Raising goats is one of the most rewarding homestead activities. You can raise goats for meat such as Boer goats or you can raise them for milk as with breeds such as Nubian, Saanen, Alpine, LaMancha and more.
For years, my family avoided eating goat meat or “chevon” as it is called. During a real hard financial time, I asked my wife if she would try it, and much to my surprise, she agreed. We both agreed that this was an excellent choice of meat, and was far superior to the wild game that I had been chasing for years.
With the increase of immigrants from other goat meat loving countries there is now a shortage of goat meat in both USA and Canada. People seeking to make additional income from their little homestead have found meat goats to be the right choice. They are excellent browsers and will clean up harmful weeds, nettles, brush and that cattle ans sheep will ignore.
For the self-sufficient homestead, goats are a better choice. Depending on the breed you choose, goats have given me a gallon of milk per day. Often we have so much milk that we have to make cheese or give it to the pigs or free range chickens mixed with their crushed grain.
Goat milk is far more healthy and although it tastes a bit different from cow’s milk, you get used to it, and later on prefer it. Goats milk fat globules are smaller and therefore the milk is “naturally homogenized”. Cow’s milk in comparison increases cholesterol in the bloodstream. Many people have known for years that if a baby is allergic to milk, give them goats milk and all will be alright.
One of the tricks to keeping goats milk from tasting strong is to make sure they are only grass or hay fed. Since you are not running a dairy and you are not trying to increase the milk quota, there is no need to feed grain. In addition, goats were not meant to eat grain and grain has caused bloating and death.
Goats are sociable herd animals and therefore it is best to have a few of them around in case you get too busy to give them attention. I prefer never to buy a wild goat because they are difficult to handle. Running away is a sure sign that they have not had much human handling.
Particular, with milk goats, you want them to be of a docile nature, and willingly come to you for the twice daily milking.
You can find recipes for various cheeses and yogurt here