Friday, April 4, 2014

Raising Goats Naturally

Sometimes raising livestock means you dive in headfirst and encounter a steep learning curve. Lots of mistakes usually occur as well, unfortunately. But it seems that is just a fact of life. There are some pursuits that are more likely to have well-researched information and those that don't,  so it's nice to see someone publish a resource on raising goats that is based on natural practices and direct experience. Raising Goats Naturally, the Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More by Deborah Niemann seems to fit the bill and would be an ideal book for someone just getting started with goat ownership.

I have to totally support her statement,

"Even if we owned goats for a hundred years, we would still be learning." 

So true but so hard to grasp when you just want to know how to do something right! Even when we help out with other farm's barn chores from the same 4H club, there are so many different ways to achieve the same outcomes depending on your space, available feed, and mix of animals in your herd. Regardless, Deborah's chapter "Day-to-Day Life With Goats" would be an awesome read for anyone wondering if new goat ownership is right for them.
For myself, I particularly enjoyed her chapter on feeding. She made several points that I plan on considering with our own herd, namely feeding alfalfa pellets for more economical usage of alfalfa...our girls waste so much of their alfalfa...and sourcing a concentrate with higher amounts of copper. Good food for thought for sure.
Since the majority of our goat herd has Nigerian Dwarf influence, I also enjoy her anecdotal stories from her own Nigerian Dwarf herd as many resources do not take this breed into account. Overall, I would definitely consider this book as a permanent part of our household library. Read and enjoy!

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