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Milk Goats – A Vital Part of Your Preparedness Plan

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When most people prep, they don’t usually correlate a milk goat with prepping. Homesteaders, on the other hand, might think a little differently. Milk goats are an invaluable source of milk, cheese, soap, goat kefir, fertilizer, and eventually meat. Not only do they do all that but they also are great weed eaters, favoring poison ivy and oak!

Milk goats take up very little space on the homestead and won’t break your foot if they step on it like a milk cow will. They are also much more efficient at turning hay into food as compared to milk cows. Even most cities have an allowance for a milk goat or two as long as they are pets. Just because they are your pet doesn’t mean you can’t milk them.

Important – milk goats also need to be in pairs. Any goat will need a companion and even though some say they will buddy up to other animals like donkeys, nothing beats a goat buddy. Having 2 does makes things better for you because when one doe dries up you can have the other freshened (bred and in milk.)

What best breed goats for milk?

You can find all sorts of dairy goats and some produce more milk and others produce better milk. I could write a book on all the different breeds of dairy goats, but for now I will talk about the best little milk goat that has some of the most fat in the milk.

Fat is important for making cheese and butter. I have had some breeds of goats that produced a lot of milk but no fat. My all time favorite small milker is the Nigerian dwarf.

The Nigerian dwarf goat is easy to manage, needs much less room than other goats and has amazing milk. These little wonders are also easy to toss in a van or truck if you feel the need to bug out with your milk supply.

How much space do you need for a milk goat?

Nigerian dwarfs won’t need much space but do appreciate extra room. Just a simple 200 square foot per goat works fine; so 2 goats will need about 400 square feet but could make do with 300 square feet like I have had. This may sound smaller in size but I find that it’s much easier to maintain the smaller space and keep it clean.

Having a barn for your goats to get out of the bad weather is a necessity and incorporating the barn with a milking parlor is the ticket. So, attached to the pen should be the mini barn (half shelter and a small door leading to the milking section.)

Some people build separate structures and use a dog house for shelter. We use to milk outdoors with a goat stand but it really was horrible milking in the rain and sleet. Milking outdoors was also tough to keep clean. A milking parlor makes the process enjoyable and stress free.

Goats and worms

I have had meat goats for years and they are notorious for having worm issues. It becomes expensive and disheartening. You may have heard people say don’t get goats they will die or cost you an arm or leg to keep wormed. These stories are true but not for these Nigerian dwarf goats.

These goats are rock solid and at most should be wormed twice a year and only when needed. I have a brother that has 2 Nigerian dwarf goats in a 20’x20’ pen for 3 years without worming once. They are healthy and not anemic in the least!

I won’t get into wormers here because the type you use depends on what they are used to or what works in your area. Some people switch back and forth. The only right way is to look at the goat’s eyelids to see it they are anemic. If they are anemic, take a fecal sample to the vet so they can tell you what type of worms you are dealing with.

Giving goats the wrong wormer or the wrong doses has led to making worms resistant to wormers. Now we have worms that we can’t get rid of. Be ethical and if you choose to worm do it correctly.

How much do milk goats cost?

Find the best goat you can afford! This is what it really comes down to. I have spent a lot of money on cheap or free goats. If you are looking for a freshened goat buy the one they don’t want to sell (the best milkers are harder to buy). People selling freshened goats are usually trying to get rid of less favorable goats (they may be nasty, have small teats, or don’t give enough milk).

Doelings are much easier to buy and if you can see the parents it’s a good bet that they will work out just fine for you. The drawback is that you will have to wait a year before breeding and a 145-150 day till they kid.

How much milk do goats produce?

These small goats will produce between 1-2 quarts a day. That is in 2 milking’s and it also depends on the quality of feed they are getting. When producing milk, they should be fed more alfalfa hay or pellets.

What do milk goats eat?

Goats don’t eat anything like the rumors say. Goats can be picky eaters and if you have one poop pebble in their water they probably will die of thirst before drinking it. Goat like healthy food and stuff you will find in the woods. Grasses, leaves (not cherry leaves they have cyanide), vegetables, and fruits are all good options.

Goats will also need a good goat mineral block to keep up optimal health. Not all mineral blocks are suited for goats!!!

Breeding milk goats

If you want milk you will have to breed your doe yearly. For two does they should be bred a few months apart to keep you in milk. Just hire out a buck from a close farm to breed your does. Keeping a buck will make the milk smell really goaty. If you ever drank goat milk that was strong or nasty they probably had a buck in with them.

Caring for your milk goat

Caring for your goat is really not going to take that long. Every morning you should feed water and clean the goat pen. That won’t take more than a few minutes. If they are freshened milking will take another 15-20 minutes per goat. Spend time looking your goat over and notice any change in appearance or attitude. Early detection of issues is key to keeping healthy goats that give you top notch milk.

In the afternoon check out the pen, feed, and change water. Spend some more time to look your goats over while doing the afternoon milking.

Please use top notch cleanliness while handing your milk. Get a book and look up videos on the proper milking process.

Lastly, I would like to say again don’t buy a buck. It’s not worth feeding a buck all year just for a few minutes of service. It’s just another source that can make your does sick and keeping him away from them will also be expensive.

If its your first dairy goat be prepared to fall in love, they will really become part of your family. They will repay you for your hard work with the best quality milk you and your family can drink. The cheese will be amazing and so easy to make!

Don’t forget to make goat milk soap, your family and friends will love you for it.

The post Milk Goats – An Vital Part Of Your Preparedness Plan appeared first on Emergency Preparedness Tips.


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