To Goat or Not to Goat…

13 04 2010

It seems that the chickens were at the top of a slippery slope — ever since we got them we have been tossing around the idea of getting a goat.  My family loves goat cheese and the idea of having goat milk, goat butter, goat yogurt both excites and exhausts me.  What’s nice about our hens is that if they have enough food and water, they can be left for a couple of days on their own — add a milk-producing mammal to the mix and suddenly spontaneous weekend getaways seem just that much less possible.  On the other hand, since we live in a neighborhood where one family still has horses, many have chickens and one has a goose and a peacock, I can easily see my family taking the dog and the family goat for a walk out on the Baylands trails.

Dwarf goats are an excellent choice for the suburban farmer — my understanding is that they only require a 5×5 space to graze,

Photo from juliesjungle.com

as well as a covered shelter for nighttime protection.  That we can cover easily.  The true commitment comes in when the goat needs to be milked and then the milk needs to be put to a useful purpose.  Anyone who has ever heard of cow shares can easily make the leap to goat shares where members of a community “own” a share of the animal in order to gain rights to their milk.  Raw milk products are becoming harder to find in California — even in health food stores — as the controversy over the health risks and benefits of raw milk continues.  The sale of raw milk products is illegal currently in at least 23 states — California is an exception, however producers of raw milk products are prohibited by federal law from shipping those products over state lines.  In states where the sale of raw milk products is illegal, people who own a dairy producing animal are permitted to consume raw milk products from that animal.   Animal shares offer a sort of work-around for the law by allowing multiple owners of any given animal.  The primary owner asks for money in return for “boarding” the animal and secondary owners get a share of the products.

A recall of raw milk products took place in 2006 when two children, who had consumed raw milk, became ill.  Some question the recall as a smoke screen to take attention away from the e coli spinach scare.  Unfortunately that recall has caused many retailers to stop carrying raw products entirely.

Whether I believe in the health benefits of raw milk products or not, there is still the satisfaction that comes from not only producing my own food, but also in knowing where that food comes from.  I have a feeling there is a goat or two out there that will soon be making its home in East Palo Alto.

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4 responses

9 01 2012
Ben Jacobs

I would like to get a dwarf goat for me, how much will I pay for one and where can I get one please let me know.

9 01 2012
bonnetj

Hi Ben. What you pay will be largely determined by where you live. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I generally pay anywhere from $150-$300 for my goats, depending on the breed. If you are interested in a papered goat — one with a documented lineage — you will likely pay more than if you’re just interested in getting a home milker. Also, if you want to buy a goat that is already “in milk”, meaning she has already been bred and is currently producing, you will likely pay a little bit more. I have always bought my goats “in milk” so that I am absolutely certain what I am getting into in terms of volume of milk, teat size, etc., but if you buy your goats from a reputable breeder, they will give you a good idea of the goat’s lineage and maternal production history.

I would suggest you start looking on http://www.craigslist.org in the farm and garden section to see if there are any breeders in your area that currently have goats for sale. If you don’t have any luck there, try breeder websites like Goatfinder.com http://goatfinder.com/dwarf_goat_directory.htm as they might have listings for your local area.

Good luck finding your goat!

9 08 2012
Laura B

Hi-
I am intrested in buying a dwarf baby (kid) goat and i am having trouble finding and really do not know where to start or how to go about. I am looking for help if some can please help me it would mean alot. You can email me at redhotlaurab@gmail.com just please subject as DWARF GOAT.

Thank you-
Laura B

9 08 2012
laura

I am intrested in buying a dwarf kid goat. I am having trouble and do not know who to contact or where to even start. Can someone please help me??? You can email me at redhotlaurab@gmsil.com just subject it as DWARF GOAT please.

Thank you-

Laura B!

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