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4-H Goat Projects
By Extension Goat Handboook
Feb 28, 2003, 3:00pm

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ORIGIN: United States

Extension Goat Handbook

This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural
Library.  However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to
authors or originating agencies.

DOCN 000000005
NO   A-5
AU   C. Short; Fort Collins, CO
RV   G. F. W. Haenlein; U. of Delaware, Newark
DE   The Goat Industry

1    4-H Projects
         Dairy goats have become an increasingly important part of the 4-H
     program in many states. One  of the most impressive qualities of the
     dairy goat is  that a goat can be handled with equal ease by the
     youngest 4-H member to the oldest. This is an advantage over large
     livestock species, such as beef  and dairy cattle, where adult help in
     handling the  animal may be needed. Most states require that  the 4-H
     members provide most of their animal's  care in a livestock project,
     often as high as 80  Dairy goats are ideal for such a livestock
     project,  because even young children can handle the care of  their

2        Dairy goats require little space in comparison to  horses and cows.
     Because of this, children with  limited space can still participate in a
     4-H livestock  project by choosing dairy goats. Dairy goat projects may
     also be an ideal opportunity for city or  suburban children to
     participate in a 4-H livestock  project, because goats are often
     tolerated in  neighborhoods where other small livestock, such  as pigs
     and sheep, are excluded.

3        Goats have the type of personality that make  them ideal candidates
     for 4-H projects. They are  unique among livestock because of their
     tendency  to become companion animals, as well as livestock  in the more
     traditional sense of the word. A bond is  quickly formed between a child
     and a goat,  especially when starting with a young animal.  Chores are
     often more willingly done due to this  sense of companionship.

4        The initial investment to start a 4-H dairy goat  project does not
     need to be large. Kids, even  purebreds, are usually within the reach of
     even  modest budgets. Dairy goats do fine with only a  simple shed,
     provided they are free from drafts and  protected from rain and snow.
     Fencing for goats,  however, is a special concern. Although fancy
     fences are not necessary, fences do need to be tight  and high enough
     that the goats can not jump out  or sneak through between strands
     especially on the  bottom.

5        Dairy goats can be transported easily in any  type of vehicle. Horse
     or stock trailers are handy,  but goats can be satisfactorily moved in
     pickup  trucks, station wagons, or even economy cars. Extensive training
     and equipment are not needed in  order to show goats at 4-H fairs. A
     collar is required for the goat; the exhibitor ought to wear  clean,
     white clothes.

6        A 4-H dairy goat project has a special advantage  for younger and
     more sensitive children, because it  is a breeding project rather than a
     market project.  Breeding projects usually mature over a period of
     years, with the activities of one year blending into  the next and long
     term goals more important than  short term goals. Breeding projects are
     more enjoyable for many 4-H members than market projects where the end
     goal of the year's effort is to  sell an animal for meat, no matter how
     strong an  attachment for the animal was formed.

7        One goal of 4-H livestock projects is to show a  profit at the end
     of the project year. Projects involving the dairy goat, with its
     efficient conversion  of feed to milk, 10-month lactation, and multiple
     births, can realistically be expected to show a profit. The milk can be
     a welcome supplement to the  household food budget and extra milk can be
     used  to feed calves, pigs, and lambs as a source of income or meat.

8        There are many reasons why dairy goats and 4-H  are such a positive
     combination. For example,  children learn that animals need care every
     day  and cannot be neglected. Being responsible for the  care of goats,
     even when the weather is unpleasant  or other activities look more
     interesting, is a big step toward growing up.

9        4-H dairy goat projects can help children learn  how to select
     animals. Judging activities, including giving reasons for how animals
     were  placed, develop the ability to recognize desirable  type in dairy
     goats and to weigh strong and weak  points within an animal and between

10       A 4-H dairy goat project is often the start of the  life-long
     interest. Participating in the project  develops the skills and
     discipline necessary to be  successful at livestock breeding and
     management.  Rigorous record keeping is usually required in 4-H  dairy
     goat projects, including information on  income and expenses, animal
     pedigrees, breeding  and kidding, illnesses and health care, milk
     records, kinds and amounts of feed used at  different times of the year,
     and equipment and  housing values and depreciation. Many 4-H record
     books require a detailed description of the  member's goats, including
     their strong and weak  points. They may even ask for a rationale for the
     bucks used in the breeding program in terms of the  buck's ability to
     complement the strong points of a  doe or correct her weak ones. This
     careful attention  to detail and analysis of herd management  decisions
     is an important skill for anyone involved  in raising livestock.

11       The objectives of a 4-H livestock project include  increased
     knowledge and skill in animal selection,  breeding, feeding, management,
     fitting and showing, marketing, record keeping, and business
     transactions. The small space requirements, payback  potential,
     relatively small initial investments, companionship potential, and ease
     of handling and  transporting make dairy goats an ideal 4-H  livestock

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