Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outdoor Industries/Goat Husbandry

Goat Husbandry
Outdoor Industries
General Conference
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1986

1. Identify live or from pictures at least two breeds of goats. Tell if they are raised for milk, meat, or wool.


Description: Saanen goats are a white breed of goat which are the largest of the dairy breeds. Does typically weigh 150 lb (68 kg) or more, with bucks weighing over 200 lb (91 kg). The Saanen breed also produces the most milk (as a breed- there will be good and poor individuals in any breed) and tends to have a lower butterfat content, about 2.5%-3%. The Saanen temperament is as a rule, calm and mild mannered; breeders have been know to refer to them as living marshmallows. Saanen goats are easier for children to handle and are popular in the showmanship classes due to their calm nature. With solid white coats and pink skin these extremely mild tempered goats are heavy milkers. They originated from Switzerland.


Description: The Toggenburg is named after the region in Switzerland where the breed originated, the Toggenburg valley. Toggenburgs are medium in size, moderate in production, and have relatively low butterfat content (2-3%) in their milk. The color is solid varying from light fawn to dark chocolate with no preference for any shade. Distinct white markings are as follows: white ears with dark spot in middle; two white stripes down the face from above each eye to the muzzle; hind legs white from hocks to hooves; forelegs white from knees downward with a dark line (band) below knee acceptable; a white triangle on either side of the tail. Wattles, small rudimentary nubs of skin located on each side of the neck, are often present in this breed. The Toggenburg underwent a development program when introduced to Britain - the resulting British Toggenburg being heavier and having improved milk quality. By the middle of the year 2002, 4146 Toggenburgs had been registered with the New Zealand Dairy Goat Breeders Association, representing 8.10% of registered dairy goats. They perform better in cooler conditions. They are the oldest known dairy breed of goats.


Description: The Anglo-Nubian, or simply Nubian in the United States, is a breed of domestic goat developed in Great Britain of native milking stock and goats from the Middle East and North Africa. Its distinguishing characteristics include large, pendulous ears and a "Roman" nose. Due to their Middle-Eastern heritage, Anglo-Nubians can live in very hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. Considered a dairy or dual-purpose breed, Anglo- Nubians are known for the high butterfat content of their milk, although on average, the breed produces less volume of milk than other dairy breeds. Anglo-Nubians are large, with does weighing around 64 kg. The average height of the breed, measured at the withers, is 81 cm for does and 94 cm for bucks. Like most dairy goats, they are normally kept hornless by disbudding within approximately two weeks of birth.

British Alpine

Description: The Alpine is a large breed of dairy goat which may have a variety of coat colors. British Alpines are black with white markings. They are best suited to temperate climates and do not do well in humid environments. Alpines have erect ears, and multiple coat colors are acceptable. The Alpines are excellent milkers and can produce milk over an extended period of time. The Alpine is the second most registered of the dairy breeds. Average milk fat content for Alpines was 3.5 percent in 2003 and average milk production per doe was 2,083 pounds, according to national Dairy Herd Improvement statistics.

You may also visit for pictures and information on different goat breeds.

2. What type of housing should be provided for goats?


Goats are very adaptable animals, so many types of housing will suit them. A three-sided shed will work just fine in most cases, and the goats will seek it out when it rains or snows. The only time they need better housing is when they are kidding, in which case they need a draft-free area. Several goats can kid together in an indoor pen (in a barn or other building). Up to ten does can share a 20 square foot pen (4'x5').

The floor should be dirt or stone - concrete is not recommended. The floor should have 3-4 inches of bedding covering it (5"-6" if concrete). Bedding can be straw, sawdust, wood chips, newspaper, or some other absorbent material.

3. What types of feed are used for the following


a. First month


Kids should drink their mother's milk within 20 minutes of birth. At this stage it will contain colostrum which is not much good for people to drink. Most goat keepers will allow a newborn kid to have all its mothers milk for the first couple of weeks until the colostrum is gone.

They will also get milk from their mothers, and this should be available to them at all times.

You can also make hay available to them right from the start. They may not eat it at this stage, but it's a good idea to let them get used to it.

b. Second month


Some goat keepers will separate the kids from their mothers at night. As long as all the kids are kept together, they will be happy, and the mothers seem to enjoy the break. This will allow you to milk the mothers in the evening.

Kids should be fed grain, minerals, hay, and a yeast culture made for this purpose. The yeast culture will help to establish the right kind of bacteria in the goat's rumen. Kids need a mineral with copper in it (most minerals that say they are for sheep and goats will not contain copper - avoid this).

You should also turn them out to pasture during the day to let them browse.

c. Pregnancy


Feed pregnant does about a pound of grain each day. They should also have hay twice a day in winter and once a day in summer. Allow them to browse in the pasture and give them minerals as well.

d. Freshened doe


A "freshened" doe is one that has just given birth and is just beginning to produce milk. She should be given 2-3 pound of grain per day, as well as some hay twice per day. She should also be given minerals, a yeast supplement, and be allowed to browse in the pasture.

e. Yearling


Yearlings should be given one cup of grain per day, hay twice per day in winter or once per day in summer. They should also be given a mineral supplement, a yeast supplement, and be allowed to browse in the pasture.

4. Name three poisonous plants to goats.


5. When are kids weaned?


Kids are weaned at 6 to 8 weeks of age.

6. When must the buck kids be removed from the does, and why?


Separate young bucks from the does when they become two months old. Bucks reach puberty between 7 weeks and 8 months, and if they are with the does when this happens, they will attempt to mate with them. They need to be separated before puberty so this does not happen.

7. How are goat's hoofs trimmed?


See for a very good tutorial on trimming goat hooves.

Goat hooves are trimmed with a specialized tool designed for the job and called (unsurprisingly) hoof shears. The first step is to clean the hoof thoroughly. When the hooves are clean enough, you should be able to see growth lines in them. The hooves should be trimmed parallel to these lines. The hoof should be trimmed short enough so that the front slopes straight down without curling at the tip. Once they are trimmed, you should use a surform to shape and smooth it. A surform is a carpenters tool that looks like a cross between a handplane and a cheese grater.

If you have large rocks in your pasture, you will need to trim their hooves less frequently. The goats will climb on the rocks and wear their hooves down naturally.

8. Why are goats good for clearing brush land?


Goats are reputed to be willing to eat almost anything. The digestive systems of a goat allow nearly any organic substance to be broken down and used as nutrients. Contrary to this reputation, they are quite fastidious in their habits, preferring to browse on the tips of woody shrubs and trees, as well as the occasional broad leaved plant. However, it can fairly be said that goats will eat almost anything in the botanical world. Their plant diet is extremely varied and includes some species which are toxic or detrimental to cattle and sheep. This makes them valuable for controlling weeds and clearing brush and undergrowth.

9. Name at least six items that are made from goat skins.

  1. Gloves
  2. Drumheads
  3. Rugs
  4. Boots
  5. Wineskin (Bible times in particular)
  6. Lampshades
  7. Coats

10. What are wattles?


A wattle is a fleshy dewlap hanging from a goat's neck.

11. Raise at least two goats for six months.


Have fun!

You can usually find information on goat care on the computer or at your library.

Goats are herd animals, so you should get more than one. If you have only one goat, it will not be happy and will continually cry for your attention. If you are a novice, you absolutely do not want a buck. If you only want one doe, the second animal should be a wether (castrated male). A wether should cost less than half what a does costs, and will be more friendly than either a buck or a doe. You could also get a second doe instead of a wether if you think you can keep up with milking them.

12. If milk goats are raised, answer the following questions


a. What are the points to consider when choosing a good milk goat?


A milking goat needs to have a good udder. It should be held tightly against her body and not sag. If she has not yet developed an udder, check her mother, and make sure her father produces goats with good udders. The teats should be well formed.

Get a gentle doe, as an aggressive one will be difficult to milk. She should not run away from you when you approach her, and she should allow you to touch her. If she does not allow you to touch her, don't buy her. Once she becomes skittish of people, it is nearly impossible to "tame" her again.

Choose goats that have good "conformation" - meaning they have all the right proportions for their breed. Also make sure the goat you choose is healthy and strong.

Does should look feminine rather than masculine. In general, a more feminine-looking goat will produce more milk than a masculine one will.

b. How is pasteurization done and what is its purpose?


Pasteurization is the process of heating liquids for the purpose of destroying viruses and harmful organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeasts.

Unlike sterilization, pasteurization is not intended to kill all micro-organisms in the food or liquid. Instead, pasteurization aims to achieve a "logarithmic reduction" in the number of viable organisms, reducing their number so they are unlikely to cause disease (assuming the pasteurized product is refrigerated and consumed before its expiration date). Commercial-scale sterilization of food is not common, because it adversely affects the taste and quality of the product.

Pasteurization typically uses temperatures below boiling since at temperatures above the boiling point for milk, casein micelles will irreversibly aggregate (or "curdle"). There are two main types of pasteurization used today: High Temperature/Short Time (HTST) and Extended Shelf Life (ESL) treatment. In the HTST process, milk is forced between metal plates or through pipes heated on the outside by hot water, and is heated to 71.7 °C (161 °F) for 15–20 seconds. ESL milk has a microbial filtration step and lower temperatures than HTST. Milk simply labeled "pasteurized" is usually treated with the HTST method.

13. If milk goats are raised, do the following


a. Do the milking morning or evening for two goats, or morning and evening for one goat, for at least three months.


Before you do any milking, you will need to sterilize your equipment. Failure to do so will yield foul-tasting or contaminated milk, and neither of these is desirable. Sterilization can be accomplished by soaking the equipment in bleach water (¼ cup bleach for every two gallons or water, or 1 part bleach to every 128 parts water) for a minimum of two minutes. Then drain out the bleach water and allow the water and bleach to evaporate for at least 15 minutes.

Before you begin milking, you should clean the doe's udder. Again, you can use bleach water for this. Wash the area thoroughly, as this will help you prevent the spread of mastitis (an udder infection). Dry her off with a disposable paper towel. Use a seamless, stainless steel pail to catch the milk. Make sure you use a seamless pail, because the seams are nearly impossible to get clean. Some people like to use a goat-hobble to keep the doe from stepping into the pail during milking (if this happens, everything in the pail is ruined, and you will have to re-sterilize the pail before you can reuse it).

Now for the milking part. Do not pull on the goat's teats, as this can injure her. Instead, grip the teat (not the udder!) and squeeze your index finger closed, followed by the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. This will progressively constrict the teat and force the milk out the orifice. It may take a while to get the hang of this, but be patient and persistent. Your goat will be able to read your frustration level, so patience is important. Once you get the hang of it, the milking motion will become second nature.

Express three to four squirts into the pail and then check for abnormalities (such as blood clots). Then continue milking until she milks out. When finished, cover the pail. Then pour a solution of bleach water (2 Tbsp bleach, 1 quart water) into a small paper cup and dip the doe's teats in this solution.

At this point you should weigh the milk and record your reading. Then transfer the milk to a milk tote (also seamless and stainless steel), and move on to the next goat, or get the milk into a refrigerator or into a pasteurizer.

b. Keep daily milk production records.


You can create a chart such as this, filling in the amount of milk each doe produces on each day. Standard practice is to record the milk's weight rather than its volume. Record the doe's name (or some other identifier) at the top of the columns between the "Date" and "Notes" fields. Record general health information or any unusual observations in the Notes column. You can also use a spreadsheet to track this information.

Date Notes