Raising Goats for Milk

Raising goats for milk has benefits, goats frolicking around your farm are a hoot to watch as well as a great source of fresh milk.


| January/February 2007



PastureImage

Old Mountain Farm near Cape Neddick, Maine, offers a picturesque setting for this herd of Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats.

COURTESY CHERYLE MOORE-SMITH/WWW.OLDMOUNTAINFARM.COM

Learn how raising goats for milk can also supply you with plenty of milk for cheese, yogurt and ice cream as well. 

Whether your property is one acre or several hundred, sloping or flat, crowded with brush or completely forested, raising goats for milk can be a snap with good planning. Two goats will produce enough quality fresh milk — with each doe averaging 3 quarts a day for 10 months — to feed your family all year and possibly have enough milk left for cheese, yogurt or even ice cream.

Goat milk ice cream? You might be raising your eyebrows right now because you've heard goat milk tastes funny. This rumor probably got started because someone kept the buck among the herd, especially at milking time. A buck can be quite odoriferous, and his strong, musky scent can permeate the milk. The fact is, properly collected goat milk tastes just as good as cow milk. Some people believe it tastes better.

"I have a friend whose brother refused to drink goat milk because he knew he wouldn't like it," says 20-year goat veteran Gail Damerow, editor of Rural Heritage magazine and author of Your Goats: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing.

Gail's friend bought a carton of cow's milk from the store for her visiting brother. After he emptied the carton, his sister refilled it with fresh goat milk. The scenario continued until a week later, when he noticed the carton looked a bit worn around the edges. She admitted he'd been drinking goat milk all week. He became an instant convert.

More of the world's people consume goat milk than cow milk. Goats are hardy animals who adapt well to heat and cold, forage and graze productively, require little space and are inexpensive to keep. Since mature females usually weigh between 120 and 135 pounds (dwarf breeds can weigh between 35 and 85 pounds), they're much easier to handle than hefty cows, which can weigh 1,000 pounds each.





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