Goats in the north

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Anataq, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    We are considering purchasing goats for our remote homestead in South West Alaska, no nothing about them. I have been exploring a reading posts here and have found lots of good stuff, but where should we begin?

    Our home to be is very remote, and very harsh in the winter, not so bad as the interior of Alaska, but we still will get cold snaps in the -40 range.

    How viable is the idea of keeping goats at our home and are they worth the work.

    Vets are not an option as it would cost $800.00 just to get to the vets office.

    Where do we begin our research to detemine whether goats are a good idea?

    -Ryan

    www.pawcreekhomestead.com
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2003
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    To what purpose will the goats be kept? Given your location I'm going to assume that they aren't just for pets or brush clearing, right? Milk and/or meat goats can be kept easily in some cases, harder in others. I have had great luck with my Nubian...she is a big girl and produces big kids that offer good meat. She milks easily (now...had to work with her for a month first because she'd never been milked before!) and is very hardy - she'll eat just about anything you put in front of her, from your baseball cap to the weeds in her yard and didn't seem to have any troubles at all with the -25 we had this winter. Inside with no drafts, but no heat, either...just her and one more goat (Saanen, also did well) to keep each other company and warm.

    I'd also be certain that your fencing is sturdy - the site and smell and sound of a goat can be pretty tempting for many of the wild predators around. A good livestock guard dog would also be a good idea! Sounds like the fence is bear proof so should be okay, but there are other critters out there, too. :)

    If you can convince a goat to get onto the boat to *get* there (blindfold and in a large crate?), and your facilities are good, then a hearty breed should be able to withstand the cold, though you MAY have to bring them in during the very worst of it - share your heat with them. :D

    Good luck - I would love to be able to do this, too...but I am a lizard...I need my heat rock...Iowa is bad enough as it is! :no:

    -Sarah
     

  3. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Thanks for all the great information and thank you to those of you who sent me a private message as well.

    We would keep the goats for milk, or meat, but most milk I suppose, there is plenty of moose. Of course I have no idea what a goat tastes like.

    There is one other thing that we are up against, and that is feed. There is a tremedous amount of grass available during the summer, but quite a bit of snow in the winter. I am going to have to look into getting food for them in the winter. Shipping tons of food is not cost effective and for the same price I could have cow's milk flown in.

    :eek: Ryan www.pawcreekhomestead.com
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    If you have lots of grass in the summer, can you make hay? For small amounts, you can use a scythe and cure it inside a barn or shed. In hot weather, just cut enough to cover the floor loosely about three inches deep. The next day, do the same thing. The drying grass below will provide ventilation for the layer above. If you make sure not to get it too deep to quickly, it will all dry beautiful and green, and you can get a surprising amount of loose hay into a stall-sized area.

    Depending on the goat, you'll still need some grain for good milk production, although my Mini-Manchas are milking very well and keeping their condition very well on just enough grain to get them onto the milkstand, about a cup twice a day for five to six pounds of milk per animal.