Getting Started with Goats


Michele CookWhen I dove head first into my hippie plan, I knew I wanted milk goats. I make cold-processed soap and one of my favorite ingredients is goat milk. There was just one little problem…I had never owned a goat. Horses, cows, a pig, and chickens yes, but I was brand new to the small ruminant world. All I knew was I didn’t know a whole lot about goats.

Deciding on a Breed

All goats are not built the same. I had seen the cute fainting goats, big Boer goats, and some that people told me were "just goats." I knew I was looking for dairy goats, so I began my breed research there. I asked around, watched way too many adorable baby goat videos, and in the end, I decided I was going with Alpine goats.

These goats were big and sturdy — a plus for a newbie like me. They also had a long history of good breeding and were a top producer of milk.

Two alpine does

Getting the Property Ready

“If it won’t hold water, it won’t hold a goat” was the saying a kept hearing when I asked around about goat fencing. Turns out, there is some truth to that old adage. Of course, I can’t learn things the easy way. After one goat decided to hop the fence and eat my lilies down to little nubs, I decided it was time to beef up the fencing.

Off to the Tractor Supply we went to replace our sagging, four-foot cattle fencing with five-foot woven wire goat fencing. Ha! That should keep you in, I thought as I locked the gate in front of my little escape artist. Except, it didn’t. Not ten minutes later, I was washing dishes, and out the window I watched the little devil wander through the yard looking for more foliage to destroy.

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