This page was completed on 4-12-2001
by Sharlene Risinger
(Prov 27:27 KJV) And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
A Tribute to My Friend, Marie Shoemaker
This page is Dedicated to Marie Shoemaker, who passed away in 1999. She loved Goats and had a Goat Dairy in Rayville Missouri. Her Husband Don, still maintains the Valentine Dairy. Valentine was their first Goat. I bought two purebred Nubian Buck's, and one Doe from Marie. Some of their pictures are below.
Marie helped me learn how to take good care of my Family and my Goats, by introducing me to Goat's Milk and with alot of advice afterwards.
I'll never forget you Marie. May you rest in Peace, my Friend and I'll see you when I get to Heaven!
The purpose of this Page is to introduce you to the most fun, cost effective and health producing animal that you could ever possess, in a small farm environment.
These are pictures of some of the goats that I owned, when I lived in Northern Missouri on an 18 acre farm, from 1995 to 1999.
The small one in the front is Benjamin when he was still young. He was our first Nubian Buck. Rachel is in the background.
The small one in the front is Benjamin. The big one was our favorite Nub/Tog cross Doe, Rachel. She gave us twin Does the first time and triplets the second. Her milk tasted better than cow's milk!
These were our first set of triplets, by Trixie. She was a Nub/Alpine cross. We got a gallon and a half of milk from her each day, for most of her milking time. My 2 sons were enjoying the new life in our barn that morning.
These are Rachel's triplets. The 2 brown ones were Does (R2 and Caramel) and the black and white one (Samson) was a little Buck.
These were the 2 of Trixie's triplets that lived. We lost little Bert. The little polled one was a Doe that we named Snowflake. The other one was a Buck that we named Ernie.
These dogs are the best livestock dogs that I've found. They are Great Pyrenees and they were always very loyal and gentle with our livestock. Snowflake and Ernie are in the front of this picture. The two dogs are Bear and Lily.
This is Leah and Rachel.
This is Rachel. She had a passion for dog food. My daughter Stephanie would sometimes let her have one piece of it. If you gave her half a chance, she'd find any dog food and eat it! We had to watch her, as she would have bloated, had she gotten into it.
Our little barn that housed our goats, chickens, dogs, cats, guineas, peacocks, turkeys, geese and rabbits, at the same time. Later that same little barn housed a couple of horses, too.
Stephanie and one of our Great Pyrenees, Bear. Best dog that I've ever met. He got hit by a car and passed away about 3 years ago. We got him as an adult and he loved the kids and our livestock. He was a wonderful dog.
There is no feeling like going out to the barn and finding your favorite Doe with her new Babies! They make the cutest little sounds, are so affectionate and they are just precious.
You should be there when they are giving birth, but sometimes they fool you and have them when you aren't available.
I've had goats since I was a child. I even owned one while I lived IN Kansas City Missouri and everyone asked me what kind of DOG that he was!
I like to have an intercom unit in the barn (even a nursery monitor will work, if your barn is close enough to the house), left on so you can hear what's going on out there. And you have the second unit in the house so that you can hear it, when your does are getting ready to kid.
Plus it makes it easier to communicate with family members inside the house, too.
Radio Shack has a nice, inexpensive intercom set and no matter how far your barn is away from the house, if you have the same electricity (on the same circuit) as your house does, it will work.
Goat's milk is one of the closest in makeup to human milk, that there is. If a baby cannot tolerate the lactose in other milk based formulas, goat's milk is a wonderful alternative. You need to check with your Doctor before changing any baby over to goat's milk and make sure that it is pasteurized, if you feed it to your baby.
I am lactose intolerant and I cannot drink cows milk, but have no problem whatsoever, with goat's milk.
It is naturally homogenized!
Goat's have always gotten a bad rap, as being stinky, eating tin cans (which is a fallacy, by the way) and being ornery. As far as them being ornery, some of them are, but that is just part of their charm!
Bucks are the only ones that smell bad and that is during their mating season.
They are actually very clean animals. Most of them won't touch their hay, once it's fallen on the ground. They always defecate in the same place in the barn, won't sleep in that spot and are continually cleaning themselves.
Goat's are VERY versatile creatures.
Goat's, in their natural habitat, graze on "scrub". What that means is, that you can pasture them with cows, sheep or horses and they do not compete for food.
Goat's eat weeds, rose bushes, blackberry bushes, anything that is considered "scrub."
And their "droppings" are great fertilizer for roses and for your garden. I always liked to spread my used straw bedding over my garden and around my roses for mulch and fertilizer. It works wonderfully!
You want to keep them out of drafts, in any kind of decent shelter. They are very versatile and some people even keep Pygmy goats for pets, indoors!
I liked to keep deep straw bedding for them. It keeps them cleaner (their urine drains through it, to the ground and stays dry on top), warm and they like to sleep in it. We always deep cleaned our barn, twice yearly. You add new bedding on top, as it gets packed down.
It makes wonderful garden mulch and compost.
If you live in a cold climate, you should have a couple of heat lamps to use if they have their babies in winter, or they will freeze to death. We used to use the lamps and we had a playpen inside the house, that we put them in, if it was just too darned cold, even with the heat lamps. We would do that until they were about a week old, then we took them back to the barn. If we let them nurse, instead of bottle feed, then we took them out every few hours to nurse. Otherwise we just gave them bottles, which made it easier on the mother, when they were in the house.
Always keep their water clean and make sure they have plenty to drink. The more water they drink, the more milk they produce.
In my opinion, give me a Nubian/Toggenburg cross Doe any day, for great tasting milk and a perfectly balanced milk supply.
Different breeds have different tasting milk, to my family anyway. We'd tried many combinations of goats and we believe that to be the truth.
There are alot of goat people out there that believe the same way that we do about this issue.
Some people just love the taste of Alpine milk and some people can't stand it. The same goes with Nubian's, Saanan's and the rest of the breeds.
It really depends on what your personal tastes are.
What they eat, determines to some degree, how their milk will taste, too.
My milk goats always ate alfalfa hay, goat mineral block and sweet grain. And their milk tasted just like cow's milk (the Nub/Tog crosses did)!
The secret is, that you chill it immediately after you strain it. Cheesecloth works well to strain the milk through, as long as you bleach it and keep it sanitary.
I immersed my filled gallon jugs in ice water in the sink. You can even reuse the same ice, over and over again in a large Ziploc type of baggie. Just keep refreezing it and put the sealed bags in the sink with your jugs and fill the sink with cold tap water.
I used the Rubbermaid gallon "Serving Savers" jugs. They are great for storing milk. They have handles, are not heavy and are pretty inexpensive and do not break like glass jars do.
If you rinse your stainless steel milk bucket and your jugs out first with COLD water, it takes the residue off better than if you rinse first with hot water.
Somehow it congeals the fat globules and it rinses out cleaner, than if you start out with hot water. Try it.
And you should try not to get any of their hair get into the bucket with the milk or milk them too close to where a buck is in his season, or the smell seems to taint the milk, too.
Wash your hands well before milking, too. If you cut up an onion/garlic and then you milk without washing it off, it will taint the milk, too.
I've had that happen to me before!
And be meticulously clean with your milking and milk storage items! I bleached my bucket, my straining cloth (I used cheesecloth in my canning funnel to strain it with), my funnel and my jugs out every time I washed them.
All you need is about a teaspoon of bleach in a whole sink full of soapy water. And rinse, rinse, rinse....
And if you have some REAL (clean) silver dollars, put one into your milk container, while you are storing it. For some reason the silver has a preserving and purifying effect on the milk. Alot of our Grandma's used to use silver dollars in their milk jugs. It works!
If you are familiar with Cow's, you know that a Jersey Cow has little (usually a little over a gallon, each milking), but really rich milk.
But a Holstein, on the other hand is dripping four huge streams of milk, when she comes in to be milked and you may get 5 gallons a milking out of her! But it's really watery milk.
Now with Cow's, instead of crossbreeding them, people who have Dairy's normally have mostly Holstein's and then they have a couple of Jersey's or Guernsey's to make their milk richer, by mixing it together.
But in the Goat realm (as far as my personal experience and several other goat dairies that I know, personally do) you can crossbreed goats, to achieve a goal of having a well-balanced, good tasting milk supply.
Now there are goat purist's out there who would vehemently disagree with me. And that's ok. There is room for everyone out here, and my school of thought is popular, but not the only one, by far.
But from my own personal experience, I've found a Nubian/Toggenburg cross to be a wonderful home dairy animal.
Alpine's are the Holstein's of the Goat world. Nubian's are the Jersey's.
Toggenburg's also have a pretty good volume of milk and I prefer the taste, over the Alpine's.
Now all of you Alpiner's, please don't get upset with me. That is my PERSONAL taste. I have many friend's who LOVE Alpine milk.
My family just doesn't. So we always preferred the Nub/Tog crosses, for our home use.
I always used purebred Nubian Buck's to breed with my cross Does. And I never had any problem selling the babies.
You should keep them brushed, as that makes them feel better and it keeps their hair out of the milk bucket.
One other thing that I want to mention is this, please keep their hooves trimmed. I've seen more miserable goats, because their owners never get around to trimming their hooves and it's not right, folks. It takes 5-10 minutes to trim their hooves and it makes their lives alot more comfortable.
I always used a utility knife and a rasp to finish them off with. Most of them don't mind, if you put them in the milking stand and give them some feed. They get used to it, when you do it often.
And clean their udders before you milk. I have always used a clean, warm washcloth. Alot of people buy special udder wipes and that is fine, too.
We were always on a budget and they liked the warm cloths and it helped their milk to come down, faster.
I will leave you with this final piece of advice; Find a "goat" friend, if you can. Their advice is worth more than any book that you can read. They will be there for you when your doe is having a tough time kidding. They know the best "goat" vet in your area and can help you more than you know.
God bless you and your "goaty" endeavors!
They are great animals. Have fun and write me if you need any info.
This is just my 2 cents worth. Hope I didn't offend anyone and I hope you found something here that you can use.
I will give you some Links and this should get you started!
Here is a Goat
You need to
read everything that you can get your hands on about Goats, if you are going to
Here is a wonderful company that sells great "how-to" books and they have some on goats and shelters, etc.
I have bought books online from them before and they are very reputable.
Link to Caprine Supply
Here is a link to a really good website that has alot of information about all kinds of goats:
This is a good one, too.
I really like Upco. I bought my stainless steel milk bucket from them, as well as other goat items. Request their catalog and ask for items if you don't see them. They have a huge selection of stuff. Their store is in St. Joseph Missouri and I used to drive over an hour to go there to shop for livestock items:
This is a good one. It is a University page with lot's of Pictures of the different breeds:
This Link is to
a place that sells land, in the Ozarks of Missouri, online.
They are very reputable and with your first payment, you can move down there if you want to.
Most of the places allow mobile homes or you can build or put an RV trailer there.
Check it out!
I hope you
enjoyed the information on goats that is compiled here.
If you have any questions or comments, please email us:
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