• It's not uncommon for someone to contact me about a goat problem that they have, and to resist doing anything "unnatural," such as providing a commercial mineral for their goats. What most people don't realize is that they aren't raising their goats naturally to begin with.

    In this episode, I'm talking about why my book is called Raising Goats Naturally, what that means, and what it does not mean. I also talk about the five reasons it is impossible for most of us to raise goats naturally in much of North America.

    Other episodes referenced in this episode:

    #46 Healthy Weeds and Poisonous Plants with Kim Cassida, April 28, 2021
    #54 Nutritional Wisdom with Dr. Fred Provenza, August 4, 2021
    #41 Copper Deficiency with Dr. Robert VanSaun, March 17, 2021
    #37 Selenium Deficiency with Dr. Robert VanSaun, February 16, 2021

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/raising-goats-naturally/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • If a herd has more than one breed of goat, odds are good that they also have some experimental goats, which are crosses of other purebred standard-sized goats. Bucks are determined creatures, and unplanned breedings happen in most herds.

    However, there is a huge difference between accidental crosses and crosses that are planned to create the best goats to meet your goals. For Erika McKenzie, head cheesemaker and dairy herd manager at Pennyroyal Farm, that means creating crosses of her three different breeds to create the goats with the best milk for making cheese.

    In this episode, Erika talks about her breeding strategies and why she loves being unencumbered by specific breed standards, as well as the dairy's business model and their cheese subscription program. She also discusses her early days with the goat herd at UC-Davis and how her goats wound up on ADGA's Top Ten list the year after starting to milk test.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/experimental-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

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  • If you are interested in a medium-sized goat for milking, you should consider the Toggenburg, which is always a shade of brown, somewhere between tan and dark chocolate. The Toggenburg goat's butterfat average is the lowest of the dairy breeds, but it still makes great cheese.

    Today we are talking to Leslie Cardoza owner of Bar XX Dairy Goats, who has been breeding Toggenburgs for milk and show in California since 2003. She has had goats on the ADGA Top Ten list for milk production every year since 2010, and one year her goats took seven of the ten spots.

    In addition to talking about characteristics of the Toggenburg goat, she also talks about milk testing and how that affects her breeding decisions.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/toggenburg-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • If you are looking for a larger dairy goat that produces a lot of milk and has fairly low butterfat, then the Sable goat might be the one for you, especially if you like the idea of having a breed that is not very common.

    In this episode, I'm talking to Klisse Foster who has been raising Sable goats since the 1980s. Her goats are often on the American Dairy Goat Association's Top Ten list for milk production. She shows her goats too and can usually be found at the ADGA national show, even in years when Sables are not sanctioned.

    We also talk about how to overcome the challenges of raising a goat breed that is less common by doing things like using frozen semen for artificial insemination and leasing bucks.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/sable-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Today's episode started as a discussion of Nubian goats with Joanne Danielson who has been raising them for 40 years. However, because of Jo's experience as a professional cheesemaker, it quickly turned into a deep dive into the science of cheesemaking and how starting with the right goats can make all the difference.

    At 5%, Nubian goats have the highest butterfat of any of the standard breeds. But because Jo is serious about making the best cheese, she has incorporated genetic testing into her toolkit so that she can focus on breeding goats with the best genes for making cheese. And she quickly adds that if you have any issues with milk sensitivities, these goats would not be the best choice for you.

    If you love goats and you love cheese, this is the episode for you!

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/nubian-goats-cheesemaking/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • It can be so challenging to choose a breed of goat to raise. But you should not choose your goats like you choose pets, which is often based on appearance, color, or size. If you want your goats to serve a purpose, such as dairy or meat, you really should choose the breed that is going to help you meet your goals.

    Since we don't drink milk, our goat milk is almost all used exclusively for making cheese, which is why we have Nigerian dwarf. Since they have the highest butterfat of any breed, we get a much higher cheese yield than we would with another breed. But if you need several gallons of milk a day, I would suggest one of the larger dairy goat breeds.

    In this episode, I also discuss why you should start with only one breed, as well as the disadvantage of having breeds of different sizes.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/choosing-a-goat-breed-for-your-farm/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • As I've received more messages from people with kids born hairless or with goiters, I've become more interested in the topic of iodine and goats because those symptoms occur in kids that are iodine deficient.

    You don't usually hear anyone talking about iodine and goats unless the topic of kelp comes up, and then the conversation can swing wildly between people worried about deficiency or toxicity. In today's episode, I am joined again by Dr. Robert VanSaun, Professor of Veterinary Science and Extension Veterinarian in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

    We talk about symptoms of iodine deficiency in adult goats, as well as newborn kids. We also take a deep dive into providing kelp for goats and how labels don't always give you the information you need.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/iodine-deficiency-in-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Coxiella burnetii is the bacteria that causes coxiellosis in goats and Q-fever in humans, and although it is not super common, all goat owners need to be aware of it so that they can prevent their goats and themselves from being infected.

    Coxiellosis in goats is highly infectious and can cause abortion storms in herds. Humans can be infected via aerosols (like COVID), birth secretions, feces, and raw milk. This disease can be especially bad in pregnant women.

    In this episode, I am talking to infectious disease expert Dr. Charles Gaiser from the USDA about the transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this devastating disease.

    Full show notes here -- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/q-fever-and-coxiellosis-in-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Have you ever wanted to produce 100% of your food? Well, that's exactly what Alexia Allen and her husband Daniel Kirchhof did in 2017. In this episode, she talks about how goats played a central role in their year of hand-harvested food. They ate nothing — not even salt — that was not harvested by them or their friends.

    How did they get the idea to go a whole year without purchased food? What did they do to prepare? How did goats fit into the picture?

    Alexia talks about her experience making cheese without purchased cultures or rennet, as well as how she as a former vegan was able to butcher some of their baby goats to make rennet from the stomaches. This episode includes my favorite laugh-out-loud moment when Alexia tells us about a 6-year-old's assessment of the cheese she made with her homemade rennet.

    I also share our experience from many years ago trying to make cheese without store-bought cultures, and we talk about how much tolerance we have for learning things by trial and error. And ultimately, how important is it that we strive for total self-sufficiency?

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goats-in-a-hand-harvested-food-year/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Although everyone pretty much agrees that goats do a good job of consuming just the right amount of loose minerals when they are available free choice, there are still a lot of people who don't think goats (or other animals) can selectively choose to consume plants that they need when they need them.

    The concept of "nutritional wisdom" is something that Dr. Fred Provenza wound up studying throughout his career at Utah State University. I've heard about Dr. Provenza's research for about as long as I've raised goats, so it was really interesting to be able to talk to him in this episode.

    While most people would look at goats eating urine-soaked rat houses or a cow eating a rabbit and assume that it had no clue what it was doing, Dr. Provenza asked why.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/nutritional-wisdom-of-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

    For more information

    Read about Dr. Provenza's research and other researchers studying "Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management" at Behave.net.

  • After writing about our experience when one of our does had squamous cell carcinoma, I've been contacted by quite a few other goat owners who have had a goat that also had that form of skin cancer.

    But Mary Brennan really got my attention when she emailed and told me she has had six goats with confirmed squamous cell carcinoma! She noticed that some of the goats were related, which caused her to dive deep into the history of the Nigerian dwarf breed, as well as skin cancer in other species. Ultimately that led her to a researcher at the University of California at Davis, who is now collecting data to study the potential role that genetics might play in this deadly disease.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/squamous-cell-carcinoma-in-nigerian-dwarf-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

    You can visit Herron Hill Dairy online at...



    For more information

    Cancer in Goats: Squamous cell carcinoma

    What’s So Great About Nigerian Dwarf Goats?

  • Someone emailed me after her first experience tattooing goats and said, "There has to be a better way to identify goats. What can you tell me about microchips?" Luckily I had already scheduled an interview with Allysse Sorenson, Chief Executive Herder of The Munch Bunch and webmaster at HireGoats.com.

    Allysse has microchipped all of her caprine "employees" to not only identify them but also to keep track of them. In this episode, we are talking about why she decided to microchip her goats, how a microchip works, and some common misconceptions about microchips.

    We also talk about Scrapie program requirements for identifying each goat, the different brands available, and where to place the microchip on the goat, as well as who might not want to microchip their goats.

    Allysse goes on to talk about apps and technologies related to microchips and how they can make your record keeping easier.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/microchipping-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Zinc deficiency is often suspected when a goat is losing hair, but there are other reasons for hair loss, and that is not the only symptom of zinc deficiency. In this episode, we are talking about zinc with Dr. Robert VanSaun from the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

    First, he talks about how zinc affects 200 different functions in the body, and it is unfortunately deficient in all forage in the U.S. Goats need at least 40 ppm zinc in their diet, but most forage is closer to 25 ppm.

    Then we discuss interactions with other minerals and how too much of some minerals can cause a zinc deficiency.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/zinc-for-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • Some people talk about sheep and goats as if they are practically the same species, but nothing could be further from the truth. I've been breeding and milking Nigerian dwarf goats since 2002 and LaMancha goats for about 10 years. It may come as a surprise that I also bred Shetland sheep for 12 years and have had Katahdin hair sheep for six years now.

    In this episode, I am talking about how the two species are similar and different and why you might prefer one species over the other.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goats-vs-sheep/
    To see the most recent episodes, visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com

  • When my daughters were teenagers, they loved showing our goats. It was a great way for us to learn about goat conformation and to see how our goats compared to others. It also provided an opportunity for us to meet other goat owners.

    In this episode, we are talking to Ellen Dorsey of Dill's-A Little Goat Farm in Oklahoma, who has been raising goats for two decades and showing for almost as many years. She talks about why she started showing goats and provides tips for anyone who wants to get started showing goats or improve their herd with an eye towards showing.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/showing-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

    You can visit Dills-A-Little Goat Farm online at …



  • Because barber pole worm (haemonchus contortus) causes so many deaths among goats, we don't talk about other worms much. Barber pole is the worm that sucks blood and causes goats to become anemic, which can cause a goat to go downhill rapidly and even die.

    Goats can be walking around with a host of other worms in their body, however, and ironically most of those worms are unimportant and don't cause disease. So, why are we talking about them? Because most people think that all worms must be killed, and ultimately, the attempt to kill all the worms can result in the barber pole worm killing your goats.

    Since barber pole worm can become resistant to dewormers, we should only use dewormers when the health of the goat is being negatively affected by worms. The more we use a dewormer, the sooner barber pole is going to become resistant to that dewormer — and then barber pole can kill your goats.

    In this episode, I am talking about these common but unimportant worms with Dr. Ann Zajac, Professor Emeritus of Parasitology at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. We're discussing tapeworms, threadworms (strongyloides), pinworms, whipworms, and lungworms, and why we don't usually need to be worried about their existence inside our goats.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/common-but-unimportant-worms-in-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

    For more information:

    American Association of Small Ruminant Parasite Control

    Copper Oxide as a Dewormer

    Deer Worms in Goats

    Natural Parasite Control with Lespedeza

    Roundworms and Goats

    Using Dewormers Correctly

    Worms During Kidding Season

  • If you have goats for very long, you may realize that some never need deworming while others need it frequently. There is definitely a genetic component involved in a goat's natural resistance or resilience to worms.

    In this episode I'm talking to Andrew Weaver, Ph.D., Small Ruminants Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University about genetic resistance to worms in goats and sheep. Although there has been a lot more research done on genetic resistance in sheep, goat owners can learn from their playbook and use some of the same selection tools for improving the worm resistance of their herds.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/genetic-resistance-to-worms-in-goats/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

    For more information:

    American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control

    Worms During Kidding Season

    Roundworms and Goats

    Deer Worms in Goats

    Using Dewormers Correctly

  • If you look online for a list of plants that are poisonous to goats, you might think you need to chop down trees and pull up dozens of weeds to keep your goats safe. Those lists can include things like oak and maple leaves, which my goats eat regularly because my farm is covered with them. The fact is that goats actually have a much higher tolerance for poisonous plants than horses and some other animals. So, what's a conscientious goat owner to do?

    In this episode, I'm talking to Kim Cassida from Michigan State University as we talk about the fact that many weeds can actually very nutritious for goats while the number of plants poisonous to goats is actually pretty low.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/healthy-weeds-and-poisonous-plants/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

  • If you ever wanted to sell your goats or sheep to someone in another country, then you are already familiar with the US's problem with scrapie. It's not a huge problem, but having anything more than zero cases for seven years means that most countries will not allow our sheep and goats to be imported into their country.

    In this episode, I am talking to Charles Gaiser, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, who is a sheep and goat epidemiologist with the USDA, APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service), VS (Veterinary Services), RHC (Ruminant Health Center), Small Ruminant Health Team, and we are talking about scrapie, which is a spongiform encephalopathy similar to "mad cow disease" but in goats and sheep.

    Because we have animals in the US with this disease, breeders can only sell goats and sheep to other countries if they have a herd or flock that is certified scrapie free, which takes seven years of testing and surveillance.

    Every time I get an inquiry from someone in another country who wants to buy my goats, I have to say no because my flock is not certified free of scrapie. I've thought about enrolling, but then I just keep hoping that the US can go seven years without any cases. I got really excited in 2019 when I heard that we had gone three years with no positive cases of scrapie! But then there was another one, so that resets the national clock back to zero.

    In this episode, we are talking about the disease, the symptoms, testing, and what you can do to get your herd certified free of scrapie and sell goats internationally.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/scrapie-in-goats-and-sheep/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

    For more information

    Main USDA Sheep and Goat Webpage:

    USDA APHIS | Sheep and Goat Health

    National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) Webpage:

    USDA APHIS | National Scrapie Eradication Program

    NSEP Standards:

    Microsoft Word - nsep_program_standards 2019 final.doc (usda.gov)

    Designated scrapie epidemiologists in each state for questions on scrapie:

    Official Designated Scrapie Epidemiologists and Local Points of Contact List (usda.gov)

    To request official sheep and goat tags, a flock or premises ID or both, call 1-866-USDA-Tag (866-873-2824). Free tags can be provided if producer has not received free tags in the past 5 years or as an incentive for providing scrapie surveillance samples from their animals.

    SFCP Webpage:

    USDA APHIS | Free Flock Certification Program

    SFCP Standards:

    standards_current.pdf (usda.gov)

  • Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz first entered our lives in 2004 during their Year of the Goat when they traveled from coast to coast learning about all things goat. They were enamored with these amazing creatures, and they knew they wanted to do something with goats. But what?

    Instead of just reading a couple of books, they decided to literally write a book, as they visited goat dairies, the circus, pack goat operations, slaughterhouses, and even homesteads that had goats as an integral part of their plan for greater self-reliance.

    After 12 months and thousands of miles, they ultimately settled on a small homestead in Maine and decided to start an agritourism business with goats as the centerpiece.

    In this episode, I'm talking to Margaret about their trip, their experiences, and why they ultimately decided on tourism rather than one of the other many goat businesses they learned about. And what it's like sharing your farm with total strangers, both pre-Covid and during.

    Full show notes here --- https://thriftyhomesteader.com/agritourism-on-ten-apple-farm/

    To see the most recent episodes, visit FortheLoveofGoats.com

    You can visit Ten Apple Farm online at ...




    If you are thinking about starting an agritourism business, also check out previous episodes on ...

    Avoiding Diseases with a Biosecurity Plan

    Zoonotic Diseases and Agritourism

    Goat Law