Raising livestock takes responsibility, love, good decision making and great leadership. There are many animals that you can add to your homestead to help with you self sufficiency and even for helping create an income. Have you considered raising goats and if so do you know the best goat breeds to fit your purposes.
Goats are also quite inexpensive to purchase, however before you run out to buy one you need to assess the best goats breeds for your homestead as not all breeds are great for milking.
In this article we will go over a few goat breeds and what they are best for.
Best Goat Breeds For Milking
As mentioned, you need the right goat for the job. When it comes to buying a goat for milking, you need to know what type of milk you want and if you want to make butter, yogurt and other milk based products. Typically goat breeds that produce more solids in their milk are better for making butter, cream cheese and other milk based products. Goat Breeds that have a high production and not as many solids are great for consumable milk use.
A few breeds that fit the bill are the Alpine, Nubian, Saanen, and LaMancha. Each one of these breeds are highly popular for homesteading and for milk production.
is most known as being a very tough breed that adapts well to just about any environment. It is a good producer of milk.
is known for having a lot of solids in their milk which great for making creams, butter and other milk derivatives. The LaMancha is also known to be the most people friendly and curious goat breed.
is one of the most popular breeds in America. Its milk is known for having a very high amount of butterfat, solids but it also have a fairly low volume of milk compared to other popular milking breeds of goats.
is a very docile and large goat breed. It has a very calm demeanor, it doesn’t frighten easy and it is at ease around people. It is known for having a very large volume of milk production.
Best Goats For Cheese Making
What you will find is that some of the breeds that are suggest for milk are also great for making cheese. To be technical and a bit pedantic, a goat breed that is suggested for cheese making has to be also a decent goat for milking. You just can’t have one without the other. But keep in mind that goat cheese aficionados are very particular in what they want in a goat cheese. Unlike milk, where we do not want any resemblance of store bought goat milk, which by the way is a product of pasteurization, shelf life and it not being fresh— goat cheese is expected to have a distinguished goat taste and smell. Some breeds that excel in satisfying the palates of goat cheese fans are the Toggenburg, LaMancha and Nubian.
If you want to make cheese, then stick to these breeds. Any breed that produces a lot of solids and high amounts of butterfat will be excellent for cheese making. The Toggenburgs are especially known for their goaty tasting cheese which goat cheese fans simply love. The milk of these goats are also great for other types of dairy solids that are popular such as yogurt, butter, ice cream and other forms of cream cheese that need a high butterfat content.
Having enough milk and cheese for your family is one thing but making an income from your organic goat cheese is another thing. We won’t talk about selling goat milk because it isn’t very popular. There is a larger market for fresh goat cheese. Artisan goat cheese can bring income to your household. You will need to focus on internet marketing, local marketing and creating a market for your product. This is a worthwhile side business than can bring extra money to the homestead. You will have to learn all the local laws and cross state laws but that just takes a little bit of Google searching to learn and to put into action.
Things to note
If you are planning on raising goats bear in mind that they are herd animals, which means you really need more than one as they fair better with company.
If you have an urban homestead you really need to check your local regulations as goats are not normally approved within city limits.
As you can see, goats are a great addition to any homestead. They have many advantages over larger livestock like cows.
- Goats are a lot cheaper to purchase (only around $50 to $300 vs the $1000 to $3000 for a milking cow.)
- Goats are a lot easier to keep because they aren’t that big and do not require a lot of space.
- Goats are cheaper to feed and will eat far less hay than a cow. People new to raising livestock will find that goats are not intimidating like a 1400 pound cow that could crush you is.
Goats are often the first starter livestock for the new homesteader who wants to start producing their own dairy. They are a perfect fit for most people and they do not produce so much milk that you will have trouble figuring out what to do with it.
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