So you are considering becoming a goat keeper. Good, but can we ask why? Milk for the house, maybe even make cheese, yogurt or butter. If this is what you really intend to do, then in our opinion the best breed of goat to have would be Anglo Nubian. If it is to keep the grass down in the garden try a goose. Contrary to popular belief goats do not eat just anything. Lush orchard grass is not always a goat’s of heaven but the fruit trees may well be! Goats prefer fibrous food.
Where do you start? Contact the Anglo Nubian Goat Society and we will do our very best to help, even if its not A.N’s. you want. There are a number of different breeds of dairy goat from which to choose but when it comes to high quality milk it is the Anglo-Nubian we would recommend. It gives higher butterfat & protein levels, which aid in producing dairy products.
First things first. You must obtain a Holding Number from D.E.F.R.A. for the property where you intend keeping your goats. That is paramount.
Homework. We would always recommend visiting other goat keepers to see how they manage their stock. Everyone has something different to offer.
Tending your goats will involve a lot more than just milking twice a day, 365 days a year. Have you a suitable building in which to house them? We say “them” because it is not a good idea to have just one on it’s own. Goats are herd animals and are happiest in company of other goats. Be warned, they are not the best grazers, preferring to roam and browse. Tethering would not be the recommended way to keep them. They can be kept, and be quite happy with a nice warm dry house,(that will be needed anyway) with yard attached. If you plan to keep them this way, they will appreciate you cutting and carrying green fodder like branches etc. It is inadvisable to toss this onto the floor and leave them to it. Once walked on they will never eat it. Hay racks or the like are a must. Feed grass from a container or tie branches up for them to enjoy. Hay must be available at all times. Do not use the conventional horse hay nets. They can be dangerous for goats as they may jump up and get their feet and legs trapped in them. Invest in some good quality metal racks or make your own out of wood. You will also need to plan a regular and efficient cleaning routine. Muck heaps. Have you facilities to remove these? There is only so much a garden can take.
More Homework. Find out now, before you buy your stock, about the different health schemes regarding goats. This is important because in the future you will want to breed from your animals. The nearest stud male goat maybe in a special health scheme. Unless your goats are also in the said scheme you will not be able to use him. You could find that the closest available stud male is in-fact miles away from your home.
So you are still wanting to become a goat keep. Excellent. You are about to venture into a very rewarding hobby.