We are considering acquiring a couple of goats to keep the brush down around here. We have empty fields full of brush that we'd like to clear.
It would be such a waste to just cut it down when it would make great goat forage. we could also have some meat for the freezer and milk, if we had goats. There are only a few of us but I would like to make cheese and we do make a lot of homemade buttermilk, yogurt and soap. I would also want butter.
I know milking is a lot of trouble with the sterilizing and so forth. I already make large quantities of wine. Can the cleanliness be more exacting than that? I have had chickens for years so I know about water in winter and daily care and feed. I have a vet tech for a friend who will give me lessons in trimming hoofs. I could let the milking dry off for a few months each year and share the milking job with the babies for awhile. We could have goat meat in the freezer and sell a few babies too. We could also have a bit of cashmere, maybe.
I just don't know what kind of goats to get. I don't want babied, spoiled barn goats. I want goats that forage outside all year but I want some milk too and meat. Is there one type of multi-purpose goat that lives well outside foraging in the north, gives enough milk for us and has enough body weight for meat and possibly hair that we can breed up for a bit of cashmere? What about Spanish goats? Does anyone keep these for milk, as well as meat?
Should we get a mix of breeds, maybe one dairy goat and one meat goat to start with? What is a good, outdoor hardy, northern goat for milk and for meat? There is a farm nearby with Spanish goats which are bred to produce cashmere. That's why I am asking. Will I be able to get enough milk from a couple of Spanish goats to do what I want with it? Any breed can produce cashmere, or so I have been told, if bred for it. They will also have to eat a lot of brush! I know we need sheep for the little grass but we are not concerned about lawn, we want the brush eaten. We are over run with thistle, curly dock, burdock, goldenrod, mustard and wild raspberries.
I have researched goats for years, but more for care than breeds.
Is there anyone out there nearby with a couple of goats we could acquire that would meet out needs? Am I asking too much from one breed of goat?
I know about the fencing problems. Been there, done that! I know there is no such thing as a goat proof fence. We are installing a double wire live electric fence.
I am more concerned at this point with getting the right goats for us.
Anyone have any advice on breed and locating them?