The More You Know Pt. 1: Goats
Do you think YOU could be a dairy goat farmer? Many people may think it sounds easy, but reality tells a different story. There's an old saying that goes, “If your fence can’t hold water, it can't hold a goat,” and while that might seem like an exaggeration, it definitely is not. Goats, especially feral ones, can easily jump the average hog wire fence. And if they can't jump it, they will not hesitate to climb a tree with a branch hanging over the fence and leap off. They simply do not care if they will get taken by animal control for trespassing. For them, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Goats require lots of space, and oftentimes, grass is not enough to satisfy them. They will strip the barks of trees, killing the trees entirely. They won't eat everything as you might have seen in children's stories, but they will definitely eat things they shouldn't. Avocados are especially dangerous for them, but that doesn't stop them from eating the leaves. Additionally, as extremely social creatures, if a goat doesn't have a few friends it will either become incredibly attached to its caregivers, or run off to find itself a friend.
If goats are bottle fed as babies they are often very friendly, inquisitive, and tend to follow people around. I’ve had baby goats in the house for quite a while, and although they are often very interesting houseguests, they are certainly not the cleanest. If we have to separate baby goats from their mothers to transition them from milk to grain, they yell–a lot. It’s not the nicest thing to hear if you're trying to get a good night's sleep. Even after being bottle fed, they will often need to have their diets supplemented with grain and other minerals. Just as humans naturally have a Vitamin C deficiency, goats are incredibly deficient in Vitamin B. If a goat isn’t feeling well, they often need a shot of vitamin B, given subcutaneously near their shoulder. Goats are definitely very high maintenance animals.
Many people will ask about what products can be made with goat's milk, and the list really is endless. Of course the obvious answer that comes to mind is cheese, but this is time consuming and requires a large quantity of milk for not a lot of cheese. Many people choose to make caramel or ice cream, both of which are delicious. Alternatively, one could go in a completely different direction and make soaps and hand lotions.
While the late nights and early mornings are definitely not for everyone, for real goat lovers it is definitely worth it.
Balthazar, Age 2, quite the ladies man, thinks he's very charming. (Elayna Henderson)
P.S. Free Range Eggs for sale!
Email Henderson Hale and Farms for more information!