So you’re an aspiring homesteader wanting to dive into owning goats. Well, let me share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly (in my case embarrassing) side of raising goats.
I was late heading out the door of our new homestead in the country and told the kids to “get into the car, I’ll be right behind you”.
As I step out the back door I notice not only were the kids getting in the open sliding door of the van but so were… the goats.
“But Beth, why are there goats getting in your car, why aren’t they in a fence”?
That would be an excellent idea, but goats don’t seem to want to follow the rules of staying in a fenced-in area (as I was learning).
So I am late and the goats, are determined to eat every crumb they can find in a car seat.
I turned to look around, and upon further investigation, I realized two other goats, are standing in the middle of my once beautiful lilac bush. Half climbing half standing up on the branches. So now the scraggly-looking lilacs look bent over and resemble something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Perfect. Goodbye, beautiful.
I hurry down the porch steps, to get this fiasco under control.
So there I am, struggling to pull the goats out of the van so we can get on the road and to where we need to be. But they are not going willingly, not even a little. So as I am wrestling a goat (did I mention it was like 95° out that day) in my frustration I pull off my flip flop to start swatting goats away with it.
That very moment of cuss words, goats, and flip-flip swatting, I hear an unfamiliar voice say “Hi there”, I look over to see a cheery-looking older guy standing right there, in my gravel drive.
Now to defend myself, in the country you get used to lots of privacy real quick, all the miles between you and the next house it just becomes natural.
So this was like getting caught singing at the top of your lungs at the stoplight with your window down when someone rolls up next to you. You get the picture.
Now as this unusually happy older gentleman was watching everything unfold, to my complete and utter embarrassment, I learned he was a neighbor.
A neighbor who lived a few miles down the road came to say hello and meet the new neighbors. Such a nice neighborly guy.
I now realize I have just freshly branded us the “new weird family” who has goats.
Are goats easy to raise
So my story may or may not be a good introduction to goats (but I think it sums them up nicely).
So are goats hard to raise? well, no.
Are they mischievous? Absolutely, every day.
Do they respect fences? No better than a snake would.
Are they easy to raise? Yes.
Pros and cons of owning goats
After that story believe it or not there are pros to raising goats, and though they are full of mischief and Houdini acts let me highlight some of their best and least admirable qualities.
Pros of raising goats
- Goats are good survivors. If you compared them with most other livestock animals a goat will out survive 99 times out of 100 over other more “desirable” livestock choices.
- They are good foragers.
- Goats can find nutritional uses from old tree bark, weeds, kitchen scraps like banana peels, potato peels, carrot peels, and garden scraps. Along with many more undesirables that are still packed with nutrients.
- These hardy 4 legged creatures do well in a mixed species group along with poultry, sheep, equine, and others.
- Easy to breed.
- Having twins and even triplets is very common.
- Can be raised for milk, meat, or as pets.
- Great at clearing the land of brush (in fact some people rent their goats out for just this).
- Don’t require a lot of space as other livestock may.
- Small breeds like Nigerian Dwarfs are popular among Suburban homesteaders.
- Kids are fun and full of energy and have great personalities.
cons to raising goats
- Did I mention they are born with an escape artist gene?
- They can get a heavy parasite load just like most all other livestock (raising Heritage Breeds can help with this).
- They are born with the ability to grow horns so you have to decide whether or not to disbud them.
- Goats are prone to selenium deficiency if your soil is low in it or they are in dry lots they will need supplementation.
- Males go into rut in the fall, they will stink and spray themselves.
- Males in rut are a nearly unstoppable force trying to find “all the single ladies”
The benefit of owning goats
Well As the saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. So if goats are worth the work the struggles and the rewards, it would be each to their own opinion. We have days it has felt totally worth it, and days I asked myself “why have you put yourself through this?!! I guess in the end, either we do think they are worth (can I just say fresh milk) it or we are just gluttoned for punishment, and we enjoy a challenge.
I will never say any animal is right or wrong for a homestead. There are always benefits and downsides to everything. Choosing what animals are right or wrong for your situation is personal and varies a whole lot depending on YOUR situation. The owner’s temperament, physical abilities, land, and terrain, costs, and goals are all considerations each has to consider for themselves.
Goats have pros and cons, I experience both on a daily basis. If you are looking for a way to have fresh milk, your own meat supply, and great foraging animals, then goats might be a consideration for your homestead. Are goats always easy street? Nope. Hey that’s life, grab it by the reigns, or maybe just the goat collar ♡♡♡
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From our family to yours, thanks for stopping by
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.