In popular culture, goats are well-known for their propensity to nibble on just about anything. Farmers find this trait especially useful when it comes to clearing fields of weeds and brush. What many may not realize is that goats have much more to offer than a cleanup service. The investment of raising a pair of goats will more than repay itself thanks to the wide variety of benefits that goats and their by-products provide.
Cashmere, the luxuriously soft, prized wool, comes from a special type of goat. Angora goats produce mohair, a hardy, beautiful fiber that can be used to create clothing like sweaters, socks, and coats. Shearing times vary according to the breed, but most fiber goats can be shorn or combed at least once a year. The fibers can then be sold or spun into yarn for thrifty home creations.
Goat milk is the most popular milk in the world, and for good reason. It’s easier to digest, which makes it a prime choice for individuals who are unable to process cow milk. It has about the same content of vitamins and minerals but contains less lactose. Best of all, it can be obtained fresh every morning from the family goats. If there’s too much milk to drink, it can be turned into products like soap, lotion, or cheese.
Soft, sumptuous goat cheese is a real treat, often found in high-class restaurants or adorning salads. Like goat milk, goat cheese is healthy, delivering its nutritional benefits through an addicting tangy-sweet taste. It’s perfect for home cooks because it’s so easy to make. Goat milk is boiled and mixed with cultures, and the resulting curds are simply pressed into shape.
Even the by-products of goats are valuable. Unlike chicken droppings, which can damage plants if applied too soon, goat droppings are largely odorless and can be sprinkled on soil immediately. This makes goats an invaluable resource for gardeners and farmers, since there’s always a ready supply of rich, well-balanced fertilizer available. If there isn’t a garden, the droppings can be sold as fertilizer to other farmers.
It’s staggering to think that one small animal could have so many benefits, but that’s what makes goats an ideal livestock animal to own. Their products and by-products, if not used by the owner, can be sold for additional profit. The products that are used or consumed are all-natural, healthy, and sustainably responsible. Goats are fun, engaging little creatures to raise, but they’re also better for the environment, and that’s a benefit you can take pride in.