Goats are incredible creatures and fun to keep in your farm or backyard. If you are able to keep them, the offer a great “green” solution to weed and lawn cutting. If you never used goats for milk or meat, and just kept these easy to keep animals for the lawn cutting benefit, if would be a win. It would take 5 goats per acre to keep you grass cut for the whole year. Depending on where you live, you may not ever need to feed them. Saving yourself many hours of cutting, not to mention the gas and maintenance. If this is your aim, then you can get just about any type of goat. My neighbor sells goats for $50 each that I would say fit this purpose. They are mixed breeds and they rarely ever give them anything else to eat.
When choosing the right breed of goats for other than grass cutting, analyzing your needs is very important to determine whether you need breeds that are best in meat, milk, or fiber production. Doing some research and consultation before getting any goats is a good idea. The knowledge that can be easily gotten from the internet is amazing. Breeders and goat enthusiasts share many issues and tips in many different places. Storey Books has a couple of really great books as well on milk goats and meat goats. Breeds of goat are increasing in America due to the increasing demand of goat meat and therefore breeds that never existed here are being imported to helping in supplying the demand.
A number of breeds are available for meat, milk, and fiber production. Among the breeds of goat is the Alpine, also referred to as French Alpine. This breed originated from the Alps and has upright ears ranging from medium to large in size. Although this breed is a seasonal breeder, the goats are hardy, have variety of colors, and adaptable. The milk produced by the breed has approximately 3.5% butterfat. The other more common breeds that produce milk are The LaMancha, Nubian or Anglo-Nubians, Oberhasli, Saanen, Toggenburg, and Nigerian Dwarf. With the latter said to have the highest butterfat content of all of them. The average weight obtained, from these breeds is about 2000 pounds per year. The Spanish & Boer breeds are known to be the best for meat production. However, extra meat can be found from dairy goats when culls and their unwanted kids are butchered.
There is even yet another reason for goat rearing, and that is for fiber. Of all the goats only one breed really makes the cut. That is the Angora goat, originating from Turkey, it produces mohair. A fiber most commonly known to be used in carpet, but it has many uses. The picture I used is of an Angora goat, it is a beautiful goat. Cashmere also comes from goats, but it is the hair under the main coat of just about any goat other than an Angora. If you sold the unfinished mohair from an Angora, you could expect about $37 per year from each of them. Though that would require two clippings per year and does take a bit of time. The only problem is that the fiber has little to no crimp, making it hard to spin. That being said you could still have a living by just selling the mohair. It takes about two years for the goat to be ready for shearing. I would suggest waiting until they are at least one year old before taking their first clipping.
The backyard goat requires much less room or equipment as compared to a cow. Their small size makes them easier to manage, although having a higher fence is recommended. With many seeking ways to be more self sustaining, goats are a very economical way to go. If you are thinking of raising goats for meat I would suggest finding a place that serves goat first as the American palette is not used to the taste. Not to worry, as many foreigners are used to eating goat. You can always market the one’s you don’t want, especially during religious holidays. If you bought some milk goats, and used them for cheese and other by products, then sold off the extra while getting them to cut your grass, you would have a very economical animal indeed.