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Get yer goat

Saturday class at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center will deliver all the info to raise your own goats
Christina Lindner, president of Rogue Valley Dairy Goat Association, visits her goats at her home off of East Evans Creek Road. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

A class this Saturday will give goat lovers — and would-be goat keepers — a chance to expand their knowledge base on the ins and outs of owning the useful Bovidae.

Whether you want goats for the milk or just landscape control, there’s a wealth of information available. Christina Lindner, president of Rogue Valley Dairy Goat Association, will facilitate “Get Yer Goat!” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, just outside Central Point.

Having had a hand in hosting the class for over a decade, Lindner said the event will cover everything from proper feeding and medical care of goats to how to help them with kidding and how to make useful products from their milk. A goat keeper for more than four decades, Lindner says goats are “the pet that feeds your family.”

A collaborative effort between OSU Extension Small Farms and the dairy goat association, the day of goat schooling could prove useful for both novice and experienced goat owners. With a growing focus on self-sufficiency, there’s been a spike in the number of hobby farms and smaller properties acquiring livestock animals, Lindner said.

“I’ve had goats for at least 48 years. We started this before all the rage about getting your own animals and trying to reduce dependency on stores. The idea of having your own animals for food — like chickens and goats — seems to be more popular. Everybody is trying to feed themselves,” she said.

“If you’re willing to put the effort in, goats are the best thing you can do. It’s a dairy animal but, they’ll also eat your blackberries and keep your property under control.”

Topics for Saturday include Dairy Goat 101, farm marketing, fertility, kidding problems, soap making, making felted soap, cheesemaking and fecal testing.

Lindner said she’ll go over the care involved with keeping goats for milk or for those interested in having goats they don’t plan to milk.

Goats are a versatile critter, she said.

“I have always said about goats, that they’re the pet that feeds your family. They are affectionate and very petlike, like a dog, really. They get very attached to their owners, but they’re very practical in that they’ll help to provide your family with milk, cheese, butter, ice cream,” she added.

Goats can even provide for other types of livestock, as goat milk is able to be fed to other animals. If there’s a downside to goats, Lindner said, it’s that milking goats “have to be milked twice a day, just like a cow.”

“People have different ways of managing. You can leave the kids on them at night and just milk once a day. If you’re doing it for production, you want to milk twice a day. And some people want to have goats but not milk them. We’ll go over all that in the class,” she said.

Lindner said raising goats is more of a commitment than most would realize, but it’s well worth the effort with adequate basic care.

“After so many years of having goats — and people would look at you like you’re nuts — now they’re worth a lot of money. I remember when you’d sell a milking goat for $25. Now they’re $250,” she said.

“It’s nice to see it come to fruition. With the supply chain being interrupted, it seems like it’s woken a lot of people up. If you have your own, you don’t have to be dependent on the grocery store for everything.”

For more info about the class, call 541-776-7371 or see extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/events/get-yer-goat-goat-education-day.

Cost for the class is $35 ($20 for students under 18) and includes lunch.

Reach reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or bpollock@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.