Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The goat farm

Our trip is almost over.  Today we toured a goat farm (for some strange reason none of my brothers or sisters wanted to do this one!).  This farm has almost 400 goats.  I've had goats before but never on this scale.  I have raised goats as pets and for meat.  I've also never milked them other than just to show the kids how it's done.  I've been too busy to be tied down to the task of milking.  This place raised them for dairy but also had goat meat available from the males that they butcher. 

The farm was 40 acres in size which means about 10 goats per acre.  I asked if the goats were pastured or what they were fed.  The lady said that they won't eat grass (mine did).  Instead they were fed hay and also an alfalfa/goat food pellet.  I asked how much food per goat per day and didn't get a real answer.  When it's hot or raining they don't eat much.  That doesn't tell me anything.  I'd like to know numbers to figure out how much hay and pellets I'd need to keep on hand for a six month or year supply. 

The farm I was at today had a staff of a couple high school kids plus an adult supervisor.  I think one of the kids lived there but the others were hired in.  They also had an outbuilding little cabin that was a second hand store.  For someone who didn't care about their privacy it was a great little set-up.  I'm not sure I'd want a dozen strangers coming to my property each day to check out my goat operation.  On the other hand, if you want to get income from your land, the best way to do it is to sell straight off the land and not rent space somewhere else or have to sell it wholesale.      

The baby goats were kept separate.  I asked one of the workers how they were fed.  They are offered the hay and pellets but also twice a day they are offered a milk bucket.  The bucket has between five and nine nipples sticking out about three or four inches from the top of the bucket.  Each nipple had a tube attached like a straw so the bucket could be filled with several gallons of milk and none of it would drip out because the nipples were above the milk line.  That was very smart.  It may be the normal way it's done but I'd never seen it like that before.  Anytime I've had to feed baby goats they were all individually hand fed with the nipple attached to a soda bottle.  The worker said they do individually feed for a couple of days but then the kids figure out how to use the bucket.  That is sure a time saver.

Goats are a really great animal if you want milk, cheese, and meat.  Instead of getting gallons per day from a cow you can get quarts per day from a goat.  One or two goats will provide all the dairy you will need.  Any more than that can provide an income - if you have the time to spend.  Right now I don't but when I retire from the job I have in five or six years I'd like to make money off my property.  Doing so and keeping privacy will have to be worked out.


  1. And goats milk is a sweet tasting milk. I like it better than cows milk.

  2. Goat's milk is good and the meat, while gamier than beef is not bad either. Never tried cheese from goat milk but I am sure it would be great. If I had some land I would definitely own some goats.

  3. That is a load of BUNK about goats not eating grass. They do. We raise Boer and Saanen (dairy). We have 10.5 acres. I don't buy feed for my goats, they "free range". They prefer browse, but they do eat grass. Our entire 10.5 acres doesn't need to be mowed anymore, between the 12 goats, 3 horses, calf, three pigs and the chickens, we are pretty much weed and pest free. During the winter months, we do offer hay, but they prefer the grass to the hay. I don't buy alfalfa except for pregnant and nursing does, and we don't feed commercial feed. The vet said ours are the healthiest goats he has ever seen, and was shocked that we don't feed them.

  4. I didn't feed our goats either. They eat whatever is growing, including grass. Our land can only support about 15 goats or sheep without supplimenting their feed. So the question I tried to get answered from this person was how much do they eat in case I wanted to put on more animals than our land could support. I wanted to see if it would be worth the cost of raising goats to sell, milk, etc. if I had to pay for all their food. Couldn't get a straight answer.