If you are considering homesteading or are a homesteader, you should consider adding goats to your homestead. Goats are one of the most versatile animals to own. They can provide milk, meat, companionship, and help clear your land even if you only have a small area. When most people think about dairy animals, cows come to mind; but I am here to tell you that goats can have many benefits over a cow. These remarkable animals could be just what you are looking for to round out your homestead.
One of the most important functions a goat can have on your homestead is milk production. Goats produce a surprising amount of sweet creamy milk. Some of the goat breeds can produce a gallon or more per day which is perfect for the small homestead or family. This will give most families plenty to drink and extra besides to explore cheese making and even soap making. Even a smaller breed of cow can give upwards of 5 gallons or more per day so unless you have a permit to sell or have a lot of family and friends to take the excess, much may go to waste.
Goats also produce milk which is high in butterfat, making them a perfect animal for cheese and soap making. Nigerian Dwarf goats, which are the breed of goat on our homestead, produce milk that can have a butterfat content of 7% or more! Delicious!
Another top reason for adding goats to your property is meat production. Goat meat is known as Chevon. Goats as meat animals are not as well recognized in the US as they have been traditionally in other nations such as the Middle East or Africa; yet their meat is similar to venison and a very healthy alternative if you are looking for a lean source of red meat.
Suitable for Small Areas
Goats also eat less than cows and produce less manure. Their smaller size allows you to have them on smaller acreage than you need for a cow, and have more of them depending on how much acreage you own.
Another valuable reason for owning goats would be for clearing land. Goats are not true grazers like cows or sheep but are actually considered browsers. Unlike the popular myth of goats eating anything (even tin cans), they can be rather picky. Fortunately their tastes allow them to eat, and therefore clear the land, of noxious weeds such as kudzu and poison ivy.
We have used our dairy goats to clear poison ivy around our property and they love it. We are highly allergic to it, and I do not like to spray chemicals on my property so using the goats to clear this weed has been the perfect “green” solution! I love to tie them at the edge of the woods and let them “go to town” on the weeds and brush.
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Lastly, I cannot forget to mention the wonderful benefit of owning a goat as a companion animal. Our dairy goats give us far more than milk. We enjoy them as pets as well. They are one of the most interesting, funny, and friendly animals on the farm! We love to just sit outside and watch them, and the goat kids provide our family with hours of fun! Each one has its own personality and they are so entertaining! Wethers (neutered male goats), can be trained as pack animals or you can attach a special cart to them and give them a job on your homestead. Goats will also function very well as companions to other farm animals such as ponies, sheep and even alpacas.
If you are thinking about adding a few goats to your homestead, you will not be disappointed! There is a goat for every purpose and many will serve you well in more than one role. Have you ever owned a goat?