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A Primer on Raising Goats

Goats have gotten a reputation as one of the peskiest, most irritating, and bothersome farm animals. Images of “Billy” goats eating tin cans or tearing clothing off the line as it dries have been commonplace for several generations. While raising goats certainly does come with its own set of challenges, many of the supposed challenges to raising goats can be adequately dealt with through proper design that best utilizes the inherent tendencies of goats when interacting with a farm ecosystem.

Goats can be a fairly simple animal to raise as long as you keep them in the right conditions that take into account some of their innate habits. Goats have a reputation as animals that eat anything from tin cans to underwear and if you leave a goat unattended in your yard, you will come home to find pretty much all of your vegetation either gone or well mowed back.

As with all animals, there are different breeds of goats with different characteristics and personalities. Some breeds of goats are better for milk production while other excel at producing meat. Goat cheese and other dairy products (yogurt, etc.) can bring a pretty price as a specialty product in a niche market. Goat milk is also often used as one of the main ingredients in a number of beauty products such as soaps and lotions because of its nourishing properties.

For people with very small pieces of land, the Nigerian Dwarf goat breed is a good choice. They produce a decent amount of milk but, because of their size, need less room for foraging. Another quality option for people with more space is the Nubian breed. This goat has long floppy ears and produces milk with the highest fat content which makes it a great option for people wanting to produce cheese or other milk-based products.

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