A look into goat farming history

The history of raising goats goes back almost 10,000 years to Africa and the Middle East. Their use has remained relatively the same throughout the centuries, people around the globe raise goats for their meat, milk, hair, and usefulness as pack animals owing to being agile and sure-footed.

Goat meat and milk are consumed virtually the world over, being a day-to-day food staple particularly in the Middle Eastern countries. The milk is made into cheeses and other food items, the skins used as material for clothing, housing and containment for liquids such as water or wine.

Goats also make ideal pets, which early goat keepers learned quickly since spending a huge part of each day with their herd. The herdsman would take his goats each day to an area that supplied tons of fresh grass for grazing and fresh water, keeping watch over them against any predator animal that might lurk. Each evening the herdsman gathers his goats to the barn and locks them in for security.

Modern times have left this ritual of raising goats relatively unchanged, mostly. Fences and automatic pasturing and watering systems for people who can afford it take the place of the daily duties of the goatherd, but many duties still has to be done manually, such as giving medicine shots for illness and keeping the right nutritional foods available.

In the years past there were only a few unique goat breeds internationally. Today there are many different breeds of goats through cross breeding and careful improvement. While there are many goat breeds available, only a handful are popular owing to various reasons. The breeds include the Boer, Alpine, Toggenburg, Pygmy, Spanish, Nubian, Fainting Goat, LaMancha, Angora, Cashmere and recent years, the Kiko goat which derives from New Zealand.

While there are various reasons for raising goats, the opportunity for pleasure and profit remain the same throughout, whether the goats are for companion, dairy, meat or fiber.

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