THE DAIRY GOAT
Curtis W. Richardson, Extension Livestock
Department of Animal Sciences and Industry
Oklahoma State University
Sue Blakey, Agricultural Information Services
Oklahoma State University
Your 4-H Dairy Goat Project
This 4-H project manual is yours to keep and use as a workbook,
reference and record book for the things you learn during your 4-H dairy
goat project. Your 4-H leaders, county extension workers and parents
can provide you with information and assistance in the use of the book
as well as help you get the most from you project.
The primary purpose of the project is to help you learn about the care
of dairy goats. This includes information on selecting and judging
goats, proper feeding, care and management, fitting and showing and
Other goals and objectives you should strive for in your project
- Develop a greater appreciation of dairy goats.
- Experience the responsibility which goes with owning a goat.
- Participate in group activities and assume responsibilities in the
club goat program.
- Contribute to the improvement of dairy goats in your club and community.
- Prepare yourself for the future by developing desirable traits of
character and leadership which will help you become a better citizen.
What is Expected of You?
If you are to be a successful 4-H member, you will want to do the
- Attend meetings regularly. Attend project group meetings, such as
your dairy goat project group meeting, on a regular basis.
- Cooperate with and follow the directions of your project leaders and
- Carry on a recognized dairy goat project in your club.
- Participate in all activities and events related to your project.
- Keep an accurate and up-to-date record book.
Suggested Requirements for 4-H Goat Project
- Start with a doe kid.
- Enroll early in the project year even though you have no animals.
This enables you to become well-prepared to care for them.
- Start project records and keep until the end of the project year.
- Exhibit your animals at least once during the project year.
- Complete the first-year section of the Dairy Goat Project Record
Summary (page 22).
- Keep a permanent lifetime record page for each goat. Duplicate
the sample on page 18 if needed.
- Continue with the first-year animals and extend the project into
one or more milking does.
- Keep project records as during the first year.
- Submit supplementary records to justify information on your Dairy
Goat Project Record Summary sheet. Sample records are in this manual,
or leaders and members can devise their own.
Getting Acquainted With Dairy Goats
Goats are an important part of the story of mankind. They were
probably the first domesticated an-imals in Western Asia and are
mentioned nearly 200 times in the Bible. Moses ordered the altar cloths
in the Tabernacle woven of silk and goat hair. Today goats are
important milk producers throughout the world.
Goats came to New England with Captain John Smith and to the
Virginia colony with Lord Baltimore. The hardy animals proved they
could survive on browse and scarce rations and still supply settler
families with dairy products.
Presently, there are an estimated 21/2 million goats in the United
States. Worldwide, the goat population is an estimated 350 million.
Texas and Arizona are the leading states producing mohair (goat hair).
California is the leading goat milk producing state and has the largest
goat dairy, milking 800-1,000 goats daily. The American Dairy Goat
Association listed 4,000 breeders in its organizations in 1974with
approximately 40,000 purebred milk goats.
As populations expand throughout the world and competition for land
increases, goat numbers may rise. The animals survive on limited feed
and in wide-ranging climates. In addition to milk, dairy goats provide
meat (chevon), skins (Morocco leather) and hair.
Goats make ideal 4-H projects, especially for younger members, since
the animals are relatively easy to handle. They are interesting, like
attention, inexpensive to keep, easily transported and fun to show at
fairs. They enable young people to gain experience in feeding and
managing live animals for fun and profit. And they give young people a
chance to learn about many of nature's processes by daily care of their
Recognizing Good Dairy Type
Study the outline drawing of the dairy goat. Learn the names of the
different parts of the animal and their comparative importance in
judging. After you become familiar with dairy type, you will be in a
much better position to select an animal and know whether it is good,
very good or excellent.
Parts of a dairy goat: Full Scale
Parts of a dairy goat: Miniature Scale
A dairy goat should be angular and not round, hip bones prominent,
thighs thin, with considerable length of neck and long body. Any
tendency to be short and thick of body, short of neck, thick in the
thighs or in any way fat and meaty is against good dairyness. Meatiness
is the opposite of dairyness.
The good dairy goat will be sleek and alert, not fat and sluggish.
She should be straight as possible on top and especially strong in the
chine and loin area. From the hip bones back to the pin bones (bones on
each side of the tail) there will be some slope on nearly every animal,
but the object should be to get this line as straight as possible.
The shoulder should be refined and not coarse. It should blend into
the middle smoothly. The withers or top of the shoulder should be sharp
and refined and not rounded as in a meat-type animal.
The middle should be long and the rib well sprung, making adequate
room for roughage, plus two or more kids. The ribs should be long and
far enough apart to slide one finger between the ribs. This openness of
rib denotes dairy temperament in the goat as well as the dairy cow.
There should be some width in the floor of the chest so the front legs
are not too close together. Width plus depth of body denotes lung
capacity and constitution and is associated with strength and
The legs should be straight, with adequate width of bone for
strength but not so wide that it appears coarse. The animal should walk
easily and freely so it can forage on pasture. The hooves should be
well trimmed so the feet do not become deformed. Long pasterns make the
leg look crooked; they should have some angle but not be so long that
the dewclaws touch the ground. Breeding bucks, particularly, will be
heavily discounted in the show ring if they are weak in the pasterns.
The skin should be smooth, thin and pliable. The hair should be
reasonably fine to denote quality but this varies considerably with the
The udder should show plenty of capacity and be well held up to the
body by the suspensory ligament so it will not be injured by banging on
stones or other objects in the pasture or around the barn. A low-slung
udder is called pendulous and is undesirable. The udder should be
pliable and soft, not hard and meaty. Hard bunches in the udder or
teats will be discounted in judging or selection. The udder should be
balanced in shape, with teats hanging the same and slightly tilted
forward. The teats should be large enough to be easily milked. After
milking, the udder should be collapsed and pliable like a sott leather
The head should have an alert intelligent appearance, with ears and
head the shape of its particular breed.
According to research done over a period of many years at the
U.S.D.A. Experiment Station at Beltsville, Maryland, the difference
between families and individuals in each goat breed appear to be greater
than differences between breeds.
The five main breeds of dairy goats in this country are French
Alpine, American La Mancha, Nubian, Saanen and Toggenburg. All appear
to thrive equally well in every part of the country and all possess high
milking ability. There is little difference in the production records
of these breeds, except that the Nubian rarely gives as much milk as the
other four, though her milk averages higher in butterfat.
The present breed record holders for 305-day milk production are:
Remember, record holders, however, are not average or typical animals.
The Nubian is relatively large and has a proud and graceful
appearance. The breed is of mixed origin and owes its distinctive
features to the im- ported goats of India's Jumna Pari and Egypt's
Zariby type. Crossing these with British dairy goats resulted in the
Anglo-Nubian which is the foundation of the U.S. Nubian breed.
Distinguishing features are long, wide pendulous ears, convex roman nose
and short sleek hair. They may be any color--black, grey, cream, white,
tan, brown and rich reddish brown. Common markings include lighter
ears, facial stripes, muzzle, crown and/or undertrim, often with overall
lightor dark-colored spots or patches of any size. The average doe
weighs 130-180 pounds.
The American La Mancha was developed recently in this country from a
short-eared Spanish breed crossed with leading purebreds. They may be
any color but are distinguished by their external ears which are either
absent or very short. The different type ears are known as "gopher" and
"cookie". Hair is short, fine and glossy, and their faces are straight.
Any color or combination of colors is acceptable.
Toggenburgs and Saanens came originally from the Swiss Alps and
French Alpine from nearby French Alps. These three breeds are very
closely related, similar in conformation and often referred to as "Swiss
Type." All have erect ears and straight or (in the case of some
Toggenburgs and Sannens) dished faces. An alert and graceful carriage
gives them a deerlike appearance.
The Saanen is medium to large in size, with rugged bone and plenty
of vigor. Mature does weigh 135-180 pounds. Does should be feminine
not coarse. They may be white or cream in color, the cream varying from
light to dark fawn. White is, however, preferred to cream. Spots on
the skin are not discriminated against but colored spots in the hair are
not desirable. Hair is short and fine, although a fringe overthe spine
and thighs is often present. The black Saanen is beginning to be
accepted as a new variety.
The French Alpine is a large rangy, yet deerlike, animal
characterized by an endless variety of color and pattern. Cou Blanc has
a white neck, the body and hindquarters usually black or dark in color.
Cou Clair has a tan neck with body and hindquarters black or dark. Cou
Noir has a black neck and dark or black hindquarters. Chamoisee has
color and marking similar to wild Chamois, that is, moderate to grayish
yellow. Sandgau is black with a white underbody or with white
Toggenburg markings. They are also white, pied, cinnamon, strawberry
and various shades of red. Does weigh 125-150 pounds.
The Toggenburg is of medium size, sturdy and vigorous. The hair is
short or medium in length--soft, fine and lying flat. Color varies from
light fawn to dark chocolate to lavendar with distinct white
markings--white ears with a dark spot in the middle, two white stripes
down the face from eyes to muzzie, hind legs white from hocks to hooves,
forelegs white from knees downward, a white triangle on either side of
the tail, white spot in the area of the wattles. Varying degrees of
cream markings in place of white are acceptable. Does weigh 115-150
Other less numerous breeds in the U.S. are Rock Alpines (developed
from French Alpines), Swiss Alpines, Norskas and Murcianas. There are
also a few British Alpines, British Saanens and British Toggenburgs.
Selecting Your Project Animal
Look at several breeds and decide which breed you like. You will
generally do better with animals that appeal to you personally, even if
the breed you choose has fewer high-milk producers than another breed.
If you are interested in breeding and raising goats for show and
sale as well as milk production, purchase a purebred animal. If your
main interest is milk production for home and/or sale, you may want to
purchase a good grade animai. They are usually less expensive than
Beginners should start with a dairy kid 8-10 weeks old. This gives
you an opportunity to get acquainted with goats and their habits during
growth. You can learn the management phases of caring for goats and
what to do at kidding time before the goat is old enough to kid.
Managing Your Goat
Raising the Kids
When a doe has kids, her system produces an especially thick rich
milk, almost yellow in color, which is known as colostrum. This
colostrum is high in protein, minerals and vitamin A. It contains
antibodies which help protect the kids from diseases. It also serves as
a mild laxative and helps clean the prenatal residue from the digestive
system of the newborn kid. It is very important that the kid receive
this colostrum for the first three days after birth. The first feeding
should be within 20-30 minutes after it is born. Without the colostrum,
the kid probably will not survive.
At birth, the kid weighs approximately 7-9 pounds. Following the
three-day colostrum feeding period (feed approximately one pint of
colostrum two times daily), the kid may be changed to cow's milk or fed
a good milk replacer (same feed used for dairy calves) if the mother's
milk is needed for human consumption. Some kids do not take to milk
replacer. If scours (diarrhea) occurs, return the kid to its mother's
milk. The kid should receive 2-3 pints of milk each day (or the
equivalent in milk replacer) in 2-3 feedings until it is weaned. It is
best to feed from a nipple bottle or nipple pail. Most kids can be
weaned at 8-12 weeks of age. Be sure to clean and sanitize all feeding
equipment after feeding.
At 2-3 weeks of age, the kid should be offered a small amount of
concentrate mix. A good caif starter with 16-18 percent crude protein
should be adequate. Start offering good quality green hay at the same
time concentrate feeding is begun. A mixture of good quality hays--such
as alfalfa/sudan grass or alfalfa/prairie--is preferable to an
all-alfalfa or all-grass hay. Feed hay and concentrate mix twice daily
and only what the kid will clean up. Be careful not to overfeed.
Supply clean, fresh water at all times.
Kids that do well should gain from 1/4-1/2 pound per day so they
will reach a weight of 85-90 pounds by breeding age.
You will need some type of simple shelter for your animal. It need
not be elaborate but it should be dry and free from drafts. A small
shed about 4 x 5 feet will protect one animal against rain and cold
weather. If you do not provide some shelter, your goat will be more
likely to have respiratory difficulties or even pneumonia.
Later, after your animal has kidded, you may like to have a
milkhouse with a stanchion.
You will need to fence the area to keep out stray dogs, coyotes or
other predators. About 200 square feet is sufficient for one animal.
Be sure to use a good gate fastener as goats learn to open many gates.
Provide some bedding (straw, leaves, sawdust or woodshavings) inside the
shelter. Keep this clean by removing the manure regularly. (Use the
manure on your field or garden.)
Castrating Suck Kids
If you do not wish to keep you buck kid for breeding purposes,
castrate him before he is two weeks old. This can be done with a clean,
disinfected knife or use an elastrator. Check with your leader for
details on the different methods.
All goats should be tattooed, whether they are to be registered or
not. A tattoo is simply a permanent record. It is especially useful in
Saanan and Toggenburg breeds where all kids look alike.
Tattoo outfits for goats have smaller numerals and letters which fit
well in the goat ear. (The earless La Mancha breed is tattooed in the
web of the tail.) Instructions may be obtained from registry
associations. All animals to be registered must be tattooed.
Ear tags are not a substitute for tattooing and are, in fact,
dangerous for goats. Be sure your veterinarian does not ear tag your
animals during a yearly health test.
All dairy goats should be dehorned. Like many other animals, goats
establish a "pecking" order and sometimes butt each other around. Horns
can rip up udders and frequently get caught in fences. Because of this,
it's best to dehorn your goats. Do this when they are only about a week
old. The longer you wait, the more difficult the job becomes and the
better chance that the horns will grow back.
Unlike a cow, goats have nerve ends in their horns; sawing the horns
off after the animal is grown is a shock to the animal's nervous system
and can result in death. In addition, show judges will take oft points
and sometimes disqualify an animal with horns or partial horns.
There are several methods of dehorning a goat. Caustic sticks or
pastes are difficult and dangerous to handle. The quickest and easiest
method is the electric disbudding iron. This can be purchased from a
goat dairy supply firm. It looks like a soldering iron with the tip
sawed oft. Heat the iron so that at least two inches are cherry-red.
The hotter the iron, the quicker the job is completed and the better off
the kid will be. Center the iron on the horn bud and apply it with a
circular motion and light pressure. About six to ten seconds is
sufficient. Apply vaseline to each disk immediately after removing the
iron. If you have a bottle of milk ready and give it to the kid
immediately, he will forget the discomfort more quickly.
If you are unable to purchase an electric disbudding iron and cannot
find someone who can help you in the area, take your kid to a
veterinarian who is experienced with goats. He can do it for you or
show you how to do it effectively.
Goats are generally hardy. If you take good care of your doe, she
will provide you with good milk and good kids. If you do not keep her
pen clean and protect her from the weather and do not feed her properly,
she may develop illness, parasites or some other disorder.
Take special care to protect your young kids during the early spring
and winter. Pneumonia often follows chilling and exposure and is
probably the chief cause of death among kids during winter months.
Foot rot and foot abscess is caused by an infection that destroys
tissue. The germ which causes it grows in wet dark places, such as mud,
where there is no air. The germ enters the tissues of the feet through
small cuts or bruises and multiplies under the skin and in the outer
tissue. The goat becomes lame and suffers pain which keeps it from
moving around for food; as a result, the animal usually loses weight and
milk production falls off. Check the feet carefully. A watery fluid
may ooze from the infected area. As the tissues rot away, there is a
greyish, cheesy discharge and a foul odor. To prevent foot rot, keep
your goats in dry pens and clean barns. Drain any wet or muddy areas.
Trim hooves regularly. To treat the problem, carefully trim away the
decayed part with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Treat the infected
parts with an antiseptic. Several good ointments are available. Check
with your county agent, leader or veterinarian.
Mastitis is generally any type of udder infection. It can be caused
by two different types of bacteria. The udder may appear hot, painful
and hard. The infection can be picked up when teats come in contact
with contaminated areas, ground or bedding. Flies, infections and
injuries can also cause the condition. It can be controlled if treated
early. A wide spectrum antibiotic is often effective. Call your
veterinarian for suggested treatment. Do not drink the milk or feed it
to kids until the infection is cleared. To prevent outbreaks, follow
sanitary procedures as suggested on pages 12-13.
Watch your animals for parasites--lice, ticks, domestic flies,
screwworms and fly maggots. These are all harmful to your goat. Sprays
can be used but do not take the place of good sanitation. To prevent
spread of parasites, inspect your goat when you buy her. Reduce the fly
problem by keeping the shelter and pen sanitary. Insecticides are
poisonous so use them with caution. Do not let them come in contact
with feed, water or the containers for feed or water. Wash your hands
thoroughly after using an insecticide. Do not spray if your goat is
thin, sick or in milk.
The goat is susceptible to a number of types of internal parasites
also. Since she has more stomach area for her size than any other
ruminating animal, this is a serious problem. If your goat seems
listless, loses weight, has a poor appetite, diarrhea, a chronic cough
or if her milk begins to have an off- flavor, have a fecal sample tested
by a veterinarian. He will be able to tell you if she has worms and
prescribe the proper drug and a method of adminis- tering it.
Pinkeye is a usually infectious disease carried from goat to goat,
especially during hot, dry, windy and dusty weather. If your goat's eye
begins to water excessively or cloud over, separate her from the herd
and treat as suggested by a veterinarian.
Goats are intelligent animals, quick to learn good and bad habits.
1. Put a collar or chain around the neck of your newborn kid.
2. Always grab the collar when handling the kid and direct all goat
movement by collar lead. Do not pull on the ring if you use a choke
3. Use voice commands together with physical leads.
4. Call your goat by name. It will learn to come, much like the
5. Never introduce a bad habit, like lifting a kid over a gate or
pen. Never let a goat run free in the yard, even though it is fun to
play with it outside the pen. The goat soon learns to leap over, go
under or break through to get out to play.
6. Bucks need both collar and eartraining, since their great
strength and lack of handling make them less easy to manage than does.
Pull gently on an ear with one hand as you collar-lead with the other
7. A goat may want to bolt and run when you lead it out of the barn.
Keep your hand on the collar and use your free hand under the goat's
jaw, pulling back if she starts to go too fast. Bring her to a complete
stop before proceeding again.
8. Never push playfully on a goat's head. This "teaches" it to push
back or butt.
Untrimmed or poorly trimmed hoofs cause a goat much discomfort and
even result in serious lameness or foot rot. The more often you trim,
the less you have to do each time. A good way is to check each animal
once a month.
Use either a small hand pruner or a sharp knife with a blade which
will lock in position. If possible, put your animal against a fence or
wall or in a milk stanchion. If you are right-handed, stand on the
right side of the goat to trim the front feet. When working on the left
hoof, reach across the animal and brace her body against yours. If you
are left-handed, stand on the left side and use the same procedure.
Work on one toe at a time. Always cut from heel to toe and trim the
bottom of the hoof so that it is parallel with the top. With the first
cut, remove the outer wall of the hoof. Then level the heel and pad to
make the hoof level. It is seldom necessary to remove much of the pad.
If it is, trim in thin slices and stop when the pad turns a pinkish
color; if you do not, you may draw blood.
When you finish the first toe, begin on the other. Be careful to
trim both toes so that when the foot is placed on the ground, they will
be the same length.
When you trim the rear feet, stand to the rear. Bring the goat's
leg through your legs and brace it against your knee. Trim in the same
manner as the front feet.
Although the recommended breeding age varies, the doeling can be
bred when she reaches nine months of age or about75-95 pounds, if she is
in very good health.
Does begin to cycle in the late summer and show signs of heat
(estrus) for 2-3 days about every 21 days until mid-March. The
strongest heat cycles occur in November, December and January. Signs of
heat are restlessness, bleating, bossiness, frequent urination, flagging
tail and a swollen, red or wet vulva.
If you own two doelings, breed one early and one late so that
freshening dates are 3-4 months apart. This assures a constant supply
Locate a registered buck well ahead of breeding time. Breed your
doe to the best buck you can afford, preferably one that has produced
daughters with good milking records. Arrange for a health certificate
for your doe (if required by the breeder) and agree on the costs and
availability of boarding. Near the expected breeding date, contact the
After breeding, request a service memo from the breeder. Fill in
the service date and also write it in your records. Three weeks later,
check the doe for signs of heat. If none occurs, the doe is probably
Count 21 weeks ahead on the calendar (5 months) and mark the due
date. She will kid in about 145 days. A mature doe often carries twins
To maintain milk production over a period of years, you will want to
breed your doe once a year. Breed her about seven months after she
kids. Continue milking her until about two months before the kid is
due. At that time, dry her up by switching her to dry feed and cutting
out concentrates. Do not milk her for seven days. When her udder fills
up, the pressure will turn the doe's system away from milk producing.
At the end of the week, milk her out again. You may have to milk her
out slightly before that, if she is an especially heavy milker.
A good doe will provide plenty of fresh milk if you take care of
her. Just how much milk depends on the individual goat. A low producer
will give about two quarts of milk a day and dry up after six months. A
modest producer will average two quarts of milk a day and produce milk
about 10 months of the year. A really good doe will give 1,800 pounds
of milk a year, averaging three quarts a day for 10 months. And a
"super-goat" produces 5-7 quarts a day in her peak, or 2,000 pounds or
better a year.
The milk of the different breeds varies, as it does with cows.
Saanen and Toggenburg milk resembles that of Holstein cows in percentage
of water, lactose, fat, protein and ash, although it is subject to
greater variation with the advance of lactation than Holstein or Jersey
cow milk. (The percentage of total solids in goat's milk ranged from
13.05 in February to 10.78 in August.) Toggenburgs are often known as
the "Guernsey" of the goat family because of the quantity of milk they
produce; some Toggenburgs, however, do have distinctive-tasting milk,
characteristic of the breed. Nubians produce less daily milk poundage
than other breeds, but their milk is higher in butterfat content.
Goat's milk is a healthful and nutritious food. It is nearly always
pure white in color, since goats are able to more effectively convert
carotene (which lends the yellow cast to cow's milk) to vitamin A.
Goat's milk is naturally homogenized, with smaller fat globules than
cow's milk. The cream rises very slowly and never so thoroughly as in
cow's milk. This makes it impracticable to use the ordinary method of
allowing cream to rise in the refrigerator. Tests made by ths
Department of Agriculture indi- cate that goat's milk can be thoroughly
separated in a cream separator. After milk which tested 4.4% fat was
run through the separator, the milk then tested only 0.03% fat.
If you separate your milk, you can make butter with the cream, just
as you do cow's milk.
The small size of the fat globules and the soft curd in goat's milk
are two of its chief characteristics and seem to make it easier to
digest. Some persons allergic to cow's milk can consume goat's milk
readily. In a great many cases, goat's milk has proved especially
valuable for infants, invalids and those with stomach ailments.
Some people believe that goat's milk does not keep sweet as long a
cow's milk, but tests show this is not the case. The keeping quality
depends on the conditions under which it is produced and handled.
Good goat milk does not have any stronger flavor than good cow's
milk. If your milk has a strong or strange taste, check the following:
- Keep the buck in separate quarters at least 50 feet from the
milking doe. Although does are almost odorless, bucks can impart an
odor or twang to the milk. Reliable goat breeders and dairymen separate
the two for best results.
- Make sure your animal is healthy. She should be sleek-looking,
appear alert, without abcesses or growths. If she seems ill, have her
checked by a veterinarian. Different illnesses can give different
tastes to the milk. A mastitis infection gives milk a salty taste.
Internal worms or parasites can impart a bitter flavor. If there is any
question about your animal's health, do not drink the milk or feed it to
kids until the animal and its milk have been tested.
-Check your feed. Some feeds carry through to the milk more
noticeably than others, particularly green grass, silage, oak leaves,
fir needles, wild onions, garlic and turnips, for example. Minimize the
flavor by keeping the animal off such feed 2-4 hours before milking.
Some feeds if eaten even 15-30 minutes before milking may be detected in
the taste. Moldy or musty hay or stagnant water can make the milk taste
musty. Unclean water or water containers can also impart a flavor to
- Check your shelter. Poorly ventilated barns, not generally well
kept, can give a "barny" taste to milk. Fly spray, paint, oil,
creosote--all can affect milk flavor. A milking doe should be kept in a
clean, dry area with clean hay and an exercise yard of some type.
- Keep milking conditions sanitary. This means the goat, the
building and the utensils. The animals should be clipped, particularly
in the udder area to prevent loose hairs, dust or dirt from falling into
the milk during milking. Both the udder area and the milker's hands and
arms should be washed and disinfected before milking. Set aside a
special milk area not in the regular quarters. This minimizes dust from
alfalfa, dirt and hay which can get into the milk. A separate building
or a walled area is ideal. Thoroughly wash and sanitize all utensils
after each milking and keep in a clean place. Bacteria develop rapidly
in equipment which has not been thoroughly cleaned. This bacteria will
cause a breakdown in the milk which results in quicker spoiiage. A
malty flavor can develop from improperly cleaned equipment. Metallic
flavors are picked up from old, rusty or exposed copper equipment, milk
cans or lids. Milk will also pick up an undesirable taste if the
equipment has been sanitized but not thoroughly drained and dried. A
residue of strong chlorine or other disinfectant materials left in the
containers will combine with milk to create an unwanted flavor.
- Refrigerate milk quickly after milking. Milk may develop an acid
or coarse taste as a result of bacterial growth. A rancid flavor can
also result from extreme agitation of warm raw milk in the presence of
air (foaming). For best flavor, cool milk promptly. If left in a glass
container in the sun, even for a short time, milk may develop a rancid
taste resembling stale fat. Ideally, the milk should be carefully
strained and stored in seamless aluminum, stainless steel or glass
containers. It should be placed immediately in a milk cooler or
refrigeration unit. If milk is held too long at low temperatures, it
may develop a bitter taste.
Showing Your Goat
Goat shows have a favorable influence on the dairy goats and the
people who prepare and exhibit the animals, both adults and young
people. Competi- tion causes people to be concerned with improving
their animal's type and conformation. Competition is good because it
helps people learn how to select top show animals. The hard work of
show preparation and the attention to small details usually pays off in
ribbons won. Furthermore, goat shows bring parents and youth together
in a common interest, which makes for better understanding.
Fitting and showing Dairy Goats. The dairy goat needs special
feeding starting 6-8 weeks prior to show day, depending on the condition
of the ani- mal. The animal shouldn't be fattened but fed enough extra
grain to add bloom to the coat. Additional bedding is needed to keep
the animals clean and avoid stains. Regular leading and posing several
weeks prior to the show day will prove very helpful when competing in
showmanship contests. To look its best, the animal should have its
hooves trimmed and polished. Clip the animal carefully, particularly
the long hair from the backbone and flanks. Brushing and handwork on
hair and skin improves the quality of hide and hair. Even adding saddle
soap to the leather show straps will add to the general appearance of a
well-prepared show animal.
After this preparation, it would be wrong to go into the show ring
with dirty clothes and hands. The showman should wear the prescribed
white clothes, and they should be immaculate for show day. Show
authorities should be encouraged to hold fitting and showing contests
first and type contests later in the day so children will be more alert
Be sure to take some feed and supplies with you, particularly hay.
Many goat keepers also take water from home since some animals are
finicky about the taste of a different water. Check to see if bedding
is supplied; if not, carry some with you.
Do not forget to take a water bucket, milk utensils (if your doe is
in milk), a brush to brush her coat, polish and cloth for the hooves,
and a goat coat or cover for cold or rainy weather.
Health. All goat shows should meet state health requirements.
Inspect animals before unloading and, if they show signs of illness, do
not unload them. When you return home, isolate the show animals as
disease is sometimes picked up and transmitted from one herd to another
this way. Watch animals closely for 10 days or so and, if there are no
signs of illness, pen them as usual. If animals come down with a
contagious disease at a fair, get permission to remove them at once.
Dairy Goat Projects
Demonstrations at Meetings and Contests
1. Dairy Goat Type Demonstration. Good versus poor and why. Use
live animals or drawings.
2. Fitting the Dairy Goat for show. Feeding, grooming, leading,
3. Hoof Trimming. Why and how, using a live animal, charts or both.
4. Internal Parasite Control. Why, when, how and what used.
5. High Quality Milk and How to Produce It. Cleanliness, clipping,
washing udders, strip cup, how to wash and sanitize equipment, cooling
As you complete these projects, you will learn about:
- The characteristics of the five major breeds of dairy goats.
- Parts of a dairy goat.
- Feeding dairy goats and kids.
- Dairy products and the food nutrients found in milk.
- Reason for including milk in the human diet.
- Terms used with dairy goats and milk.
- Dairy processing.
Learning about Your Dairy Goat Project
You will have fun doing the following projects.
1. Locate and mount pictures of the five major dairy goat breeds.
2. List these breeds.
3. Visit a farm where one of the breeds is kept.
4. Post a picture of a dairy farming scene in your record book and
write a story about it.
5. Make a list of the dairy foods used in your home.
6. Mount a picture of some dairy products in your book and write a
story about it.
7. Visit a dairy processing plant. 8. Visit a dairy display case in
a local grocery store.
Questions to be Answered During the Year
1. What is a purebred goat?
2. Name two breeds of goats not including the breed of goats that
3. What two things should you consider when buying your goat?
4. Where is a goat's withers?
5. Where is a goat's heart girth?
6. Your goat should be housed where she is protected against and 7.
When may milk feeding the kid be discontinued? under what condition?
8. How often should the grain be weighed or measured?
9. What tools would you need to trim the feet?
10. How can you tell whether your kid should be dehorned?
11. How much grain should you feed yearlings that are on good
pasture and/or hay?
12. What should your free choice mineral mix contain?
13. What are the two most common health risks in goats?
14. When should young does be bred?
15. Where should your goat be at kidding time?
16. What part of your goat should be clipped before kidding?
17. How long a gestation period do goats have?
18. How many kids do mature goats usually have at one time?
19. How long a time is usually needed to fit your goat for show?
20. What dairy characteristics should a dairy goat have?
21. How many days usually elapse between kidding and when milk is
kept for human consumption?
22. How many months should your goat be in production?
23. How long a dry period should your goat have?
24. What is a good suggested winter ration for your goat?
25. Why should you feed any strong flavor feeds after milking
rather than before milking?
26. Grain feeding is usually based on the rate of production. What
is the suggested ration of lbs. of grain to lbs. of milk?
27. Why should you use a strip cup before milking?
28. What is the most practical way of preventing bacterial growth
in milk after milking?
Identifying parts of a goat: Full Scale
Identifying parts of a goat: Miniature Scale
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28
29 30 31 32
33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44
45 46 47 48
49 50 51
Dairy Goat Project Record Summary
Record for club year Year in 4-H
Year in this project 4-H Club County
Complete all information on this page.
First-year 4-H members in this project, copy and fill out this
Second-year 4-H members and beyond, devise records meaningful to you
by studying sample record sugges- tions in the manual. These might
include expense, income, milk production, breeding, sales, etc. All
members in the project must keep an up-to-date Lifetime History of
Individual Goats and attach it to this summary.
Ask your project leader for help in your project, but this record
must be done entirely by you.
Member signature Leader signature
Signature of leader indicates records were compieted by the 4-H member.
Number of project meetings held Number I attended
I gave project talks or demonstrations. Topics were:
Number of goat shows, fairs or related programs I attended
Number of goat classes I judged These were at
Number of goats in this project
My Project Story
Write an interesting story on this project and how you could manage
such a project more successfully. What did you learn? What was the
most fun? How did you help others to learn of your project? Will you
continue this project next year? Why? Attach extra paper to tell this
Explain your financial-chore arrangement with your parent. Attach
any formal business agreement signed by you and your parent.
Inventory Value At start of Project Value at End of Project
Milk used (home)
Dairy Goat Journal. P.O. Box 1908, Scottsdale, Arizona 85252.
Monthly. Has available the following pamphlets and booklets:
Tips on Kid Care Furs and Skins from Goats
The Care of Goat Milk in the Home
Goat Milk for Nursing Mothers
Breeding, Pregnancy and Care of Doe at Kidding
Tainted Milk, Its Causes and Remedies
Goat Manure as Fertilizer
Let's Get it Straight about Brucella Infection
How to Evaluate Your Goats
Kid Rearing with Dry Skim Milk
Butchering, Chevon, Goat Hides
Butter from Goat Milk
Formulas for Infant Feeding
Goat Products Cook Book
Home Cheese Making
Aids to Goatkeeping. Corl A. Leach. Dairy Goat Journal, P.O. Box
1908, Scottsdale, Arizona 85252.
Book of the Goat. H.S. Pegler. American Supply House, P.O. Box
1114, Columbia, Missouri 65201.
Dairy Goats, Breeding, Feeding and Management. Available from
Oklahoma State University, Central Mailing, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74074.
Goatowners' Scrapbook. E.E. Leach. American Supply House, P.O. Box
1114, Columbia, Missouri 65201.
Goat Husbandry. David MacKenzie. Available from Diamond Farm Book
Publishers, R.R. #3, Brighton, Ontario, Canada, KOK140
Countryside & Small Stock Journal, 312 Portland Road, Waterloo,
Goats. H.E. Jeffrey. Available from Diamond Farm Book Publishers,
R.R. #3, Brighton, Ontario, Canada KOK140.
Illustrated Standard of the Dairy Goat. Nancy Lee Owen. Dairy Goat
Journal, P.O. Box 1908, Scottsdale, Arizona 85252.
Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way. Jerry Belanger. Available from
Garden Way Publishing Company, Dept. 601 42, Charlotte, Vermont 05445.
Starting Right with Milk Goats. Helen Walsh. Available from
Countryside a Small Stock Journal, 312 Portland Road, Waterloo,
Listing does not imply discrimination or endorsement.
National American Dairy Goat Association. P.O. Box 186, Spindale,
North Carolina 28160. American Goat Society. 1606 Colorado Street,
Manhattan, Kansas 66502.
Oklahoma Dairy Goat Association (Northeast area). c/oForester's
Dairy Goats, Rt. 2 Box 290, Bixby, Oklahoma 74008.
Oil Capital Dairy Goat Association. (Tulsa area). Rt. 1 Box 209-A,
Skiatook, Oklahoma 74070.
Red Plains Dairy Goat Association (Norman area). Rt. 1 Box 121,
Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044.
Texhoma Dairy Goat Association (southern Oklahoma). c/oJames &
Billie Thompson, Rt. 2, Atoka, Oklahoma 74525.
American Supply House, Box 1114, Columbia, Missouri 65201.
For materials in this publication, acknowledgement is made to
cooperative extension services of the University of Massachusetts, the
University of Minnesota, University of Arkansas, Ohio State
University, University of California, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
American Dairy Goat Association. Appreciation is also expressed to
members of the Oil Capital Dairy Goat Association and Red Plains Dairy
Goat Association of Oklahoma for their helpful suggestions. The
photographic sequences of hoof trimming and disbudding were courteously
provided by Countryside and Small Stock Journal, Waterloo, Wisconsin,
along with numerous other photographs throughout the book.