Sunday, July 4, 2010

Raising Goats Past and Present

The history of raising goats goes back almost 10,000 years to Africa and the Middle East. Their use has remained relatively the same throughout the centuries, people around the world raise goats for their meat, milk, hair, and usefulness as pack animals due to being agile and sure-footed.

Goat meat and milk are consumed virtually the world over, being a daily food staple especially in the Middle Eastern countries. The milk is made into cheeses and other food items, the skins used as material for clothing, housing and containment for liquids such as water or wine.

Goats also make great pets, which early goat keepers learned quickly since spending a large part of each day with their herd. The herdsman would take his goats each day to an area that supplied plenty of fresh grass for grazing and clean water, keeping watch over them against any predator animal that may lurk. Each evening the herdsman gathers his goats to the barn and locks them in for safety.

Modern times have left this ritual of raising goats relatively unchanged, for the most part. Fences and automatic pasturing and watering systems for those who can afford it take the place of the daily duties of the goatherd, but many duties still must be done manually, such as giving medicine shots for illness and keeping the correct nutritional foods available.

In the years past there were only a few different goat breeds in the world. Today there are many different breeds of goats through cross breeding and careful improvement. While there are many goat breeds available, only a handful are popular due to various reasons. The breeds include the Boer, Alpine, Toggenburg, Pygmy, Spanish, Nubian, Fainting Goat, LaMancha, Angora, Cashmere and most recently, the Kiko goat which comes from New Zealand.

While there are various reasons for raising goats, the opportunity for pleasure and profit remain the same throughout, whether the goats are for companion, dairy, meat or fiber.

1 comment:

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