Monday, October 9, 2017

Adding Goats to Your Homestead?

A while back I wrote a post about adding chickens to your homestead. Once you've tackled that task, and gotten used to having poultry around, you might want to move on to another type of livestock.  If you're considering goats, first you need to decide what their purpose will be- milk, meat, fiber, or a combination. Once you've figured that out, you can hit the internet to do your research on different breeds of goats. Just like you did with the chickens, look for breeds that are compatible with your climate. Also find the ones that will fit in your land space. While you're looking, check out shelter and fencing requirements.  By the way, are your goats going to have horns? Are you going to keep a buck or arrange for stud service? There's a lot to learn before you make a purchase! Find your county extension agent or visit a neighboring goat farm before you invest!

I really can't add anything to all that expertise. BUT I do think it's important to also prepare yourself for how owning goats can change your life. I can add my own experiences to help you mentally meet the challenge and make sure you're up to the daily added responsibilities of owning goats if you follow these simple instructions. Ready? Here we go...

Step 1- You'll need two people for this one.
Mark off the outside perimeter of your imaginary goat pen. Inside this space, walk around and randomly toss a large box full of Cocoa Puffs on the ground. Then take a leaf rake and try to sweep up all the Cocoa Puffs while your partner randomly tosses another box full of them out, AT THE SAME TIME. Take turns doing this for hours until you just. give. up.

Step 2-  Again with two people.
First decide where your gate will be. Give your partner a charcoal briquette. Walk through your imaginary gate with a bucket full of feed held up high over your head while your partner tries to decorate your clothes with the charcoal. Once you can get through the gate without spilling the bucket AND dodging the "hoof prints" you can consider yourself a pro!

Step 3- Go to the farm store and price goat fencing. Faint. Convince yourself you can use the cheaper fence instead. Practice calling in escapees with a bucket of grain and replacing your neighbor's rose bushes.

Step 4- Decide which one of your family is going to give up their Christmas for the cost of goat fencing.

Step 5- Find a good hay supply. Bust open a bale and throw half of it on the ground, where goats don't eat. Every day. 

Step 6- Decide what you're going to feed your goats on the days when they do not like the hay.

The rest of the steps are my personal suggestions for dairy goats.

Step 7- Set an alarm for milking time. Head out to the pen at this time every day. Milking gets done in sickness and health, good weather and bad, til drying up time.

Step 8- Clean off the coldest shelf in your fridge and fill it full of mason jars. Rotate the jars every day so the oldest gets used first. Utilize the "glare of death" on anyone who tries to rearrange the jars.

And finally, when you're just about ready to pull your hair out...

Step 7-Imagine there are baby goats bouncing (yes, bouncing!) around inside the imaginary pen. And then there's a mama goat, bleating because she wants her neck scratched. Or a buck who's blubbering and making funny faces. And don't manage to get anything else done within sight of that goat pen with ALL THE CUTENESS. 


  1. That was funny. Probably because I've owned goats for nearly ten years and have experienced most of this on many occasions. Goats WILL change your life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My goats are Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats. I make yogurt, kefir, soap, and cheese with the milk. Gosh, it's marvelous! Remember, those "cocoa puffs" make great fertilizer.

    1. I have a Nigerian Dwarf buck- he's my favorite! Such a ham!

  2. Oh how I miss bringing in the babies to play with.

    1. They're soooo cute! We had triplets this year and I spent entirely too much time playing with them.

  3. Quite the accurate description of goat antics, for which they expect to be paid in treats (animal crackers preferred). Life would be so much less fun without them :)


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