What good are goats?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Xtina, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm starting to learn the importance of treating a farm like an ecosystem, and I'd like to know as much as possible about farming before I ever actually own land of my own. I've always dreamed about having goats, so I'd like to make that a goal. I was wondering if anyone here can tell me how goats can be used in a farm to improve soil? I learned a lot from reading the Omnivore's Dilemma. I'd have to say that it's one of my favorite books. But the farmer in the book raised cattle, chickens, pigs, and rabbits. No goats, and he was mainly a rancher, not a multi-purpose farm, even though he did have a vegetable garden. So can anyone give me examples of how goats can be used? I already know they're great at removing unwanted vegetation like blackberries. What about sheep? I like them just as much.
     
  2. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    goats are cleaners of rough pastures, they eat all your weeds and shrubs before touching any grass and clover.... so they're good to run in front of sheep.
     
  3. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What would you put on the pasture after the sheep? Chickens?
     
  4. kaya's farm

    kaya's farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love adding the nanny berries to the compost pile it breaks down faster and the goat poop is less harsh than others like chicken. I mix it all in with green clippings, hay, shavings from brooders, house waste. Goats also grow very fast and make for good eating. Im so glad you read Pollans book have you read his others they are just as good!!!!
     
  5. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also read In Defense of Food. Then I moved on to a book by a friend of his: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. Also an excellent read.

    I never thought I would grow up to want to be a farmer. I wasn't raised that way, for the most part. But I want it and my husband wants it, so I hope we can get a farm while my mom is still with us and she can show us what to do. In the meantime, I have a LOT to learn. I only just started learning the very basics of kitchen gardening! I was one of those people that Kingsolver writes about who didn't know what vegetables were in season. It's so weird how kids aren't raise to know anything about where food comes from.
     
  6. Broke Down Ranch

    Broke Down Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Goats are a tremendous asset to any farm. From a goat you can get milk, make milk-based products (cheese (in all forms), yogurt, kefir), and meat. They are also very companionable. I have never had sheep so I can't say if goats are better or not. But you don't hear too often of people getting milk and milk products from sheep. Altho, if you're very industrious you can shear sheep to spin your own yarn.....

    I forgot to mention thier poo is great for anything you want to grow. And it's not as hot as other types of animal poo....
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  7. New adventure

    New adventure Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 cashmere goats that are champion weed eaters, their poo makes wonderful compost (as someone else said not as harsh), they don't require alot of special care or food since I don't breed them and they are a hoot to watch.
    Cashmeres are a bit calmer than other breeds so they don't jump fences but they will sneak into any area they can to eat your berries and fruit trees.
     
  8. SpunkyChicken

    SpunkyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing to note between sheep and goats is the difference in intelligence. From the countless opinions I've read online about sheep (I've never actually owned them), they're pretty much the dumbest animal you can put on a farm, whereas a goat's intelligence almost and often does rival a dog's. My brother and I had two pygmy goats as kids and they pretty much were dogs to us - we'd play with them, walk them around the neighborhood on a leash, etc. So they definitely make better companion animals than sheep, but their heightened intelligence also makes them prone to finding weak spots in fences and escaping. A lot. We'd often get calls from the neighbors saying that our goats were on their deck. So you definitely want to make sure you have a secure, FLAT enclosure for them (our goats were on a hill and they learned to make a running start to jump over the fence at the bottom).

    I want to have goats again someday, no doubt, but maybe a goat I can milk. I loooove goat cheese but it's just so expensive.
     
  9. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I think I'd definitely milk sheep if I had them. Sheep's milk makes great cheeses! Wool seems like a hassle.
     
  10. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:nope.. after 2-3 turns, you run some pigs to grub the whole thing and re-sow it.
     

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