Although cow’s milk is popular among the general populace, goat’s milk is preferred by many. It digests easily and is safe for individuals with dairy sensitivities. Goats are strong animals, but they can be raised easily without many expenses. Being smaller than cows, they’re easier to handle as well.
These friendly farm animals also have higher intelligence and bond well with humans. Besides, it can be great fun watching them as they are curious and agile animals. Here are a few things you must do if you wish to raise goats:
1. Choose a good breed of dairy goat
If you intend to raise dairy goats for milk, this is the first step. Take some time to learn about the standard breeds of dairy goats. You’ll come across several breeds, but only a few are commonly raised for milk. Among the popular ones are the Saanen, Alpine, Toggenburg, and Oberhasli breeds.
All of them have their origins in the Swiss mountains. They adapt well to cooler climates and not-so-perfect conditions. If you wish to have goats that have tropical origins, consider the Nubians. They generally do well in hot summers.
2. Fencing and housing dairy goats
A clean and dry place is essential for raising dairy goats. It must be protected from unpleasant, cold winds. Have an enclosed barn that’s warm enough to make the goats comfortable during winters. Make sure you provide a lot of forage for your goats. This would go a long way in keeping them healthy and happy. It’s also important to have extra-sturdy fencing for your goats.
3. Feeding your dairy goats
Grasses, woods, and shrubs are the foundation of good forage for goats. Places with these three things give them plenty of opportunities to roam around and eat well. There are times when you won’t have fresh forage available for them. In such situations, you can feed them high-quality hay.
You must also learn some tips and tricks that are necessary to keep your goats well-fed. The foraging area must be kept free from plants that are considered toxic for goats. You can get in touch with your county extension agent. This would help you identify these plants in the forage area if there are any.
4. Keep your dairy goats healthy
Keeping your goats free of illnesses and diseases is extremely important while raising them. There’s a lot of truth in the good old saying, ‘prevention is better than cure. This is especially true when it comes to goats. Many goat owners don’t realize that it’s much easier to keep these animals healthy.
It would be extremely hard to heal them once they develop a disease or illness. You must learn the basics of keeping them healthy and know when to take them to a vet.
5. Managing milking
Goats typically give birth to their young ones about 150 days after breeding. They often have two or sometimes three baby goats. After the young ones are born, mother goats begin to produce milk. If continuously milked, they’ll lactate for nearly ten months. You need to give them a break for at least two months before they breed again.
Goats produce greater quantities of milk. You’ll still have a lot to take even after your babies are fed. Most of the goat owners milk in the morning after confining the young ones overnight. After the milking is done in the morning, the babies can nurse on demand.