One Community feels that modeling ethical and humane animal stewardship is essential and for The Highest Good of All in today’s world of diverse needs. We anticipate many cultures and communities globally and for the predictable future will either need or choose to use animals as food and/or raise them for their by-products. With this in mind, we see an opportunity for One Community to demonstrate Highest Good methods of doing this. We discuss this and more with the following sections:
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WE FINISH OUR OWN CONSTRUCTION OF THIS COMPONENT, CONFIRM ALL THE DETAILS, AND ADD
TO THIS PAGE ALL THE RELATED VIDEOS, EXPERIENCE, AND OTHER UPDATES FROM THAT BUILD.
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Our team will raise goats for milk, to utilize their manure as fertilizer, and to engage them in rangeland management for controlling noxious weeds. Their milk has health benefits and can be used to make butter, cheese, and yoghurt. They will consume/recycle almost any food items and produce manure for use as a fertilizer, and they have a natural ability to improve rangeland by tilling and aerating the soil along with their inherent appetite for noxious weeds. To a lesser degree, they will also browse ladder fuels to minimize fire danger, but the majority of fuels reduction will be completed by our residents. We may choose to eat goat meat but we are not raising them for this purpose. We approach this process with respect, gratitude, and love for these creatures and will be further expanding this page with our open source collaborative efforts and experience once on the property.
Like any form of animal husbandry, raising goats requires understanding the creature you are responsible for and appropriately providing for its needs. We discuss these details here with the following sections:
We will start with five goats and expect to pay about $200-350 each for the quality we are seeking. Breeding them has the potential to produce 30 additional goats a year if that is our desire. We will begin with Alpine, Nubian, and Cashmere (Kashmir) goats. The Alpine and Nubian goats will primarily provide milk and fertilizer. Kashmir goats will be used for meat and rangeland management and will play a vital role in keeping noxious weeds at bay, as that is a primary favorite of their palate.
Known for quality tasting milk, Alpines are no-nonsense milkers and very steady producers generating as much as two to three gallons per day. Butterfat content is about 3-5%, so sweeter than many milk goats and not overbearingly rich. They provide about six years of milk and breed in the fall.
Nubians produce less milk on average, about one gallon a day. Their milk consistently good, sweet tasting, but richer than Alpines with an average of 4-5% in butterfat. This produces some of the best milk and cheeses. They provide about eight years of milk and breed year-round (so it’s recommended you keep the buck separate).
Complete shelter details are coming. Here are the basics though:
Baby goats have additional shelter needs. This “DIY Goat Kid Warmer” article and the video below demonstrate the easiest and most affordable option.
Goats need a very strong fence that they can’t climb over, knock down or otherwise escape from. If there is so much as a tiny hole, they will find a way to get out. They use their lips to explore their world, so if a gate latch is loose, they can wiggle it open with their lips and escape. They also chew almost everything – rope, electrical wiring, and so on, are all fair game – and goats jump and climb. Your goat barn should have a climb-proof roof – this can be done with overhanging eaves on all four sides of the roof.
High-tensile, smooth electrified wire is ideal if you want to take an existing fence and make it goat-proof. You can use a non-electric fence at least four feet high, five feet for active breeds like Nubians. Brace corners and gates on the outside of the fence so the goats can’t climb up the braces. You can use wooden fencing, stock panels, or chain-link fence, or you can combine a wooden rail fence with woven wire.
You will have to decide what is most appropriate for your circumstances. Here are five different types of fencing, most of them electrified, with a discussion on the pros and cons.
We are choosing to not utilize electric fencing and are sharing our two alternative fencing options below. However, if our soils are too rocky and we cannot auger depths to 3’, we may consider an electric fence. If we have good soil with minimal rocks, we will set posts at a 3’ depth. To initiate the fencing construction, we will start with the corner post installation.
The first step in laying out your fencing is to set the corner posts, then follow that with the fencing. One can use steel or wooden posts and we will show videos using both options. Our final decision will be made on site when we know our soil conditions. Our smaller operation with the initial 5 goats will utilize steel posts. If we size up our herd we may convert to wooden posts if our soils allow.
This corner post installation and bracing video is 32 minutes long and provides a detailed step-by-step process for installation. It is an excellent and detailed video demonstrating the components and how they are installed. The narrator has years of experience, communicates his objectives clearly, and provides an effective end result. This video is highly recommended, and viewing the comments provides additional details of value for the entire process. Many thanks to Pete B. for providing this video. We provide a summary below of the most important points and will create and add here our own set of videos after our own fence installation.
Here is another helpful video. It shows how an already treated post is treated again to greatly extend its longevity. Treatment is with diesel, motor oil, and Henry’s asphalt roofing coating – a 50/50 mix of diesel and motor oil thins out the motor oil and soaks into the wood better than applying Henry’s 201. Thinning Henry’s 201 with a little diesel makes it easier to apply and soaks into the wood better. Based on the extensive comments, people weigh in on both sides of the discussion. We are not advocating this treatment, simply showing you the process and you can make up your own mind. Feedback would be appreciated from anyone who can substantiate both the negative and positive claims that have been posted.
Here is a more sustainable alternative that we’ll be trying also. We’ll report on how they compare once we’ve got a year or two of experience to evaluate them.
Next you’ll need to install a sturdy and durable gate. A 10’ wide tube gate is what we’ll be using and here is what you’ll need to install it:
This video describes the installation process:
Note from comments: “I prefer the threaded bolt hooks that use 2 washers and 2 nuts, drill through the post, slide in the bolt hook. Infinitely adjustable with 2 wrenches, no need to pull the gate. If the far end is a bit high or low, adjust the nuts on the top bolt. If the gate latch is a bit too close or far from the part on the post, adjust both top and bottom bolt hooks to bring the gate in or push it out a bit.”
Pete B’s Reply: “I have those threaded bolts that hook the gate on my front entrance gate. I should do an update video on the gate. I added 1 1/4 EMT conduit on each end of the gate tube. It fit perfectly in the gate tube and put barbed wire across each conduit.”
With all the corner, H, and gate posts set, the fencing can now be installed.
The installation pointers in the following video from Pete B. are good but we will not use this welded fencing material for goats. We will likely use it though as a perimeter fencing for keeping deer out of our orchard and gardens. For that purpose we will utilize 10’ treated wooden posts and taller fencing with a possible run or two of barbed wire at the top. This video is still a great video for installing goat fencing though, just replace the welded wire shown in the video with stronger and more flexible/goat-friendly woven fencing.
Now watch this 15-minute video from the Hill Family Homestead. It explains how to build a woven wire fence.
What we’re choosing for goat fencing is pictured at right. It is Square Deal® Sheep & Goat Fence 330′ L x 48″ H Class 3 and purchased via this link from Red Brand. Red Brand offers 4” square woven mesh sheep and goat wire fencing with a Square Deal Knot that is designed to hold tight to both the horizontal and vertical wires. These wires won’t slip or move, preventing openings in the fence from forming. These fences are built to last and resist buckling or sagging and should cause no harm to the goats. Installation can be accomplished on flat or hilly terrain. The company is reluctant to reveal fence longevity as it depends greatly on the weather in your location, though one can expect 10 years on class 1 and 20-30 years on class three, but some of the class 1 has lasted up to 30 years, again weather dependent. The class 3 designation has a higher galvanized count than class 1 (0.80 oz vs 0.28 oz). Class 3 is recommended for coastal areas and northern climates as it better withstands the weather extremes.
The following short (2 min) video demonstrates why welded wire fencing does not work for goats. This fence lasted about 6 months and now requires repairs, an ongoing problem.
Here’s more on goat fencing from Carol Rochester. She has a degree in animal husbandry and has raised Boer goats since their introduction into the United States in the mid-1990s. Her animals are frequent winners at the competitive Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo, winning at least one of three goat divisions each year since 1996. She devotes 15 acres to goats, averaging about 40 animals per acre. The following is here experience and from this article titled “Choose the Right Fence for Your Goat”:
“Securing any goat operation begins with a good perimeter fence.” ~ Carol Rochester
Often people try to adapt an old cow fence and learn too late the gaps between fence wires, or squares, are the wrong size. A curious goat can often push its head through the fence but its horns can keep them from pulling free, Rochester says.
A fence with 4-inch squares represents the best option, Rochester says. Fencing with 12-inch squares usually allows a goat to push through and usually pull back safely. “A 6-inch square is a goat-killer,” she says. “They can sometimes strangle in there but the biggest thing is predators. They’re coyote bait.”
Rochester begins most perimeter fences with 4-foot-high fencing that meets the ground and is secured to 7-foot posts. A plain wire pulled as tight as possible runs between the posts at eye-level, which not only secures the top rung of fence, but also discourages goats from climbing the fence. To further discourage climbing, some goat owners recommend stringing a strand of electric fencing at the top of the wire fence.
Once completed, the fence should offer good security, particularly because goats usually won’t jump a fence. They will, though, test the fence, scratching against it to relieve the itching caused by lice common in all goats, Rochester says. And because bucks – male goats – can weight as much as 400 pounds, they can do heavy damage to a fence.
Rochester also keeps special pens for kids, corralling young goats with portable, tubular fence panels. The panels also work well for quickly establishing chutes when loading or unloading goats or separating a sickly goat. There’s also a frequent need to temporarily divide a pasture. Rochester prefers fence panels made of welded wire, with squares that become smaller toward the bottom, graduating to a size small enough to prevent the escape of young kids.
Twelve goats can be maintained on 40 acres of pasture or 15 tons of hay. Adding alfalfa and soy (about 15%) will increase dietary protein levels and milk production. Cost can vary by location and is estimated at about $200/ton. Costs may differ (decrease) with the grazing goats, we will see.
Here’s a video that raises an interesting point about goats and pasture though:
Here’s a feed additive suggested by Geoff Lawton during a course he taught with Bill Mollison. If you’d like to buy the DVDs of this course, you can find them here.
Australian Pat Coleby was a pioneer and extremely knowledgeable source of natural farming. A keen observer, she penned seven books based on her extensive experience in the animal and farming world. To increase animal health, she offers the following recipe that is presented here by Geoff Lawton. Large animals like dairy cows can be fed daily, while smaller animals can suffice with a weekly feeding of this same recipe. The feeding frequency varies depending on the size of your animals. Feeding animals this mixture of minerals improves their health and mineralizes their manure. The manure will have all the below ingredients in a plant soluble form whereby they take in those minerals. Additionally, the manure can be composted, added to gardens, and/or fed to fruit trees, worm farms, etc.
The ingredients can be sourced from most any farm supply. At feeding time, simply add the solution to a bucket of forage and stir. The result is a highly mineralized feed and among other benefits helps keep animals parasite free. Animals have mineral deficiencies which people incorrectly diagnose as a health issue—the minerals help break the cycle of parasites in the pasture.
Water quality is also critical for healthy animals, especially chickens. Add garlic to chicken water and scrub and cleanse bowls regularly. The above recipe is good for 10 chickens fed once/week.
Here is the One Community goat playground design:
Goat Playground Sketchup File Download Link – Click for 52 MB DropBox file
Goats can be excellent for range management. Below is one of the best videos we’ve found on this and goats in general. It explains the role of Cashmere (Kashmir) goats in rangeland management of noxious weeds and why they are more effective than cattle and horses and a better alternative than chemical sprays. It also details their effectiveness in soil improvement via tillage and two separate fertilization methods.
The true value of land is in proper management resulting in a beautiful, healthy resource that sustains and supports life. Retaining water is also an important function of the land and it should function like a giant sponge, holding water, and possessing considerable organic matter. Grazing is part of the management process, dating back hundreds of years ago with bison, elk, and deer creating healthy rangeland.
Grazing goats play a pivotal role in resurrecting and maintaining healthy grasslands. Split hoof goats till the soil and don’t compact it. They do this while recycling vegetation with its moisture and nutrients back into the soil by trampling it in, weeds and all, enhancing the success of native species. During this process the microbes are fed and continue to build the soil. In a dry climate especially you want all grasses down on the ground so they are recycled back into the soil, a long process but greatly expedited by the presence of goats and their comprehensive effects on the land. One cannot simply plant grass in a disturbed site – the weeds, annuals, and biennials are the natural fertilizers to kick start the grass.
Cattle, horses, and wildlife won’t eat most of the noxious weeds that goats consume though. This is because of the different enzyme and bacteria makeup in a goat’s system. Many of the weeds here originated in Eurasia, and Cashmere (Kashmir) goats from the upper Himalaya Mountains have a biological connection to those weeds. They also happily consume brush and thorny vegetation.
With this in mind, the focus of goat grazing is promoting life in the soil while allowing the native species to grow. Noxious weeds are “non-native, very aggressive plants” and eradicated traditionally with chemicals that also destroy beneficial microbes, bacteria, and fungi in the soil. The weeds over time build an immunity to these chemicals and this usually requires additional chemical use and leads to even more destruction of beneficial plants and insects.
Natural or man-made disturbances to the ground cause Mother Nature to rush in and begin the restoration process with weeds, like a scab on a wound. Annual weeds are mother nature’s scabs because their job in plant succession is to cover the ground, prevent erosion, and hold water. These weeds include cheat grass, kochia, sunflowers, lamb’s quarters, tumbleweed, Russian thistle, and halogeton (highly toxic to cattle and sheep due to high oxalate content), etc. Next, the biennials follow: all the thistles (except Canadian thistle), common mullein, hound’s tongue, dyer’s woad, etc. After these come the perennials: leafy spurge, Russian knapweed, bindweed, dalmatian toadflax, Canadian thistle, and others. Finally the grasses, brush and trees appear. In a dry climate where nature is allowed to take its course, this natural progression can take 400 years. With human input the process can be greatly expedited. It just comes down to the amount of effort and money you are willing to invest.
Many of the noxious weeds have extremely deep tap roots that bring up trace minerals, enhancing their survival, and giving them an edge over grasses. By consuming the weeds that cattle and horses won’t, goats simply recycle the highly nutritional weeds back into the soil because of the way they grind the seeds making them no longer viable and preventing those seeds from ever sprouting again. Goats love leafy spurge with its high (20%) protein content; those in the business of raising meat goats make their profit from selling the meat. When they use them for contract grazing the yearlings go for a good price without having to spend much money on hay for feed, and in the winter they graze on brush and conifers.
Spanish goats are often used for service in contract herds. In these cases they are not concerned about putting weight on the goats and they keep the goats on the move traveling around the states on open range land, city lots, and conservation lands in and around communities and elsewhere. They prefer their goats somewhat wild and lean, and a border collie can herd as many as 1000-1500 goats. The real value of these goats is their knowledge, training, and ability to eat almost anything, including poisonous plants such as poison hemlock. The herds, their digestive systems, and their behaviors have memories for plants and where they have been previously, knowing on their return to a specific location where to find particular plants. The newborn goats inherit these instincts from their mothers too. If the mother has eaten poisonous plants the baby’s digestive system will contain the proper enzymes to digest a poisonous plant also.
Goats are additionally good for weed control and fire fuel mitigation by reducing the ladder fuels to about eight feet up so grass fires don’t result in crown fires. They are also used for flood mitigation and bank stabilization along stream banks where machinery cannot go and/or riparian zones where herbicides or pesticides are not permitted.
Very few viable seeds pass through a goat due to its narrow triangular mouth and lateral chewing method that grinds the seeds. Only about 0.001% of seeds pass through a goat’s digestive system. Grazing goats eat very little grass and some ranchers are now understanding they are an effective alternative to chemical weed control, especially when grazing is timed so the goats eat the weed seeds, negating any possibility of the plants returning.
Keep in mind that goats need to roam and be on the move and you have to monitor them as they like to climb. Fenced grazing is not practical on a large ranch but necessary within city limits. In an urban environment, herding goats is easy but it is the temporary fencing that requires the most effort. About 90% of fencing is to keep people and predators out. Predators like mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, eagles, off leash dogs, etc. are all a threat to goats.
When utilizing grazing goats there are herd dogs and guardian (instinctive for protection) dogs. Some say a good purebred border collie is key to a successful herding operation. However llamas, alpacas, burros, donkeys, and various other breeds of dogs are also commonly used as herding animals.
Raising and harvesting goats ethically is essential. This will be handled exclusively by the people choosing to drink goat milk and/or eat goat meat so that respect is paid to the preferences of non-participation for vegans and vegetarians. Any of our animal enthusiasts interested in working with goats will assist in grassland management, alongside an experienced goat herder until we learn the finer points. Raising and harvesting animals will also be handled with respect and gratitude. Because the goats are primarily maintained for milk, the specifics of how we will choose to harvest any goats for meat is not something we have discussed yet.
Once on the property, One Community will open source project-launch blueprint the complete process of taking care of goats from purchasing to harvesting and every detail in-between. We will do this so that people with zero prior knowledge can raise goats and integrate this into their own individual lives or as part of the One Community complete open source self-sufficient teacher/demonstration community, village, or city model. Upcoming resources will include:
This TED Talk by Allan Savory shares how to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change with livestock.
This woman’s videos and experience are outstanding. This video is her talking about everything she’s learned through her urban homesteading experience, including being forced to get rid of almost all her animals.
Our team will raise goats for milk and meat, utilize their manure as fertilizer, and engage them in rangeland management for controlling noxious weeds. We approach this process with respect, gratitude, and love for these creatures and will further expand this page with our open source collaborative efforts and experience once on the property.
Q: How does the raising of animals fit into your Highest Good of All and Earth Stewardship Philosophy?
Our Highest Good of All Philosophy is non-dogmatic and supportive of diverse viewpoints (and diets). We recognize humanity will most likely and for the foreseeable future continue using animal products and we believe it is in the Highest Good to demonstrate the most ethical methods. In areas like this where some ideologies may prefer a 100% vegan or vegetarian organization, we do our best to communicate what can be expected on the property so people can choose whether or not that fits with their own desires.
Q: How is your raising of goats in the Highest Good of goats?
We feel that humanity’s dietary needs and desires will stay diverse for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we see that demonstrating a process of reconnecting people to their food, the process of raising and caring for animals, and sharing and spreading ethical and humane animal husbandry that treats the animals and the entire process with respect, love, and gratitude is beneficial to animals being raised for food around the world.
Q: I’m vegan/vegetarian, will I have to participate in harvesting or eating animals? Will animal parts be cooked with my food?
No, you will not have to participate in any part of animal husbandry that you don’t want to if you are not using animal products. Additionally, all vegetarian food will be prepared separately from animal foods.
Q: Who will be processing the animals into food and other byproducts?
Omnivore team members will take responsibility for this. We believe that part of ethical animal husbandry starts with education and awareness, and that it is in the Highest Good of all life on the planet for humans to be educated and aware of the process the animals go through to become food and other byproducts. Our values model is also one that includes the aspect of not asking someone else to do for you what you yourself are not willing to do. With all that in mind, we have elected to have ALL members that will be consuming animal products participate in the entire process of the animals’ lives, from birth to table. Yes, that means that if you plan on eating meat at One Community, you would be expected to assist in processing that type of animal from beginning to end, including ending an animal’s life, at least one time. (For children, the parents will help determine the age and level of participation of processing.)
Q: What if I do not ever want to participate in processing animals or animal products?
Only those who have elected to participate in eating or using a specific animal product will be asked to participate in processing of that animal or its byproducts. Vegan community members will not be asked to partake in any part of the animal life cycles. This also means that if no one wants to process a particular animal (or any animals), we will then agree on a different sustainable source of food for our community.
Q: Will you be using hormones and/or antibiotics for any of the animals?
No, as a practice and a policy we will not put anything on or in our food (plants or animals) that we would not want to eat.
Q: What if I really want to be a part of One Community but I don’t agree with raising animals for food?
We hope the larger global vision and benefits of One Community outweigh the food choices of some individuals and we believe that being a vegan or vegetarian at One Community will be an opportunity to educate and demonstrate to pioneers and our visitors how to eat a plant-based diet properly and sustainably. We hope this will lead to plant-based dietary choices growing worldwide and we also respect the choices of those who prefer to remain omnivores.
If our model does not suit you, you may want to instead consider joining us as a Satellite Member (click here for the Invitation Form), consultant, or volunteer (click here for the Consultant’s/Volunteer’s Page), and/or just follow our progress. We expect other communities will follow with different views on these issues and we will happily promote the success of those that are part of the open source and free-sharing network of teacher/demonstration communities, villages, and cities that we are helping to create. Here are the best ways to follow our progress:
Also, the objective of One Community is to build living blueprints open source so everyone can then use them for duplication in whatever diverse way suits their needs and desires. If you feel like you’d like to see a different version of One Community, we invite you to embrace the task of working with us and using everything we’ve already created to form another iteration of this idea, with a new set of rules/policies/guidelines. That way you can attract the people who share your values and thus like your rule sets, which provide another for The Highest Good of All option with a potentially very different approach.
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