We have been raising Nubian goats for dairy and meat. They are not the best breed for meat but we do process a couple each year. The meat is very tasty but is a lot of work for the amount produced. Nubians have the highest butterfat content of any breed of goat. They produce delicious rich milk that could even be used to make butter if you purchase a cream separator. Goat milk is naturally homogenized so the cream doesn’t separate like cow’s milk. We make cheese, ice cream, yogurt and puddings with the milk. My children can digest the goat’s milk much better than cow’s milk. We have had a couple periods of time when the milk has tasted “goatie” but usually it is not strong tasting at all.
Our goats are rotated on our mountain land with an electric mesh fence. They prefer to eat shrubs and broadleaf plants but will eat grass as well. They love to eat fruit trees and garden plants so good fences are a must.
Goat are smart animals and some goats are harder to keep contained than others. We have had goats get into things, jump on cars, get on the roof of our house and even break into our house to escape from predators. We once had a few goats new to our homestead take off into the mountains. The next day we caught one of the goats on the highest peak in the area. One goat was never seen again and the third goat lived in the wilds of Montana for a year and a half before being brought in by ranchers with their cattle. We picked up the goat, brought him home and he stayed put after that.
We prefer to leave the horns on our goats. It hasn’t caused much of a problem for us but we do on occasion have to help a goat get their head back through a fence.
During the winter months our goats are in a pin at the barn. They are fed organic second cutting hay containing alfalfa. We feed some whole organic grains to our does when we milk in addition to organic alfalfa pellets. This keeps them busy while we milk and adds calories to their diet. Goats love weeds and brush. Treats from the forest garden are tossed into them as well as piles of weeds. Pulling weeds seems more meaningful when they can be used as feed. Goats need their hoofs trimmed a couple of times a year. This job can be done easily on the milking stanchion. Goats have a lot of personality and are a lot of fun to have on the homestead.