If you’re moving towards self-sufficiency, you may not have goats on the top of your list for how to get there – but you should. Goats are a great addition to any farm or homestead and offer everything that larger livestock can provide: food, milk, fiber, skin, fertilizer, companionship, and can even help to clear your land. They are also smaller and less expensive to maintain than other traditional farm animals.
What’s Not to Love About Goats?
With proper planning, you can reap the benefit of goats financially, nutritionally, and emotionally. Here’s a full list of reasons to purchase goats:
1. They Clear Land
Goats have a reputation for eating anything, but that’s not entirely true. They can be picky, but luckily for their owners, they do enjoy eating weeds, poison ivy, blackberry brambles, and overgrown shrubs. They may not be the consistent lawnmowers that you hoped for, but they will clear your land into neat pastures.
2. Goat Milk & Cheese
Many people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk and cheese rely on goat milk and cheese, which is more easily digested. Dairy goats will often produce more milk than one family’s needs, which can create an additional revenue stream for your household. You can also use goat milk to create yogurt and kefir.
3. Goat Meat
Goats raised for meat will provide you with a lean source of protein. Goat meat is lower in fat than chicken and higher in protein than beef. If you plan properly, you can also sell goat meat for supplemental income.
4. They Produce Wool
Not all goats produce usable fiber, but Cashmere goats produce cashmere, and Angora and Pygora goats produce mohair. This means you can spin yarn and make hats, sweaters, and blankets. You can use these at home or sell them.
5. Goat Soap
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Goat milk isn’t just for oral consumption. You can also make a mild soap with it that is perfect for people with sensitive skin. Again, this is another way to make products for personal use or to turn a profit.
6. They Make Fertilizer
Goat excrement is perfect for fertilizing fields, and an average goat will produce one ton each year. Goat manure is full of potassium, potash, and nitrogen, and is in pellet form for easy gathering and disbursement. You can also use their feces for dung fires.
7. They’re Great Pack Animals
Goats can carry 20-30% of their body weight on their back and can be trained to pull a cart. They can traverse steep and rocky paths and will eat what they find along their way, so you don’t need to pack food for them on any journey.
8. Goat Skin
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Just like leather, goat skin can be dried and tanned for use in products like gloves, rugs, and to make drums.
9. They’re Great Companions
Goats are social and gentle with children. They’re easy to train, loyal, and caring in the same way dogs are. Their smaller size helps to make them manageable as well.
10. Inexpensive Maintenance
Goats don’t need a deluxe shelter and will both browse and eat food scraps, making their upkeep very inexpensive. Quality fencing will help to keep goats contained. You may want several goats since they are herd animals and will do best with companions.
Goats are one of the most versatile animals on the planet. Adding goats to your farm or homestead can create a variety of products both for consumption and make money. As you strive for self-sufficiency, goats are a great way to help you get there.
Have you ever had experience raising and caring for goats? Do share with us your experience with them in the comments section!