do you eat your old milk goats?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by madness, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I guess the thread about the free goats got me thinking. It seems that several posters either said or eluded to eating old milk goats when their production went down. Is this common? When I was a kid, we had goats, but we were vegetarians so the goats either died a natural death or were put down if they were sick/injured and then buried in the yard. I don't have goats now, but am planning on them next spring.

    So, do you eat your old milk goats? Is the meat actually any good? How do you decide when it's time for the freezer (or if you don't eat them, how do you decide when to put them down)?
     
  2. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    A doe is kept as long as she can continue to kid each year and milk. A buck is kept until he is sterile, usually 10. It's a very sad day in the life of a goat when you are beaten up by the younger milkers and loose your place as herd queen. For us it is usually 12 years old for does. In the over 20 years of goating, I have only buried 2 adult does, favorites, all the rest were butchered. Yes we personally make sausage out of the old does, old bucks are sold and butchered by my BIL who uses the meat to feed homeless men in our county.

    Most milkers stay here unless gifted when older into friends homes who want the bloodline, they do sign papers that the doe will not be rehomed, they continue to kid for the person and come home to be put down if the new owner is not able to do it. Alot of folks never deal with death issues in their own lives, forget about having a plan for their stock or even their dogs.

    I have alot of friends who let their goats live until they finally can't get up and die in the corner, that isn't a quality of life to me. They have made me alot of money and deserve more. Death to me is more than a sad pathetic life of pain.

    A better question is what will happen to your herd today, right now if you die in your sleep tonight. Does anyone know your breeding dates, have acess to the signature on your paperwork, are your does tattooed or tagged with who is who for quick identity? Vicki
     

  3. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,370
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona

    Excellent question, Vicki. A good friend of mine bought a herd of registered oberhaslis after the death of a goat friend. It was a mess. Everyone was ai'd, with no dates, no sires, records were a tangled mess, few were tagged, tattooed, etc. There were old lady goats in there that should have been put down long ago, but given the goat friend's long battle with cancer ( I believe), the herd health had fallen into a terrible state. I would add to your question: what are your arrangements in case of long illness? The loving thing would be to disperse of your herd before you got so sick that you couldn't care for them. Most people don't plan on getting sick, and few people plan on dying - even though death comes to us all. Make plans, and let some close friends KNOW your plans!

    As far as the original question: I have not had to face that yet. I have a couple of does that are approaching seven - they are my oldest. It is my plan to butcher old does, and bucks - although if they aren't in pain and are a favorite, I might put them out to pasture for a season or two of 'retirement' first. If their quality of life was squat - they'd be put down right away. I have a pretty small herd, though so we aren't talking huge numbers of goats.

    Niki
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Good thread. Are there any areas where you can just ship your culls? We have dairy cows and when they are no longer profitable for us to keep we send them to a collection point where they are then sent to a meat packer. They either "go to McDonalds" or are made into dog food.

    Heather
     
  5. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

    Messages:
    3,087
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    Western NY
    Niki, I know of which herd you speak and it was quite a trying time to deal with it all. I have some of her oberhasli semen here and it was just by dumb luck that we were able to get it. I know of the gentlemen who obtained her many tanks and it was a nightmare straightening it all out. This was a great example of the importance of records.
     
  6. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I have to admit that I had no idea people ate old goats! Ok, remember that I've been a vegetarian my whole life (except for a few "rebellious" teenage years). When I first started talking about getting goats, my brother (who did not retain the family diet) asked what I would do when they got old. He said that a vegetarian having goats was silly because once they stop having kids, you just have an expensive pet unless you eat them. I told him that was the silliest thing I’d ever heard and that NO ONE would eat their old milk goat. (removing foot from mouth) Now I know different! It definetly makes sense to me to eat the goat - just thought it would be tough and gamey or something.

    I don’t have a problem with the consumption of animals for food, I just haven’t ever warmed up to the taste of it (and I know I couldn’t kill and process an animal myself and that sorts seems wrong for me to eat an animal that I couldn’t even face).

    Darn, I’ll have to tell my brother he was right. If he starts eyeing my goats when they get old though…
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    No, I don't. When I think my girls are too old to breed, they retire and live until they die a natural death, or their health fails and they need to be put down - either by my son, or by the vet. Luckily, I can afford to do that, keep them around. I don't fault anyone else for their choices with their older does, but an older doe doesn't necessarily get beat up or lose her place as queen. I lost a really old girl at the beginning of the winter, she simply went to sleep in her pen and didn't wake up - until then she went out to pasture, ate with the goats, shook her head at the younger does, and didn't have any long term health problems. I have an 10 yr old who is due to kid in a couple weeks, she's in very good condition. I don't have any old bucks, I will deal with that when the time comes. I don't have an arbitrary age as to when I "dispose" of an older doe though. I have lots of room. My records are in shape, so I don't worry about that either. If you don't have access to fancy breeding software, download some free 4H dairy logs online.
     
  8. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,370
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    UpNorth - the only place I can think of would be an auction - and I don't know if I could do that. The only auction here is not my favorite place - pretty hard end for a favorite milker. Don't know if I could live with myself. I guess if I was dealing with a commercial dairy, with a large number of animals I might have to reconsider. Or stop eating beef entirely, lol!

    Charleen - I don't even know the herd of which I speak, lol. I'm not 'connected' with very many goat people, and not involved with the Arizona Dairy Goat Association, so I don't know know the herd name, or the names of anyone involved. But I did see the goats in person and it was a sad looking bunch of goats. It wasn't only the records that suffered, but the goats as well. The record situation was impossible - I can only imagine what it must have been like to sort the semen tanks. My friend said at one time they were 'very' nice goats. I could only assume it was due to the owner being sick and down for so long.

    Madness - lol. I'm guessing that sausage would be the best way to handle butchering an older animal, using pork fat or ground pork to even out the flavor. I haven't found goat meat to taste gamey though, and grinding it would solve the 'tough' problem. I don't have a source to point you to, but to my knowledge, I have read that goat meat is the number one most consumed meat worldwide. Americans, of course, are more beef-centric. Some ethnic groups prefer older goats to young ones - even bucks!

    Niki
     
  9. jen74145

    jen74145 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,375
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    Well, my first goat has been with me for all of two or three weeks now, so take this with a big fat lump of salt, but....
    For now, I'm going with Nigerian dwarves. Itty bitty things with itty bitty stomachs= surprisingly itty bitty feed bill. Molly is a kid, but I would not have thought a rabbit could make it on the amount she eats. Even if her consumption quadruples, still not a big deal. I plan on keeping little Molly around as long as possible, and when she is done having kids and giving milk, she can live out her days as long as she is happy and healthy. Were she to be injured or we could no longer keep her when she is old, she would be put down... I would not want to put her through the stress of rehoming or subject her to an uncertain future.
    She will wind up with herdmates soon, likely one or two more doelings only... I've decided that I like Nigerians too much to have a large herd, as I don't know how I'd feel if I had to put down older does.... when we get more land, I'll probably keep another standard sized breed, but just buy mature does and sell them after a season or two to avoid getting attached. Did that epic make any sense at all?
     
  10. Blossomgapfarm

    Blossomgapfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    692
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Louisiana/South Arkansas
    jen -
    You may be surprised how fast you can get attached to a mature doe - especially if you are going to be milking her once or twice a day! :)
    Dawn
     
  11. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    SC Kansas
    Yep! Can't imagine wasting all that good meat. We are not rich, and food is not cheap.
     
  12. BlueHeronFarm

    BlueHeronFarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,370
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Vicki-- do you actually make the sausage or do you take it to a processor? We live near you and are not sure what we'll do with the boy babies that don't get bought as cabrito. Have thought about getting sausage made. I won't be able to do it myself - I'm a vegetarian and don't have the right brain for butchering/meat handling yet...it's our first year.
     
  13. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,177
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    I make all my own sausage. The way I see it is I can know my animals did not suffer or be scarred. They are shot at home and never know what hit them. The first meal is always hard but after that it is fine.

    For sausage you need a grinder. I grind mine 2 x You can add beef or pork fat . Then your seasonings. It is very easy. I leave mine loose.


    Patty
     
  14. Suemo

    Suemo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    113
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    I just wanted to weigh in here AGAINST sending old does to an auction. It is the most unkind thing you could do! Most of the animals that come to an auction are wild, and will move freely. A gentle goat that would rather follow than drive, or one that is slow b/c of arthritis is going to get the whip, paddle, or even hotshot. Most people working at goat salebarns don't understand goats (or sheep for that matter) and can't recognize an animal that would rather be led by the collar she's wearing than be driven. A doe that has lived a long, productive life deserves a a peaceful death on the farm. She has repaid herself many times over in the milk she produces (store milk costs $3 per gallon, and she gives you at least 200 gallons a year) plus kids and brush control.
    Bess
     
  15. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    I run a commercial (cow) dairy so I tend to look at things in those terms. I know there are many people on here that strictly raise goats for their own home use. I guess I am interested in the people who have larger herds and what they do. There are only so many goats you can eat or let retire on your land. :)
     
  16. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    We have animals we eat and animals that live out their lives here. There are even certain poultry we consider pets and would never eat, LOL! So some certain ones luck out. I would NEVER send a pet milkgoat to auction! She would be resting comfortably in my freezer first or buried in the pet cemetary...up to my hubby there. The greyer my roots get, the less sentimental i become and the more practical i become when it comes to keeping our own stomachs full. Any goat shot here is happily eating a huge pan of too much of it's favorite grain, wagging it's tail, out of sight of the other goats, and never knows what hit it. What a way to go.

    BTW, goat and pork sausage is out-of-sight!
     
  17. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    North East, PA in Northwestern PA
    Whew! Yes. I keep a dry erase board in the milk room with all that info...and a calendar...and a computer program.

    Ruth
     
  18. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
    If you look at the back of some cans of ravoili and the like, you can see the ingredient 'ovine meat'...which doesn't mean cow.
     
  19. KayJay

    KayJay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    Southwestern Wyoming
    Ovine are sheep, no? I know goats are caprine. ;)
    I don't know if I could eat my milkers when they get old. The does I currently have I certainly could not eat, but who knows how I'll feel about future goats, I guess that will depend on their personality and my relationship with them. As odd as it seems to me, I could probably eat my buck, Zeus, and I even bottle raised him. I'm not sure why, but the thought of it doesn't really bother me. If I ended up not being able to eat him I could certainly feed him to the dogs and cats. :shrug: I did butcher a goat once because she was just the most evil goat I had ever seen, she was incredibly aggressive and would just lay into anyone near her, even charging certain goats from across 5 or 6 acres of land. I couldn't eat the meat from that goat, not really sure why. So I fed her to the dogs and cats. It's kinda like my chickens, I can't bring myself to eat my older less productive layers, I feel like they deserve more than that. But, when I get sick of a certain roo, into the pot he goes. Any animal that was suffering or in pain would be humanely killed, no matter who it was or how much I loved them. If they weren't sickly, and not favorites, I'm sure I'd eat them, or at least feed them to the dogs.
     
  20. APPway

    APPway Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    975
    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sask Canada
    beat me to it on ovine being sheep