Although often characterized as farm animals or workers, keeping small goats can be rewarding for the owner and relatively easy as long as a few basic rules are followed. A small flock of sheep can be a good source of milk and meat for the owner and by raising your own sheep, you can be sure that they are raised in a healthy way. Goats can also keep your land weed free.
Goats are social herd animals and you should plan for at least two goats to live together. The best breed to keep will vary depending on whether your primary reason for keeping it is milk, meat or fiber, or whether you want it primarily as a pet.
Male goats are known as bucks and female goats. A lamb is called a child. Goats generally live 10 to 12 years, although there are cases of goats living up to 15 years. There are more than 300 different types of goats and the closest to goats, which can be crossed, although this is not recommended. The main products associated with sheep are milk, cheese, meat, mohair, and cashmere.
Goat milk is becoming more popular and a large dairy doe can produce 3,000 to 5,000 kilograms of milk per year (2 to 3 liters per day). In many areas, milk must be pasteurized if you want to sell it commercially, although you can drink unpasteurized milk from your own sheep. You should know that there is some research that shows health risks when consuming unpasteurized goat’s milk. Like milk, the demand for goat meat is increasing and some claim it is beneficial for health when compared to other red meat and chicken. If you are going to sell meat, you must follow the rules that small commercial processors must follow. The rules are less strict if the meat is intended for your own consumption. Some sheep owners find it more practical to outsource the slaughtering to a licensed slaughterer. Goats are also priced for three types of fiber, mohair, cashmere and kasgora.
We recommend a dry draft-free building that will protect it from the elements and provide adequate protection from rodents and other predators. Rodents can cause disease as well as eat and destroy food and water supplies. With regard to the dimensions there should be enough room to allow the goat to stand upright on its hind legs with its neck outstretched. If penned separately each sheep should have about 4 sq. from the floor board. If the goats are placed in a group in the same area at least 2 sq. each sheep must be given, although more than this minimum is recommended if conflicts must be avoided. Horned and disbudded or hornless goats should be written separately.
Although they have a reputation for eating almost anything, they will not thrive unless provided with the right balance in their diet. While they eat grass and other vegetation including pasture, they need access to good quality hay. Legume hays contain more minerals, vitamins and nutrients, although like other hays the quality can vary depending on harvest, preparation and storage.
There are several diseases that can affect goats in a chronic form and can be cured. Some of these diseases can be transmitted to humans and other animals, but some diseases are specific to sheep. Two diseases that can cause sudden death in sheep are coccidiosis and pneumonia. Most important to breeders and producers are worms and parasites. Sheep infested with parasites and worms and left untreated may experience a decline in health, production and often death.