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Department of Animal Science

Goat Program

Owning a goat is a serious commitment – they live about as long as a large dog.

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.

Dairy Goat Projects

  • 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.

Meat Goat Projects

Working Goat Projects (Driving & Pack)

    • 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.
    • Some of the equipment can be fairly expensive to purchase. The NYS 4-H Working Goat Committee offers a lending program which allows 4-Hers to borrow goat packs or harnesses for up to 3 months to see if these activities are for you!

  • Pack Goat Projects
  • 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.

Fiber Goat Projects

  • A fiber goat project is perfect for someone who likes goats, wants to learn how to spin, and likes to knit,  crochet or weave.
  • The fleece of a sheep is made up of a fiber called wool.  The fleece of a goat is made up of either cashmere or mohair fiber.
  • All goats with the exception of Angora goats produce a fuzzy undercoat of soft fiber in the winter to help keep them warm. This fiber is called cashmere.
  • Angora goats produce lots of long, curly fiber. However, this fiber is not called angora.  Instead, it is called mohair. Only Angora rabbits produce Angora!
  • Some goats produce so much cashmere that it is worth the time and effort to harvest the cashmere by combing or shearing to make it into yarn.
  • You can use female goats 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 and a 22pg booklet entitled “Your Angora Goat Project”.

 

Contact: tatiana Stanton

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