Goats 101

Goat FAQ

New Goat Care

Edible & Poisonous Plants

Herbal Remedies

Medicine Cabinet

Basic Goat Information

From Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats:

“Female goats are called does or, if they’re less than a year old, sometimes doelings. Males are bucks, or bucklings. Young goats are kids. In polite dairy goat company, they are never “nannies” or “billies,” although you might hear those terms applied to meat goats. Correct terminology is important to those who are working to improve the image of the dairy goat. People who think of a “nanny goat” as a stupid and smelly beast that produces small amounts of vile milk will at least be likely to stop and think if she’s called a doe.” (pg. 1)

“Does are not smelly, they are not mean, and of course they don’t eat tin cans. They are dainty, fastidious about where they walk and what they eat, intelligent, friendly, and a great deal of fun to have around. Bucks do smell, but the does think it’s great and some goat raisers don’t mind it either. The odor is strongest during the breeding season.”(pg. 2)

“One of the challenges of goat public relations is that everyone seems to have had a goat in the past or knows someone who did. Most of them were pets, and that’s where the trouble lies. A [full sized] goat is not much bigger than a large dog, she’s no harder to handle, and she does make a good pet. But a goat is not a dog. People who treat her like one are asking for trouble, and when they get rid of the poor beast in disgust, they bring trouble down on all goats and all goat lovers If the goat “eats” the clothes off the line  or nips off the rosebushes or the pine trees, strips the bark off young fruit trees, jumps on cars, butts people, or tries to climb in a lap when she is no longer a cute little kid, it’s not the goat’s fault but the owner’s.”(pg. 2)

“Because goats are livestock, and more specifically dairy animals, they must be treated as such. That means not only proper housing and feed[ing] but also strict attention to a regularity of care. If you can’t or won’t want to milk at 12-hour intervals, even when you’re tired or under the weather, or if the thought of staying home weekends and vacations depresses you and you can’t count on the help of a friend or neighbor, then don’t even consider raising goats. The rewards of goat raising are great and varied, but you don’t get rewards without working for them.”(pg. 3)

“The goat (Capra hircus) is related to the deer, not to dogs, cats, or even cows. She is a browser rather than a grazer, which means she would rather reach up than down for food. The goat also craves variety. Couple all that with her natural curiosity, and nothing is safe from at least a trial taste. Lacking fingers, goats use their lips and tongues to investigate their world like an infant stuck in the oral stage. Anything hanging, like clothes on a wash line, is just too much for a goat’s natural instincts to resist. Rosebushes and pine trees are high in vitamin C, and goats love them. Leaves, branches, and the bark of young trees are a natural part of the goat’s diet in the wild. If you expect them to mind their manners when faced with the chance of a garden smorgasbord, of course you’ll have problems! But don’t blame the goat.”(pg. 3)

“Goats are not lawn mowers. Most of them wont eat lawn grass, unless starved to it, and they won’t produce much milk on it.”(pg. 3)

“Never stake out a goat. There is too much danger of strangulation, and many goats have been injured or killed by dogs. A goat that is tied can neither defend herself adequately nor escape to high ground. Even the family pet you thought was a friend of the goat could turn on her.” (pg. 4)

“Nigerian Dwarfs offer several advantages to the home dairy. Three Dwarfs can be kept in the space needed by one standard goat, so with staggered breedings a year-round milk supply is easier to achieve. This is enhanced by the Dwarf’s propensity to breed year-round. These small goats can be kept on places that might not have room for larger animals. Also, for some people, a regular goat will produce too much milk, while the Dwarf’s quart-or-so a day is just fine. And the smaller animal is obviously easier to handle and transport [(except for tall people)], an attribute that many folks find especially appealing.”(pg. 9)

“There are no more Swiss Alpines. No, they’re not extinct. In 1978, their name was changed to Oberhasli (oh-ber-HAAS-lee). This goat was developed near Bern, Switzerland, where it is known as the Oberhasli-Brienzer, among other names. The outstanding feature in the appearance of the Oberhasli is its rich, red bay coat with black “trim.” The black includes stripes down the face, ears, back, belly, and udder. The legs are also black below the knees and hocks. Oberhasli milk production averages 2,208 pounds (1,000 kg) of milk a year, with 3.7 percent butterfat. The record is 4,665 pounds (2,116 kg) of milk in 305 days.”