Getting My Goat

Getting My Goat - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Getting My Goat - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Bringing Home Goats

I’ve wanted goats forever…ok, for several years anyway. But it just seemed like they would need a lot of space and hubby wasn’t too keen on having goats on our one acre property (understatement of the year!). However, I’ve had quite a few goat people tell me that 1 acre is enough for a couple of goats and we haven’t had much excitement around here lately. So why not stir up the pot, annoy the hubs, and get myself into trouble? Sounds like a plan!

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Mama and buckling.
Mama and buckling.

Lisa to the Rescue!

I have this unfortunate habit of reading the farm and garden section of our local Craigslist ads whenever I’m not reading, writing, or ‘ranching.’ So when an ad came up last week for ‘Dairy Goats – Just Freshened: Will go to processor if not sold,’ my silly homesteading heart skipped a beat. Goats? Giving milk? Going to slaughter? Arrrgh! No!

I want dairy goats for milk. I’ve been buying raw cow milk from a local farmer when it is available. But it isn’t always available. And the closest local source is an hour drive from us. Wouldn’t it be great to have my own goats for milk? And how can you get any more local than my own ‘barn?’

Well, it's better than the slaughterhouse!
Well, it’s better than the slaughterhouse!

I contacted the seller and found out that there was no way I could take all his dairy goats in…there were 28 available. I have room for 2 (maybe I could fit a third, but we won’t go there). I set up a time to go see the goats the same day or they were going on the trailer to the processor.

That afternoon I came home with two dairy does and their two bucklings in the back of my SUV. Let me tell you…you get some pretty funny looks when you’re driving down the road with goats in the back of your car! Dennis, the goat seller, shared lots of info about keeping goats. It was hard to absorb it all and I know I have a ton of stuff to learn.


I brought my mini-herd home and gave them water, a little handful of feed I had on hand, petted them, tried to reassure them that all was well, and headed off to the feed store. I came home with alfalfa cubes, shredded beet pulp, a brush, hoof trimmer, straw, and worm medicine.

I’m a total newbie when it comes to goats. We didn’t have any when I was a kid on the ‘farm’ and I’ve only read bits and pieces about them…nothing in depth because I didn’t expect to bring goats home this week. There is so much to learn and I’ll be sharing my experience with you as I go!

Looking for goat feed? Check to see if there is an Azure Standard delivery site near you.

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32 Comments on “Getting My Goat

  1. Congrats!
    If you have a vet, I would take a fecal sample in and have it checked. That way you know if they have parasites/cocci., etc. you will know what kind and what to treat them with.
    If you can clip the goats hair ( if it ever warms up) it will make milking more pleasant. I don’t like to find hair in my milk. In the spring they will shed their winter coat. I just clip them down.
    Good luck with your goats. We should have some kids next week.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      Thanks for all the great advice! I just finished a three day herbal worming and I noticed that their stool went all squishy during treatment. I’m going to keep an eye on it to see if it returns to normal. I had to clip all the crud in their coats off, but when it does warm up I’m planning to give them a hair cut. πŸ™‚

      Best wishes with the kids!

  2. That’s wonderful and how I started my herd 5 yrs ago. I have 3 dairy goats and 4 Boer goats. ( plus one Nubian buck to keep my herd flowing in milk!) I would encourage you to look around your local area for breeding bucks to hook up with to keep your milk flowing until your ready for your own. they get nasty and stinky, We worked up to keeping a closed herd and built a buck pen far, far away from the house to breed. It has taken us all these years to accumulate some knowledge and experience and LOADS of fun! ( Also some tears but well worth them) Ask questions of those in the goat circles in your area and don’t be afraid to stand your ground as you need too. Also research a good vet or 2 for goats, Your local extension office might have a bunch of good fact sheets and info! Welcome to the goat world!

    1. Great advice, Robin! Thanks so much for sharing with me πŸ™‚ I think I will forgo the buck…these bucklings will either be sold or processed for meat. It’s hard to think about it now while they are so cute. But they won’t be cute and small for long!

  3. Great story – love that you got them on Craigslist and brought them home in the back of your car! That is totally something my husband and I would do! But with only 1/2 acre, and needing room for 6 dogs to run, there is not room for a goat now, though I would SO love a little dwarf one.

    1. Hi Katie,
      You might want to see if the dogs would be ok with a goat! They can be dangerous to goats, especially in a pack.

      It was interesting to bring them home. I remember bringing calves and pigs home in the back of a car with my Dad when I was a kid. πŸ™‚

  4. I will only have the animals I eat milk or get eggs from and goats do not make that list. I am a raw co or slightly pasteurized cows milk drinker. i am glad you got what you wanted though.

    1. Hi Regenia,
      We’re planning to drink the milk. Right now they are producing enough for the little ones, but not much more. But hopefully soon we’ll have milk for our table too. Thanks!

  5. Awe, welcome to the world of goats!! I have two goats (saanen and alpine) just over a year and two lamancha bottle babies (3 weeks!) They are ornery, but so wonderful. I’m not milking mine yet, but will be next year. The fiasco farm site is definitely a great place to start. The other big thing in the goat world is testing for CAE and CL, both pretty devastating goat diseases. Another great resource is homesteadingtoday.com and go to the goat section. Great people, great advice!

    1. Thanks for sharing the resources, Monica! I found Fias Co Farm and order some of the herbal wormer from them…that should get here soon. I had read about the diseases and checked for symptoms…they weren’t tested. Hopefully I don’t regret that.

      Thanks so much!

  6. Oh Lisa, how exciting! Good luck with your new goat adventure. I hope to one day have some goats too, so any future advice you share will be appreciated!

  7. Thanks, Linda! I’m sure things will smooth out and we’ll be in the milking business soon πŸ™‚ 2 newborns and the ladies are on the thin side right now. Will be worming with an herbal wormer soon and hope to have some more posts about my experience soon! Thanks for the encouragement! πŸ™‚ I did spend most of the money on food for them, but also got a hoof trimmer and brush. I will hopefully have a fresh load of hay on the way this week…but we have a little to get us by.

    Lots of excitement here this week…can’t wait to get everyone updated. πŸ™‚

  8. Lisa, I am sooooo happy for you that you’ve finally got the goats you wanted!!! Can’t wait to hear of your daily experiences with them and especially with milking! Can just imagine you at the feed store, blowing your budget on all the things you wanted for them (besides their feed – I’d be doing the same). You bought them at just the right circumstance – they’d already kidded and were fresh so lots of milk and you saved them from the slaughterhouse! Have you ever done milking before? I had to milk one of my ewes who had mastitis and I milked to get her udder empty to insert antibiotics. Another time I milked a ewe who would not nurse her lamb to ease her discomfort. Great experience but I didn’t want to do it twice a day so for that reason and the annoying fact that I’m lactose intolerant was why I never got goats. But they look like such active, interesting creatures to care for. I must admit I read Craiglist “farm & garden” section all the time – just to dream! Keep the posts coming – I’ll be looking for them and give your hubby an extra big kiss for his tolerance, Can’t beat these country guys!

  9. What a grand adventure! I am so excited for you! We just brought home our first bunnies, and we have a flock of chicks on the way in a week or so. I told my husband 2 new species under my care was the maximum for one season but maybe next spring a goat will be joining the family. I’d love to have the fresh milk!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Have fun with the bunnies and chicks! You’ll have lots of fun taking care of them πŸ™‚ When you do feel ready for goats, I’ve been told that they really need to have a goat friend or they will die of loneliness. I haven’t had that experience, but I figured 2 goats has to be better than 1, right?! Congrats on the new baby animals!

  10. Hi Gena,
    I did know about the eating trees and wood thing…I will be setting up movable fencing so they can be outside…away from the house and any trees I don’t want them to eat! Crap shooters, lol! Yeah, you’re probably right about those being a hard sell πŸ˜‰

  11. One time I had PJ and Amanda in the car with me, when they were still under a week old, and drove through the drive thru at Walgreens to pick up a script. The lady said it wasn’t ready, if I wanted to drive around and wait inside the store that would be OK. I asked if it would be OK if I brought my kids in with me, and she had replied, Of course you can bring in your kids. The looks I got when I carried in PJ and Amanda were priceless. A lot of laughs when they saw my “kids” really were kids, and a lot of petting and making over both of them. And a bit of a warning not to do it again.

  12. Do not let them get too close to trees, mine ate all the young bark off my apple tree and killed it. They also nibbled on the “wood” outside of my house, which let me know the builder had skimped on the exterior using some form of compressed wood.
    I got all mine (four) when they were each 2-3 days old to bottle feed, as they bond with you that way. They really make precious pets and where I now live my landlord has told me I can have a few so long as I keep them away from his house and the trees. The yard is plenty big plus he owns a half lot next to the fenced in property the house is on, and he said if I want to put a pen up there that is fine with him also.
    After seeing the goat doo, I came up with a tongue-in-cheek idea for an adult toy. The poop looks like small marbles, so I told Mother she could bake them until they were hard, we would coat them, put them in a bag with some sort of large straw-type device and label them Crap Shooters, like kids used to have with pea shooters. At the least, it got laughs. Even coated doubt most people would want to use them for ammo if it had to go in their mouths first. πŸ™‚

  13. Love ours, we have Pygmies, 3 does, 1 buck, 1 whether (to keep the buck company & to put with the does when breading time comes to see who is in heat). I do milk, I had one that gave a little over 1 qt a day, which was just right for us. We too have 1 acre, and they recommend 4-6 (full size) goats per full acre of pasture, we have small goats so its 8-12, and they only get about 1/2 (just under) of the acre for pasture so 4-6 for us is just right. I would love to have one more doe, but am going to be selective, and waiting on more fences going up. If I had my choice I would get a Nigerian, for more milk. On fences, when you build a fence for a goat, throw water on it, if the water gets through, so will the goat. The absolute best place on the internet I found for info was https://fiascofarm.com/, there is even free plans for a milk stand, we used them, it was perfect. Happy goating!

    1. Thanks for all the info, Valerie! I had originally wanted Dwarf Nigerian…but they aren’t available very often and at a much higher price. Maybe in the future πŸ™‚

  14. Good thing your husband is so patient, kind, generous, understanding, open-minded … did I mention patient? πŸ˜‰

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