Every blog I read lately seems to be goat crazy. Either they own goats or they are thinking about goats or they have finally decided to get goats. There are many benefits that I can see to owning goats. Milk that is far less of an allergen than cow’s milk. Animals that are far smaller than cows and easier to take care of. Animals that tend to birth easily. Animals that will defnitely take care of that lawn for you. Animals that make great, high protein, low fat meat.
But it seems like a big step past chickens. I mean, what’s the worst that is going to happen if you sleep in for a bit and the chickens have to stay in the coop for an extra hour one morning after a bad night’s sleep? They might actually lay their eggs in the nesting boxes instead of in a cardboard box on the back porch or in a wallow under the raspberry canes or where you can’t get to them under the shed. They have water, they have food, it’s not like the world will come to an end if the chickens don’t come out right at sunrise. Oh, they will try to convince you that it has and curse you out (you’ve not heard cursing until you’ve been cursed at by an angry hen), but thirty seconds later they’ll be loving on your ankles hoping you have treats in your pockets and all will be forgiven.
And with rabbits, I can stumble out, make sure they have water, feed them, and stumble back to bed if I’m having a bad day with my disability and my leg refuses to work right, take some medicine and get a bit more rest to allow it to relax, and then get to the cleaning and care when I’m no longer hobbling. But a milk goat? Well, they want to be milked at the same time every day, rain or shine, snow or sleet, daylight saving time or standard. To not be milked at the same time means anything from unnecessary discomfort to pain for the animal and messing around with the times means possibly drying up the animal or causing mastitis. Not exactly the best idea.
A goat is a real commitment to homesteading and it’s something we will have to really think hard about if we decide to own a couple. Having our own fresh milk and making our own cheese and yogurt is worth a lot of tradeoffs, and I know my son will be happy to milk, but he won’t live with us forever. He’ll grow up one day. And with my husband at his job most of that care will fall to me. I’ll really have to weigh the pros and cons. I’m not sure my husband believes me when I say that though. I can’t say I blame him. Usually when we talk about the animals we want to raise one day I say something like this: “I want chickens and ducks and rabbits, maybe some quail, some turkeys, a dog, some barn cats, and not a goat.” He’s pretty sure that “not a goat” means I want three. He may not be entirely wrong.