Saturday, 21 July 2012

LEARNING ABOUT GOATS

Goats can thrive in scrubland and dry landscapes, eating rough foliage, they do not require lush grass like cows. Considering that goats eat whatever they find available even in woody or arid conditions and still convert their diet into meat maybe goat is a good source of protein for the future. Kate Little said in her Nuffield Scholarship study, “goats turn weeds into meat.” As for goat’s milk products they are lower in fat and easier to digest than cow’s milk products, but they still have the protein and are even higher in calcium. I have never tasted goat meat. I would like to try it as I hear it is a little bit like lamb. It is also lower in cholesterol and fat and higher in protein than other common types of meat.

Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated. They were kept in small herds around 10,000 years ago for their milk, meat, dung, hair, skin, bone and sinew, for food, clothing and building materials. It has been estimates in 2010 that in the UK there are about 10,000 fibre goats, 10,000 meat goats and 70,000 diary goats making up a goat population of 90,000.

There are a few references to goats in sayings and literature, you might get someone’s goat, that is annoy or irritate them, you might be made a scapegoat and be unjustly blamed for something you didn’t do, or if you are just kidding (a kid being a baby goat) you are saying something is untrue or misleading. Goats are renowned for being inquisitive, cheeky, adventurous and also stubborn and troublesome.

When I started researching goat farming I was just following a mystical, fascination with the animal that I have had for as long as I can remember. It was in fact my new years resolution for 2012 to do something aboutthis interest and in January I made contact with two or three dairy goat farmers in my area, in Sussex and asked if I could offer my services as a voluntary assistant but my offers were turned down. Since then life has shifted around and changed and I have decided to uproot myself, become a nomad and have an adventure. I am going to France to work on various farms for 5 months and I hope during this time I will learn about caring for dairy goats and making cheese.



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