A Hipster's Guide to Farm Animals
5 Things a Hipster Should Know Before Owning a Goat
Lylah Ledner is the co-owner and herd manager at the Simple Farm in Scottsdale, who's been on a self-guided mission to "promote the goat." Goats are easy to own, she says, given you pay attention. Here are a few of her tips:
5. Don't get a goat from an advertising database (like Craigslist):
A good goat should cost $300 to $450, and should have current documents that outline what they've been tested for -- CAE, CL, Q Fever, and G6 (to name a few). Make sure the goat has up-to-date blood work, is stable on his/her feet, is well trimmed, and has dry skin. Otherwise, you'll be paying a lot of vet bills later.
4. Goats aren't going to eat everything, but they need a home.
Sections of your yard need as much protection as the goats you're keeping. Goats can fall prey to local bobcats, coyotes, and (where she lives) mountain lions. Goats should have a place to stay and sleep with at least five-foot fencing.
3. Be ready for a long-term investment.
Goats live nine to 10 years, and during that time, if you have multiples, they're likely to breed. Make sure you know a thing or two about pre-natal care if your goat does kid, and that you regularly have them vaccinated and checked for worms. Your goat will likely come into contact with bugs and other animals in your backyard, plus hoards of your friends who want to hang out with your goat -- that's a lot of exposure to all sorts of germs.
2. Talk about a fancy diet...
If you're planning on milking your goat to make fancy goat cheese, be prepared to dish out some fancy ingredients for that goat to eat. Ledner feeds her goats alfalfa hay, Estrella feed, grain, and sunflower seeds, twice a day. And of course, plenty (plenty) of water.
1. Pick up a goat mentor.
Seriously. Ledner admits raising goats is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Someone who's been down that path before. Google "Crazy Goat Ladies" and you're likely to find a few, but Ledner also recommends DairyGoatinfo.com, Goat's Digest, and Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats.
Quick goat resources in Arizona:
- The Phoenix Permaculture Guild has a forum board with plenty of discussion on goat-keeping in Phoenix.
- Depending on the breed of goat you're looking for, you can find lists of local breeders on the American Dairy Goat Association website.
- Read more about Ledner's goats on The Simple Farm website.
Next up, Micro Pigs ...