Goat Tales Clipped
By Charles Hopkins
Published 10/23/2007 | Pets and Animals
If you would, please open your mind for bit and allow me to butt in to
clear up some of the tales, myths, and rumors about goats, and goat
Let's start with the fact that goats are easier to handle than cows
because they require less work, feed, and housing space. As a matter of
fact, you can transport a doe for breeding in the trunk of your car.
Try doing that with a two ton heifer.
Goats are friendly, intelligent, full of personality, and fun. If
you get to know a goat personally... every rumor you've heard about
goats would be blown away into insignificance. You'd probably want to
keep a few goats yourself if you don't already do so.
There is no in between with goats. You either love them or you hate
them. However, the hate is hard to understand, unless it stems from the
mass of tales, myths, and rumors that abound concerning goats.
Most folks have never even seen a live goat, yet they think they
know all about them... from cartoons and comic strips. One of the tales
folks believe about goats is that they smell terrible. This tale
probably originated from the aroma of the buck during mating season.
However, this should be of little concern since most folks do not
keep their own buck. The does do not smell. As a matter of fact, if
given the opportunity to keep themselves clean... does are less
objectionable than most dogs.
Another tale that needs to be clipped is "goats will eat
anything... including tin cans." One of the problems here is that goats
are unlike most other animals folks are used to. Not only are they not
carnivorous like dogs and cats, they aren't really grazers like cattle
and sheep either. They are more closely related to deer.
This means that not only do goats prefer trees and bushes to grass,
but they also take a bite here and a nibble there. And yes, that will
include your shirttail or anything else that looks interesting. But as
far as tin cans go, they may go as far as eating the labels off them...
but after all, paper is made from trees, and goats do like trees.
Now let's talk about goat milk. So many folks have a false
impression that goat milk tastes strong, or goaty. Well it is true that
some goats have off-flavored milk... just like some cows do.
Goat milk is very similar to cow milk, and there really isn't much
of a difference to be noticed. You can lay odds that most people can't
tell the difference... unless they're told. However, goat milk is more
easily digested than cow milk. This is very important in cases where
infants, especially, are allergic to cow milk. But for all practical
purposes the two milks are the same. Goat milk is a food, not a
Now, on the other hand... goat milk is no richer than cow milk
either. Just as there is a wide difference in butterfat content among
individual cows, between breeds, and at different seasons of the
year... it's the same for goats.
Now here's a fact, not a tale... more people in the world drink
goat milk regularly than cow milk. Only in the United States with it's
mass production and mechanized labor... is the less efficient cow
Goat dairying as a commercial enterprise has never taken off in the
United States mainly because there has not been a great demand for
goats or goat milk. However, that seems to be changing as our
population changes and grows.
No one knows how many goats there are in the United States because
most of the goats are on homesteads rather than large farms, and
homesteaders aren't invited to participate in the agricultural census.
However, the interest in goats and goat milk continues to slowly
climb because more folks are becoming intent on doing more with less.
In summary... the dairy goat is coming into the respect and appreciation that it so truly deserves.