Goat projects of many kinds are available to New York youth ages 5-19 through the Cornell Cooperative Extension program. For more information, contact your county CCE office or the address at the end of this page.
Owning a goat is a serious commitment – they live about as long as a large dog.
- If your family likes dairy products, dairy goats may be the perfect animals for you.
- Though smaller than cows, they give family-sized amounts of milk daily.
- They cost less to house and feed, are very affectionate and make great companions.
- Like cows, they need to be milked twice a day.
- Goat meat is one of the most commonly eaten meats in the world.
- Goat meat tastes similar to venison and beef.
- Meat goats do not need to be milked every day.
- Check out our: Fact Sheet Series on Meat Goat Herd Management Practices
Driving and pack goat projects
- Castrated male goats (wethers) can be trained to pull carts or carry packs.
- Wethers have the same lifespan as a dog and require regular exercise.
- Basic training of wethers should start at 2-3 months for packing or driving.
- Pack goats
- By 1 year of age, a wether can carry 2-3 pounds in a soft pack.
- At maturity, he’ll be able to carry up to 50 lbs. of gear in a rigid pack.
- Plans are available for making your own soft packs..
- Rigid packs for serious packing are pretty expensive, so plan ahead.
- Good references are Pack Goat Essentials and 4H Pack Goat Project.
- Driving goats
- By 2 years of age, he should be strong enough to pull a cart.
- Training a driving wether usually takes 2 people. See Teaching Your Goat To Drive.
- Driving equipment can be expensive, so research costs involved before making the decision.
- Plans are available for building your own driving carts.
- A 4-H Harness Goat Project Manual is available for your project.
- A fiber goat project is perfect for someone who likes goats, wants to learn how to spin, and likes to knit or crochet.
- All goats produce a fuzzy undercoat of soft wool in the winter to help keep them warm. This wool is called cashmere.
- Some goats produce special fibers or wools in their coats that can be spun to make yarn.
- Angora goats produce curly long wool called mohair.
- Some goats produce so much cashmere that it is worth the time and effort to comb or shear it off them at the end of winter.
- You can use females or castrated male goats for a fiber goat project.
- A fiber goat’s fleece must be kept clean all winter and harvested every year.
- Michigan State University offers an Angora Goat Project record book.
Contact: tatiana Stanton