Why Goats?

Why Goats?

In a county known for sheep and cattle, … “but goats … seriously?”

goat kisses

The saying, “If I had a nickel for every time …” comes to mind as I think back over the brief years since this farm began. But for us, it just seemed to make sense. We weighed the factors of cost, maintenance, and land use.

So, here are the factors we used in choosing to raise goats.

  • We wanted milk. Our family drinks milk. A lot of milk. We also like cheese. And yogurt, and ice cream and … well you get the picture. 
  • A young dairy cow around here was at the time going for around $1,000.00. We started out with two does and a buck for less than $500. The buck ended up in the freezer. Our does have since provided kids (baby goats) through three cycles now. At current status, we now have 10 females. So cost of getting ‘herd matrons’ played a big role in our decision.
  • A goat is pregnant for 5 months compared to the 9 months a dairy cow must wait to give birth. A goat can give birth to at least one kid and as many as four (but two or three are typical). A dairy cow might give birth to as many as 10 calves in her lifetime.
  • Goat kids can be weaned off of milk starting around 3 months. Calves are started around 6-7 months.  So we looked at being able to have milk from a goat in about 8 months compared to 15-16 months for a cow.
  • Nubian goats can produce about a gallon of milk a day. A cow can produce upwards of 6-7 gallons a day. The difference in production was a heavy factor in getting started. 
  • Goats require less feed per animal – about 1/6th that of a cow.  My thinking was that I can build up to a milk production level of a cow over time while spending less on livestock, feed and other maintenance factors.
  • Land area. Ideally, cows require nearly four times the amount of space that goats do to roam and have space to play and such. We don’t have that much space for one cow and we were not into seeing that our livestock was treated to bare minimum standards.


So why goats?

Starting up any business – especially a farm – takes time, money, and lots of work. When one is working a full time job, taking care of elderly parents, and forced into creative ways to build a farm, one should not only make wise decisions, but also be patient. That is a lesson we learned. When it came to a dairy animal, goats just made sense to us. We were not interested in sheep for dairy – at least not yet anyway. A cow was simply too much for us to handle as we got a handle on this young enterprise. 

We got lucky in a way too. We have had people tell us that the milk our goats produce is very good. We learned how to provide shelter for them and for their feed, how to milk them (a battery operated milker was essential for us), and what supplements to their feed that helped them produce a delicious and nutritious milk.