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Hobby Farms GOATS: Small-Scale Herding, written by hobby farmer and prolific author and columnist Sue Weaver, is an essential guide to the wonderful world of goats, the fastest growing new area of the US agricultural meat market. This colorful guide discusses goats of all types, including dairy goats, used for milk and cheese; meat goats; fiber goats, prized for their mohair and cashmere; recreational goats, beloved by children for their great personalities and silliness; and brush goats, the lawnmowers of creative hobby farmers and suburbanites. Weaver offers excellent advice on how to purchase a goat: sensible and direct, she advises newcomers that while goats can be profitable, they should not rush in. Before the reader fills his backyard with a herd of goats, the author warns him or her to consider that while goats are “cute, personable, charming, and imminently entertaining…[they] are also destructive…mischievous, sometimes ornery, and often exasperating.” The book lists the various breeds of goats commonly available as meat and dairy producers, carefully spelling out their advantages and drawbacks. In the chapter on selecting a goat, the author instructs the reader to be aware of the overall health and soundness, and to consider such the animals’ horns and teeth. The book also covers general care for a small herd of goats, including outdoor housing and feeding, general health care, and maintenance. For hobby farmers ready to dive into the world of reproducing their goats, there are chapters on breeding, mating, and “Bringing Kids into the World.” All goat keepers will be enlightened by the information in the chapter on behavior and solving everyday problems with their often capricious caprines. Since the focus of the book is for hobby farmers, Goats also addresses how to make money from the small-scale herd, offering advice on managing, selling, and marketing goat-derived products. The book concludes with an extensive glossary of over 150 terms, an appendix of common goat diseases, and a resource section of useful goat-relevant books, websites, and associations. Fully indexed.

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