How To Maintain And Care For Fainting Goats

At our very own goat and dairy farm, we breed and raise (ourselves!) goats. Nearly every person who has had the privilege to meet one of our goats, our fainting goats, has fallen in love with them! We specialize in breeding not only regular goats but also a special breed known as ‘fainting goats.’ They are a breed of goat that has been bred with the utmost selectivity to achieve a smaller size than their full-sized counterparts.

A lot of people ask us what exactly are fainting goats, and what makes them so much different from regular goats? If you have this question or any like it, continue reading, and we can answer any questions you may have!

1. Lifespan of goats vs. fainting goats
The average life expectancy of a goat is 12-15 years, but fainting goats are more accustomed to 10-12.

2. The height of goats vs. fainting goats
A miniature fainting goat’s average height, when fully grown and developed is around nineteen inches, at the shoulder. A regular goat is between sixteen and twenty-three inches.

3. Weight differences between goats vs. fainting goats
A mini fainting goat, male, when fully grown and developed is between fifty-five and sixty pounds, with an average height of nineteen inches when measured at the shoulder. (As previously stated) A normal goat can weigh between fifty-five and three hundred pounds.

If you are not familiar with the sub-species of goats known as fainting goats, they are a miniature-sized type of goat that is not meant to be milked or led to the slaughterhouse for meat. They are not bred for either dairy or meat, as previously stated.

Fainting goats get their nickname from a severe type of myotonia (a disease) that causes them to faint for no more than five seconds at a time when shocked or frightened. As far as we know, this myotonic disease does not have any real physical or mental effects that can be considered harmful or detrimental in any way.

Humans sometimes suffer from a similar ailment known as Thomsen’s Disease. Reported patients have stated time and time again that there is no irregularity in the 3heartbeat, side effects or pain associated with the momentary muscle freezing.

While it is true that the same fall could easily hurt a human, in almost all cases it will not hurt a fainting goat in any way, and here is why; even though both are mammals that have legs and muscles and suffer from the same disease, they are different heights and weights.

This is stating the obvious, of course, but remember that because goats have four legs and stand far closer to the ground, they fall differently. At that height and weight, any drop caused by momentary muscle spasms will not hurt a goat.

If you want to care for fainting goats, a minimum of two or three must be owned; this is because of the nature of fainting goats and their personality, that being very social and friendly. The same way us people can get sick from being lonely, goats and other animals have shown irrefutable proof of being ill or dying from lack of exposure to other animals of their same gender or species as well.

To breed and care for fainting goats (or goats of any kind) on the most basic level, and run a farm with a steady stream of visitors, you will need at least two or three goats, and the following:

  • Shelter: Your goats will obviously need a basic shelter to keep them out of the wind, sun, rain, snow and other elements.
  • Food: Fainting goats enjoy the same foods as traditional goats, those being hay, grains, various dried grasses, leaves, flowers, and twigs. (Or thin branches/woody stems)
  • Fenced-in Pen: Your goats will need room to roam. An area of 30 square feet for two to three goats will be sufficient. For more housing tips, check out this post.
  • Fresh Water Supply: This should be pretty obvious. Try your best to provide the healthiest, cleanest and most importantly most chemical free water for your goats. Change the water supply, if it comes in the form of water trows or bowls, once every two or three days at the most.
  • Vaccinations: As far as shots and pills go, your goats will need CD&T, C&D, Tetanus, and shots against dangerous perfringens such as Clostridium.
  • Visitors: You can market your website by hiring a company like OxbowSEO to establish your presence and make it easy for groups to find you on the internet and schedule visits.

Always remember to feed and water them properly, give them the required veterinary care and to never leave them alone for too long! They need company. They will also need triweekly or monthly hooving, as not to hurt their muscles. Have fun with your new fainting goats, and be responsible!

 

Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

When you think of having ice cream, a glass of milk, some cheese, a bowl of cereal, or some yogurt, the first thing that comes to mind is that all of these things (and many more things, such as cream and buttermilk) come from cows, and cows alone. However, there may be some who will be surprised to find out that goat milk (yes, goat milk) is also very prevalent and is commonly found in most people’s fridges, and on kitchen tables all around the world.

Goat milk is somewhat of a specialty item in most Western cultures, however. There are certainly many factors that can influence one’s preference when it comes to using goat milk for culturing, baking, cooking, drinking or cheese-making.

In upper class and ‘fine wining and dining’ type restaurants, goat cheese has earned its place in the menu-hall-of-fame due to it’s rich, creamy and yet delicate flavor. For some, that same distinctive taste is the reason that some have a preference for goat milk and other related goat dairy products.

When you compare the flavors and consistencies of both cow milk and goat milk, you will find that they are almost the same, but in some cases depending on the kind of goat, the conditions that they are raised in and their diet can change the flavor drastically.

A lot of people suggest that goat milk tastes the same as cow milk, but is slightly sweeter; when it is fresh, of course. Processed and packaged goat milk tends to have a ‘goaty’ and ‘smelly’ taste when compared to fresh cows milk, because of the time from the udder to the glass, when compared to raw milk. It is also different, regarding flavor and freshness, because of the plastic confines of the pasteurized milk.

Regarding appearance, they are also quite similar. However, goat cream, milk, and butter tend to be whiter than cow dairy products. The reason for this is because goats tend to convert their carotene to vitamin A much more efficiently and at a faster pace. This, in turn, makes goat dairy products brighter in color.

Because cows are naturally much larger and more quick and efficient at producing dairy products than goats are, it takes between five and ten goats to equal the same amount of milk that only one cow produces. However, once the fluid is extracted from the goat or cow, the consistency is still remarkably similar, and the differences are hardly more than minor.

Cow milk is sometimes shunned in favor of goat’s milk, which is also an excellent alternative to the former. The composition, flavor, color, smell, and consistency of goat’s milk vary depending on the health, age, location, and whatnot of the goat; the same thing goes for cows as well, of course.

When speaking of nutrition, here is how goats milk and cows milk compare.

COMPOSITIONS AND NUTRIENTS (Cals.Per 100 grams) GOAT COW
Protein (g) 3.1g – 3.2g
Fat % (g) 3.5g – 3.9g
Calories/100 ml 60g – 66g
Vitamin A (IU/gram fat) 39g – 21g
Vitamin B1(thiamin (UG/100/ml) 68g – 45g
Riboflavin (ug/100 ml) 210g – 159g
Vitamin C (mg ascorbic acid/100 ml) 2g – 2g
Vitamin D (IU/gram fat) 0.7g – 0.7g
Calcium % 0.19g – 0.18g
Iron % 0.07g – 0.06g
Phosphorus % 0.27g – 0.23g
Cholesterol (mg/100 ml) 10g – 14g
Sugars ( and lactose) 4.4g – 4.8g
Saturated fatty acids (g) 2.3g – 2.4g
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g) 0.8g – 1.1g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g) 0.1g – 0.1g

As you can see, in most cases they are remarkably but also quite obviously similar. Both cow dairy and goat dairy products have their own time and place, and both are revered in different scenarios for their respective properties. However, if you’re looking for a tasty cheese to cut or spread onto some fruit or crackers, then you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be well off with either choice. Enjoy!

 

What is the Difference Between a Goat and a Sheep?

Sheep and goats look similar, but they are still very, very different. To grasp a firmer understanding of what the similarities and differences are between the two flock-dwelling animals, let us take a look at their respective visual aspects.

To kick things off, let us take a look at the weight and looks of the two animals. Goats are skinnier, smaller, and shorter (overall, although there are freaks of nature and as is with all species, this is prone to natural and genetic change) while sheep are tubbier and taller.

With that having been set aside, let us look at what nutritional and visual gifts both sheep and goats bear for us. Goats are eaten in the Middle Eastern and Indian Sub-continent, while in the Western and Indo-European (or colonized) cultures, the sheep is the more prevalent in the herd-sectioned dietary choices.

Aside from red meat and flesh in general, sheep offer us wool, while goats do not. Wool, for thousands of years, has been a key material in the development of clothes and garments and continued to be today. Merino wool is a fine grade of wool that is used in high-quality socks, scarfs, hats, gloves and even coats.

While goats do not offer wool or other materials that have the potential to be used in clothes and garments, and in addition to the meat they provide (which is a key food source in some native cultures in the Middle East) they produce milk and cheese. There are all kinds of different cheeses and milk that come from goats, and some of which have been around for centuries or even thousands of years.

On the more scientific and technical side, sheep are members of the Ovis Aries genospecies. They tend to have, on average, fifty-four chromosomes while their distant (but still related!) cousins, the goats, have sixty chromosomes and belong to the Capra Hircus species.

Regarding physical features, they both have thick-boned heads which are used for ramming in a sport as well as offense and defense when being provoked. A goat’s tail is shorter and typically stands up while a sheep tail (which is shorter by about half of an inch on average) hangs down.

The eating habits between both sheep and goats are quite distinct. A goat is a stereotypical browser that likes to feed shrubs, leaves, twigs, and vines. On the other end of the dietary spectrum, sheep like to graze on grass and, as a favorite, clover.

Regarding personality and emotions, goats are naturally more hyper and independent, while on the other hand, sheep like to stay with their flock where it is safe and protected. Goats have horns that are more upright and are less craved than sheep horns.

In just about every species, a ram would dominate a buck any day of the week. This is obviously true in the goat species as well. However, the roles are switched around when you speak about sheep.

Regarding hair (also known as fur when on mammals) a sheep has a rough, thick and waterproof layer of hair called wool, while a goat has none. Funnily enough, a goat has a goatee (just kidding, it’s a beard. But where do you think the name came from, eh?) while a sheep has a mane.

To wrap this whole thing up, goats and sheep are similar in a lot of ways; the way they breed, are herded, somewhat similar in what they like to eat as far as diets are concerned, and even look pretty much the same as well. A shaved sheep looks almost like a goat! For more clues and secrets:

3 Essential Goat Cheeses

 

Pretty much everybody knows what goat cheese is; but do they? Of course, most people know goat cheese (aka Chevre) as a white, sometimes blue-ish, crumbly cheese that appeared on a lot of cooking commercials and was popular on beet salads during the late 1980’s thanks to the cooks and chefs of Northern California.

Good, fresh, and wholesome Chevre (Goat Cheese) is a unique and important thing; using the right kind can make or break a dish. It should, in theory, be without graininess; it should be creamy, moist, lemony but also balanced with milk flavors, and it should under no circumstance have a foul or overbearing flavor.

However, it’s hard to find an exact cheese with all of those perfect properties, unless you are looking for it very carefully and at the right store, with all of the proper knowledge under your belt. There are many (and I mean many) imposter cheeses out there. They are metallic, grainy, gluey and dry and are without any nuance whatsoever.

These unprofessional and out of character types of goat cheese is what turns so many people away from its delicate yet robust and delicious flavor.

But back to knowing precisely what goat cheese is; how is it different from traditional cow cheese? Goat cheese, the longer it is aged, the tastier in becomes which is the exact opposite of cow cheese. If you take cow cheese and leave it for longer than it is supposed to be, it becomes moldy and smelly.

There are different kinds of goat cheese as well. Some variations of goat cheeses are buttery, lemony and creamy while other more firm and aged kinds are more potent and savory, with a skin of nut and cooked milk.

Aside from the essential freshly made kind, what sort of goat cheeses should I keep an eye out for? I’ll tell you!

1. Goat Brie

French “Brie” cheeses, contrary to popular belief, do not originate from classic Brie country. Instead, they come from Poitou-Charentes and the Rhone-Alpes regions. It is commonly believed that they only call it Brie cheese (even though it is no more than a style of cheese) to attract a more western-American audience.

Brie, wherever it is made, has a very mild flavor and a smooth and moist texture. The rind of the cheese is thin, and the cheese itself underneath is very delicate and tastes like cream with a hint of citrus.

2. Bonne Bouche (coming from the famous Vermont Creamery)

This delicate cheese resembles one of France’s most traditional cheeses, originally hailing from the Loire Valley in Selles-sur-Cher. Unlike France, Bonne Bouche (which coincidentally means ‘good mouthful’) has a cheese rind that is exclusively produced with a rare type of yeast known as ‘geotrichum candidum.’

This rind has a grainy and smokey appearance that, because of its thinness, allows the cheese inside to become a delicious, oozing paste within a couple of weeks. These types of goat cheese are usually sprinkled with ash on the rind, and the ash acts as a sealant and bug repellant.

3. Garrotxa Cheese

This cheese is very interesting because almost every professed goat cheese hater that has tasted of this cheese has been one over. Its rind is medium-thickness rind with the softness of fur, to a degree, because of it’s aging process. (Fine, I’ll say it. Mold. It’s mold, okay? But you don’t eat the rind, so it’s fine.)

The inside of the cheese, however, is a different story. It is pliable, yet dense and has been aged firmly. It is somewhat tangy but is still soft and sweet like goat cheese, which is certainly a boon.

While there are dozens of other kinds of goat cheeses that you should do the research on and try for yourself, these are the most popular and most likable of cheeses. (When compared to the famous rotten cheese, which usually consists of maggots as a main course.)

There are many kinds of cheeses out there, of course, but every kind will appeal to someone. However, these are the tastiest and likable in our opinion. Enjoy!

How to Make a Profit Raising Goats

Running a farm is difficult, but you can make a living out of it if you have a great passion for animals and if you possess entrepreneurial skills. One way to utilize your farm profitably is by raising goats in it. The first thing you should do is to draw up your business plan. You can start by making a decision on what type of goats you want to rear.

Possible Options When it comes to Rearing Goats

  • Milk goats
    You can rear such goats them for milk and cheese. When choosing the best breed, you need to consider whether you are looking for milk quality or quantity. If you want volume, then the Saanens will be your best choice, but if you want to make cheese from goat milk, Nubians should be your goats of choice.
  • Meat goats
    If you will make peace with the fact of rearing an animal to end up killing it, then you can go for meat goats.
  • Show goats
    The other option is raising show goats. These tend to be expensive, high quality and have a strong genetic line.
  • Cashmere goats
    You can rear these and then sell their cashmere fur for a profit
  • Breeding goats
    You can venture into the business purposely for breeding. You can later sell your goats for a profit to farmers and hobbyists.

Choosing the Most Profitable Venture
All the above choices will help you make a profit especially if you are doing it for fun. Moreover, it is clear that in most cases, goat meat tends to be highly profitable and it serves a wider market. Goat meat is lean and rich in high-protein s. This quality makes it a favorite among many people. There’s plenty of resources online to compare your options.

Starting Off
Goats reared for their meat have a moderate price attached to them. This price takes into account the fact that most of them are feeders as opposed to grazers. Goats will feed to their fullest potential in a field that will starve a cow or a horse. However, you must ensure that you will choose the best breed, although this should not be a problem as there are a variety of choices. Second, ensure that you own a decent house for your goats, to keep them dry and away from the wind.

Marketing your Goat Meat

  • You can choose to be a distributor in restaurants
  • You can sell commercially to slaughter houses
  • You can sell live goats to ethnic buyers

Whatever option you use to make a profit by raising goats, it will be fun and rewarding. At the same time, it will be frustrating. You only need to stay focused in times of frustration.

5 Tips on Keeping Your Goats Healthy

Are you thinking of keeping goats in your home? This animal is both fun and very useful since they can help with landscaping and the provision of milk, meat, and skins. They are one of the hardiest animals among the domesticated animals. However, they require care to enhance their proper growth and development hence increasing productivity. Below are five tips on keeping your goats healthy:

1. Healthy feeding
A healthy diet for the goats consists of hay and grains such as bran, oats, and barley. The feeds that goats take should not be kept on the ground to prevent molds and insects from infecting or eating them. If it’s possible, you can store the feeds in waterproof trash cans to ensure that it is kept elevated and clean. Also, ensure that you give them adequate water. In case you are not able to determine what types of food you should give to your goat, ask for nutritional recommendations from a veterinarian.

2. Proper housing
Having a good shelter for your goats is vital in maintaining their health so they won’t be affected by either rains or strong winds that can bring about stress causing the low production of the animals. The shelter should be well ventilated to ensure that there is always fresh air. Find more tips here on housing.

3. Health Care
Just like other animals, goats need proper health care. Veterinary services are responsible for taking care of your animals’ health. They give different vaccines to the goats and also control parasites both internal by deworming and external ones by spraying the appropriate chemicals.

4. Goat exercise
You should help the goat to climb a lot. Goats love very much to climb objects that are available in the home. Some of the objects that an individual might have in his home is a seesaw. These simple constructs help the goats to balance and move up and down giving them plenty of exercise in many of the muscles in their bodies.

5. Hoof trimming
Goats also require hoof trimming to prevent foot rot. Rotting hooves can be due to a watery barn where they sleep. It is therefore advisable to ensure that the shelters they live are dry.

In conclusion, by following the tips mentioned above, you will make your goats healthy and productive hence attracting good prices when taken to the market. Other measures include dehorning the goats with long horns, grooming and also the removal of harmful substances that are contained in the feeds including ornamental plants and also those that belong to the Rhododendron family.

6 Things to Consider Before Buying a Goat Farm

Goat rearing is a gratifying and profitable activity that requires proper planning and attention for it to be successful. It is a type of farming whose enterprise revolves around the breeding of goats. The goat farm to be used needs to be good enough for the proper growth and development of the goats. Choosing it requires keenness.

When buying a goat farm, you should ensure that it is the best and an ideal one for breeding your goats without struggles. To learn and understand the important things that you should check before purchasing a farm, read the following list. It shows the key issues to consider before buying a goat farm.

1. The size of flock
Goat farming is not an easy activity. It requires proper estimation. You should have a herd of goats that can be fed to satisfaction and be able to accommodate with the resources available. If you are planning on having a large herd of goats, you should get a piece of land large enough to provide good grounds for them to walk around, feed and mate freely.

2. The size of land you need
Before going to purchase your goat farm, you should start by estimating the size of land you need. The factors that influence the size of land that you should acquire include the type of grazing you intend to use, your budget and the cost of land depending on the locality. Considering the size of land you need is important and helps you quickly eliminate some of the available sites that are not meeting your expected needs.

3. The source of water around the farm
Water is an important necessity that must be readily available for successful goat farming. The goat farm you are about to purchase should be near a water source that can meet all the farm needs without violating any law. The water needs to be affordable and also easy to access.

4. Soils
The soil present in the farm that you are about purchase needs to be examined. Some of the things that you should check about it include drainage, yielding and type. The general growth and development of the goats should not be hindered by the environmental conditions brought by the soil.

5. Proximity to veterinary services
Regular checkups and vaccinations must be expected in a goat farm. Any diseases or injuries that may be seen on your goats have to be attended to as fast as possible. That is why the typical goat farm needs to be close to a station or person that offers veterinary services.

6. Infrastructure and the law
Your goat farm needs to be accessible. All the necessary means of transport and communication have to be available at all times, no matter the weather. Going against the law is something that you should also avoid doing. Before buying your ideal piece of land for rearing goats, check if the local authority allows this activity.

A goat farm is a good type of investment that allows you to keep goats as pets and as a source of income. The many benefits the farm brings should be enjoyed without any struggles or disturbances. Considering all the points listed above before buying a goat farm will help you land on a farm that best meets your needs and allows the natural growth of your goats.

We’ve included a video for beginners to goat farming. Good luck!

Benefits of Raising Goats

What are the reasons behind keeping goats? Whether you are a farming large or small animals, keeping goats is an excellent choice. They are good for milk, meat, fiber and much more. Below are some benefits of raising goats:

Milk production
Dairy goats produce a lot of milk if well maintained with proper feeds and other practices that give them good health. Usually, the milk can be for domestic purposes i.e. family or commercial use or even both depending on the quantity an individual gets. The milk can also be used in making some products e.g. goat cheese and goat yogurt.

Goats make manure
Research shows that manure from goats is ideal for fertilizing a field. On an average, each mature goat is supposed to produce approximately one ton of manure per year. This manure is a perfect source of nitrogen, potassium, potash and many other nutrients that are required by various crops grown on the farm.

Meat production
There are certain types of goats that are kept by different farmers for the purpose of producing meat. Normally, they are kept for commercial purposes although some farmers can also keep a few to consume at home. Since goats made for meat production do not require a lot of land for raising, it is economical to raise them since you will be able to get a lot of profits provided you have a ready market for the meat.

They produce fiber
Some types of goats produce fibers such as Angora. Pygora goats give mohair while the cashmere goats produce cashmere which are raw materials in some industries. Apart from being a raw material for industries, one can decide to use it at home. Traditionally, people have been using the skins as beddings for the family which is also practiced today by some people.

Goats are easy to keep and maintain

Goats are said to be hardy. Unlike other animals that are managed by individuals in their farms, goats require less maintenance regarding the feed they eat as well as health care. Goats feed on a range of grains including grass hence saving on the costs of buying feeds, unlike other animals that depend on one particular food.

In conclusion, other benefits exist which may not be so obvious, such as the clearing of land by eating weeds, as well as being a viable source of income to the farmers when sold. When you understand well the benefits of raising goat, you won’t hesitate to purchase some and take them for production at your farm!

What is a Fainting Goat?

The uniqueness of Myotonic goats has given rise to many different colorful names. Throughout the years they have been called the Tennessee Goats, Fainting Goats, Stiff-leg, Nervous, Wooden-Leg, and Tennessee Meat Goats. All these names are used to describe goats that are Myotonic and express the gene for Myotonia Congenita. Myotonia Congenita is a hereditary neuromuscular condition which causes the muscles of these goats to stiffen, or lock up when excited or startled. If the goat is running or becomes off-balance while in the process of ‘locking up’ they may fall over with legs in the air! After a few seconds their muscles relax, they jump up and go on their way as if nothing happened. The goats do not pass out or lose consciousness as in fainting, but instead remain awake and alert through the stiffening of their muscles. The Tennessee goats are a rare breed animal.

The Tennessee goats have many great qualities. They have excellent mothering instincts and are fiercely maternal. They are easy kidders and it is rare to have any birthing problems. Twins and triplets are common. They are considered one of the most parasites resistant breeds. They are a hardy breed, not requiring extra care or pampering. Testing has also revealed a better meat-to-bone ratio than other breeds of goats.

Myotonic goats are easy to catch and work with. They do not jump and do not require any special type of fencing to keep them in. These goats are people oriented and are very sweet natured.

Early American Beginnings

In 1880, an old man named Tinsley appeared in Marshall County, Tennessee. He brought with him a sacred cow and four goats that stiffened and sometimes fell over, or fainted if startled. He wore strange clothing and where he was from remains a mystery to this day. He worked in Marshall County for a year, then sold his goats to Dr. Mayberry. Shortly thereafter, Tinsley left one night and was never heard from again. The heavily muscled goats were later classified as a meat breed and highly prized for their meat. From these four goats, the breed began.

The HALR Line

In the early 1960’s in Lexington, Tennessee David Autry and his family raised meat goats. Most all the goats back in those days were of the Spanish breed. Once in a while, there would be one or two goats in these herds that stiffened when startled. These animals were regarded as culls and were taken to the auction where they were sold. This all changed the day Autry took one of his “cull” does and her kid to the auction. The doe and kid sold for the outstanding price of $1,500.00!! From that moment on, Autry decided to specialize in raising the Tennessee Myotonic goats.

Figuring he needed the best stock he could find, he went back to Marshall County, Tennessee to the Walker Estate. He purchased his starter herd and so began his line. He never crossed them with any other breed of goat and kept his line pure. He bred for the best conformation and culled heavily. His herd name was called the HALR line.