Weeks Homestead Part 6 – Goats

Hubby and I have a growing list of animals we want to have on our little homestead – chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, sheep and a pig from time-to-time.  But there is one I’m most excited about having on our little farm . . . . . GOATS!!!

I’m a bit obsessed with goats, but they will serve several purposes on our little farm.

– Milk
– Meat
– Weed control
– Entertainment

I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning about goats and the different breeds. For quite some time, my top choice has been Nubians.

They are a good dual-breed goat and while they provide less milk then some other breeds, their milk is known for its high butter-fat content.  They are also meaty, providing a good source of lean meat.

Nubians are of Middle-Eastern heritage and a very popular breed here in the U.S.  They have long floppy ears, a Roman nose and can be found in several colors and patterns.   They a very sociable, outgoing and love human contact.  They can also be very vocal, but when provided good food, plenty of water and shelter, they are relatively quiet.

My only problem with Nubians is their size.  They are large goats, which isn’t bad at all, except I think a smaller goat on our farm would be good for several personal reasons.  I just hadn’t found another breed that I was as excited about as a Nubian, until I discovered this breed.

This is a Mini Nubian.

The breed is developed by crossing a Nigerian Dwarf buck with a Nubian doe.  They are bigger than a Nigerian Dwarf, but smaller than a Nubian making them a medium-sized goat.  A Mini Nubian retains most of the traits of the Nubian breed – looks, butter-fat content, taste of the milk, and temperament.  While their size won’t provide as much meat, they still provide good lean meat.  And unlike a Nigerian Dwarf, who can be difficult to milk because of teat size, Mini Nubians have teats long enough to milk easily.

Mini Nubians can provide anywhere from 1/2 a quart up to a gallon of milk a day.  The high butterfat content of their milk means I will have just what I need for making my own cheese, yogurt and butter.

I still have a lot to learn about goats, specifically the Mini Nubian, but they are my top choice of goat breed right now.

Mini Nubian goat kid. Sooooo Cute!!!!

2 thoughts on “Weeks Homestead Part 6 – Goats

  1. April In AK

    Debbie, we’ve had goats for years, Nubians in the beginning, and Alpine crosses now. Our Nubians were LOUDmouths. One was sent to us because the previous owners neightbors complained of her noise. Not such a problem on a larger property, as on a 1 acre lot as we are here. The Alpine, Togg, Saanen, crosses we have now are not so loud. When we had Nubians, I gave a quart of milk to a friend who, unbeknownst to me, offically HATED goat milk. She called me a few days later, to tell me that although she hated goatmilk for the goaty taste, what I had given her was good. Until then, I thought all goatmilk tasted the same. Since then I have learned that Toggenbergs were bred to provide milk for cheese. Something beneficial to cheese is in higher amounts in Togg milk. A friend who had one, didn’t like the taste of the milk, and blamed it on that. So, you may find that you like the taste of one goats milk better than anothers’.
    I’ve made butter and cheese from goat milk. Goat milk has a similar amount of butterfat to cow milk, BUT it is homogenized into the milk better than cow milk. This means that you need a cream separater to get much cream. they run around $200 for smaller ones. I don’t have one. What I do is keep a quart jar in the freezer and skim every gallon, quart, or whatever I am getting, and add it to that quart jar. It takes a while to get a quart full. Each gallon only yeilds between a TBS, and a half cup. The half cup is when a goat has freshened recently, the TBS is all the rest of the time.
    If the milk has been 2 days or 3 in the fridge, you get more than if only 1 day. It comes up SLOWLY. When I have a few, or even just 1 quart of frozen cream, I set it out in sink the day before I want to make butter. When this is thawed, I pour half into second quart jar, then lid tightly. I hand each jar to a kid and they have a contest, who can make butter first. This is done by shaking hard, up to top, and down to bottom. Hard enough to get a good sploot, sploot noise. In app 10 min of steady shaking, noise changes, and you get clumps of butter floating on thin buttermilk. Shake some more to get these clumps bigger, so the buttermilk can be poured off and the butter worked and salted. Goat butter is ALWAYS pure white. If you want it yellow, you have to dye it. (I don’t, cheese dye not too healthy) Goat cheese is alway white too.
    When making goat cheese, I use half the amount of rennet (liquid, from Hoegger, or New England cheese supply) and it works great. Goat milk has more of something than cow milk. I use 1/4 tsp rennet for 2 gallons goat milk. I got all my cheese recipes from Cheeserecipies.com in the beginning. Finally I bought a cheese recipe book from New England cheese supply. Home cheese making by Ricki Carrol. Hoegger carries that book too. I cream wax, then red wax all my hard cheeses, I get mold under the red wax if I don’t cream wax. (Painted on, looks like yellowish Elmers glue) I have really enjoyed making cheese.
    I make motzerella and freeze that in plastic bags, thaw it out the night before I want to use it. Freezing doesn’t hurt it at all. Motzerella is easiest cheese, and needs no press, so first year it was the only kind I made. then I went to Holland on way to
    Ethiopia, bought hard gouda. I don’t appreciate Gouda in USA, but loved Holland kind, so bought mold ($100) and have been making hard cheeses since. I am too cheap to buy the “artisan” cheeses in America, but I will make them. I’ve made over 20 kinds of cheese, over 100 in one year a few years ago. I plan to buy 3 milking goats, and a Tennesee Fainting Buck (Meat type and smaller, more managable than Dairy buck, or Kiko, or Boer buck), AND a milk cow, Jersey if I can find one that I can afford, for more cheese milk, and for butter, whipped cream. That is when we get settled in
    Missouri, and as we can afford it.
    House is in process of financing and should close in a week or 2 if all goes
    according to schedule. It will not be vacant until June.
    April in AK

    1. I’ve been researching goats for 1+ years now and the common complaint about Nubians are the noise. However, I’ve also heard many Nubian owners talk about how quiet their goats are. On a recent trip to Missouri, we visited with a friend who has Nubians. From the time we pulled into the driveway until the time we left, I didn’t hear one peep out of their goats. For a matter-of-fact, my friend says their Katahdin sheep are louder than their goats. I’m now trying to find someone with Mini Nubians so I can go visit and talk to them more about their experiences. Since we still haven’t bought our property, I have time.

      When we all get settled, I’ll have to come by for a cheese-making lesson 🙂

      How exciting that you’re closing on your house and property so soon. We’re going back to Missouri the first weekend of April to look at property. We have about 10 properties we’re hoping to see. Also making a trip back to Baker Creek for their monthly festival and meeting up with several friends there. One day, in the not-too-distant future, I hope to be announcing that we are closing on our new home as well.

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