What’s so great about goats? The more important question to ask is what’s not great about goats? Raising them on your property can help you achieve a sustainable lifestyle. As they are one of the most versatile animals you can own.
Here are some benefits to owning and raising goats.
They Clear Land
Goats are living weed eaters. They will clear out all types of unwanted plants such as weeds, poison ivy, overgrown shrubs and blackberry bushes. Having goats to remove all those pesky, unwanted weeds eliminates the need to use harmful herbicides and reduces the risk of forest fires. They will also eat pine needles, leaves and bark.
Despite the myth that goats will eat anything (including tin cans), they are actually picky. Goats are browsers and in fact, won’t even eat grass unless it’s their only choice. So if you think owning a goat will give you a perfectly manicured lawn, we promise this will not work in your favor.
They Produce Milk and Cheese
Raising a dairy goat can provide your family with a healthy supply of milk without having to drive to the grocery store. They are also more cost-effective than dairy cows because they are much smaller and require less land. Lactose intolerant? It’s been proven that goat milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk. The milk can also be used to make a soft, mild soap.
Cheese? Yes, please. Known as chevre, this tangy flavored cheese made from goat’s milk pairs well with honey on toast or makes a nice queso to serve to your friends and family. Nubian, Saanen and Alpine are good breeds to buy for dairy purposes.
They Produce Fiber
Did you know certain types of goats produce wool? Cashmere goats produce cashmere, and Angora and Pygora goats produce mohair. You can use the fiber to spin your own yarn and make a variety of products such as hats, sweaters or blankets. You can also sell the yarn to local spinning companies. The ideal goat to keep for fiber are females and castrated males.
They Are a Great Meat Source
Known as chevon, goat meat is the most widely eaten red meat in the world and has become increasingly popular in the United States over the last few years. The meat is similar to venison and is a lean, healthy source of protein. It is lower in fat than chicken and higher in protein than beef. Chevon can be difficult to find unless you’re raising your own.
They Make Manure
Goat manure is an excellent fertilizer for gardeners and farmers. It is rich in nitrogen and phosphate, making it perfect for growing vegetables or blooming flowers. The pellets are naturally dry, which make it easy to collect and apply. Unlike cow manure, the pellets are odorless once they are dried out. The dung also makes an excellent fuel for fires.
They Make Great Companions
Goats may not be the obvious choice for a pet over the traditional cat or dog. What child comes home and begs their parents for months about getting a goat? However, goats are gentle with children and are loyal, caring and playful, behaving similarly to a dog. These funny and delightful creatures can even cheer you up when you’re sad with their parkour jumps. Keep in mind that goats are herd animals and while they will sometimes bond with other farm animals, they will do best if they have one of their own with them.