The goat is one of the most productive additions to almost any homestead. It doesn’t matter if you have one acre or a thousand, goats can provide several benefits for the average homesteader.
I remember the first time I had my own herd of goats. We had a few acres of the farm which needed to have the overgrowth of junk trees and weeds cleaned up. My grandfather had used them for this purpose so I knew, for us, this was the most cost-effective strategy to regain some control over those areas.
Things I Forgot About Billy Goats
The mature male goat is called a buck, but we always called them “billy goats.” I have no idea why this is. We’ve all heard the term “a dirty old goat” and we know it’s not a compliment, but I wasn’t sure of the meaning until we had our own.
When rutting season comes around, you’ll fully understand. Our sweet beautiful “Papa Goat” (this was his name) would get up on an old stump and urinate all over his face! He would stand open-mouthed and seem to bathe in it.
He became a nasty creature overnight. Once, when my does (the mature female goat) were bred, he continued his rutting behavior and aggressiveness. I was careful not to go into their grazing area at a certain time of the month because he was so aggressive.
I wasn’t sure what was happening with him so I talked with an old-timer known as “the goat guy.” He told me because we lived in the country the buck could smell the deer in heat and was advertising himself to any doe in the area.
I had a teenage nephew who was particularly unwilling to listen or obey. He was visiting and wanted to feed the goats. He had been around them for months and I felt would do OK. We watched outside the yard as he went in to feed the herd.
Papa Goat knocked him down and kept trying to mount him. We rescued him without any harm. The next day, I took him in with me again so he wouldn’t be afraid of goats. It happened again.
Once we got him out of the area, I had him take off his jacket so I could be sure he wasn’t hurt. There, in his jacket pocket, was a bottle of doe urine! He kept it in his pocket for when he went hunting. Yes, a buck will act crazy when does are in heat.
Productivity of The Goat
Goats are a productive addition to any homestead. Besides offering milk, cheese, butter, and meat, they have the great ability to mow down the junk no other livestock would eat. They are often rented out to municipal agencies to be used just for this purpose. In the south, they’re used to control kudzu which is an invasive plant, especially in Mississippi.
You don’t have to manage goats as much as you do cattle. Someone recently asked me, “How many goats can I have per acre?” My answer is, “As many goats as you can get on it.” They wanted a ratio as you have with cows, 1 cow per acre.
The reason this is different is that goats are better foragers than most any other animal on the homestead. Of course, if you don’t have adequate grazing room or land for them to forage, you’ll have to feed them grains and hay.
In this article from Kathi at Oakhill Homestead, you’ll discover why you should consider keeping goats on the homestead.
One of the many benefits of owning your own herd of goats is goat cheese. Learn what it takes to make your own delicious block of cheese from the milk your girls provide by reading this article.
One of the main things goat owners need to keep an eye on is the hoof health of the goat on the homestead.
The 104 Homestead offers this well-written and easy-to-understand article to help you.
Entertainment Value of The Goat
Goats are not only productive but entertaining. They have distinct personalities and can become attached to their humans. My nanny goat, another name for the mature female, named Eve would push past the electric fence, come to the front door and ring the bell for us to come out.
Of course, she didn’t know she was ringing the bell, but she knew when she reared up on that side of the door we would come. It just so happened that’s where the doorbell was! She loved to have us sit outside with her and her babies. There’s nothing as sweet as a kid, a baby goat. Except maybe a calf or a chick or a foal or…well, you get the idea.
Do you have tips or helpful information for keeping or adding goats to the homestead? Please share your experience with us in the comments below.