Urban Homesteaders League
How to Raise Goats for Milk in the CityBy Regan Hennessy, eHow Contributor
Successfully raising goats for milk in an urban setting begins with knowing that only adult female goats (does) that have just given birth produce milk, and that they typically do so for a period of about 8 to 10 months. Although it can be a rewarding experience, raising goats for milk in the city requires dedication and is often accompanied by special challenges. Things You'll Need
- List of city zoning laws
- Small goat shed
- Goat-proof fencing
- Dairy goats
- Hay and grain
1. Check your city zoning laws on goats by contacting your city office. Many cities have ordinances or codes in place that limit the type or number of animals you can raise on property within city limits, especially with respect to farm animals such as goats. Others allow you to keep goats but might require you to get a livestock permit through the city office.
2. Research goat breeds to determine the one that will work best in your housing situation. Since you'll be using your does to provide milk, you should select a dairy goat breed, such as the Oberhasli or Nubian, which are goats bred to produce extra milk. According to GoatJusticeLeague.org, mini-dairy goats--the offspring of a Nigerian Dwarf goat and one of the six standard breeds of dairy goats--provide the best option for raising goats for milk in the city since they require less living space and produce more milk than traditional dairy goat breeds.
3. Prepare living quarters for your milk goat. Your goats will minimally need a draft-free three-sided shed for shelter and a run for exercise. According to Gail Damerow, author of "Your Goats, " your shed should provide at least 25 square feet of space for each adult goat. Set up the shed and run in an inconspicuous area, especially if you have touchy neighbors. Construct a soft bed of straw, which is especially important during cold months of the year. Although you can use a variety of fencing options for the run, the most secure fencing option for goats in the city is typically 48-inch woven wire, which you can purchase at your local livestock supply store.
4. Purchase your dairy goats from a reputable goat breeder. Select appropriate adult, female goats that have already given birth and are producing milk. Ask the breeder for written milk records showing your goats' ability to produce ample supplies of milk. Goats are very companionable and do best when they are around other goats. Unless space restricts it, get at least two goats so they don't get lonely. Lonely goats are often extremely vocal, which could quickly upset your neighbors.
5. Milk the goats every 12 hours. Feed them a well-rounded diet that includes forage (hay and browse) and grain. Pet goats can often thrive on a forage-based diet, but dairy goats producing milk must also have additional grain supplementation to sustain increased milk production. Providing hay and grain feeders that are suspended off the ground minimizes your goats' chances of developing internal parasites. Clean manure out of your goats' shed daily to minimize any animal odor that your neighbors might find offensive.
6. Breed your goats each year so they'll continue producing milk. Since your goats must give birth each year to continually produce milk, you must breed your does to a buck when they're in heat during the breeding season, which usually occurs between the months of August and January. The goat breeder you initially purchased your goats from should be able to provide a buck or refer you to another goat breeder who can.
Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. She has produced content for various websites and graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
- The Goat Justice League
- "Your Goats;" Gail Damerow; 1993
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