Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Milk Pail Diaries:
Goat Books

If you come to this farmhouse you will find books everywhere. They are on shelves, in stacks under the coffee table, in the cupboards, the bathroom... books reign supreme. MY collection of farm books keeps growing and when I dove into dairy work, it certainly didn't stop my reading problem. I thought I'd share my new Dairy Goat Owner's Library with you. These are the books I found most helpful in getting started with an animal like Bonita.

Living With Goats:
Written by memoirist Margaret Hathaway, this book is an amazing introduction to all goats, all based on one couple's journey making goats e a part of their everyday lives. While technically a how-to book, it reads more like a conversation between the "I'm-thinking-about-goats" person and the "You-can-do-this-if-we-can" people. This is the woman who wrote "The Year of the Goat" about quest for the perfect cheese. I think this particular book is out of print but you can buy copies online through goat supply stores like Caprine Supply or get it from your library. It's amazingly photographed, full color, conversational, and you don't need to know a damn thing about goats to love every second of it. This would be my pick for anyone considering a herd or a pair, but yet to hold the kids in their arms...

The Backyard Goat:
This book suprised the hell out of me. I thought it would be more general, more of a collection of the information you find online and on blogs. Instead it might be the best purchase anyone who just bought a small dairy, pet, or meat animal could invest in. Written by Sue Weaver, it is an easy and comfortable read covering the basics in comfy strides as well as things other books don't even conciser talking about. things like the history of the goat in America, famous cross-country goat cart trips, and training your goats to pack, cart, and be a part of the family. It's a warm an engaging friend in my new dairy path.

Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats
If you buy just one book on goats, this is it. It is the Bible on caring for goats, far as I am concerned. From kidding to a disease glossary I truly believe this one book gets it all done. It's dryer—more a textbook than a light introduction or memoir—but it will be the book you grab off the shelf when you need to go in after an inverted kid, a fever breaks, or you are worried about mastitis. This book deals with the dairy side of goats alone, and does not go into the meat side of the equation (That's another Storey's Guide), but if milk is your goal, who cares? If you can only buy one book on goats and you want it to have your back along the entire caprine ride, this is your girl.

How about your suggestions? Any great beginner goat books out there? Have you learned just as much from farming memoirs or novels that talk about livestock?

21 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I love that there is a different selection of books on your coffee table every time I'm there. I like your description of Living with Goats: "like a conversation between the "I'm-thinking-about-goats" person and the "You-can-do-this-if-we-can" people."" I would put us in the first category, but fortunately/unfortunately, our property is way too small for them right now.

April 28, 2012 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger Karen C said...

Loved The Year of the Goat very much, it was a great read - so I'll add this next one to my list - thanks for the recommendation. And for anyone out there that wants the best book I've ever read on goats, try Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby - reads easy for a book about goat maladies, and very holistic.

April 28, 2012 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Anton said...

I can't recommend 'Goat Song' by Brad Kessler highly enough. Admittedly it isn't a beginner's goat handbook, but a book written by someone who has a deep love and understanding of goats and shares the many and myriad ways they touched his life and the life of his family. It's written thoughtfully, poetically and respectfully. An absolute read for any caprine lover.

April 28, 2012 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I have to agree with Anton here. "Goat Song" seems like strictly a pleasure read, and it is thhat, but it really gets into what goats are like to live with. If you're cosidering goats but aren't sure if they're for you, that's a good choice. Any book that covers fencing and structure building is a good choice for goat owners too. :-)

April 28, 2012 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I have to agree with Anton here. "Goat Song" seems like strictly a pleasure read, and it is thhat, but it really gets into what goats are like to live with. If you're cosidering goats but aren't sure if they're for you, that's a good choice. Any book that covers fencing and structure building is a good choice for goat owners too. :-)

April 28, 2012 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger JulieG said...

Thanks for sharing. My collection of farm books has only recently been started. These will certainly help add to my knowledge.

Read your Homemade From Scratch and learned stuff. Apparently my grandparents, who raised me, didn't garden the way you do. But then again they didn't teach us, they did it themselves.

April 28, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Sara D said...

I would definitely suggest Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby as your secondary goat book. She's an aussie with a lot of experience raising dairy goats commercially, but her approach is completely holistic. Proper nutrition is the key to the healthiest animals, so she approaches the book from that perspective. I've owned dairy goats for 3 years now and it is the first book I grab when needing a diagnosis and treatment.

April 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Margie said...

You've probably read Cold Mountain by Charles Martin and remember the character of the goat woman. She was based on a woman who lived near my childhood home in Smackover, Arkansas. The author went to school at Swanee with one of the guys from my county and heard about her. She was an interesting person, who lived in a make-shift place and raised goats with her aging husband. The goat woman, Renee, said she was a cousin to Les Brown; and she played a number of music instruments. Your interest in goats made me think about her.

April 28, 2012 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Margie said...

You've probably read Cold Mountain by Charles Martin and remember the character of the goat woman. She was based on a woman who lived near my childhood home in Smackover, Arkansas. The author went to school at Swanee with one of the guys from my county and heard about her. She was an interesting person, who lived in a make-shift place and raised goats with her aging husband. The goat woman, Renee, said she was a cousin to Les Brown; and she played a number of music instruments. Your interest in goats made me think about her.

April 28, 2012 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Old Post Farm said...

The goaty books on my shelf are:

"Natural Goat Care" by Pat Coleby - A how-to book that also talks about how to do it all naturally/organically, using homeopqthic remedies instead of drugs. Does that method work? I'll find out when I finally get goats someday ;)

"Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese" by Bruce Weinstein &Neil Mark Scarborough - More than a beautiful cookbook (although that it is), it also has profiles of goat farms and restaurants, info on the history of goats around the world, and "goat tales" (fun stories of goat-related adventures). Love it!

"Goat School" by Janice Spaulding of Stony Knolls Farm - This is an amazing workbook from a weekend "Goat School" class I went to last year (she's since written a "real" book too). It has all the practical info you'd ever want to know about goat care, a definite must-have resource! Great tips and tricks from someone who's raised meat, dairy, and fiber goats for decades.

And I also have "Goat Song" (didn't teach me much about goats except that I need one, but I loved it as a fun read) and the Storey's guide (bland but good info).

Oh and I have "The Farmstead Creamery Advisor: The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business" by Gianaclis Caldwell. Turned out to be waaaay beyond what I need right now (again, I don't own any goats yet!), but it'll be a great resource for when/if I go in that direction with my farmlet. And it sure made day-dreaming about it fun too :)

April 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM  
OpenID domesteading said...

I'm going to take advantage of all of these suggestions. Right now I have The Joy of Keeping Goats by Laura Childs. It's easy to read and a good general sort of introduction, but I want something more specific to dairy goats now.

April 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Before I read the comments, I was going to comment and say "You forgot Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby." So now I will just say I agree with the posters that said they recommend Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby... :D

April 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I want a goat.

April 28, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Aye, all the books that you and other commenters have mentioned are great reads. I also REALLY like 'The Herbal Handbook for Farm And Stable' by Juliette De Bairacli Levy. She goes over herbal remedies for sheep, goats, cows, horses, poultry, dogs, and bees. By copy of it is taped and re-taped together from years of use. :)

April 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger L said...

You'll love Goat Song, if you haven't read it already. So, so wonderful.

April 28, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Kendra said...

Love your listing of goat books, makes me think that having one wouldn't be so bad. Do you happen to have a similar run down for chicken books?

April 28, 2012 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks for the library list! I already have Storey's Goat book, but I just requested the Sue Weaver title from the local library system. Yippee!

April 28, 2012 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Books are great. But I have learned so much more hands on than anything. And from ther people. I have several goat mentors and sheep mentors I call when I have problems. If all else fails, I call a vet. But more times than not, my mentors have the answers. Most have grown up with goats so know lots about them. I love books and have hundreds myself, but hands down, people are my go-to.

April 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Books are great. But I have learned so much more hands on than anything. And from ther people. I have several goat mentors and sheep mentors I call when I have problems. If all else fails, I call a vet. But more times than not, my mentors have the answers. Most have grown up with goats so know lots about them. I love books and have hundreds myself, but hands down, people are my go-to.

April 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Mama Forestdweller said...

Ohhh, I want to read all of these and live vicariously through other's goat stories! I so miss having goats. I want to have them again, but my husband doesn't exactly feel the same way. 'GOAT' is, after all, an acronym for Gets. Out. All. the Time. ;) Maybe when the kids are bigger...maybe I'll just keep leaving these books around the house. :)

April 29, 2012 at 1:16 AM  
Blogger jules said...

Hey Jenna! Can you do the same for meat rabbits? Book suggestions? We just got into them and need all the advice we can get.

Thanks!

April 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM  

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