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Goat Gossip by Fred Vandermartin
Ed. note: Fred's articles were originally published as "Goat Gossip" in the East Texas Farm & Ranch News. The ETF&R is a bi-weekly newspaper distributed by the Palestine Herald-Press. This is the first of a series of "Goat Gossip"s that will republish with Fred's permission.
Fred describes himself as "extremely opinionated and not afraid to step on a few toes" - Hop on, this should be a fun ride!

I have been raising goats for six years and I'm still learning. Every day that I go out and interact with my herd I observe something new about their behavior. Many of the management techniques such as pasture rotation, preventative vaccinations, and selective breeding that are used by cattle breeders can be applied to goat ranching. With the influx of immigrants from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds the demand for goat meat and milk products has soared. Goat raising has become the fastest growing agricultural industry in the U.S. and even with the increased number of animals we still import thousands of tons of goat meat from Australia and New Zealand annually.

If you plan on raising meat or dairy goats the best start I can recommend is to look into it real well to see if itís right for you. Although goats and cows are similar animals, there are differences in the management of them. Goats are smaller animals and are easier to handle, but they require tighter fences with smaller wire spacing. In West Texas where itís drier and the soil is rockier, goats get along fine without hoof trimming and worming for stomach parasites. In the area east and south of I-35 you will be required to give regular hoof trimmings and drench your goats for parasites. Go on the internet to do some research. There are numerous books and magazines available for research. Visit some goat ranches to get an idea of how they manage their goats. Find out if there are any breeder associations or clubs and go to a meeting. I think you'll find that goat people are helpful and are proud of their stock.

Bye, for now.


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