Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goats on the micro-farm

Our Friend Ben left a comment on one of our recent posts lamenting the fact that he can't fit goats into his small homestead. They just don't have enough space. This got me thinking, so I did some quick calculations and here's what I found.

With proper management you should be able to graze a dairy goat (weighing about 135 lbs) for 8 months of the year on just over 1/10th of an acre. If you add in a pen and a shed sized mini barn you can keep a goat comfortably on 5000 square feet. That fits pretty comfortably in almost any back yard.

The key is management. To do this successfully you will have to buy in feed for the 4 month non-grazing season (or harvest your own. Gene Logsdon has a great post about this with ideas that could work on a much smaller scale, like using your lawn for hay.) You will also have to actively manage your grazing using a MIG type system. I will be detailing the nuts and bolts of this in my grazing booklet which will be available soon. If you are willing to do this you should be able to keep a dairy goat healthy, happy, and productive just about anywhere.


CoilsRus said...

Love it! Now if I could only convince my loving hubby!!

nancybond said...

I wonder if he'd like it on my balcony. :) (kidding!) When I had the space, it didn't interest me. A perfect illustration of Murphy's Law.

Able Oaks Dairy Goats said...

Dairy hoats will starve on a diet of only pasture grass. They are natural browsers and need to eat a vaiety of shrubs tree leaves. So remember to clip shrubs offer the leaves. Pecan and oaks leaves are favorites. Weeds like dandelions are good too.

Alan said...

You are right about the diversity needed in a goats diet. They don't do well on just grass, but most yards contain enough variety that they can to well. Adding things in and allowing "weeds" to grow in the pasture helps. Also including a good mineral program is important. That's all part of managing. The thing I wanted to emphasize in this post is the fact that you can keep a goat quite easily on a very small property with the right management.


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