Storey’s Guide To Raising Meat Goats: Managing, Breeding, Marketing, by Maggie Sayer
This is an interesting book, at least for those who have some interest in animal husbandry, that suggests to the financially-minded goat breeder that there can be some income found in growing goats for meat and that there are some opportunities to encourage people to eat more goat. This book indicates at least that a substantial amount of that effort will require either raising goats that are meaty and capable of appealing to unmet demand for goat mostly in ethnic areas and in trying to convince Americans to use the French term for goat meat because it doesn’t have the negative connotations of goat in the minds of Americans. I find such things pretty risible myself, because there are plenty of tasty goat dishes and it is lamentable to see the way that snobbery is a threat to the expansion of business opportunities for those who think that there could be three times as many meat goats merely to meet unmet demand for the meat among immigrant populations. That is a lot of goat, and it appears that few people, for whatever reasons, are raising those goats at least in my own observation.
This book is about 300 pages and is divided into fifteen chapters and several appendices. The author begins with a discussion of why people should raise meat goats (1) and then discusses the preparation one needs to do before one begins (2). After that the author discusses which breed to choose based on a variety of factors (3) as well as where and where not to buy goats for one’s farm (4). There is a discussion of selecting breeding stock (5) as well as how to think like goats when it comes to handling, feeding, and behavior (6). A chapter is devoted to goat hauling (7) as well as the housing and facilities required by goats (8) and how to properly feed them (9). A chapter is spent on keeping goats healthy and taking care of them when they are ill (10) as well as the parasites that can afflict them (11). The author discusses various options for livestock guardians (12) to protect goats from predators as well as the breeding of meat goats (13). The book’s chapters then end with a look at the marketing of meat goats (14) and the promotion of one’s goat business (15). Seven appendices then follow on the DEFRA’s code of recommendation for the welfare of goats (i), photographing goats (ii), identifying oats (iii), trimming hooves (iv), adding a milk goat for kids to take care of (v), clipping for shows (vi), and emergency killing (vii) before the book ends with resources, a glossary, and index.
The book offers a variety of ways for people to raise meat goats for fun and profit, and those ways are worthwhile to investigate for those who are interested in engaging in animal husbandry. For one, one can raise goats for the show circuit as a way of increasing the value of purebred and fullbred lines, although there are certainly costs involved in putting animals up for show. The book helpfully offers tips on how goats need to be certain weights and ages to meet certain markets’ demands. The book even discusses the use of goats to pull carts and bear burdens for camping and other overland expeditions. Truly goats can be trained to do a diverse set of tasks and this speaks highly of their intellect as animals and the way that they can be profitably grown, even if breeding remains at the core of successful goat raising, requiring a great deal of attention to multiple births so as to raise enough goats to make it possible to sell them to other optimistic souls. I wonder if this is how my grandmother had to reason when it came to the cows that were on her farm, for this sort of book with its shrewd financial advice would have appealed to her own business interests.