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.
- 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
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
- 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.
- NYS Pack Goat Record Book is available for your project.
- 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.
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