We are asked from time to time questions about farming and what supplies we use. This page is dedicated to helping you learn more about farming. We’ve listed some of our favorite books and supplies.
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General Goat Care
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Goats – This is one of the first goat books I bought, and it has been a fantastic reference even though we don’t raise meat goats. In fact, we own several of the Storey’s Guides and like them all.
- Collar – I like the snap buckle collars better than a traditional buckle because they’re easier to get on and off the goat. The 16″-28″ size should fit most standard sized adult goats. Don’t leave collars on your goats permanently. Goats are curious by nature and could get their collars stuck on something and die of stragulation or stress.
- Leash – I REALLY like these short leashes! Its so much easier to control my goats with a short leash than a long one.
- Goat Hobbles – These are great for goats that won’t stand still to be milked or worked on. The trick is to attach them tightly ABOVE the knee.
- Serrated hoof trimmer – These babies changed my life! I hate trimming hooves and that serrated edge makes it much easier than non-serrated trimmers.
- Goat stand – These plans are available for free, but I strongly suggest you make a donation as suggested on the plans. This is the stand we built and use. It’s indespensable.
- Goat weight tape measure – This is designed for dairy goats, but can be used as an estimate for other goats. We use a regular tape measure and the chart from Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Goats, though I just found this method and may adopt it.
- XL dog crate – We’ve used this for goats, dogs, and chickens. It’s great to throw in the back of the van or pick up when you just have to transport one goat (or a couple small ones). It’s also great for occasionally penning up a sick animal (in the house or outside).
- Copper Bolus – We noticed a huge improvement in our herd with parasite resistance when we started using these. We dose them once per year in the spring. You can also get the kid dose, but we have empty capsules so we divide the adult capsules in half and put them in the smaller capsules for kids. Do not give copper to sheep!
- Balling gun – This is indespensable for giving pills, including copper bolus. Insert it as far as you can into the goat’s mouth. Don’t worry about inserting it too far; you won’t hurt them (as long as you are gentle) and you need to get the pill far enough back so they can’t spit it out.
Dairy Books & Equipment
This list is what I use for milking our goat. We do not sell our milk. If you are going to sell your milk, check with the USDA or your local health department about laws regarding how to process your milk before purchasing any equipment. Your local agricultural extension agent can point you in the right direction. Find your local office at http://npic.orst.edu/pest/countyext.htm. (Nevermind that it’s the National Pesticide Information website. Just use the map to find your local office.)
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats – I own the meat goat version of this book and love it!
- Stainless Steel Milk Pail – I don’t actually milk into the pail. I milk into a cup and pour the milk into the pail when the cup gets full. This reduces the risk of losing all your milk if the goat kicks and it reduces the amount of hair and debris that falls into the milk. I found a lid at a thrift store. You may already own a pot lid that will work with it. You could use a stainless steel cooking pot, but the swing handle on this pail makes it a lot easier to carry than a cooking pot.
- Stainless Steel Cups – I use plastic cups, but that’s not ideal and probably wouldn’t meet USDA standards (which is not an issue for us since we are not selling our milk). Stainless steel is easier to clean and sterilize. I’m putting these on my Amazon wish list.
- Half gallon canning jars – These are great if you have a goat that produces more than a quart per day.
- Quart canning jars – Use these if your goat produces less than a quart per day.
- Stainless steel funnel – I use my plastic canning funnel, but again, it’s not as sterile as stainless steel. This is also going on my Amazon wish list!
- Reusable coffee filter – You can purchase milk funnels and filters, but a reusable coffee filter used with the funnel above is more economical.
- Dog brush – or in this case, a goat brush to brush the loose hair and debris from the goat before you start milking.
- Spray bottles – Fill them with an iodine/water solution to disenfect the teats and surrounding area before milking.
- Iodine – for disenfecting teats and surrounding area before milking and as a teat dip after milking. I mix it with water to make a dark caramel colored solution.
- Scissors – For trimming hair around the teats. You need to keep it short so you don’t pull the hair while milking. Full disclosure: I don’t own these scissors. I searched Amazon for the cheapest hair cutting scissors with an excellent rating.
- 3-gallon bucket with lid – Ask your grocery store bakery if they have any. They receive frosting in them and they’ll often give them to you for free. This size is great for storing your milking paraphernalia.