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The Economics of Dairy Goats Empty The Economics of Dairy Goats

Post by Sonshine on Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:09 am

Milk prices have certainly gotten higher in the last year or two, high enough that many of us small farmers are seriously considering a dairy animal. For our family the shear volume from a cow, plus the added expense for purchase and maintenance, was a serious roadblock to obtaining one. We never even considered a dairy goat, because, well, we never drank any goat milk. There definitely is a stigma against the dairy goat, and we often associate them with a "goaty" taste and unpleasant smell. While bucks do have a very unpleasant odor in breeding season, the females, or does, do not and are pleasant and easy to care for.

When milk is $4.50 per gallon at the supermarket, keeping a dairy animal starts to look really economical, especially when you drink a lot of milk. For us, with 5 children, we will use 1 - 1.5 gallons of milk each day. At today's prices in our area, that adds up to about $130.00 - $135.00 a month. We were resigned to high milk prices, as we didn't know anyone to trade milk with, and we couldn't afford a cow. We also did not have proper shelter for a cow, nor anywhere suitable for milking. Many families like us, are spending quite a lot on milk each month, just because of these problems with owning a cow.

We met a local family through our church, and imagine our surprise when they had a dairy goat. We actually kept their goat for them while they went on vacation, and she was so terrible in temperament and attitude, that although we thought we might enjoy the milk, we couldn't stand the thought of owning and caring for such an obnoxious animal. We didn't know the number one rule of goats! One goat wants out, but two goats want out less.

To say the least, our sheep tight fencing was not acceptable for a goat. Since the goat was alone, without a buddy, she was cranky, mean, and always trying to escape. When her owner came back from vacation, we shipped her off and said "GOOD RIDDANCE!" However, the idea of the goat stuck with us and after a long enough time, I found myself reading up on dairy goats, despite my unpleasant encounter with that particular goat.

With lots of reading and research I found out about that number one rule of goats, and according to the books and websites, most dairy goats are entirely different than that goat. They are known to be gentle, friendly and are reputed to be excellent children's companions and pets. We found some milk, tried it, and found it to taste wonderfully sweet and good. It has a milk flavor, with a nice creamy texture, very much like that from a Jersey cow. It is rich and creamy, and does not taste "goaty" at all. Some breeds can have a stronger flavor, namely the Toggenburg which was bred for cheese-making. The milk we drank was delicious and we all liked it. So we found ourselves looking for a breeder from which to purchase a couple of goats.

From the reading, there were a few criteria that I wanted to meet, without exception. First of all, we had a price to find, one we could afford, and some of the dairy goats are very expensive, show type animals. We also wanted a goat that had been dis-budded, and therefore would have no horns. We knew for SURE we wanted two goats and not one. Since we had never milked before, we also wanted a seasoned milker that was very easy to milk. We needed an older goat that could teach us what to do. Since it was also for a 4H project, the goat needed to be of good quality as well so that it, or it's kids could be shown for the fair. With the low price we needed to find, it was not looking very good for us getting any goats, but luck was with us, and we found two.

To get the rest of the article please click on the link.

He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]

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