Domesticated goats can be a great source of income as a breeding or cottage industry investment or on a farm or grazing enterprise that’s looking to diversify. Goats produce meat, dairy, leather, wool, soaps and hair and body products, but they also control grass and weed overgrowth and provide manure … which is fantastic for the garden!
Our Certificate of Goat Husbandry is a professional development course that will introduce you to the various goat breeds, and teach you how to feed, care for and understand this entertaining animal’s unique behaviour.
In this goat farming course, you will learn about health management, farming systems, and general goat husbandry, including housing, fencing and grooming. You will study how to breed goats and use them for meat, dairy and fibre production. You will also gain insights into farm management, including housing, farm safety, record keeping, handling equipment and machinery, and how to market and sell your products.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a goat farming course include:
- Learning about the nature and scope of goat production
- Exploring the history and uses of goats and goat production
- Studying goat breeds and biological terminology
- Gaining insights into keeping a buck
- Understanding farm systems and social structure
- Learning about goat psychology and the truths and myths about goats
- Exploring breeding and a wide variety of goat breeds
- Studying the objectives of selection and breeding
- Gaining insights into reproductive system anatomy and breeding seasons
- Understanding flock, pen and hand mating
- Learning about reproduction control methods and the synchronisation of oestrus
- Exploring superovulation, artificial insemination and out-of-breeding season
- Studying genes, genetics and selection
- Gaining insights into feeds, feeding and nutrition
- Understanding forage, hay and haylage
- Learning about straw, wild plants, concentrates, by-products and minerals
- Exploring feeding strategies
- Studying feeding for milk and meat production
- Gaining insights into the health problems and management of goats
- Understanding ecopathology, signs of good health and a range of diseases
- Learning about accidents, emergencies and First Aid
- Exploring digestive and respiratory problems
- Studying the sanitary policies of infectious goats
- Gaining insights into how to choose a vet
- Understanding goat husbandry in terms of housing, fencing and grooming
- Learning about grazing and pasture management
- Exploring hoof care, disbudding, dehorning and tattooing
- Studying vaccination and worming
- Gaining insights into grooming and hair care
- Understanding kids and kidding
- Learning about the delivery, and birth/parturition
- Exploring how to care for a newborn kid
- Studying early feeding, weaning and castration
- Gaining insights into dairy production
- Understanding the lactation curve, quality and the quality and composition of a goat’s milk
- Learning about proteins, fats, lactose, ash and vitamins
- Exploring the factors of variation, and breeds and production systems
- Studying age and lactation number
- Gaining insights into the different types of cheeses
- Understanding meat and fibre production
- Learning about mohair and cashmere production
- Exploring the management of a meat flock
- Studying slaughter terminology
- Gaining insights into carcass quality and grading
- Understanding leather production
- Learning about goat farm management
- Studying buildings and structures
- Gaining insights into goat shelters and farming production systems
- Understanding goat management and keeping records
- Learning about farm safety, duty of care and occupational health and safety legislation
- Exploring protective equipment and lifting and manual handling
- Studying how to store, dispose of and deal with chemicals
- Gaining insights into safety audits
- Understanding how to market products, advertise stock and where you can sell
Goat Production in Australia
Goats have been used for their fleece, meat, milk and hides for thousands of years. However, as you’ll discover with our goat farming course, goat production is a relatively small industry in Australia compared to sheep and cattle. But the industry is growing! Here are some reasons why …
Goat milk is a great alternative for people who suffer with gastro-intestinal disorders and allergies to cow’s milk. Commercial goat milk is typically used in yoghurts and cheeses, and there are six main goat dairy breeds in Australia. Two are bred in Australia (the Australian Brown and Australian Melaan), three are of Swiss origin (the Toggenburg, Saanen and British Alpine) and one is from the Middle East (the Anglo Nubian).
Goat meat has many advantages, including having a low cholesterol content compared to pork and beef. There are also no religious or cultural taboos associated with it. Two of the main goat breeds used for meat in Australia are Boer and Rangelandgoats. Boer goats in particular gain weight quickly, are hardy and adaptable, and have high fertility rates with multiple births common.
Types of Goat Farming Systems
Our goat farming course will give you many insights into this amazing animal, including the common types of goat farming systems. Typically, goats are farmed under intensive, semi-intensive or extensive systems.
In an intensive system, goats are kept in enclosures where space is a premium. This allows for controlled breeding, stall feeding and the segregation of bucks and kids. It enables several goats to be farmed in small spaces in restricted environments, which can often make them more profitable than other farming systems. This is because environments can be controlled and the land on which goats are housed can be minimised. Loss of stock is also of less concern as predation is often reduced.
Semi-intensive systems may involve a combination of both stall feeding and grazing, so require more land than intensive systems but less than extensive systems. In certain areas, it is considered an optimal method of farming as it allows goats to exercise and free range during the day, but keeps them safe from predators at night. One of the down sides, however, is that it requires farmers taking the time to round up their goats at night for a return to their stalls. However, because goats are clever, they will often work out that feeding will take place at a particular time and place. The movement of goats may then become easier once a routine has been established.
With an extensive system, animals are allowed to roam free over large distances in open range landscapes or paddocks. Effective management may require a controlled interaction between goats to prevent random breeding, and kids may need to be segregated in order to manage their feeding. Sheds need to be provided for protection from weather and predators, and considerable time may also be spent rounding up animals for shearing and health checks. However, goats are hardy animals and will thrive in outdoor environments even if they are left there for some time. The quality of meat from animals that are allowed to free range can also be improved as exercise and access to fresh feed is beneficial.
15 Fascinating Goat Facts
Goats are hardy, robust, easy to care for and renowned for their intelligent, curious, sociable and affectionate personalities. But here are some other facts about goats that will inspire you to undertake our goat farming course.
- Goats were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans and were being herded over 9000 years ago.
- Worldwide, goat meat is the most consumed meat per capita.
- The life span of a goat is about that of a dog.
- Because goats are sociable animals, they can become depressed if they are isolated or separated from their companions … so they need friends!
- Goats are one of the cleanest animals and are much more selective feeders than pigs, sheep, cows and even dogs.
- As picky eaters, they use their sensitive lips to “mouth” things so they can search for clean and tasty food. In fact, they will often refuse to eat hay that has been walked on!
- Goats have a gestation period of five months and the average birth rate for goats is two kids per year.
- Kids are standing when they are born and take their first steps within minutes.
- Goats are very good at climbing and have been known to climb to the tops of trees!
- They are notoriously curious animals, and their inquisitive nature means they are constantly exploring and investigating anything unfamiliar they encounter.
- Goats can be taught their name and to come when they’re called.
- Bleating is the way goats communicate with each other. Mothers call to their babies to make sure they stay close. They also recognise their mum’s unique call soon after they are born.
- The pupils of goats are rectangular, which gives them vision for 320 to 340 degrees (compared to humans with 160 to 210) around them without having to move. They also have excellent night vision.
- They dislike water and would rather leap over puddles and creeks rather than stepping in them.
- A baby goat is called a kid and when goats give birth it’s called “kidding”. And no, we’re not!
Gain insights into goat husbandry, choosing the right breed, and managing your herd effectively with a goat farming course, such as our Certificate of Goat Husbandry.