I read Storey’s books on goats (available at most libraries). I got some pygmy goats to start . . just to get the feel for goats and they were cheap (free). I bought 3 Saneens (large dairy goats – usually all white in these parts). Be sure to get friendly goats or you could end up chasing them for miles. We use the pygmys to get the breeding going early or late since they are more frequently in heat and will get the others going when I want them to breed (I do this so I do not have kids coming in the middle of winter her in MN – it gets too cold). I want my kids in March or August so I have year round milk.
We feed grains only to pregnant and milking goats so they don’t cost much to feed – the males get no grains!! The male is solely for breeding and he is from great milking stock and will give good milking girls. All future kids will be raised for goat sausage and jerky. I need another male if I want to increase my herd beyond the next generation. Keep males separate once they mature as they will head-butt each other to death. Some people will keep males outside in a dog-kennel and dog house shelter.
Here’s how to build the vacuum pump from old parts (a surge pump can cost $500 or more) : CountrysideMag
We have 5 acres of good hay so we bale then let the goats eat down after to fertilze it, then later bale it again. You can run 8 goats to an acre (pygmy goats might run 25 to an acre). It improves the soil to let them graze and saves on feeding. They also are good for eating down brush – they clear land of a lot of crappy vegitation. We want to get dairy sheep to finish the cleaning up future pasture areas. however – we only let young females and males do the cleaning out as pregnant and milking girls get the best feeding areas we have.
The goat I lost to my well-intentions of giving her as much grain as she wanted because she had triplets – could have been prevented if I knew she only needed good hay. I give them grains to improve the taste of the milk (oats, dried sugar beet, molasses and garden left-overs) and now they also get bakig soda in all their water to prevent bloating (what did in one of the girls).
If you have good cleaning practices – raw milk is not a problem. we pasturize ours but it doesn’t do the full 20 minutes, just 12 which means we are drinking something close to raw. Homoginized milk is said to be carcinegetic because they pulverize the molecule down to a size that "sand-blasts" your arteries. Yes, amazing this is what they give kids in school!
The cheese making information is available on line but I usually buy a cheese I want to make and slice it into my hot milk pot. Moz is easiest and once you get the hang of it- it doesn’t take long. Sour cream is cultured from store-bought cultures as is yogurt. Next year I’ll be trying cheddar and parmesean.
All the dairy I can possible feed myself, family and friends for life from just a small $375 investment. . . not to mention the joy and satisfaction of knowing how no harmful chemicals or processes were used in our food. All part of the End Game Plan