Facts and Myths
Goats do not eat cans and garbage. They are curious and will taste various things. Their preferred food is browse (woody stems). Therefore they are not good "lawn mowers" because woody plants are preferred over grasses. On farms they are fed a mixture of hay, forage and grains.
Goats do not have incisors (front teeth) on the top, only on the bottom of their jaws. This is also true of wild browsers like deer and moose.
Worldwide, people drink more milk from goats than from any other mammal. It is drunk on all continents.
If properly handled, goat milk does not taste different from cow milk.
A full sized doe can produce 6-8 pounds (3-4 quarts) of milk per day. They are milked twice a day like cows.
Goat milk has a pH close to that of humans, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein and has smaller fat globules so it is more digestible than cow milk. Many people who are allergic to cow milk can drink goat milk without a problem.
Goat milk is naturally emulsified, cream does not rise to the top readily.
Butter and cheese made from goat milk are naturally white.
There are 6 breeds of dairy goats recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association: Nubian, LaMancha, Alpine, Toggenberg, Oberhasli, and Saanen.
Common meat breeds include Boer and Savanna. The commercial goat meat industry did not start in the US until the 1990's. Demand by immigrants and various ethnic groups created this new agricultural market.
Fiber goats include Angora which produce about 12 pounds of mohair each year and Cashmere which produce about 4 ounces of the fine, soft undercoat fiber each year. This explains why cashmere clothing is so expensive!
Goats do like to climb and often play "queen of the mountain", knocking each other off a high spot.
Goat Farming in NH
When asked "Why do you raise goats?" a common response from goat farmers in NH is "because they are such interesting animals, with great personalities". Valerie Drown who raises dairy goats in Webster said she inherited her love of goats from her grandfather. She's been around them since she was 13 and really enjoys how friendly they are. When Valerie talks to her goats, they talk back. Though they can be a challenge sometimes (she told quite a story about a couple of does who liked to jump out the window of her barn), but the rewards are worth it.
The folks at Hickory Nut Farm in Lee got hooked after "babysitting" some goats for a neighbor who was on vacation. They now have 71 goats of different ages and love their "kind eyes" and that they are "mostly quiet animals, except during feeding time, when everyone chews!"
Goat milk cheese can be firm or soft. The firm varieties must be aged under proper conditions of temperature and humidity. At Hickory Nut Farm, they built an underground cheese cave where the cheeses are aged for at least two months.
Interest in goat milk cheese, soap and other products varies depending on where you are in the state. However, according to the goat farmers I talked to, the demand for these items at some Farmers' Markets is extremely high.
To find a list of some of the goat farms in NH click here: