Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Goats, Gardens and Berries

This is certainly a time of year when many of us are thinking about our gardens. Vegetable garden, that is. Having raised goats for over fifteen years now if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that goats and gardens do not mix well. That is, of course unless your garden fencing is built like fort Knox. Don’t get me wrong, I love my goats and they are such a blessing but as goats go they always want to eat what’s on the other side of the fence. Sounds like a lot of us doesn’t it? (The grass is always greener…) In fact the Bible very often compares people to sheep and goats with the goats being the less favorable analogy.

Goats absolutely love to eat bushes, especially the fruit kind. In fact many people get goats just for that one thing, to clear out their land of briers and overgrowth. Out in California, for instance, goats are heavily coveted for keeping fire breaks clear during the wildfire season.

However, the fruit that I want to talk to you about is actually one that mixes very well with goats and gardens. I’m talking of course about goat droppings or more commonly known as “goat berries”. When it comes to manure management goats are some of the cleanest animals you can have around. The reason they are called berries is obvious. Goat berries are solid, round, dark pellets about the same size as blueberries. From a healthy goat they are clean, dry and almost odorless and they stay that way for a long time. That property is what makes them one of the best fertilizers for your garden. In fact goat berries are unique from other forms of organic fertilizers in that there is no waiting for the manure to decompose before it can be used.

Most manures have to be dried and decomposed or the decomposition process will generate too much heat and kill the plants. Goat berries, however, dissolve slowly over time and release the nutrients into the soil at a perfect rate. My neighbor Warren calls them nature’s “time-release capsules”. One of the best crops of tomatoes we ever had was one where we mixed peat moss and a handful of goat berries with each plant. There was no smell and tomatoes were busting out everywhere that whole summer.

So besides all the other benefits of owning goats, now you have one more. That being, some of the best, free fertilizer you can get anywhere. Just make sure to close the gate behind you when you leave the garden or all those wonderful vegetables will quickly cycle their way right back into the goat again.

Happy gardening! ;-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feeling Bold Today…

I don't usually do this, but things need to change and I believe this is a good start.

Here is a passage from Romans 2:14-16
For when [they], which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.


And here is a picture of a goat on the farm: she is a beauty!

And finally, a verse that pertains to raising goats!
The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. -Proverbs 27:26,27

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jamaican Goat Curry Recipe from SimplyRecipes.com

This Jamaican Goat Curry from SimplyRecipes.com is a wonderful recipe you can make with goat meat. Full of flavor, the goat is tender and sure to warm you up on a cold day! Try it and let me know.

Visit the link at the end of the post to see the entire recipe.

Jamaican Goat Curry Recipe
INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6-8 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp allspice (see step 1)
3 pounds goat (can use lamb or beef if you can't find goat)
Salt
2 onions, chopped
1-2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped
A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1-2 cans coconut milk
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried thyme
3-4 cups water
5 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
METHOD
1 Make the curry powder. If you can find Jamaican curry powder, definitely use it. If not, use regular curry powder and add the allspice to it. You will need at least 6 tablespoons of spices for this stew, and you can kick it up to 8-9 depending on how spicy you like it.
2 Cut the meat into large chunks, maybe 2-3 inches across. If you have bones, you can use them, too. Salt everything well and set aside to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
3 Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and heat until fragrant.
4 Pat the meat dry and brown well in the curried oil. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pot. It will take a while to do this, maybe 30 minutes or so. Set the browned meat aside in a bowl. (When all the meat is browned, if you have bones, add them and brown them, too.)
5 Add the onions and habanero to the pot and sauté, stirring from time to time, until the onions just start to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over them as they cook. Add the ginger and garlic, mix well and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
6 Put the meat (and bones, if using) back into the pot, along with any juices left in the bowl. Mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and tomatoes and 5 tablespoons of the curry powder. Stir to combine. If you are using 2 cans of coconut milk, add 3 cups of water. If you’re only using 1 can, add 4 cups of water. Add the thyme. Bring to a simmer and let it cook until the meat is falling-apart tender, which will take at least 2 hours. Longer if you have a mature goat.
7 Once the meat is close to being done – tender but not falling apart yet – Add the potatoes and mix in. The stew is done when the potatoes are. Taste for salt and add some if it needs it.
8 You might need to skim off the layer of fat at the top of the curry before serving. Do this with a large, shallow spoon, skimming into a bowl. Also, be sure to remove any bones before you serve the curry.
The stew is better the day after, or even several days after, the day you make it.
Serve with Jamaican rice and peas, a coconut rice with kidney beans.
Serve 8-12

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raising Goats Terminology

Goat terminology is used to refer to different characteristics pertaining to various aspects of raising goats. There is a word for everything from gender, to age and appearance. Learn the words below and their definitions so that you will understand what in the world the other goat owners are talking about!

Some terminology is the same as pertains to deer, since goats are related to deer, if you know anything about deer, maybe you will recognize some of the words below.


Doe or nanny is a female goat.

A buck or a billy refers to a male.

When a male has been castrated or neutered, it is referred to as a wether.

A young goat under one year old is called a kid.

A group of goats is called a herd.

Wattles are like little bags that sometimes hang under a goat's chin on it's neck.

Caprine is commonly used to refer to goats in general, and is derived from the scientific name capra aegagrus hircus.

Musk is the strong odor given off by males during the rut, which is the breeding season.

Brush goat is any cross-breed, this word is the equivalent to 'mutt' in the dog world.

The hair used in the production of textiles and yarn is called cashmere, and it also refers to the breed commonly used to obtain it.

Goat meat is generally called chevon which is from the French word chèvre; if it is the meat of a young kid it is referred to using the Spanish word cabrito.


This is by no means the extent of goat terminology, but these are some of the most commonly used in the industry. Hopefully this information has helped you become more familiar with raising goats, and you will soon become an experienced owner.

[To become a goat expert yourself, click here to download the Beginners Guide to Raising Goats]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Raising Goats for Profit - 5 Steps

Raising goats for profit is one of the most up and coming businesses of today. Everywhere you look there seems to be an increasing demand for many goat-related products. Apart from the meat itself, there is goat's milk which can be consumed as-is, or used in the production everything from artisan cheeses and yogurts to soaps and lotions! The goat fiber, also known as mohair or cashmere, is a very profitable renewable crop. To someone looking for a profitable business venture with a very low initial investment, raising goats for profit is one of the best options available.

Step 1: Decide which type of production goat you are interested in: meat, fiber, dairy, or pet goats. Once you decide on the type of product you want to create a supply for, the next step is to decide on a breed that best suits your needs.

Step 2: Evaluate the goat breed best suited to your operation. While there are dozens of different breeds suitable for each production type, here is a list of a few of the most common breeds in each category:
Meat goats: Boer, Spanish and Kiko goat.
Dairy goats: Alpine, Nubian, LaMancha, Nigerian Darwf (or Nigerian goat ), Toggenburg and Oberhasli.
Fiber goats: Angora, Cashmere and Nigora goats.
Pets: The Australian Miniature, the Nigerian goat and the Pygmy.

Step 3: Educate yourself. This is the most important and most affordable step, yet surprisingly, so many people leave it out or only learn part of what they need to know. There are complete courses available that teach you everything you need to know about raising goats. Knowledge is power.

Step 4: Find a local veterinarian that includes goats in his practice. While goats are typically healthy and low maintenance, it is always good to have a vet on call for emergencies.

Step 5: Begin building housing for your goats. Housing is to provide shelter from outdoor weather and protection from predators, wild or otherwise. Another function of housing can be to hold feed and other supplies as well as a head chute for milking and/or administering medicines and other maintenance tasks.

I hope you have learned more about raising goats from this short article. To learn more, I highly recommend the very affordable complete learning course, The Boer Goat Profits Guide.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Raising Goats Past and Present

The history of raising goats goes back almost 10,000 years to Africa and the Middle East. Their use has remained relatively the same throughout the centuries, people around the world raise goats for their meat, milk, hair, and usefulness as pack animals due to being agile and sure-footed.

Goat meat and milk are consumed virtually the world over, being a daily food staple especially in the Middle Eastern countries. The milk is made into cheeses and other food items, the skins used as material for clothing, housing and containment for liquids such as water or wine.

Goats also make great pets, which early goat keepers learned quickly since spending a large part of each day with their herd. The herdsman would take his goats each day to an area that supplied plenty of fresh grass for grazing and clean water, keeping watch over them against any predator animal that may lurk. Each evening the herdsman gathers his goats to the barn and locks them in for safety.

Modern times have left this ritual of raising goats relatively unchanged, for the most part. Fences and automatic pasturing and watering systems for those who can afford it take the place of the daily duties of the goatherd, but many duties still must be done manually, such as giving medicine shots for illness and keeping the correct nutritional foods available.

In the years past there were only a few different goat breeds in the world. Today there are many different breeds of goats through cross breeding and careful improvement. While there are many goat breeds available, only a handful are popular due to various reasons. The breeds include the Boer, Alpine, Toggenburg, Pygmy, Spanish, Nubian, Fainting Goat, LaMancha, Angora, Cashmere and most recently, the Kiko goat which comes from New Zealand.

While there are various reasons for raising goats, the opportunity for pleasure and profit remain the same throughout, whether the goats are for companion, dairy, meat or fiber.