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The Basics Of Raising Goats ft Deborah of Thrifty Homesteader

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Show Notes

The basics of raising goats is our topic this week as join Nicole and Deborah Niemann of Thrifty Homesteader.

What You’ll Learn

  • Goats are browsers, not grazers, and what that means to your homestead.
  • Why learning the basics of raising goats before you bring them home is essential to their health.
  • Steps to complete before you get goats.
  • What to look and tests that need to be performed on goats before you purchase.
  • The basics of raising goats will differ depending on your individual circumstances.
  • Why the vet you use for your pet cat or dog is not the best choice for your goats.

Our Guest

Deborah and her family moved to the country in 2002 to start growing their own food organically.

They have raised cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry, plus llamas, but ultimately have settled on sheep, goats and poultry as their livestock of choice! The family also have a garden and make their own maple syrup.

Raising goats did not come easy to Deborah. In fact, she found it was the hardest animal she has ever tried to raise. In the early years, her goats dying and nobody could really tell her why, but rather than give up, she set herself the task of figuring out what was wrong and learned more than just the basics of raising goats but enough to write three books! Two editions of Raising Goats Naturally, which are 300+ pages, and Goats Giving Birth – see resources below for a link to purchase.

Deborah doesn’t simply tell people to do what works for her goat herd because every farm is different, and every goat herd is different. What worked on Farm X may literally kill another farm’s goats. She tells people that there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for raising goats. The answer is almost always “it depends.”

She firmly believes in understanding the “Why” behind information given to goat owners and she explains the science behind various recommendations. This then enables people to understand why they see so many conflicting opinions and can then apply only what will work best for their herd’s specific needs.

Deborah of Thrifty Homesteader smiling, sitting next to a white goat

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    Announcer: 0:01

    Welcome to the Backyard Bounty podcast from, where each week you'll be hearing inspiring stories and educational interviews with expert guests to help your hobby farm thrive. And now, here's your host, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:17

    Good morning, everybody. And thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host Nicole and today I'm joined by Deborah from "The Thrifty Homesteader". And today we're going to talk about the 101 basics of raising goats. And Deborah, thank you so much for joining me today.

    Deborah: 0:35

    Oh, I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

    Nicole: 0:38

    Yeah, I'm really excited to get this episode out. There's been a lot of requests on raising goats. And I've been trying to find somebody to talk about this, but I've been particular on who I chose. You know, I wanted to make sure that whoever we had on the show definitely had some great experience in raising goats. I was so excited to find you and to have you on the show. Recently, we had an episode with Dr. Reid Redden and from Texas A&M to talk about goat health but we didn't really talk about just the basics of "I'd like to add goats to my hobby farm and I don't really know where to begin". So I think this will be a really great episode, partially because I really want goats and so I am personally interested in this myself. So can you kind of give us a little bit of a background on not only your experience with goats, but everything that you have going on on your homestead?

    Deborah: 1:30

    Well, we got started in 2002. I always say that we were a bunch of clueless city slickers, who just wanted to grow our own food organically. And I thought, people have been doing this since the beginning of time. So it's got to be really easy, right? And which, you know, a lot of people think it's really hard. And I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, there's no way it was as easy as I thought it was gonna be. But it's also usually not as hard as most people think it is. So we got started back then. And I went way overboard. I thought we had to have everything. So we got sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, you know, we had some llamas for guardians. And we had every kind of poultry, chickens, turkeys, guineas, ducks, geese, even pheasant for a little while. So we've kind of tried it all over the years.

    Nicole: 2:24

    And so goats were kind of one of the ones to stay?

    Deborah: 2:29

    Yeah, so it's kind of funny, I really did not expect goats to steal my heart the way they did. I just wanted to have a couple goats so that we could make goat cheese. And that's how we started. But I very quickly learned that there was way more to making cheese with their milk beyond chevre, which I mean, that's what most people think goat cheese is, is the soft, creamy spreadable cheese that you know, you can put on crackers or have on on a salad or something. But we very quickly learned like, "Oh my goodness, we can make all kinds of cheese with our goat milk". And so we learned how to make all of the cheeses that we use regularly, which includes cheddar, gouda, feta, mozzarella, as well as some that we never use before like queso blanco, which is really easy. That's like a very beginner cheese. And it's, it's, there's so much more you can do with it other than just, you know, put it on crackers or something. So we started making all kinds of cheese with their milk and the herd grew. And we had like over 20 does that were having kids every year, we were milking them. We were making cheese making soap with their milk, and lots of other stuff. But the thing is, after a few years, they started dying, and nobody could tell me why they were dying. And ultimately, after doing a lot of research on our own, we figured out that they had a nutritional deficiency. And then we had a bunch of other problems. And I say I accidentally became a goat expert, because it was either that or just give up. And I know a lot of people wind up giving up. I've seen this when I asked this question on my Facebook page sometimes, like, "What's the hardest thing about raising goats?" and I always have people who say, "keeping them alive". And then they'll say that's why I got rid of them because I just couldn't even keep them alive. And the thing that people have to know is like, they're just they're very, very different than sheep and cattle, even though for years, up until probably about 20 years ago. A lot of people really just thought goats or sheep without wool. They didn't realize that they're actually very different animals and they have very different nutritional needs. And if you try to feed a goat like a sheep, you're gonna have nutritional deficiencies. So that's kind of the short version of how I accidentally became a goat expert.

    Nicole: 4:50

    I imagined that was really difficult to go through losing some of your herd so I would imagine that that would probably make most people want to do better, or you know, find out what was going on, and I can see how you would quickly become well versed in many aspects of go care after that.

    Deborah: 5:09

    Yeah. And I got really lucky that at the time I was teaching college and so I was able to access the scholarly database because there was nothing like in the real world, really, for me to get, you know, some good information on and so, like I ultimately found, and there wasn't even very much because like I said, up until about 2000 there just wasn't much research done on goats other than like genetic research, you know, like they did studies on pole goats and why you shouldn't breed pole to pole, they did studies on cryptorchid ism, you know, just stuff that was like purely genetic, but not really very much on nutrition and management and stuff. And so I ultimately ended up contacting a professor at Texas A&M University and saying, "What do my goats need?". And he was the one who gave me like the exact numbers that I needed to be looking for, in terms of you know, how much Copper they needed, and Selenium and that kind of stuff, so that I knew what to look for in a mineral and in the goat grain, because goats actually have much higher mineral needs than sheep or cattle. Our sheep and cattle are just don't completely fine. You know, you stick them out in the pasture, if you forget to refill their minerals, big deal, they'll be fine. But goats like they really do have very high mineral needs. And the main reason is because they're browsers rather than grazers. And most of us are trying to turn them into grazers, you know, especially like I live in Illinois. So this is the prairie where the buffalo roamed. There were no goats that ever lived here in the wild, ever, you know, because we've got like lots of wide open areas, lots of grass, no evergreens, really, that grow here. Naturally, the only evergreens I have on my property are in my front yard, and I spent $70 on them. So they're not going to be goat food. And what people don't realize is that so like bushes and trees and weeds, and all those things have much higher mineral content than grass does. And so if you put your goats in a pasture with grass, you're you have to give them a really good goat specific mineral that has enough copper and selenium and all those other minerals in it, to keep them healthy. Because otherwise, you're gonna start having problems in a variety of different things. You know, like birthing problems, retained placentas, goats not getting pregnant, not staying pregnant, giving birth prematurely, and things like that. And that's all of the stuff that we went through in the early years.

    Nicole: 7:47

    So at this point, do you only have milk goats? Or do you have meat goats as well?

    Deborah: 7:52

    Now, the only thing we raised our Nigerian Dwarf, we also had La Mancha goats for about 10 years and La Manchas are the larger ones that look like they don't have ears. But they do. They're just very tiny. And when my daughter's left home, we realized like we needed to cut the herd back. And the easiest way to do that was to limit ourselves to one breed. And I decided to stick with the Nigerians because our main goal really was cheese. And their butter fat is a lot higher than standard size goats. So the standard size goats butterfat average is around 3.5%, which is about the same as cows, but the Nigerian butter fat is averages around 6.5%. So it's kind of like having half and half if you like to have that in your coffee in the morning. And it also has a much higher cheese yield. A couple of times as an experiment, I made cheese with just the La Mancha milk. And the yield was about half of what it was with the Nigerian milk. So I just saw I looked at the nice La Manchas and was just like, you guys are giving me watered down milk, and you can make twice as much. So that's why, you know, just sticking with the Nigerians was the right answer for us. And we do actually eat some other weathers, if they don't sell as pets. And you can get about 25 to 30 pounds hanging weight on a Nigerian when it's six months to a year old.

    Nicole: 9:25

    So let's say that somebody wanted to add goats to their homestead or their hobby farm. What's kind of the very first step I imagine there's some things that probably need to be done before even going out to physically purchase some animals?

    Deborah: 9:43

    Yes, you want to make sure that you've got the right housing for them. And this is going to vary depending on what part of the country that you live in. Somebody recently contacted me and said, "I don't know what's wrong with my goats. They're not eating, they're shivering". And I said, "Send me a picture". I've learned now I very frequently asked for pictures when people have a problem that just sounds kind of obscure. And I was like, send me a picture. And they had made a shelter out of pallets, like it was a three sided shelter and made out of pallets. And so like, there were no walls. And this was in a place where temperatures were already freezing, and the wind was blowing. And it had been raining there. And it's like, your goats are just cold and wet. And you find these, you know, three sided pallet plans all over the internet and like, well, that's fine if you're in southern Florida or southern Texas or someplace where it does not get cold, you know, and so you don't have to worry about your goats getting cold and wet. But you really, I mean, really, you should have a solid structure anywhere, you don't have to go very far north, like you know, if it's 50 degrees and you get wet, you're going to be really cold, especially if there's wind hitting you and stuff. So we actually do use three sided shelters here, but they're solid, those three sides are solid. And that's what we use for our books. Because they're outside all the time. And the only time that we bring them into the barn is like if we're gonna have a blizzard or something because you can have swirling snow then and currently these little tornadoes of snow and that can wind up filling up a shelter. But otherwise, a three sided shelter is good if you just have weathers or for your bucks, if you've got breeding animals, and then does we bring into the barn at night and let them out during the day. And we do that because we milk them in the morning and at night. And so you let them in at night you milk them they spend the night in the barn and then you let them out in the morning. And so definitely, if you plan to milk your goats, you really want to have a place where you can milk your goats where you're gonna stay dry and warm. Every now and then I see some people down south who've got a milk stand that's just like sitting in the middle of the ground outside. And I wonder what they do when it rains. Like even if you are in a place like Florida or South Texas where it's warm most of the time. That does not seem like a really good long term sustainable plan, because you're not going to keep milking the goats if you're cold and wet. And you know, and then what do you do if it rains all day. So it's really important to have a place where you can milk in comfort. And the first couple years we had goats, we were just milking out in the aisle of the barn, you know, we would let the goats out of their stall one at a time, milk the dough and then put her back in. And then then the first winter came and I was not happy like this is way too cold. And so I quit milking and then I was really sad because we want you to get used to fresh milk, you really don't want to give it up. So milking 365 days a year doesn't look that bad, as long as you can keep yourself comfortable. So I told my husband, he needed to build me a milking parlor, which he did. It's a little room, it's five foot by 10 foot he built it inside one of the stalls. And we have a little heater in there. And it's on a timer so that it turns on, like an hour before we start milking in the winter so that we can be warm while we're milking the goats. And that's really, like I said, that's just really important to keep you comfortable so that you want to keep doing it so that you can keep getting all that wonderful milk.

    Nicole: 13:26

    Yeah, that definitely seems like it would not necessarily be the most fun task to go out in a cold morning. And milk goats in the winter. I personally wouldn't enjoy that. I don't really like being cold, either. So, shelter you mentioned obviously is important. What about fencing? I've definitely heard that that can be a challenge.

    Deborah: 13:48

    There are so many jokes about goats and fencing, you know, like a fence is merely a suggestion to a goat. And goats are incredibly smart. And it's one of the things I love about them is that they are really smart. But it can drive you crazy sometimes because because they are so smart. And so I think one of the main reasons that goats got such a bad reputation is because back in the 70's, it was discovered that something like 70% of goats in the US had CAE and the only way to break the cycle of CAE which stands for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, is to take the kids away at birth and bottle feed them. And so that was a really good plan. And so for decades, several decades, most kids were taken away from their moms and bottle fed so that they could break that cycle. And the problem with bottle fed babies cuz so many people think oh, I want bottle babies they're so friendly, is that they think your mom and I mean just think about this like a really intelligent toddler wants to find Mommy, okay? They are brilliant at being able to find holes in your fence or, or like like a space between the gate and the post that you thought like you'd never even gave it a second thought, Oh, that's small enough for a baby goat to fit through. So they will find places to get out and escape that you never knew existed. So that's one thing that you have to find out is like, Okay, if you're gonna have babies, how small are the babies? And is there any place at all in your fencing that a baby that size can escape from if you are ever going to have bottle babies, which there's a good chance you will like even if you plan to doe raise, there's going to be times when you'll have to bottle feed a baby for some reason. And those babies may be trying really hard to get to you when they see you. And once they learn how to escape, they just keep doing it, you know, you just because they're like, they don't know that they're supposed to stay inside. And so they just keep escaping. So that's a big part of it. The other thing is having the right fencing for your goats. So for the Nigerian Dwarfs, woven wire works really well. For bigger goats, you can use electric, but you have to make sure that it's close enough together, that there is no way that they can get out without getting shocked on the top and the bottom of their body. Because when we first moved to this farm, it was a horse farm. And we thought, "Oh, there's fencing everywhere. This is awesome. We don't have to do anything, right?" Well, they had single lines of electric fencing, they were like the first wire was a foot off the ground, and then they were a foot apart. That's awesome. If you've got horses, big animals, not good when you have Nigerian Dwarfs that are like 22 inches at the shoulders. And I looked at the goat and I looked at the fence and thought, Oh, that's fine. There's a strand that goes like right across, you know their chest, so they'll stay in. No, they won't, they learned really quickly that they could jump between those two wires. And as they're jumping between the first two wires, their feet are off the ground. And so the chances are really slim that they're going to get shocked at all. And once they figure out that they can go through, even if they get shocked one out of every five times. That's not a big deal to them anymore. They're they're willing to put up with that. And so then we started adding we added started adding wires like at six inches. But at that point, it was too late. Like once they learn a bad habit, it's so hard to fix it. So you know, if you really really wanted to use electric for a smaller goat like Nigerians, you would need to have the electric wires, you know, no more than six inches apart from the day that those goats are introduced to it so that they can't escape, because that's the real problem. And then it is a real challenge if you've got a mixed herd. So when we had the Nigerians and the lunches, it was challenging because we had the Nigerians first. And we realized that the electric was not working for them. So we switch to woven wire. Well, once we brought in the lunches, they would just jump up on their hind legs, put their front legs on top of the fence, and it would just accordion and go down. And we had a buck that was an absolute nightmare for doing that. And so we thought, Oh, well, we'll run an electric straight across the top, too late. You know, he'd already learned the bad habit, and he just kept doing it. And so again, it's you know, it's like, you've got to do it right from the beginning, once you've done it wrong, it's very hard to get the goats to respect the fence. So that's like one of the most important things to get right from the very beginning so that they don't ever have any clue that it's possible to get out of this enclosed area. And then we use electro net for sheep and goats that's made by premier one to subdivide pastures because a really important part of keeping goats healthy, is to mimic mother nature and the fact that in nature, they would be ranging over 1000s of acres. And we don't have 1000s of acres for them to range over. So instead, we put them in an area for whatever is going to take them about a week, and then move them to another area. And so we do that we subdivide larger pastures using electro net, which works really well.

    Nicole: 19:49

    You mentioned that you don't have pastures. Is there like a minimum space requirement for like per goat? What's the minimum amount of space that somebody wouldn't need to have a fenced off.

    Deborah: 20:02

    So this is going to vary a lot depending on where you are and how fast your grass grows and that kind of stuff, you can start with a plan. But then the important thing is to watch your goats and see how fast they're going through the grass. If somebody just wants a, like a couple of pet goats, and they don't have a lot of land, I usually suggest that they just get for livestock panels that are 16 feet long, and they can connect them at the corners. And then they can move that every day or two, depending on how fast their goats go through the grass. And that would be for like a couple of Nigerians. I know somebody who even had four Nigerians in a space like that, and she changed, she moved it every day. If you've got more land or more goats, then you could start out in a larger pasture, and subdivide that. And it's really hard to say like to give you a specific amount of space, I usually tell people like if you've got a space that is already fenced off with appropriate fencing, you can start with that and see how long it takes for your goats to go through that grass. Like if they're in the same area for weeks, and it looks like the grass isn't really going down very much, then they're obviously in a place that's too big. And the problem with that, you might think oh, well, that's fine, I don't need to move them is that young grass is much sweeter and more tender than mature grass. So what happens is that if you go in there and you walk around, you will see that there are some areas where the goats have really eaten down the grass, and it's like an inch or two. And they just keep going back to those areas and eating that grass because it's young and tender and sweet. And, and you're looking at it from a distance. And it's like, oh my gosh, the grass is like growing taller and taller, it's three feet tall, it's going to seed. Well, once it goes to see, it's not very nutritious anymore. Now it's really stemmy not that palatable. And the problem with that really short grass that they keep going back to is that if it's only an inch or two tall, it's gonna be covered with parasite larva, which comes from their poop. So like all goats have worms. But normally an unhealthy goat, that's fine, it's not a problem. But if they keep ingesting larva, then the level is going to keep growing and growing until it does become a problem, they're going to get overloaded. So that's why it's really important that even if you think, you know, oh, I've got five acres, and I only want four goats, so I can just let them run on the whole five acres. No, that's not a good idea. Because they're not going to go across it like a lawn mower, you know, in nice straight rows, they'll they will wind up favoring some areas. And I tell people, it's like, you know, if you eat from your toilet, it's not a healthy situation. And that's what they wind up doing is picking these favorite spots where they're eating and pooping, and eating and pooping. And then you know, they wind up with an overload of parasites.

    Nicole: 23:14

    So I imagine having a vet lined up but before you get introduced to animals is probably a good idea as well.

    Deborah: 23:21

    Yes, that was one of my biggest surprises coming from the suburbs, you know, because there's like a vet on every corner in the suburbs It feels like, but I had no idea until I moved to the country and got livestock, that most of the vets in the United States limit their practice to small animals, meaning mostly dogs and cats. And it's very hard to find a good go vet. Most vets have very little experience with goats, even if they do see livestock. They've got a lot more experience in most areas with cattle and sheep, and even pigs. So it's not unusual to hear that somebody's vet gave them information that was common 20 years ago. But like we know today that this is not accurate anymore, because of the research that's been done in the last 20 years. So like, you know, your vet graduated from vet school 20 years ago, and in his or her continuing education. They're gonna do that with like this species they see the most, you know, so like, they're gonna get lots of continuing education in dogs and cats. And then what do they see next, like maybe horses or cows, and they don't realize that the world of goat research has just exploded in the last 20 years. And they're, we know so much more now about nutrition and worms, and lots of things related to goats that we didn't know 20 years ago. So one thing too that I just tell people, please, please, please. I don't care how much you love your dog and cat vet. Do not ask them to see your goat, don't put them into the position of saying, you know, "Oh, just as a favor to me, please?". When in the very beginning with us, our dog and cat vet said to me, I would not be doing you any favors if I saw your goats. And I did not know at the time I was, I was not happy at the time. But she did me such a huge favor by just telling me flat out that she was not experienced, you know, in the last 10 years or so that I've been helping other people with goats, I have heard some unbelievably horrible, horrible stories that occurred because somebody got their dog or cat vet to see their goats for them. And they made mistakes that, like, you know, someone experienced with goats never would have made because goats are very different than dogs and cats.

    Nicole: 25:56

    That makes sense. And I imagine, if you don't have a local vet that there's probably some reputable resources online that you could use as well to. I mean, you can't get prescriptions and things, but to at least help fill that gap for problems that you might be having with your herd.

    Deborah: 26:15

    Unfortunately, nothing ever dies online. So the most common frustration I hear from goat owners, you know, is that they'll send me an email or and say, you know, I have this question about my goats. And one website says "A", another one says "B" and other ones to "C" another one says "D", like, which one is right? And it's like, well, website a was right, in 1986. You know, unfortunately, we've learned in the last, you know, 15 years or 10 years that that is not the right answer anymore. So there is a ton of old information still floating around the internet. So it is almost impossible. Like if you're a new gun owner, you find tons of conflicting information, not to shamelessly toot my own horn, but because I own goats, like I really stay on top of the latest research and stuff. And so I'm constantly educating myself and writing about that, like writing about changes in medications or products available, or management strategies and things like that. It is super frustrating for people trying to find information because there's so much conflicting info. And unfortunately, I don't have a great answer for that.

    Nicole: 27:40

    No, that makes total sense. And I can, I can definitely see how there can be some challenges there. Hopefully, best case scenario, somebody can just find a good experienced livestock veterinarian in their area, and then they won't have any issue.

    Deborah: 27:57

    Oh, and you know, one thing that I do recommend to people a lot is that if you have a vet school in your area, take your animals there, most of them are going to be less expensive than a local vet. But the really cool thing is that it's probably the best treatment you're going to get in your area, I have to drive two hours to get to a vet school. And I consider it to be an educational expense, you know, as well as just a herd health expense when I have to take an animal there. Because I get to hear what the professors are saying to the students about my goat. So I learned a lot. And I'm also really spoiled by the diagnostics that they have, you know, if you go to your local vet, they they're going to draw blood and maybe get a urine sample. And then they're going to send it to the university. And so it's going to take a couple days for you to get those results. When I take my goats to the university, I get the results right there right away. So that is really, really important to me. And I love that, you know, like if you have a goat with Listeriosis or something like that, like you need to start treatment immediately. And I love having those diagnostics available.

    Nicole: 29:12

    Yeah, that sounds like a really great resource and something I wouldn't have thought of. So thank you for sharing that. So are there any other supplies or anything before actually going out and purchasing ghosts that would be needed?

    Deborah: 29:27

    You need to find out where you can get hay, because that is going to be a major part of their diet. You know, once in a while I come across somebody who thinks that they're just like a dog. So I'm going to go to the store and buy a bag of goat food and let the goat free feed on grain. And, you know, within a couple days they have a goat that is bloated or has internal toxemia or has goat polio or something because that is not how goats eat. So it's really important to understand the nutritional what goats need, and only milkers need grain and some young kids can have can have a little bit. But mostly use that like as a training treat and stuff like to teach them, you know, to follow you and to come in at night and stuff like that. But the number one thing they need is especially so if you've got pasture, they're gonna eat your trees, so don't fence in your apple trees or something like that, because they will eat them. So in addition to pasture, you're gonna need hay in most parts of the country to feed them through the winter. And your milkers are the only ones that need alfalfa, dry does, pet wethers, bucks, they should just have grass hay.

    Nicole: 30:45

    So once we're already, we're stocked we've got we've got our supplies and our shelter and our fence, the actual process of, of purchasing a goat. Walk me through that. How do you know if a goat is healthy? What are some things that you want to look for? What are some kind of, let's say you want a milk goat? Is there an age that's better? You know, that seems like it could be an overwhelming process.

    Deborah: 31:12

    If you want to buy goats the first thing I would suggest, it's really a good idea to buy directly from a breeder and like a reputable breeder, not just somebody who has a couple of pet goats. And they decided to breed them to make a few extra bucks go to become really popular in recent years. And so there's even like puppy mill versions of goat breeders, like they are just trying to make money by breeding the goats and getting as many babies as possible. So if especially if you want to milk out, you want to buy from somebody who milks their goats, because some are better than others. And so you need to know like, how much milk does this mom make? How much does her mom make? How much milk did the buck's mom produce? What are the others look like? And you know, you don't want an udder that is like hanging down to the goats. hocks, you want one that's because if it's saggy like that it's not gonna hold up over time. And if you're buying a kid, you look at the mom and the sire's mom, because they're going to give you an idea of what you can expect in this offspring. I get very nervous about Craigslist and things like that. Because once in a blue moon, you know, there could be a person there who just needs to sell their goats really fast for some emergency reason. But very often, it's just you know, somebody who like thought they wanted a couple of goats, they got them and now they don't want them anymore. And their health can be really questionable. One of the things about buying from a reputable breeder is the the herd should be tested negative for ca that disease I mentioned earlier, because it's transmissible to their babies, Johnes and CL, because those are all diseases that have no symptoms in their early years. And the symptoms that they would have as they're older, like you would not recognize them, probably as an inexperienced go down or like even a goat with advanced CAE. She may have swollen knees. But if you're not familiar with what normal knees look like in a goat, you wouldn't know that her eyes are swollen, but in the early years of cae ago would have no symptoms at all. So that's why you need to have testing and make sure that the goat has tested negative for those things and not just the goat but like the whole herd, especially for Johnes and Johnes is spelled with a "J", it looks like John's - Jo h n e s. But Johnes is fecal oral transmission. So if you bring home a goat with Johnes, and they poop in your pasture, and then you find out they have Johnes, Johnes can live on the pasture for up to five years is actually a bacterium. I have a horrible problem calling it a virus. But it's a bacteria that causes it and it can live on your pasture for up to five years. And it is transmissible to other ruminants. So all your current goats die from Johnes. The recommendation would be that you not put any ruminants, so no sheep, cows, goats or camellids on that property for five years.

    Nicole: 34:20

    So yeah, I can definitely see why you would want to make sure that they don't have it before you bring them home because that could be a serious issue. So if somebody wanted to really dive in and get some more information, what is your website in your podcasts and share with us where they can get this information? Because it's obviously way more in depth than we could cover and you know, one small podcast episode.

    Deborah: 34:46

    Absolutely. Yeah, there is I've got over 125 articles on my website about goats. And the website is "". And I have a podcast that is called "For the Love of Goats". And it's available on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify and all the usual places. And we've been at that for a year, and we're up to 30 to 33 episodes. And I really I love the podcast, especially because I get to interview people, you know, like from universities and places like that who are doing research. So it helps me to stay on top of all the latest information.

    Nicole: 35:24

    Wonderful. Well, definitely your website is where we need to go to get more information. But hopefully this kind of introductory "101 information on goats" was helpful. And Deborah, thank you so much. I really appreciate you sharing your wealth of information and your time with us today.

    Deborah: 35:42

    You're welcome. Thank you so much.

    Nicole: 35:44

    And thank you so much for joining us for another episode, and we'll see you again next week.

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