Episode 173 S5-10
Dark Days in Denver Ch 10
Dexter heads over to his post in the homesteads in the Dark Days in Denver adventure. He stops for a moment to watch the newborn goats playing. Goats are a very smart animal to raise on a homestead. Here today to discuss the ins and outs of raising goats is Survivor Jane or Jane Austin, author of Emergency/Survival Hygiene.
Raising goats is a great addition to any homestead. It fits in well with the overall business plan to maximize return on investment of your farm animals. Goats are much better than cows because they have a much smaller land footprint. They stay close to the homestead and are nibblers not grazers. You can get much more milk per pound raising goats as opposed to cows.
One Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat weighs about 70-100lbs. With three milking mammas you will get about half a gallon of milk a day. They are very social animals and are easier to take care of than a large animal like a cow. You will also need two bucks (male goats) because two is on and one is none. If something happens to one, you will have a backup. Have about ten females with three actively milking at once.
A typical day of taking care of goats starts with feeding. Then you have to milk them. The goats have different size teats so you have to get used to milking lots of different shapes, etc. You need to make sure that all of your equipment is sterilized and you will have to sterilize the teats before you start milking as well. Jane likes to use gloves for another layer of cleanliness. Then you milk them. It is a good idea to give them grains during the process to keep them occupied. Be careful that they don't step in the bucket. If they do, you will have to discard all that milk.
After the feeding and milking is done it is onto stall cleaning. Goats poop a lot. The good news is, it makes great fertilizer. Before you put the animals out for the day, you want to check their hooves. You may have to trim them if there are no natural grinding processes that take place in the area you live in. If you have to trim them, it is done with a trimmer tool that looks like warped scissors. Jane says it is a very intimidating process but if you don't do it, the nails will deform. Check their teeth and ears as well to ensure there are no problems developing.
You need a buck to make a baby and you need to make a baby to have a goat that is producing milk. Make sure you set a plan for how many babies you will have at one time. If you want three goats milking, you don't want them to all give birth at the same time. The females can have anywhere from 1-7 babies at a time. The babies will stay with the mama for about three days to get access to the colostrum that the mother is producing. After that the babies are removed and fed by bottle. They don't drink much but require three to four feedings per day in small increments. You don't have to take the babies away but doing so will bond them to humans and make them much friendlier. The milk should be heated to 104-108 degrees and the babies drink about an ounce per feeding. For smaller goats, you can use puppy nipples, rather than the larger goat nipples for bottles.
It is also a good idea to burn the babies horns. Emotionally it is more difficult for the human. It only takes 5-10 seconds but it's hard to put the hot iron on the babies. The horns can be a major threat to themselves, the other goats and the human caretakers as they age so it's better to just get rid of them.
The goat milk is useful in so many ways. You use it in every recipe to replace cow's milk, including: ice cream, yogurt, cheesecake, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, etc. It is so good and it tastes much better than the stuff you buy at the store.
Dairy goats don't make good meat providers. If it was a long term survival situation, you could eat some of them if you had to. However it's a better idea to raise rabbits, chickens or ducks to provide meat.
Before you invest in raising goats, do your research! Investigate all the details. You have to give them shots and you will occasionally have to help birth babies. They will get injuries and you need to have reliable milking stations. They are an investment so make sure you are ready to capitalize from it.
The Changing Earth Series
Like so many women, Jane was a self-professed "oblivious-to-what-was-going-on-around-me" city girl. She was clueless about politics, the economy and the ever changing weather patterns around her.
It wasn't until she personally experienced a life-threatening assault at gun-point, live through several violent hurricanes, and watched as her 401k dwindled down next to nothing that her eyes began to open to what was going on around her.
In 2008 she took a huge leap of faith - quit her corporate job, sold her home for next to nothing, cash-in my 401k which was even more next to nothing - and moved to Western North Carolina to learn to live a more self-sustaining and self-reliant lifestyle.
Giving up the life of eating at different restaurants each night and having her nails and hair done every two weeks - she began to research how to prepare for uncertain times and still retain her "girlie-ness". While searching preparedness web sites she noticed that most were "male-oriented". Frustrated at the need to research a word, phrase or term that she didn't understand each time she went on one of these sites, it began to dawn on her that the reason she didn't understand these sites was because a lot of them were written by men, and as we all know, men and women speak a different language and therefore process information differently.
Jane decided then and there to make it her mission to educate others; with an emphasis on women, on how to better prepare themselves by creating the website SurvivorJane.com - writing on a multitude of topics dealing with disaster survival and preparedness; while interjecting bits and pieces of humor on personal experiences, discoveries and her journey along the way.
SurvivorJane.com also reaches preparedness-minded men who may have just begun their preparedness journey, or have sent the women in their lives, albeit, girl-friend, wife, daughters, mother, aunts or grandmothers to the site and in the process was also helped to better understand preparedness from a women's perspective.
As an additional outreach, Jane uses social media networks. She is the creator of the internationally recognized hashtag #PrepperTalk on Twitter that brings preparedness-minded people from all over the world together to discuss preparedness ideas, suggestions and information with one another. It is currently the Largest Prepper Community on Twitter.
Jane has been featured on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers (Season Four) and in Newsweek Special Edition Off-Grid, Prepper and Shooter Magazine, Prepared Magazine. She is a contributing writer to National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers BlogTV.
"Where There Is No Cosmetic Counter" and it's 1st Revision: "Emergency/Survival Hygiene" were written out of a need to bring more awareness to one of the most overlooked areas in Preparedness: "Personal Hygiene" by showing easy ways to make survival personal hygiene products. After all, infectious diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide.
In her book "What Could Possibly Go Wrong: How To Go From Completely Clueless to Totally Prepared" she "talks to the reader" in easy to understand language about her personal experiences and what she has learned could go wrong around us and how we can better prepare ourselves and family for these uncertain times.