Our first livestock were goats, and we got started by reading as many goat books as we could get our hands on. Since then we have logged a lot of miles with our goats. They are supremely versatile animals, serving as land clearers, pack animals, dairy animals, meat animals and even fiber producers. That's a lot of know-how to keep in mind! Even now we consult these goat books on a regular basis whenever we need a reminder. Whether you have questions about producing your own goat milk, making cabrito and chevon, using goats to clear brush, taking goats into the backcountry or spinning mohair or cashmere, these goat books will help answer your questions.
Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger
Jerry Belanger has been raising goats for a long, long time, and his experience shows in his writing. This was one of the first goat books I bought well before I even had a farm, because I knew I wanted these thrifty animals. When we were given two dairy goats many years later, this was one of the first books I referenced to figure out how to feed them, house them, and care for them in my new dairy goat career. His book will provide a good overview of everything you need to know to care for these farmyard clowns. Very highly recommended.
Storey's Guide To Raising Meat Goats by Maggie Sayer
We have not ventured into meat goat production, but if that day comes, this will be the goat book we'll get. Meat goats have their similarities, and differences, from dairy goats, and are worthy of their own books. This book covers the various meat breeds, along with their slightly different feeding regimens and different management strategies for bringing kids to market weight quickly and cost effectively. Many societies value goat meat in their cuisine, and this has proven to be a niche market for many producers. If you'd like to tap that market, this book would provide a sound starting point.
The Pack Goat by John Mionczynski
We had never heard of pack goats until we met the woman who was to become not only our goat mentor but also a good friend. She has been active for many years in goat packing. It's not just for mountaineers anymore! Goats have become a very popular animal in the back country, because they are smaller than horses or llamas, require less feed thanks to that smaller size, yet offer tremendous strength and packing ability. Plus, they love scrambling along trails that would make other pack animals hesitate. Many of our wethers are sold to become pack goats. This goat book is an excellent start in this activity, whether you just want to find some new activity to enjoy with your goats, or you're looking for solid portage answers in remote country. This updated version of the original provides extensive guidance for how to get started, and how to log many satisfying miles, with goat packing.
Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby
Pat Coleby has a great deal of experience managing goats in Australia's challenging landscape, and that information is shared willingly in this book. Comprehensive nutrition is the foundation of that care, and even experienced goat owners can learn something from this book. Readers will need to adjust the book's specific recipes for their local conditions, since Australian soils have differing soil surpluses and deficiencies than American or European soils. But the principles in the book are solid. If anything else the book talks about how to manage a variety of goat health issues with nutrition rather than drugs.
Life in the Goat Lane by Linda Fink
Goats are amazing creatures - funny, maddening, clever, stubborn, endearing, intelligent, and did I mention maddening? Linda Fink's goat book has very nicely described all those facets and more. Not a how-to book per se, but rather "tales from the trenches" earned during her many years raising goats. If you really want to know what goats are capable of, buy this book. If you already know what goats are capable of and would like to commiserate (or celebrate) that complex nature with others, buy this book. If you have a goat-lover in the family or amongst your circle of friends, buy this book for them. But reader beware: whoever picks up this book and starts reading these stories will soon have sore ribs from laughing so much. Which in and of itself is a very good summary of life with goats.