Country Living Series

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Not convinced about goats

Here's an interesting counter-opinion about the value of goats (or cows) that was posted on Interviewing a Goat Farmer.

I'm just not convinced of the value of goats. I live in a part of the country where goats are fairly common. I could take you to 20 places near me where they have 2, 3, half a dozen goats. In every case they (the goats) live in squalor. They aren't milked or treated like pets or used for any purpose. They simply are caged inside small fenced pens lie around in the mud and occasionally the owner tosses some hay at them. I could also take you to goat frams where the goats are well taken care of and milked but these are of course "businesses" not a few goats on a homestead. Why goats? yes I am aware that they give milk but so does every store in the world. I may go camping for three days tomorrow, I may on a whim go to Ireland for a week, I travel in a motorhome for weeks at a time. Sometimes I just stay home and relax. With goats (or cow, pigs and dogs for that matter) I couldn't do any of that. And it's more then not wanting to be tied down by animals it comes down to for what? What can the goats offer me? I can live the rest of my life without ever consuming goat milk or cheese. I certainly have no desire to eat goat meat. I think goat owners (casual goat owners) have a need to own animals much like the cat women you read about with 40 cats living in a small singlewide trailer. To what end??


  1. Okay... I have several issues with this person's comment.

    First, the commenter is doubting the value of goats based on others' apparent mistreatment of goats. That makes no sense. Does the lack of proper care of goats on the part of others mean the goats would not contribute if they were properly kept?

    Second, the commenter appears to imply that because the goats nearby appear to be mistreated, except for at the businesses, then all backyard goat keepers mistreat their goats and do not allow them to contribute.

    Third, the commenter is questioning the value of goats from the position of already not being interested in keeping them or ever using their products.

    I have to question the commenter's ability to accurately evaluate the care of the goats nearby. It is terribly common for people who do not keep livestock to think that livestock are being kept in poor conditions, when the animals are actually being kept in quite normal, even better-than-average conditions.

    I plan to get dairy goats as soon as I can. I already know that like chickens, they will reduce the ground to mud unless they have a very large area to roam -- large enough that they can't destroy it faster than it can recover. Not everyone can provide an area large enough for that not to happen. That doesn't mean the animals are not being kept well.

  2. It is not often I have something to say about a post or comment. Yes animals can be a pain if you want to travel-see the sights. That's what good neighbors and friends are for and vice verse. My goats as well as my Dexter cattle; heck my whole homesteading lifestyle have given me deep satisfaction and contentment. The milk,cheese and oh! yes! meat is just the frosting on my little cake. I encourage everyone who desires to smell a sweet baby goat and spend hours watching their playful antics to not wait-remember you will need two. After all most of us homesteaders are herd animals too. Nurse Claudia-goat owner since 1997

  3. Dear Sir/Madam,

    You're exactly right. You don't need a goat. They will not offer you anything. So please don't get one.

    I don't see the need for leaving my homestead on a whim. I don't see the need for spending money on sup-par milk or cheese from the quickie mart. I certainly have no desire to eat supermarket meat.


    A Casual Goat Owner (who, btw, does not have 40 cats)

  4. LOL !!! To each his/her own. Homesteading lifestyle is not for everyone! No drama!

  5. Me thinks she should travel further than passing 20 places where goats live. I feel sorry for her if she is so bored she has to leave home all the time. Maybe she should get a cat for company....

    Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

  6. So this person sees no value in anything that will prevent them from doing anything they want at any time they want to do it.

    I recommend that they don't own any living objects, rent an apartment, and don't get in a serious relationship with the opposite or even the same sex.

    This person's interest likes only with what they see in the mirror.

    As far as goats go, we raised them when I was a kid (pun intended). If you want some milk and not the massive quantities that even a single cow can provide then goats are the way to go.

  7. Go ahead and drink that puss milk from the store. When I leave home my goats are in the care of another great goat owner and while she is gone I take care of her goats.
    This person should never be an animal owner. People who have animals (even cats)should learn and have the money to care for these animals or don't own one.
    Goat owner since 1995.

  8. "WELL! I NEVER!"

    Whatever else that person does to enjoy their life, they shouldn't get any goats. They obviously don't like goats, and I'm fine with that. There's no need to be so defensive.


  9. oops...that last comment was from "Just Me."

  10. This person obviously doesn't like animals. If a person loves the animals they have, they are going to love caring for them. And like Papa Bear said, they should live in an apartment, because all property no matter what size requires maintenance. You can't run off to Irland on a whim for a week, and think the lawn is going to mow itself.

    Maybe they should go on a tour of a mega dairy, and see how the cows live that provide them with the milk, and dairy products that appear on the store shelves. See the squalor that those cows live in. Smell the stench. See the cows drinking their own recycled poo water that they have to stand in. See them limping with their duct taped injured hoof. This IS the life that these cows live for their whole 4 years of life. And if anyone really thinks that that is the normal life span of a cow, it isn't. Our Jersey milk cow lived into her 20's, and she lived a happy life on irrigated pasture.


  11. I wonder if the person was playing Devil's Advocate or trying to be titillating. ??? There are some people who just don't like anything. The arguments made no sense as someone else pointed out. I certainly don't want goats, but not for any of her reasons.

    Chickens are my love. Some people give reasons akin to that woman's reasons. They make no sense. I rarely am away from home. But, a neighbor will feed my hens twice a day, only one if that is all the time he has. Their 10'x10' dog pen gets really muddy, but pine straw takes care of that. Dogs and cats dig, get filthy at times. I still think their was an ulterior motive for writing that, not the reasons she stated.

    Silly woman. I am sure she would disapprove of chickens if she knew I took one to bed with me and blogged about it today. I wonder what she does like.

  12. Goat meat cooked properly is delicious. Don't knock it until you have tried it. But.... it has to be cooked right. Goat owner for over 45 years here.

  13. Actually I love animals. When I walk I always try to get every cat to come to me and be petted. I'm successful half the time. But I do indeed have zero desire to own a cat. I have the best of both worlds, all the cats are there to love or pet or just observe. I love dogs, big dogs, love to rough house with them. Dogs are the best pets. I do not own a dog and probably never will. If I did I would have two or three. My point about the goats I see in muddy small caged pens is that in my oipinion they are being mistreated. It saddens me, animals like that need more space to move around and better feeding then what I see them getting. But the larger point about goats is I don't really see them as all that useful. I get it that a coouple of goats will keep you in milk. I get it that they are even pets to some people. But they aren't very good eating. Not real good multiuse animals. I think for many people goats are mostly pets. I am open to hearing more about goats and I might change my opinion.

    I have a "lawn guy" on speed dial and automatic sprinklers. He charges $18.50 to mow, blow and cleanup once a week.

    Sorry if anyone was offended that wasn't my intent.

    1. I don't see the value of a lawn guy, but I'm not knocking all the folks that use them. Perhaps you can give us a list of the benefits of having a lawn service.

      Also, it sounds as though you aren't paying your's enough. Either you live on a postage stamp lot and thereby would have zero need or want for a goat or any other outdoor animal...or you are paying him well below minimum wage. Sad.

    2. Many people have herds of goats that they lease out to clear the weeds off property. They don't eat them, but the do breed them. Others raise them for the milk. Some only have them bred when they want the milk and they keep them as pets the rest of the time.

      Quality milk where I live is $4.50/HALF gallon, and that has been ultrapasturized to the point nothing beneficial is left. Raw milk is $7/gallon but I can't find anyone who has a share left in a dairy cow. In my state you can't sell the milk but a cow share is legal.

      We are considering a couple of small goats. I mentioned this while buying a bar of goat milk soap for a gift in a specialty store in Julian CA. The owner seemed to think I wasn't smart enough or well equipped enough to raise goats. She knew nothing about me, but I guess her anxiousness about me having a couple goats was from seeing what you have described and not so much a judgment of me specifically.

      Like you we like to travel. We have several people around here that will "goat sit" for us. We also have 3 cats that are pampered beyond belief, a dog that we are never separated from, and 8 chickens. With the exception of the dog (who goes where we go) we have trusted caretakers for them.

      Goats live in pretty austere conditions around the world, but even the ones penned in muck probably have a better life than many large commercial animals. We all are appalled at what we see, but the American consumer wants the best meat and milk but they don't want to pay what it is worth the producer to invest time and money into "quality of life" for the animals. Of course, exceptions apply.

      I commend you for being more open minded about the goats than your original post.


  14. hi. if the goats the lady sees really are living miserably she is duty-bound to call the a. s. p .c. a. or the sheriff.
    deb harvey

  15. Hummm...seems the person writing the article needs some GOAT EDUCATION. I would take the time to do that here but it is apparent that she is not smart enough to understand it. Goats are not suitable for EVERY situation or person (nor are cats) but again. Some EDUCATION on the species are in order. She needs to do her research... but i doubt she is capable of that or she would have already done it. Likely voted for Omaba...nuff said.

  16. Wow! Amazing what one can reveal about oneself in one little rant! Anonymous, I do feel sorry for you.

  17. Thanks for the reminder that loved and well-cared-for animals are happy, productive and valued.

    Just Me

  18. I am amused that so many feel compelled to throw around insults rather then offer anything substantive. I just don't get the goat thingy. I wouldn't want a cow either but a steer would be a good choice and pigs probably an excellent choice if it were my intent to raise animals for food. Have you eaten goat and do you like it? Would you prefer it to beef or pork? I have had goat milk and goat cheese and I can take it or leave it and would prefer cows milk or cheese anytime. As a pet I would prefer a dog. As food I would prefer a pig, beef or chicken. So someone please give me one really good reason to have goats.

    1. I think that what has gotten people's hackles up is twofold:

      1. Your logic. Basically, you said "I don't have any use for goats; therefore, goats are useless." Okay, there was a little more to it than that, but not much.

      You did not leave any room for the fact that different animals have different uses for different people. One person keeps pigs, which I can't imagine having more than one of at a time, and another keeps cattle. One keeps a couple of cows to milk, another raises four per year and slaughters them, and has no desire to milk. One keeps goats for meat, another for milk and cheese. I keep rabbits for meat, chickens for eggs, and have near-future plans for dairy goats.

      My family goes through milk and cheese like crazy. Those items have become quite expensive. I have calculated that if it costs less than $100/month to keep a couple of goats, I will save money. Occasionally, I will need to let them kid, to keep the milk flowing. Then I will have goat meat. Do I like goat meat? I don't know, but probably. If not, I'll trade it for venison or wild turkeys.

      Preferences do not always dictate actions. With groceries eating up our budget faster and faster, we are doing some things to cut our costs. I love beef and pork, but may never raise them myself. I love rabbit, which I do raise. Venison I like, but I prefer beef. However, if I can get venison for less, I will get venison.

      I am sure we will have some adjusting to do for goat's milk, but we can do it. We already like goat cheese.

      The other reason...

      2. You insulted them first. "I think goat owners (casual goat owners) have a need to own animals much like the cat women you read about with 40 cats living in a small singlewide trailer."

      You called backyard goat owners animal hoarders. It didn't go over well.

      You don't get the goat thingy? Fine... lots of people do get the goat thingy. They raise them for milk, whether because it is unpasteurized and unhomogenized, or because it's less expensive than the milk at the store, or because they are lactose-intolerant but can drink goat's milk, or because they make soap with it. They raise them for meat... yes, some people do like goat meat. They raise them as pets... I understand they have fun personalities. There are plenty of good reasons to have goats. That doesn't mean that you should have a goat, but it does mean that you shouldn't knock people who do.

    2. Not every one can drink cows milk, myself included. I like goat milk soap, and goat yogurt and goat cheese. Sometimes we don't have the choices others have. Try to dissuade a mother with a screaming infant that can't tolerate her milk, or any artificial cow milk based formula that goats do not have value.


  19. Actually I kind of get were the goat critic is coming from about "goat ladies".
    Hate to set myself up for a "goat lady" pile on but there does seem to be a real "hippie homeschooling goat mama" stereotype - at least where I live anyway.One goat is never enough for them .....

    I'm not wild about goats or goat milk either(it gags me).
    Believe me I've owned plenty (been married to a goat hoarder for 25+ years)& milked more than my share
    (and no the nasty goat milk taste is not a milk quality control issue - it's a function of goat & human DNA interaction).

    If you can stand the smell & have fences that will hold water
    (you'll need 'em for the capricious little devils)
    goats really do have a use on a small place.

    They are the poor man's cow, clean up underbrush like nothing else and kid goats are absolutely the baddest & cutest of all baby farm animals.They are worth it for the entertainment value alone.

    As a bonus...if you keep a really rank, stinky Billy goat with your cattle & horses they won't get sick with any type of respiratory aliment.Don't know why it works....but it does.....

  20. I have several reasons to have goats, I have a small farm and we keep goats for their milk. Here are my top ten reasons:
    1. Goats milk is naturally homogenized which makes it easier on finicky stomachs. If the billy is kept far away from the girls there is no "Goaty" taste to the milk. Tastes pretty much the same as cow milk if it is done properly.
    2. Goats are less costly to keep than a milk cow
    3. You do your own milking so you know the health of the milk you get and the cleanliness of it. I ahve seen commercial dairies and I do not want that nasty stuff.
    4. It makes cheddar cheese and mozzarella just as good as cows milk does.
    5. They are smart!!! Much more inteligent than any dog and way more loyal. Mine all know their names. I can be in the barn and yell a name and that goat will answer me with a Maaa. We can tell each one by their voices.
    6. Their antics are better than watching a comedy on the TV.
    7. They are your best friend and will love on you especially if you have a granola bar for them.
    8. They come when they are called, unlike most dogs that get stubborn.
    9. They do not mind being on a tie out and make great weed eaters. They clean up the grass and weeds and God provides them with food.
    10. The milk can be sold and it is quite costly at 8-12 dollars a gallon it can add needed revenue for your farm. Most states do not have the regulations on Goats milk that they have for raw cows milk.

  21. And there is the industrialized, modern mind totally outed. Big contribution to our present day dilemma, "what can goats offer me". hmmmmmmm.......

  22. I am a casual goat owner and have been for 5 years. What is the value in keeping a small herd of dairy goats?
    (1) I am lactose intolerant and having goat's milk allows me to enjoy dairy products again.

    (2) Tending to my animals is great exercise---my morning chores help my body to "wake up", stretching, bending, lifting, etc......a nice workout for this 50+ year old woman.

    (3) Goat ownership has reconnected me to a more peaceful, earth-loving existence. One of the most relaxing places to be is in the barn, with my goats, during a heavy rain! I mellow out in one of the stalls with a goat in my lap.

    (4) Goat ownership is educational! I've learned much about biology, zoology, reproduction, birthing, weaning, etc...... And what goat owning woman hasn't learned oodles about MEN by observing her bucks???!

    (5) Let's talk poop. Goat poop is marvelous for the garden; it's pH balanced, and non-stinky. It can go straight from the goat to the garden with no waiting for composting.

    (6) I've met some awesome people through owning goats. They are, for the most part, salt-of-earth nature loving souls.

    (7) Children LOVE goats, and I've opened up my barn to many, many children. Their appreciation of animals and their way of experiencing nature is pure joy to observe.

    (8) Older people LOVE goats! I've had people in their 80s and even one gentleman in his 90s visit my farm to reconnect with goats. These folks tell me about goats they had as children, how they loved them, how they wished they could own another. Perhaps, nearing the end of their lives, they've come to realize what's most important.....communing with other of God's creations.

    May you, too, be blessed to discovery the Goodness of Goats.

  23. I guess I kind of get the rant. I live in a rural area--not many goats--but horses. Horses that stand around eating and pooping, never tended to or taken for a ride. Some people have dogs that they chain out at the farthest part of their property, left to live of their days with little interaction. They are put their for "protection" but no one ever checks on them when they bark.

    The novelty wears off and then what do you do with them.

    There is a small home south of here with a bit of property (small bit). They are trying to "homestead". Goats, chickens, a turkey..... Good for them and I would would too if I had enough property. BUT the place is littered with trash and the animals are in tiny muddy fenced in areas. I don't know if they don't know better or are just plain lazy. Its not a good situation for these animals and those of you who raise them would not approve of the conditions.

    Not everyone is geared to have animals or wants to be tied down with them. That's okay and probably more need to admit that. I'll side with the writer that those folks probably thought it a quaint idea to have some animals and are really not all that interested in what it fully entails. (Some even do that with children.)

    1. Maybe all that trash is there way of saying NO TRESPASSING, mentally or physically.

      We do not live like that. In fact, we expend far too much time making our place have curb appeal than I would like, but my husband enjoys it, so we work on it. I don't have a day off. He knows that if he dies first, I'm having way less yard and more animals, LOL, and he knows that if I die he can have all the high maintenance landscaping that he wants. Right now, we compromise.

      There is a place just west of our big garden that looks awful to many. I don't see it. They are busy juggling many balls. Their house looks like a barn and I love it! I can't find anyone else that does. Their tax bill is thousands less than ours and my husband is beginning to see the light.

      We are all different. My very wise mother always said to not judge a book by it's cover. That's what I read in some of these posts. No one knows if the animal owners in question have a loved one that became disabled or if they are sick themselves. Sometimes things have to be left for another day and often people have to learn that they are in over their heads on their own. We have friends whose place has evolved over the years as their children have grown. It's a show place now, but we loved them when it wasn't. No one knows how many hours they devoted to community causes, they just drove by and made judgments. Their hard work provided thousands of dollars every year in funding for various organizations.

      Another fine individual lived in an derelict eyesore and had a perfectly defensible space provided by "trash". She used it to keep people out and away from her. When Marne died she left MILLIONS to help veterans with hearing aids, eye glasses and transportation to the VA hospital. Her foundation is still fully funded.

      I guess she could have spent her money having her place cleaned up while she ranched (never married, did it alone).


  24. No one needs to give you 'one really good reason' to have goats if you don't want them. My 'good reason' for having goats may not be a good reason for you. If you don't see a good reason for having goats, there is nothing wrong with that. BUT others do see good reasons for having them. What's the issue?

    There's no real point in this debate, is there?


  25. You started the insults by comparing goat owners to crazy cat ladies. What did you expect?

    There is no good reason for you to ever own a goat.

    I, on the other hand, would like to spin and knit with Angora that I've raised myself. And I like goat's milk and cheese just fine. Cheesemaking is on my list of things to learn to do. I'm starting with goats instead of cattle because they are less intimidating to me size-wise, they smell better, they fulfill my desire for fleece and milk in one animal, and they require less hay than a cow (hay is currently going for $10 a bale around here, so that matters). I've traveled a lot, and while I enjoy it, I enjoy my homestead life more. Also, it's easy enough to get fellow 4-Hers to watch my animals if I need to be gone.

  26. And FWIW, I prefer venison and wild turkey to eat, but I raise chickens and ducks for meat because I cannot count on my hunting being successful every year. And eating the same meat all the time eventually gets boring. Goat is not my favorite, but I'll eat it over store-bought anything.

  27. I don't think goats are the real issue here. I think this is just
    another example of someone trying to stir up trouble on a blog
    that they actually have no interest in. The key to this problem is
    the word "rural" in the title. You are apparently not interested in
    animals or animal husbandry, are not home long enough to tend a
    garden, so therefore I presume you do not can food, nor do you
    care for your own lawn. There are many blogs on the internet that
    would be of interest to someone who enjoys travel or long rv trips.
    You must have other interests.

    We are the down in the dirt, gardening, canning, homeschooling, owners
    of animals. We are "them thats doin" and we do not apologize to city-
    folk. If you haven't been here you won't understand.

    Some of the greatest love I have ever received has come from our
    animal friends.

  28. No point in trying to explain anything to these kinds of people. They have based there opinion on a few folks they know that are neglectful. Most goat owners I know are responsible and take very good care of their animals. I have 13 dairy goats and the females get milked. We treat our goats like the pets they are. They are in a pasture of a little over an acre. Some people just want be rude, sometimes they are rude out of ignorance and then there are the cases where the person is just stupid and you can fix stupid! :)

  29. Well the original poster doesn't seem to like when people have gotten upset over the comment. But quite frankly it sounded like to the poster most goat owners neglect their goats and are basically crazy cat ladies just have goats instead. And if the goats are living in such squalor like you describe you should report the owners.

    Why do I own goats? Well for me the main reason is weed control. Where I live in we have a major issue with weeds, every year our pasture gets taken over by weeds and no other animals will eat those types of weeds. Almost everyone in my area that has a larger pasture has at least 1-2 goats if not more mixed in with their other livestock to keep the weeds at bay. One of my 3 goats has also been trained since he was 2 months old to be put on a 25-50 ft. dog lead and staked out elsewhere in the property during the day to control weeds. We tend to have issues with noxious weeds in this area as well and I prefer to allow the goats to take care of those weeds as opposed to using toxic chemicals. When I originally got my group of goats I was planning to milk the female after she kidded, but she died during the birth, so that option is out until I at least get another female. For me goats are a better alternative than cattle because goats are cheaper to buy, cheaper to feed, and eat pretty much everything in the way of vegetation. I'm not a huge fan of goat meat, but prepared correctly it isn't bad and my pet cats and ferrets (and no I don't hoard those animals either, those are just house pets I enjoy having around as companions) also are fed a mainly raw/whole prey diet and they enjoy the goat meat. That was another reason I was interested in goats was a source of meat for my other pets. Plus goats also are entertaining. My human kiddo loved getting to interact with our bottle baby after his mom died and loves going up by the pasture and just watching the goats play. To me personally, my goats serve a purpose and are not pets, and I never plan to own more than 5-6 at a time, so I won't be turning into the crazy goat lady anytime soon.

    In my area most people take very good care of their animals, there are exceptions yes, but most do a job job at it. I also live in an area that has numerous cow dairies, both regular and organic, both types treat the cows horribly, often break the rules they are supposed to follow and get away with it, and those places are filthy and stink. I'd much rather get milk from my own animals than buy milk that comes from those hellholes.

    Are animals a commitment. Of course. No matter what type of animal you own you have to make arrangements for someone to take care of them when you leave the area. I don't have the time or money to take elaborate trips anywhere, so that isn't an issue for me, but when I do got out of town for a long weekend, I find someone to come take care of the animals. I like the lifestyle I live and don't plan to change anytime soon.

  30. Haven't read thru all the comments, so this may have been menioned.... I live in the deep south, and we have an epidemic of kudzu. Goats LOVE kudzu, and will clear it away. Hallelujah! They also eat poison ivy! They are a great way to clear and keep clean acres of land.

    Also, goats can be raised for meat. We have friends who raise and sell meat goats. Their extended family enjoys getting their pastures cleared by those goats, too!

    We plan to add them, and will use them to clear the several acres of kudzu and poison ivy...and then we will sell them and/or butcher them. Idk if we will do dairy goats now....maybe one day....


  31. Back in the early 70's Mother Earth News suggested Dexter cattle for the small homestead. They were good milkers but gave about half as much milk. They averaged anout half the size of a beef steer but ate 1/4 as much. This was their reccomendation for someone wanting milk and beef but without a lot of acreage. Why wouldn't This be a better option then goats for most reasons that someone would want a dairy animal? This goes to the heart of my question. Why goats. Just wondering. I assumed it was mostly because goat owners wanted goats and it wasn't about the dairy or the meat but that they wanted one just as some people want multiple cats or dogs or only want the little tiny lap dogs etc. I still believe that is the case. A few people gave some good answers but in general not anything that would support a goat choice over a dexter. No one said they ate goat meat so I assume that the goats are not generally raised for the meat. So pretty much I'm still unsure "why goats".

    1. I suppose you haven't been understanding the answers. Goats and cattle do not eat the same thing. Goats are browsers. Cattle are grazers. Different diets. Sheep prefer forbs but will browse and graze.

      Goats are raised for meat around these parts. There's quite a market for it among immigrants.

      Why goats? Goats can survive and thrive on land that would starve cattle. They are less expensive to raise (lower feed costs). They are easier to handle (lower chiropractor costs). Their gestation length is 5 months. The kids are weaned at 3 months. They will be in puberty at @ 5 or 6 months. They often bear twins, triplets, and quadruplets. So, what does all that mean? It means a quick turnover to market. Sure, the payoff is lower per caprine than per bovine, but your inputs are way lower, too. The biggest drawback to goats for me is that you absolutely cannot get away with poor fencing. Ever. Goats are also very susceptible to internal parasites (worms), particularly when they are forced to graze rather than browse.

      Monograzing is a bad idea. One species of animal will preferentially eat certain things, eating their favorites to death while allowing other plant life to overgrow the pasture. In order to keep the pasture healthy, a rancher will need to spray the pastures to get rid of noxious plant life, mow fairly frequently, or sequentially graze or cograze with an animal species that preferentially eats the species that the rancher is trying to eradicate. Two complementary species grazing the same pasture will produce extra income for the rancher (more going to market without increasing his feed bill), plus his herbicide costs/mowing costs are reduced or eliminated. In addition, the cograzers may be able to eat around the manure piles of the other animals without harm because the internal parasites of the other animals do not effect them, reducing the worm burden. This is a significant problem in the hot, humid area (aka parasite heaven) where I live.

    2. I take it you have not looked at the price of Dexter cattle and the price of your average goat. I did, as I was considering what to get.

      Dexter cattle cost over ten times as much! Around $2,000 each, more or less.

      Just because Mother Earth News suggests something, that doesn't mean it is automatically the perfect solution for everyone.

      I do not have the budget for a Dexter cow, and I imagine most on here are in a similar position.

  32. More city-folk hubris,eh?

    Fortunately that's something I never have to worry about from my happy, grateful goats and other critters.


  33. Sounding more like a troll w/ each comment. From equating goat owners to crazy hoarders, admitting an extensive travel lifestyle (obviously not a homesteader), automatic lawn sprinklers
    & lawn blantantly disregarding dozens of comments citing rational situations where goats are a better option for some homesteaders or hobbyists. Let's move on.

    1. Yes I admit it!! I travel. I'm 70 years old and worked everyday of my life starting at 13 and now I'm retired and enjoying it. Our house is in an HOA and the lawn must be mowed and watered so when we travel a lawn service does this for us. The $18.50 he charges was his quote and for a half hours work not bad for either of us. I am indeed looking for a "deal" to Ireland or Scotland. I have found Air, ground and hotel for about $700. Not a fortune by any means. I am holding out for a trip that can be taken right away most of these deals are for months in the future and our plans are always shorter term. I wish everyone has the opportunity to retire someday and enjoy this great country. A motorhome actually costs less to finance then my car did and it gives us freedom to do what we want to. We spend a week or more at a time in numerous national parks and in the winter we spend time along the California coast and in Southern Arizona. Most of the people we meet are just like us and just like most of you all in that we were simply people who worked all our lives at jobs we enjoyed and jobs we took only to support our family. Going to Canada in two weeks but won't continue on to Alaska like we usually do since we have so many family things going on this summer.

      I have sincerely wondered about goats for years but never found anyone who could explain or justify their value. I can assure you I am not a troll and I am most certainly not simply trying to "get your goat" with my questions.

    2. I have nothing against retiring and traveling. I would love to be able to do so someday. I don't see that day coming, though, with all the troubles we face in this country these days.

      There is a massive worldview difference between you and most of the rest of us who frequent this blog. You have retired, live in a home with an HOA and a very small yard (which I must assume, since most lawns take more than a half hour to tame), and you travel a lot and don't want to get involved with anything that will prevent that. And that is fine.

      Most of the rest of us are trying to offset rising prices for the things our families need, and are seeing troublesome times coming down the road. Therefore, we are trying to move (or already have moved) out of the city and suburbs out to the country... away from HOAs and onerous land use restrictions. As the price of electricity rises, we are learning pre-electrification skills. We are planting large gardens to grow food to feed our families. We are raising various animals for eggs, milk, butter, cheese, and meat to feed our families, and wool and pelts to make clothing or sell. We are hanging our clothes out to dry. We are learning to can and dehydrate food.

      While some of us may think wistfully of trips to Ireland and Scotland (I have Irish and Scottish ancestry, so yeah), we push the thoughts aside to build a firmer foundation for the now and near future. To do what we can to provide for and sustain our families without some of the perks we take for granted so much. Maybe we'll be able to take those trips someday. Maybe not.

      You say that you have never found anyone who could explain or justify the value of goats. Yet many people have tried here in these comments to give you the various benefits of goats. It seems like the only thing of value you can see in a goat is its meat, and that you don't like too well.

      The value of the goat is determined by the owner of the goat, don't you think? If the owner feels the goat has value because it provides the family with milk, cheese, butter, a return to dairy for the lactose-intolerant, wool, land clearing and maintenance, or meat, doesn't that count? Yet you are consistently rejecting the value of goats based on how you feel about them, rather than the benefits that their owners enjoy. Why? Why is your judgment of goats valid, while theirs is not?

    3. Miss M: Do you eat goat meat regularly? Of course I know it is edible and not an uncommon part of the poor in Mexico but they eat it because they must. They also eat cows heads. Do you eat cows heads? The point of my post was and is that here in the Willamette Valley I can show you dozens of small goat holdings and they are not milked, not kept for meat, not treated humanely kept in tiny muddy fenced pens and serve no purpose other then at some point the "owner" wanted goats. My comparison with crazy cat ladies was accurate even if it offended. In the past two years we have had 12 cases where animals had to be siezed by the state or local police because they were starving in the field. What was the value of those animals and were the owners "enjoying" them? Why is the state's judgement better then theirs??
      My question about goats is to understand the value over and above simply wanting to own them like so many other things people simply want to own. As for Dexter cattle the price of cattle is high in general and dexter are no different. You can buy year old dexters for about $800 not dramatically different then other breeds.

      In spite of the large number of replies there was very little information about the value of goats. Eliminate all the name calling and better then thou because I live off the land don'tcha know and there isn't really much said about the value of goats. If the subject was chickens or rabbits one could fill a book about the value of that choice.

    4. I already said I have never had goat meat. I haven't eaten a cow's head. Around here it's hog's head, and I have eaten that. It's very good. I've also eaten raccoon. Tastes like ham.

      Maybe the goat owners around you are "crazy goat ladies" who don't properly care for their goats. The argument that since those people don't seem to have a valid use for goats, then there is no valid use for goats (except, maybe, in Mexico) is not valid.

      Nobody near me even raises Dexters, so even if I bought an $800 Dexter, I'd still have to pay even more to get it here. Besides, I can get 4 or 5 goats (that will actually be able to eat what this land is growing) for the price of that Dexter, and I won't have to pay to have it come from the other side of the state.

      I reread the comments. There was very little name-calling. There were a few insults, and plenty of prickles. Like I said, you insulted them first, and you are still comparing them to crazy cat ladies. What you read as "better than thou because I live off the land" wasn't that at all... merely an attempt to explain to you where they/we are coming from. Your comment to me seems to be dripping with condescension, but perhaps I have misunderstood you, as you have misunderstood us.

      Over and over, the replies have told you all the various benefits the authors get from goats. If you didn't see in the replies the value of goats to these people, there's nothing more to say. I'm done.

    5. Few people eat goat meat and that is the point. I am interested in why goats. Not looking for an arguement or insults (of which there were plenty even though you though they were "prickles"). For personal education, to better understand, because almost all I see involving goats is either as pets or as semi-abandoned and mistreated animals livng in appalling conditions. My question was intended to find out what I was missing about goats. Sadly most people took offense in what appeared to me to be a case of "looking for something to be offended about" and offerred nothing to support the concept of keeping goats for a practical farm/food reason. Yes I heard that some/most people milk their goats and some may even have thought about making cheese but in general that's it. No one (well very few) wants to eat goat. They are in fact for most people simply pets (queue the offended crowd). Fine! I have no problem with pets and you can have as many pets as you can care for but why become offended when someone recognizes that they are pets? Rabbits would be much cheaper and easier to raise and they would provide plenty of meat. Ditto for chickens plus you get eggs. Cows or cattle are pretty self-explanatory because of the huge amount of tasty meat. All I wanted was to hear from people who kept goats and successfully made them pay their way, something to get me to that "aha" point where I would understand.

      I apoligize to Patrice for any inconvenience this has caused and I apoligize to the few people who did give answers without snarky remarks. I also accept that I could have worded my statement better so as not to offend goat owners.

  34. Reader Amy was having trouble posting a comment, so she emailed her comment to me and asked that it be posted. I've copied it below. -- Patrice

    Interesting. I always said I'd never have a goat. Didn't want to deal with them. About a year after we got our milk cow, our son, 8 at the time, said he wanted to milk a goat. He remained interested for months. Our oldest daughter really wanted to raise another bottle calf. Well, what parent wants to deny their children responsibility like that? A business was born. We bought a goat. We got a free bull calf from a local dairy. One of the smartest things we ever did! It was a fantastic way for the kids to learn so much responsibility, self control, work ethic, animal husbandry, money management. They worked for 4 months before they sold that calf and made any money. They split the money, and both reinvested some of it in buying another goat. The new one had to be trained. More great experience! Now, 2 years after that first goat purchase, they have 3 goats, and my husband and I bought a buck. The goat kids due in June will be bucks for us (we'll eat them) does for the children. They've learned also about business losses. Stillborn kids, a goat died, not every calf made it. they've applied their experience to helping us. Our son is extremely helpful taming our very skittish first freshener jersey cow. Before that, he would hand milk both our tame jerseys by himself at 10 years old. Such a blessing, he wasn't asked, he just did it.
    > Anyway, I love the goats. They're so fun, and much easier to handle than cows, but we do have to be careful with doors. They'll come right inside the house and make themselves at home when they're free ranging. However, the bonuses abound. Goats are so much easier to handle than a cow, plus eat a lot of the forage a cow won't. Having both species works great. Goats are very easy to process for meat by hand, no power tools or fancy equipment necessary. We bbqed a 3 month old kid for a large birthday party, and it went over very well with children and adults alike. We ground meat from another wether into sausage. Yum. Goats don't take nearly as long to grow to butcher size as cattle. They are also prolific, reproducing themselves many times in one kidding. We have Lamanchas, a hardy, calm, easy keeping dairy breed. Goats are valuable, especially if their potential is maximized. Just like any other farm animal, don't waste anything they have to offer. We even kept the skins to make rugs.

    1. Good comments. Good points about the ease of butchering and uses of the meat. I would love to hear more about the taste and acceptability of the goat meat.

    2. Goat meat is very good if cooked right. It's closest to beef. It is used in Mexican, Indian, and I think even Asian dishes. I like the Mexican style. Look up some recipes, and get some goat meat at a Mexican, or Asian meat market market.


  35. The "lactose intolerance" arguement seemed reasonable until I read up on it.
    Goat's milk may have 10% less lactose then cow's milk and that difference is not sufficient to prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

    1. I read that article. That isn't what it says.

      "On a surface level, it would seem that goat milk offers only a slight advantage, containing only about 10% less lactose than cow's milk.

      Is that enough to make a difference? In theory, probably not.

      However, anecdotal evidence of persons who can tolerate goat milk but not cow's milk is plentiful."

      It goes on to suggest a couple of possibilities as to why so many people who cannot drink cow's milk can drink goat's milk.

      It does not say that the difference is not sufficient to prevent the symptoms. It says that in theory, it probably wouldn't be enough... but that in reality, for whatever reason, many people who are intolerant of cow's milk can take goat's milk.

      It points out that some of what is believed to be lactose intolerance may actually be a mild cow's milk allergy or difficulty digesting the more difficult-to-digest cow's milk. Most people aren't actually tested and formally diagnosed with lactose intolerance. They have just realized that they can't take cow's milk.

      But it really doesn't matter. What it boils down to is the fact that many people who can't drink cow's milk can drink goat's milk. Whatever the reason for it.

  36. If people would quit drinking dead milk(pasturized) they would not be lactose intolerant its the dead lactic enzymes that cause it.

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