Guest Post - Deborah Niemann - Raising Goats Naturally Blog Tour

by: EJ on 09/30/2013
Posted in: Guest Posts

Today's post comes to us from Deborah Niemann, author of Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat and More.  Between her appearances at Mother Earth New Fairs, Deborah will be doing a virtual tour to homesteading blogs over the next couple of weeks.  In today's  post, she shares with us the difficult first years of raising goats and how she persevered to discover how to raise goats successfully. 

The first five years I had goats, it was not fun. My does were not coming into heat, not getting pregnant, and not staying pregnant. None of my bucks lived past the age of three. When I had dead goats necropsied, the vets always said it was simply parasites. I certainly did not look like the future author of a book about goats. In fact, I hardly looked like a future owner of goats!

We were successfully raising pigs, cattle, sheep, and poultry without antibiotics or dewormers, so why couldn’t we raise goats, even with dewormers, antibiotics, and other drugs? In addition to doing a lot crying the first few years, I also did a lot of reading and talking to other breeders. I joined several goat forums online, and my oldest daughter also did a lot of research.

 Eventually we figured out that our goats were suffering from severe copper deficiency. Once we straightened out the nutrition, which was far more complicated than it sounds, we saw our fertility and milk production increase to levels that we had never imagined, and our use of drugs plummeted. But it had taken a great deal of hard work and determination. Many times it would have been easy to simply get out of goats.

 I realized that there were probably a lot of people out there who were having similar challenges but didn’t have the time or resources to do the type of research I did to find the answer. The information was out there, but it was in dozens of different places. And sorting through the outdated information and the new research could be a challenge. I started writing about goats on my blog, and after I spoke about them at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania in 2011, the idea for the book Raising Goats Naturally was hatched.

 It combines scientific and technical information with personal stories from me and other goat owners. Thankfully I have not experienced every ailment known to goats, but I feel that personal stories can help us all to understand technical information better, so I also asked others with goats to share their stories within the pages of the book. It is the book that I wish had been available ten years ago when my goat journey got bumpy.

 While the first two-thirds of the book gives you information on raising goats without the routine use of drugs, the last third of the book focuses on everything you can do with the products produced by these wonderful animals, such as making cheese and soap with their milk. For those of you who butcher extra bucklings, there is also information about leather and goat meat, including a couple of recipes that work especially well with the flavor of goat.

 The ultimate goal of Raising Goats Naturally is to help owners understand their animals better and to provide them with the natural care they need so that they can lead long, healthy, and productive lives.


Deborah and her family produce 100 percent of their meat, dairy products, eggs, honey, and maple syrup, and a large part of their fruits and vegetables. She blogs about day-to-day farm life at Antiquity Oaks and about self-reliance and ecothrifty living at Thrifty Homesteader



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