diet of grass, weeds, and leaves will need to be supplemented at times with grain and hay, but goats are largely free-range animals. You can provide your goats with fruits and vegetables if you wish, but this is not necessary. You can also provide your goats with a specialized diet depending on whether you are raising them for milk or meat, but allowing them to graze is the most economical way to feed. It is also imperative that goats have access to fresh water at all times.
Goats need to be groomed once or twice per month, a process that includes clipping their hooves and brushing their coat. If the goat's hooves get too long, it can become painful and even cripple the animal. If necessary, you can give your goats a bath with shampoo and warm water. Grooming is an excellent time to ensure your goats are healthy and in good shape. A healthy goat has clear eyes, a smooth and shiny coat, an alert attitude, and a good appetite.
Anyone can learn how to raise goats, and they make excellent companions as well as good livestock. Goats are the perfect choice if you're interested in providing your own milk or meat, and with new kids born every year you can sell some of your goats while still easily maintaining a good-sized herd. If you would like to own your own livestock, you should definitely consider learning how to raise goats.