Beginners Guide To Raising Chickens – Everything You Need To Know

In this beginners guide to raising chickens we are going to cover everything you need to know to raise chickens successfully for eggs. We will…
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Why Raw Goat Milk – Should You Be Drinking Goat Milk?

raw goat milk

Raw Goat Milk - should you really be drinking it? #goatmilk #raw milkRaw goat milk is all the rage in the more natural “hippie” groups that share our planet, and you may be wondering why. “Well, let me tell you”, says Hart Nana, smiling…

Why Drink Raw Goat Milk

Raw goat milk called the “universal milk” because it is easily digestible, garners fans around the world. Having fat smaller than that of, say, cow’s milk it naturally mixes more evenly throughout the milk.  Because the fat globules are smaller they are easier to digest and they stay suspended in the milk so there is no need for homogenization.  I think that raw goat milk should be labeled “best next to mother’s own”, but that is just my opinion. Being natural you don’t have to worry about all of the chemicals that constitute the majority of baby formulas on the market. Have you ever considered that a baby goat is much closer in size to a human than a baby cow? That alone, should convince you drinking cow’s milk is probably not in  your best interest.

Benefits of Goat Milk

Raw goat milk provides the nutritional benefits of calcium, amino acids, protein, phosphorus, riboflavin, potassium, vitamin A,  along with other vitamins and minerals.

Long favored by cattle owners and even equestrian farms when the mom’s are unable to feed their babies, raw goat milk provides the best substitute. People, too,  make baby formula out of raw goat milk. Because there are a couple difference between raw goat milk and mother’s milk, a few extras need to be added. This goat milk formula put together by the doctors Sears includes pasteurized goat milk because there are many who want to use goat milk for their baby formula but do not have goats.

Use Goat Milk Topically

There are many benefits to using goat’s milk topically. As it is easy to incorporate into soap this this recipe, you can take advantage of these benefits daily.

  1. Maintains thе ѕkіnѕ’ рH level.
  2. Prevents ѕkіn рrоblеmѕ.
  3. Mоіѕturіzеr fоr ѕеnѕіtіvе ѕkіn.

Goat Milk Baby Formula Recipes

Goat’s Milk Recipes

Note: Always consult your healthcare provider before feeding any recipes to infants as a formula. Raw (unpasteurized) goat milk may be unsafe for infants, so be sure to use a pasteurized brand.

(12 oz container) Powdered Goat Milk
6 Scoops (84 g)
36 oz.
Rice Syrup
6 ½ Tbsp.
Calories (per oz.)
As baby matures during their first year, gradually increase ratio of powder to water until whole milk level is reached (see below). Discontinue adding rice syrup (carbohydrates).
To reconstitute to Whole Milk
Powdered Goat Milk
8 scoops (112 g)
32 oz.
Calories (per oz.)
Evaporated Goat Milk
12 oz.
24 oz.
Rice Syrup
5 Tbsp.
Calories (per oz.)
As baby matures during their first year, gradually increase ratio of evaporated goat milk to water until whole milk level is reached (see below). Discontinue adding rice syrup (carbohydrates).
To reconstitute to Whole Milk
Evaporated Goat Milk
12 oz
12 oz.
Calories (per oz.)

Alternative carbohydrates include corn syrup and simple table sugar.
Table Sugar = 48 calories per Tbsp.
Corn Syrup = 60 calories per Tbsp.
Rice Syrup = 42 calories per Tbsp.
NOTE: Any time goat milk is the sole source of nutrition, we recommend the feeding of a vitamin supplement. Always consult your healthcare provider before using goat milk formula.

Get Your Milk Tested

If you are going to consume raw milk it is highly recommended that you have your milk tested by the USDA. Though in many states it is illegal to sell raw goat milk for human consumption, in Idaho they offer a small herd exemption. All of our goats are tested and the milk that we sell is tested once a month too.

Lactose Intolerant?

A small note of warning, goat’s milk does have lactose in it so if you are lactose intolerant you might want to start out slowly with it.

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Cattle Raising Beginners Guide To Keeping Cows For Beef

Raising Cattle - beginners guide to keeping beef cattle #cattle #cows #raisingbeef #homesteadbeef

This cattle raising beginners guide to keeping cows for beef will cover how to find a calf and raise it to butchering size. We will look at what types of cattle make the best choice to raise. And we will look at what it takes to raise cattle on a small farm or homestead.

I have raised a couple of steers to maturity on less than an acre. They lived with the rest of the critters in the pen. Not being one who cares what people think, I also staked them out on the trampoline so they could eat the grass. Cows like grass, goats, not so much.

Cattle Raising Beginners Guide – Basics

Raising cattle requires only a few basic things for success. Mainly those things are proper fencing for containment, a source of water and food. Of course  you need the animal or animals too.

Because where we live is dairy country there are always lots of inexpensive calves available. When they are little you can even transport them in a minivan. Their main source of nourishment will be from the bottles you will feed them a couple times a day. If you keep goats too, this is simple. Just give the goat’s milk to the calves. You can purchase cow milk replacer to start your calf out.

The First Three Months

The most crucial part of raising beef cattle by hand has got to be the first three months. Sometimes they get scours (diarrhea). When this happens you may have to tube feed them. And you need to get them electrolytes. While you are feeding them milk, you also need to make sure to offer hay and water and perhaps a bit of grain at all times. The University of Kentucky has put together a good tutorial on raising beef cattle for the first three months.

How To Tube Feed A Calf

Having two people to accomplish this task makes success much more probable. In my experience, you should go ahead and get the electrolyte solution and tube when you pick up your milk replacer. Questioning the people who sell you the calf about colostrum feeding is also important. Don’t purchase calves that have not been given colostrum.

For the first two weeks you need to feed them 1 calf bottle full of milk or replacer 3 times a day. From two weeks to eight weeks you need to feed them twice a day.

This short sweet video will show you how to feed them if you need a holder. Personally I just held the bottle.

Sheltering The Calf

In the beginning your calf will need some shelter. If you have a barn like structure that will work or you can purchase a calf house. If  your plan is to raise cattle regularly then the houses might be a good investment. You can also use them for your goats when  you don’t have baby calves hanging around.

How much space to cows need

How much space cows need is partly dependent on whether you are going to purchase hay to feed them or graze them off your land. In order for them to feed off the land you need about an acre a calf per year. It will take at least two years for the calf to reach maturity. You also need more than one calf if you don’t have sheep or goats to keep it company.

Beginners guide to raising cattle #cows #beef #homesteading

I raised my cows as singles but had many goats and sheep around for company. We even had a llama for a bit. We also kept them in a smaller pen but staked the cow out to graze around the yard. We only had an acre total. It does increase the cost substantially when you are feeding your livestock from hay you have to purchase.

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What Do Cows Eat

Cows eat mainly grasses and alfalfa. Usually farmers who raise cattle also farm alfalfa fields to winter the cattle over once the snow falls. Of course in our area, the deer also feast on the alfalfa and hay left out for the cattle. This might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Straw and hay are not the same thing.

Straw is the stalks from grain and hay is alfalfa plants. Straw is great for bedding as it has wonderful insulating properties. Just not so much in the nutrition category. Quality hay is important for growing quality beef. You will also supplement with grains.

What Are The Different Types Of Beef Cattle

Around here we focus on two types of cattle. Angus, a bit more pricey but has more in the meat to bone ration than the other type, Holsteins. The Holsteins are the most common cattle found around here for individuals interested in raising beef. You can tell them by looking for the black and white markings. Angus are mostly dark in color. Personally we just raised Holsteins as they are cheap and easy to acquire in these here parts.

Best cattle choice for homesteading #homesteading #cattle #beefcattle #raisingbeef cattle

But there are plenty of other cattle breeds out there. Along with Angus and Holstein, there are Herefords, Galloways, Jerseys, and even a few dual-purpose breeds such as Dexters and Shorthorns. Each individual cow will have its own temperament, environment requirements, and needs, so do your research and figure out which breed will be best for you and your family. To learn more about a variety of different cattle breeds, check out this article from

Best Fencing For Raising Cattle

Cattle are pretty satisfied with electric fencing or even woven wire fences. If they are raised in an area where they can test the fence and it gives them negative feed back you don’t have to worry too much about them escaping. However if you have a gate and they can get out, they will find it.  Mine used to escape. Being the barrier of food my cows would RUN at me. Talk about terrifying! I used to have to get my son, who is fearless, to go round them up.

How Long Does It Take To Raise Cattle

Usually it takes at least 2 years to raise a beef to maturity. The last three months or so you want to up the grain ration to make sure you get some good marbling. In the future I plan to work with a friend who also wants home grown beef. We will get 1 calf each year. That way every year we can butcher a steer to split while still having a cow coming up for the next year.  We plan to do this with sheep too.

How Do You Get A Cow Butchered

The last part of our cattle raising beginners guide has to do with getting it to the table. How do you get a cow butchered? You can butcher a cow yourself. Or you can take it to your local butcher and have them do it. I opt for the taking them to a butcher option. If you are hard core you can follow these directions and do it yourself. Personally dressing out a deer is a big project for me. The idea of processing a whole steer is WAY to daunting.

How To Slaughter A Steer Humanly

You need to be signed into youtube in order to watch this video. The taking of any animals life is pretty traumatic. I believe if we all processed our own meat we would eat WAY less of it. Notice at the end that he has a tractor. Once that 1300 pound animal is dead  you aren’t moving it very far without help. The easiest way to butcher an animal is if it is hanging.

Once you have slaughtered your beef this video will show you how to make cuts of meat you recognize.

There you have it! Your cattle raising beginners guide to keep cows for beef.

Storey's Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, 3rd EditionStorey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, 3rd EditionRaising Beef Cattle For DummiesRaising Beef Cattle For DummiesBeef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms)Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms)Raising Beef Cattle For Beginner's GuideRaising Beef Cattle For Beginner’s GuideThe Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & BeesThe Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh … Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees

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Fodder Feeding System For Backyard Chickens – Stupid Simple

Fodder feeding system for backyard chickens

Recently the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens has come under my radar. Since this system is pro ported to save money while still producing quality eggs I thought I MUST try this!

A few months ago I started sprouting grains for my family’s consumption so when I discovered that the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens was so similar it seemed like a no brainer to implement.

Having only 9 chickens at the moment and the fact that it is February as I write this tutorial this fodder feeding system for backyard chickens is going to be a cheap nutritious way to feed chickens. It won’t take much time daily either.

Pin for later reference

>How To Set Up A Fodder Feeding System For Backyard Chickens

Starting with 8 buckets. I drilled holes in 6 of them. About 10 to 12 holes in the bottom of each. My buckets are dollar tree specials so don’t try to drill a hole in the very center as they tend to break. Having some left over screen material from creating dehydrator trays I just used to that to cover the hole I made learning that one should drill the center of cheap buckets.

The screen protecting the hole in the bottom of my bucket.

Having 2 buckets that don’t have holes allows for one to catch the water as it drains and one to soak the seeds for 24 hours.

Here is the whole process. Get your 8 buckets. Drill holes in 6 of the buckets to allow for drainage. Day one add a cup or two of grains to one of the 2 buckets without holes. In my case I added oats, wheat and a few sunflower seeds. Cover grain with water.

Day two, drain the day one bucket into a bucket with holes. That bucket needs to be stacked in the other bucket without holes. Repeat the day one soaking process. Keep repeating this process until all of your buckets are full. Once you reach day 7 your day 1 fodder should be ready to feed.

>Keeping The Mold Down Naturally For Fodder Feeding System

Many people put Clorox bleach in their soak water, but I have found that food grade hydrogen peroxide keeps the mold down and is not adding chloride to the feed system. The 3% solution in a spray bottle works great. (This is exactly what I use)

It takes about 6 days for my sprouts to be ready to feed, which works out great because on the 7th day I run out of buckets. For now I am feeding sprouted wheat and oats and a few sunflower seeds. I would like to find some peas that haven’t been treated for more protein to add to the mix.

This simple fodder feeding system for backyard chickens works great. Because of the cold, my fodder feeding system sits around me in my basement office/grow room.

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Beginners Guide To Keeping Bees – It Isn’t As Scary As You Might Think

keeping bees a beginners guide

I remember the feeling of trepidation I had when I decided keeping bees was going to be part of my farm plan. What I really needed was a beginners guide to keeping bees. Instead I found some piecemeal information and went for it.

There are variety of bits you need to know about keeping bees so I’m going to divide this up into sections.

Clothing For Keeping Bees

You are going to want to make sure you have the proper gear for keeping bees. You can either purchase a bee keepers suit or wear light colored clothing that is thick. Duct tape will do the trick for sealing seams. Wear boots and tuck your pant legs into them. If you are worried about getting stung duct tape around the boots.

Next you will  need gloves and a hat with a veil. The gloves do need to fit in a way that you can still operate your fingers. If they are too thick it will be a problem. Too thin and you will get stung.


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The Bee Hives & Equipment

There are several types of hives or boxes that you will use for keeping bees. There are the two “supers” and then there are the honey boxes. Into the hives go frames with foundation. This was confusing to me in the beginning. Think of the hives like file cabinets and the frames are the hanging folders.

frame and foundation for beekeeping

Sometimes these are sold separately. They also come in two sizes. One for each of the types of hive; supers and honey hive. Okay so I’ll tell you the truth. I didn’t know that there needed to be foundation when I first got bees. I couldn’t understand why they were building their comb across the frames! Sometimes I’m a dork.

The Supers are bigger boxes that hold the year’s supply of honey for your bees. It is important to make sure that they have at least two full boxes for the winter before you start adding honey hives to the top. When you set up your bees you will only use one super at a time to get them established. They will build their comb and fill it from the inside frames out.


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How To Set Up The Bee Boxes

To begin with you will only need one or two supers. These come with a top and a base. They should also have a “door” which is that little piece of brown wood that you can see in the basic beekeeping starter kit above. This door will keep out mice and other varmints. When it comes to setting up your hives you can put them on cinder blocks or on some pallets to at least get them off the ground and make it more challenging for critters to get in. Skunks and mice are notorious for wrecking hives.

Getting and Setting Your Bees

When it comes to getting your bees you might want to check your local farm and country store or extension office. Or look for beekeeping groups in your local area. We actually have a bee club here in Cache Valley that is quite active and very helpful. My friend Charlotte has some more handy tips about buying bees over here on her site Carolina Honey Bees


My method is somewhat different because quite frankly I was a little terrified of getting stung. So what I would do is put the queen in as he shows. Then I would put the box upside down on top of the frames and put the second super without any frames in it and then cover the whole hive. After a day or so I would go and take the second box off and put the lid back on the bottom super. This way all the bees got down in the frames.

Feeding Your Bees In The Spring

Ideally you will have your bees installed just as the honey flow starts. Where we live it is when the dandelions start to come out. Bees love dandelions. Before they can get nectar they need to have a supply of sugar water. Your bees will need a source of water and access to a variety of plants that blossom. These recipes for making sugar water for your bees to encourage different forms of behavior is from beekeepers Guild. 


1:2 One Part Sugar to Two Parts Water:

Used in the spring to stimulate egg laying.  Use only when enough honey is available for feeding the brood:

1 pound sugar to 1 quart water
5 pounds sugar to 5 quarts water

Stir sugar into warm water until dissolved.

1:1 One Part Sugar to One Part Water:

Used in the spring and summer to encourage comb building:

1 pound sugar to 2 cups water
5 pounds sugar to 2½ quarts water

Bring water to a boil and turn off heat.  Stir in sugar until dissolved and cool.

2:1 Two Parts Sugar to One Part Water:

Used in the fall to increase food stores in preparation for winter:

1 pound sugar to 1 cup water
5 pounds sugar to 5 cups water

Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar.  Continue stirring over heat until all crystals dissolve.  Remove from heat and cool.  Each gallon of syrup increases the colony’s reserves by about 7 pounds


What About Swarms

In my youth, the thought of swarming bees was something out of a Hitchcock movie, but today, they are a welcome source of bees. If you are fortunate enough to find a swarm you can brush them into a hive. The important piece of information is to make sure you get the queen in there too.

The bee swarm in my yard

One year some of my bees actually swarmed. I was fortunate enough that they only traveled a short distance to one of my baby fruit trees. This picture is of us setting up the hive to drop the cluster into. We did manage to get the queen. The hive did thrive that year.

Beginners guide to beekeeping


Maintaining Your Bees Health


You want your hive to look like this guys. Lots of healthy happy bees making honey and laying eggs. If he separates the hives then the one hive without the queen will make a queen out of one of the eggs. The queen cells look like peanuts. That is how to tell your getting a new queen.

Guarding against Verolla Mites. This video will explain what they are and how to protect your bees.



Harvesting The Honey

This is the part we have all been waiting for! Harvesting the honey.  Here are several ways to harvest. Some using machinery and some the old fashioned way. Before you can harvest honey, however, you need to add a queen excluder above the second super. You will then put the honey hives on top of that. This is how you get only honey in the honey frames instead of the brood, honey and pollen.


If you only have one or two hives the above method is easy and cheap. You can filter out the wax. It is useful in making lotion and lip balm

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Should you be part of a larger group of beekeepers you might want to go in together and purchase a honey extractor. Or perhaps you decided to get a bunch of hives going at one time.



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Preparing Them For Winter

Probably one of the most important aspects of keeping bees is to prepare them well for winter. There are several things you should keep in mind.

  • They don’t like wind
  • They need a food source

I put straw bales around my hives to protect them from the cold and draft. Here is a good video about preparing your bees for winter.

Some Final Thoughts on Keeping Bees

Like most things in life, you just got to get in there and try it. Keeping bees in a wonderful adventure. There is nothing like watching a bee come back with pollen on its legs. Or watching a bee hatch from its cell. Amazing little creatures these honey bees.

Here is one last video about mistakes this guy made. I find that if I am aware of some mistakes at least I won’t make those – I will find different mistakes to make.



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Warning – Photos of Goats

One of the biggest benefits of making goat milk soap is that you get to keep a dairy goat farm. On that dairy goat farm you get to keep goats that have babies in the spring.  Enjoy the photos of goats.




This is Gandalph the White. He helps make spider silk. From goats right? Read all about the spider goats here in Cache Valley in this article.





Photos of Goats – The First Year

Marsha and her babies, Jezabelle and Buckly

This was my first batch of baby goats. That is Marsha with her babies Jose & Buckley. That would be Faith over there eating and her mom Fadra. So many goats and years have passed since this photo was taken. And so much learned about the care goats.

Keeping Goats has its perks like making soap, lotion, cheese and bread

All five of these little ones had their horns removed by the vet. Talk about a gruesome endeavor! After that bout I decided horns are perfectly fine tools for moving goats around. They don’t particularly like to be grabbed by the horns. If you don’t dehorn them, however, you do need to be careful around the adult males especially during rutting season.

What I learned Over The Years

Over the years I decided to let the baby males from the spring do their deed and then sell them in the late fall. That way I wasn’t dealing with males and their aggressive behavior.

Photos of Goats Hanging Around

That handsome guy there with the red collar is Jose all grown up! This is just a part of the herd. Goats do multiply fast LOL. They are also extremely smart critters. As you will notice by my fencing, it was always an ongoing battle to keep them penned in. My goats could jump the five foot fence no problem!  I always had to make sure I had lots of food in the pen with them or they would jump out and help themselves to the stack over on the side.

I did try to grow some fruit trees near their pen, but apparently goats LOVE tender fruit trees. As in they eat the whole thing!

This post is mostly to share my cute goat pictures. Because I have goats I can make lots of different products from their milk. You don’t have to keep goats to make these products though.

Goats Milk Soap

Whey Good Bread

Goats Milk Lotion





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Raising Goats For Beginners What You Need To Know

what you need to know about raising goats

In this raising goats for beginners primer we will cover all the things  you need to know about keeping goats when you are first starting out. When I got my first goats, Marsha and Fadra I knew next to nothing about goats. Quite frankly they kind of scared me. I thought they would bite me! It wasn’t until some time later I came to realize, they don’t have top teeth and while they can bite, it isn’t probable that they will.

Raising Goats For Beginners – Picking Your Goats

When it comes to raising goats for beginners the first step is choosing what type of goat you want. Are you looking for goats to milk or meat goats to sell? For me I wanted goat milk so I talked to people in the area and found a Saneen & a Nubian. Marsha was a Saneen and Fadra was a Nubian. The next step was to get them pregnant so I needed a buck.

The only buck I could find was a Boer (that I named Joe) Joe only lived for about 6 months at our house because I didn’t know that much about raising goats for beginners and he was eating too much grain.

Must have item for raising goats for beginners – Pepto Bismol! Fill up a syringe (like the kind you would use for giving babies/toddlers medicine) with a tablespoon, for a full grown goat, and it will help put a stop to the scours. Diarrhea in goats is called scours. It is what killed poor ole Joe.

  • Boer goats are bigger and more preferable as meat goats. Goat meat tastes kind of like lamb but is a bit more greasy.
  • Saneen’s are known to give more milk
  • Nubian’s give richer milk

Over the years I had several different varieties of goats, like Alpine and Oberhasli (Oberhasli is actually an off shoot of Alpine but they have wattles) Wattles are those little dangley tufts that hang down on their necks. Because I’m not real anal about things in life, most of my goats were not strictly one breed or another.

raising goats for beginners

Raising Goats For Beginners – Feeding Your Goats

Goats need fresh hay. They love weeds, leaves & shrubbery. Grass not so much. While I realize that the joke about using goats as lawn mowers has been around forever, if  you need a living lawn mower, get a cow. We used to tie our cow up around the yard.

Anytime you are trimming trees, or pruning you should throw your trimmings into the goat enclosure. If you are milking your females you need to make sure that you aren’t feeding them weeds. It will make the milk taste bad.

Females that are being milked and at the end of their pregnancy need some grain. I liked to give mine 3 in one with molasses. Barley, wheat and corn with a drizzle of molasses on top.

Pumpkins are a natural dewormer.

Raising Goats For Beginners – Birthing Your Goats

The gestation period for goats is 5 months. Many people I know try to get their goats pregnant towards the end of October. Personally, probably because I let the bucks and does run together, mine were usually pregnant by the end of August and I was having babies in January/February.

Does only go into heat a couple times a year. They usually have two babies, though I’ve had my goats give birth to as many as four at a time. Goats can get pregnant their first year, but it is probably better for them to wait until they are two years old before letting them breed.

Bucks can do the deed at about five or six months old.

When the doe is getting ready to give birth there are some tell tale signs.


This last video is a really good look at the trials and tribulations of delivering goats. Things to remember if you need to “go in and help”

  • Use KY Jelly for lubrication;
  • Wash your hands and then put on the gloves and wash the gloves & the goat business area with Betadine solution.
  • You can tell if the feet belong to the baby that is on the way out by feeling along from the nose or rump to try to get them out first. Sometimes they do come out butt first and sometimes they try to present with their head turned back against their side. You can try to push them back in a bit and point the head forward. Be gentle, move slow. It sometimes helps to close your eyes and try to visualize what you are feeling.


Raising Goats For Beginners – Hoof trimming

When it comes to trimming hooves a picture is worth a thousand words.

raising goats for beginners

Those are trimmers for bushes probably. I like to use heavy duty nippers. Nippers are easy to get under the little bits that fold over. They are also extremely sharp. Either way if you do this while you have them hooked up to the milk stand it is easier to practice. Don’t worry if you only get one hoof a day.

Raising Goats For Beginners – Managing Your Herd

raising goats for beginnersIt doesn’t take long to have a really big herd once your mama’s start having babies. You need to decide how many goats you want to care for. Selling babies, especially the boys is a good idea. I like to keep a couple males from the spring for breeding back to the girls in the fall. They are about ready to be useful, yet they aren’t big enough to be a problem.

I’ve kept bucks around for a couple years and my experience is that they get to be rather a handful and aggressive especially when the girls are in heat.

This is Buckly. He learned to jump a five foot fence. Though I loved him dearly when he was little, he had to go after about three years because he was too aggressive and I couldn’t keep him contained.

A word about containment. Goats are smart. Containing them is difficult. Your goats will escape and they will eat  your fruit trees if they can find them. the goat shedThink about where you intend to keep them well before you get them.  Goats also hate to be rained on. They need shelter. I used to keep them in some big silos I had when they were getting ready to kid, but for the most part they had the “goat shed”. You will notice there is a lot of “stuff” around the goat shed…that is so that was my attempt to keep my goats from escaping.

Some Final Thoughts on Raising Goats For Beginners

Horns – People get all wrapped around the axle about horns and cutting them off. In my experience it is easiest to just let them be. I’ve done the burning them off route both at home and with a vet. The vet is expensive. I kind of like the horns because they make good handles.

Raising Goats For Beginners – Milking Your Goats


His comments about racing to finish milking are right on from my experience. The hobbles they talk about are for restraining the back legs so the random foot doesn’t end up in the milk. Also when you are done milking make sure to get your milk in the fridge or freezer right away. You would be amazed at how fast the bacteria will start growing.

Milking goats is a pretty simple and straight forward process. Do it a few times and you’re a pro. Here is a good video showing the technique

If you decide to use mason jars leave a good couple inches at the top if you are going to put them in the freezer.

Goats are amazing animals. Some of my favorite creatures. If you have questions about them feel free to hit me up on Facebook or message me here in the comments.

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Spider Goats In Cache Valley

clone babies

I almost could not believe there was such a thing as spider goats. The gals over at the University of Idaho extension office told me about them. Also they mentioned that they lived here in Cache Valley. And we could go and see them. This totally blew me away.


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What are spider goats? They are genetically modified goats. Scientists spliced into the normal goat DNA a gene for producing orb spider silk.  So now when these goats are milked the silk protein can be isolated and spun into silk.

 Science Nation Explains Spider Goats

According to the students who manage the spider goats, and do the milking, the average amount of silk gleaned from one liter of milk is three milliliters of silk. Apparently spider silk is some of the strongest natural fibers around. Which makes sense, do you remember the last time you got “stuck” in a web? The program includes some spider goats that are cloned and some that are bred naturally.

The results are that about half of the naturally bred goats end  up with the spider silk gene. While, of course, 100% of the cloned goats produce silk. There are a variety of goats used as surrogates to carry the cloned goats, though Saneens are the goat breed chosen for the spider goat project here in the valley, The project, when it was started in Canada used Spanish Goats. Apparently they are really good mothers.

Spider Goats, what are they and why do they exist?

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this splicing and cloning going on. From a scientific point of view I find it fascinating. You’ve got to ask yourself, who sits around thinking, “hmm why don’t we just make silk out of goat’s milk”, right?

Other Weird Ways Of Growing Silk

Even more strange perhaps is that the Biological Engineers (yes, they are really called that) have found a strain of e coli that they use to produce silk! They grow the bacteria then rupture it. They capture the tumor that is the silk!

I was talking with this young woman from 4H heading off to Utah State this year. Her plans include becoming a Biological Engineer.  She has been over to the silk labs quite often this summer. And gave me all sorts of really interesting information on the uses of this silk.

For starters the reason they want spider silk instead of silk worm silk is that it is about 500 times stronger.  Silk worms give off their silk by way of cocooning. It takes a whole lot of silk worms, mulberry leaves and people with cast iron stomachs to produce silk that way. Once when I was younger, and lived in Japan, we went on a field trip to a silk factory. The smell haunts me to this day.


Paper plant?

Rotten cabbage?

Truly it is gross.

There are many uses for this silk being stronger than Kevlar it has military applications. Also because of the fine structure it makes great tools in the medical field. One of the ideas is to splice in good, natural antibiotic DNA into the silk production and use the silk for sutures.

spider goat baby

As a person who like the more natural things in life, the idea that we take food and make it something else and then take chemicals and call it food, kind of bothers me.

What do you think about all of this?




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Marsha The Good Goat Is Coming Home Tomorrow!

marsha the good goat

You may be saying, “who is Marsha, and why should I care”, at this point. Well, let me tell you. Marsha (the good goat) has been on lone this summer to some good friends in Paradise (a beautiful place as the name implies) who wanted to have fresh goat’s milk and make soap themselves.  They built a beautiful little shack for her but soon discovered that she was too lonely to leave in their yard alone, with only the cows next door for company. She was moved to a field near my friends home where she has been visiting with goat friends. A much happier goat, Marsha has been enjoying the summer frolicking and producing lots of good goat’s milk.

Tomorrow we, my kids and I, are going to go and pick her up to bring her back home to her own little circle of friends. This summer we farmed out many of our goats to friends as I wanted a break from milking but still wanted my girls.  When I go out back, mostly there are babies in the pen. We have six goats right now, here, two males I traded for, one male that was born at the same time as my grand daughter, two little females from the spring birthing and Betty Sue, one of the three goats I purchased last year to expand the lines in my herd. (I gave her mom and sister to a dear friend who needed fresh goats as the herd she had had gotten sick and died off).

The rest of Marsha’s buddies will be making their way home through out the fall. Her best-est buddy, Fadra, died this summer. Very sad day. She and Marsha were the two goats we started with. They will always be special to me.  Marsha’s picture is the one on the banner. She is a Saneen.

Well enough rambling for today…go make goats milk soap in celebration! Or better yet, buy some already made over at Hart Nana’s Store. (if you decide to purchase soap through the store, please email me at davenjilli (at) and let me know, I have been having some hick ups with the store interface)






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My Goat Has Died!

my goat has diedSadly it is true, my goat has died. She is one of the three first goats I got several years ago and is the mother of half of my herd.

She was fairly old when I got her so I believe she died of old age. Fadra was probably eleven or twelve years old. Such a sweet goat, she will be missed.  Her two daughters, Faith and Grace, continue on. They are both wonderful goats with interesting personalities.

Farewell Fadra…perhaps you are in heaven even now.

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