Friday, July 1, 2011

Goats

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?

9 comments:

Clayton said...

Some of the attributes of the Katahdin sheep (don't need shearing)seem good as far as meat goes as well as the Boer goats. I noticed a neighbour here with Katadhin and the fence was ordinary page wire. Looked quite easy. Boers also are non climbers from what I have been told. Here's a cute video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRmD6JqxVTA

Good luck. I have often thought of doing the same thing as the tall grass and shrubs actually pose a fire hazard here on the prairies.

Michelle said...

The Kinder goat is an all purpose breed. They seem ideal to me because they can be good for milking & meat. If I had the choice, that's what I would've started with or Mini Nubians. I have the Nigerian's who haven't been a problem with fence jumping, but who, I don't think, are good for either milking or meat.

Sounds like you have nice pasture area & with your knowledge of plants you will be quick to identify any poisonous ones.

I was advised to make sure any goats I was interested in had been tested for CAE & Johnnes & to ask for written proof. Apparently, there are people who will try to get rid of sick animals.

Have fun in your search, I think you are ready!

Brenda said...

I have some good links for you. I hope it will help in your search:

Ontario Goat Breeders Association:
http://www.ogba.ca/directory.htm

Poultry Swap Ontario: MORE than just poultry. If you register for their forums, you can check livestock for sale.
http://www.poultryswapontario.net

If I find a suitable breed, I'll let you know. Good for you! I would love to have goats, they can provide us with so much (milk, meat, fibre, etc.)

Brenda @ My Backyard Farmyard

Madeline said...

Two excellent livestock websites that compare breeds are the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (endangered breeds) and Oklahoma State University (practically any breed in existence).

Also, I've heard that Nubian/Boer crosses make a good dual purpose goat. Angora goats are meat-type goats with lots of hair...maybe they would make a good part of a cross with a dairy breed.

Here's the 2 websites:

http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html

http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/

I am hoping to get some goats as well before long.

*~*~*~*~Tonia said...

A Nubian/Boer cross bred doe would give you milk and meaty babies. Nubians are considered dual purpose because they are a bigger goat then most dairy IF it hasnt been bred out of them. My Nubian/Boer crosses have been some of my healthiest hardiest goats. I keep mine in with electric fence and I have done it for 9 years. It works well if done right.
A kinder goat is a Nubian/Pygmy cross also considered a dual purpose goat. They are a bit smaller or shorter.
The major climbers/jumpers in the dairy goat world are ALpines. I have seen them climb high but they do originate from the Swiss Alps where Nubians originate from Africa through Great Britain giving them the name Anglo-Nubians.
We butchered an intact yearling Boer Buck and a Wethered(castrated) Nubian yearling. Fed the same same age and everything and got the same amount of meat. Boers are a big boned animal where the dairy have finer bones.
We make cheese, have milk, meat and sell doelings for a little cash.
The brush stuff sounds Perfect for the goats. Goats will eat some grass. Cashmere would catch some major debris in that brush though. The under coat is what is considered cashmere. Same have large quantities and some of a little. We had a little Boer Doeling one time everyone thought was a lamb because she was so fuzzy! LolAnyway way I could go one and on about goats. But they are a great livestock animal to have. Much easier to handle than cows and smarter than sheep. They are more related to Whitetail deer than sheep. They have some of the same habits as the Deer do... Okay I really am stopping now! Lol

Diane@Peaceful Acres Farm said...

Yea...you finally added the "name/url" so I can comment. That's the only reason I never had. But I always read and guess I haven't look for it in a while!

I'm sure others have given you good sage advice. So, I'm just gonna say it's too bad you aren't closer! I hope you find the right goat for your needs. I personally really love my Nubians and since I crossed them with a Boer the babies are dual purpose....well at least the females!!! ;) Mine do very well on electric and never abuse it like the cow! ;)

Hope your search all goes well for you and you find the perfect match.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

A kinder or nubian/boer cross sounds very good! I will see what I can find in those breeds nearby. I wish we were closer too, Diane!

Thanks everyone for the information!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Clayton, Let us know if you do get some goats. There's some good info for you here.

The Japanese Redneck said...

I'm very tired after reading all that. Wow!