Backyard Goats Provide More Than Milk for Urban Farming Enthusiasts
Be sure you’re up for the commitment of milking at the same time twice a day, every day, until you’re ready to let your doe dry up or her naturally lactation tapers off.
Written by Laurel Miller
Despite my upbringing in a distinctly non-rural bedroom community north of Los Angeles, I grew up with goats. This was back in the days before urban farming was a “thing;” we had a five-acre ranch where we raised caprines (lLatin for goat), as well as horses, mules, chickens, rabbits, and a variety of other critters. Even with pasture and a barn on the property, we had backyard goats to a certain degree, because I insisted upon bringing all of our “pets” down to the house to visit. Fortunately, my parents never minded seeing a donkey or Jersey heifer peering in the sliding glass door off of their bedroom.
While not an enthusiastic early riser, I nevertheless milked my Nubian doe before classes. Although we played around with making chevre and yogurt, we generally just drank the fluid milk, in addition to keeping our neighbors well-stocked (Nubians are prodigious milkers).
Things have changed, of course. Today, my hometown is essentially a suburb of LA (if traffic is any indication), and most of the agricultural land in that region has been strip-malled and tract-homed. Urban sprawl not being unique to Southern California, this unfortunate trend has, in large part, spawned the national urban farm movement. Backyard chickens and beehives have become part of the cultural zeitgeist, but over the last couple of years, goats have been taking cities by storm.