I have always been fond of goats and my Family history with these clever, funny animals comes from my favorite Uncle who raised them on what would these days be considered a “hobby farm”. He actually started out raising cows, but switched to goats when I was about 6 or 7. As a child, I loved visiting his place because of the variety of animals he and my aunt kept. I learned to milk the family of goats, feed them, groom them and after the meat returned from the local butcher, to eat them as well. . It caused quite a family ruckus when the family discovered he was naming his nanny goats after his female relatives. After my mother threatened to name the dog after him, he switched to using a baby name book. Uncle Swede had a rule, if he named a goat it was destined for the dairy and it was safe to become fond of it; unnamed goats were destined for the table.
Goats are exceptionally curious and intelligent. Goats are very agile and widely known for their ability to climb and hold their balance in the shakiest of places. My first horse was a Shetland pony I called Little Red. My Uncle Swede boarded him for us on his farm when we moved into the city of Fresno. Horses are sociable animals who love company so Little Red very much enjoyed rooming with the goats, who liked to ride on his back. I have an old black and white photo of a couple of my Uncles goats in which one of them was riding him and the other waiting her turn on an enormous wooden box placed in the pen for their climbing enjoyment.
One day a stranger driving by saw the goats riding the pony, and was so astonished he drove off into an irrigation ditch. As my uncle was pulling his car out, he kept trying to explain what had caused his accident.
Uncle Swede, who loved a good joke, looked him dead in the eye and asked, “Man, what have youbeen drinking?”
Due to their agility and nosiness, goats are also notorious for escaping their pens by testing fences and enclosures; for his goat pens, my uncle used hog wire with a small electric wire on the outside of it to ensure they stayed where they were supposed to be. Due to extreme stubbornness and the tasty rose bushes my aunt grew along the fence, each goat had to try to stick her head out the holes in the fence and then be rescued before they learned not to try to escape that way.
Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, and have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goats;Dairy goats are generally pastured in summer and may be stabled during the winter. As dairy does are milked daily, they are generally kept close to the milking shed. Their grazing is typically supplemented with hay and concentrates. Stabled goats may be kept in stalls similar to horses, or in larger group pens.
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Goats vs. Cattle:Except in the United States, 65% of the milk consumption worldwide is from goat’s milk, and this popularity hasn’t come about due to high profile marketing campaigns or big-budget advertisements. “All milk is not created equal.” The differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk may not seem apparent to most of us as both look like white liquid. But a closer look will show us how milk matches up with the human body in its various stages. A human baby is created to be fed entirely upon mothers’ milk for at least the first six months of life. There is no other food in the world better than mothers’ milk as studies have shown both in the laboratory and the real world. After we are weaned from the breast or bottle most of us obtain our milk supply from the local grocery, many of which are only now beginning to stock goat milk as well as cow’s milk. Why would someone choose goat’s milk over the far more popular and accessible cow’s milk? Well there is something called “lactose Intolerance” an allergy that can be blamed on a protein known as Alpha s1 Casein found in high levels in cow’s milk. The level of Alpha s1 Casein in goat’s milk is about 89% less than cow’s milk. In fact, a recent study of infants allergic to cow’s milk found that nearly 93% could drink goat’s milk with very few side effects! Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules and does not contain agglutinin allowing it to stay naturally homogenized. All milk contains certain levels of lactose or ‘milk sugar.’ A relatively large portion of the population suffers from a deficiency (not an absence) of an enzyme known as lactase that is used to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance can cause painful gas episodes and, In addition, Cow’s milk is designed to take a 100-pound calf and transform it into a 1200-pound cow. Goat’s milk and human milk were both designed and created for transforming a 7-9 pound baby/kid into an average adult/goat of anywhere between 100-200 pounds. Consequently, more of the goats’ milk is absorbed by the human digestive system and not converted into painful gas.