Goat Production

Study goat husbandry by distance education. Learn about breeds, behaviour, feed and nutrition, farm systems, wool and meat production, and more. 100-hour training program.

Course CodeBAG223
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Domestic goats are one of the most useful animals to own due to their entertainment and economic value. Their versatility makes them an excellent choice for a breeding or cottage industry investment and are a low maintenance source of income for existing farming and grazing enterprises looking to diversify.
As a domestic farm animal they can be used to produce a variety of products, such as: 
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Meat
  • Wool (fleece goats)  
  • Leather
  • Soaps, body and hair care products

Goats can also be very useful for the control of weed or grass overgrowth on a property as well as a great source of manure for garden.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Goat Production
    • Introduction and History
    • Biological Terminology
    • Uses of Goats and Goat Production
    • Goats Breeds Overview
    • Introduction to Farm Systems
    • Keeping a Buck
    • Truths and Myths about Goats
    • Goat Psychology
    • Social Structure
  2. Goat Breeds and Breeding
    • Dairy Goats
    • Saanen
    • Toggenburg
    • British Alpine
    • Anglo-Nubian
    • Fleece Goats
    • Angoras
    • Cashmere
    • Meat Goats
    • Boer Goats
    • Spanish Goats
    • Savannas
    • Kiko
    • Myotonic
    • Goat Skin
    • Black Bengal
    • Garganica
    • Pet Goats
    • Australian Miniature
    • Nigerian Dwarf
    • African Pygmy
    • Feral Goats
    • Selection and Breeding General Objectives
    • Reproductive System Anatomy
    • Puberty
    • Breeding Season
    • Flock Mating
    • Pen Mating
    • Hand Mating
    • Reproduction Control Methods
    • Synchronisation of Oestrus
    • Out of Breeding Season
    • Superovulation
    • Artificial Insemination
    • Genetics and Selection
    • Understanding Genes
  3. Feeds and Nutrition
    • Feeding
    • Forage
    • Hay
    • Haylage
    • Straw
    • Wild Plants
    • Concentrates
    • By-products
    • Minerals
    • Feeding Strategies
    • Feeding for milk production
    • Feeding for meat production
  4. Health Management
    • Health Problems
    • Ecopathology
    • Signs of Good Health
    • Bacterial and Viral Diseases
    • Clostridial Diseases
    • Johne‚Äôs Disease (Paratuberculosis)
    • Listeriosis
    • Soremouth
    • Slow viruses
    • Parasites
    • Accidents, Emergencies and First Aid
    • Control of Bleeding
    • Tear wounds or lacerations
    • Electric Shock
    • Snake bites
    • Fractures
    • Poisoning
    • Abortion and Genital Processes
    • Chlamidiosis
    • Q Fever
    • Listeriosis
    • Leptospirosis
    • Toxoplasmosis
    • Ketosis
    • Digestive Problems
    • Bloat
    • Choking
    • Acidosis
    • Respiratory problems
    • White Muscle Diseases
    • Pinkeye
    • Urinary Calculi
    • Mastitis
    • Metritis
    • Sanitary Policy of Infectious Goats
    • Choosing a Vet
  5. General Husbandry - Housing, Fencing, Grooming
    • Space Requirements
    • Housing and Fencing
    • Grazing and Pasture Management
    • Free Range
    • Intensive Confinement
    • Combination System
    • Grazing Methods
    • How Much Grazing
    • Other Areas That Can Be Utilised For Grazing
    • Hoof care
    • Disbudding
    • Dehorning
    • Tatooing
    • Vaccination
    • Worming
    • Grooming and Hair Care
  6. Kids and Kidding
    • Hygiene during delivery
    • The delivery
    • Parturition/Birth
    • Care of a newborn kid
    • Early feeding
    • Weaning
    • Castration
  7. Dairy Production
    • Milk Production
    • Lactation Curve
    • Quality and Composition
    • Compositions of goat's milk
    • Protein
    • Fat
    • Lactose
    • Ash
    • Vitamins
    • Factors of variation
    • Breeds and production systems
    • Age and lactation number
    • Different types of cheese
  8. Meat and Fibre Production
    • Fibre Production
    • Mohair
    • Annual Management of Angora Flock
    • Mohair Production
    • Cashmere
    • Annual Management of a cashmere flock
    • Cashmere Production
    • Meat Production
    • Management of meat flock
    • Slaughter terminology
    • Carcass quality and grading
    • Leather production
  9. Goat Farm Management
    • On the Farm - Buildings and Structures
    • Goat shelters
    • Farming production systems
    • Keeping records
    • Goat Management
    • Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
    • Farm Safety
    • Duty of care (employer and employer duties)
    • Lifting and manual handling
    • Protective Equipment
    • Dealing with chemicals
    • Storage and disposal of chemicals
    • Handling tools and machinery
    • Safety Audit
    • Marketing your products
    • Advertising your stock
    • Where you can sell

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the significance of goats, the characteristics that differentiate them from other domesticated animals and the scope and nature of goat industries
  • Select appropriate Goat Breeds for specified purposes
  • Describe how goats are bred.
  • Determine and manage an appropriate diet for a goat
  • Identify a sick goat
  • Describe common health issues that can affect goats; their prevention and treatment
  • Determine facilities needed, and husbandry tasks that need to be undertaken for the management of a goat.
  • Describe Kidding and Raising Kids.
  • Explain the commercial farming goats for fibre, meat and other products (excluding dairy)
  • Determine viable plans for farming goats.

What's Needed to Keep Goats?

You don't need a lot of land to keep goats. Some people keep a single goat as a pet on less than a quarter acre, but if you plan to keep goats as a commercial proposition, you will need more land and more animals. You may be keeping them to breed (an sell the kids), or to farm for their meat, milk or fleece (some breeds).

Goats may be farmed under either extensive, semi intensive or intensive systems.

Extensive – The animals are free to browse either in paddocks or open range land. Effective management may require controlling interaction between animals to prevent random breeding. Kids may need to be segregated to manage their feeding. Sheds may need to be provided in some places as night sheds, for protection from predators or bad weather.

In this system goats are allowed to roam free range over large distances which can result in considerable time being sent when goats need to be rounded up for health checks or shearing for example. Goats are hardy animals and do well in outdoor environments, they can be left outside for some time and they can thrive. It is commonly understood that animals which have opportunity to free range, the meat quality can be improved. Exercise and access to fresh green feed is beneficial.  

Intensive - The animals are kept in enclosures where space is a premium. This allows stall feeding, control of breeding, segregating bucks and kids etc. Several goats can be farmed in small spaces and in restricted environments and this can make intensive farming systems more profitable than others systems. The control of the environment enables farmers to keep costs down as they don’t need much land on which to house goats. Predation is also often reduced in these systems therefore loss of stock is less of concern and does not impact financial on the farm.  

Semi-intensive – This may involve a combination of grazing and stall feeding. It requires less land than an extensive system but more than an intensive system. It also requires farmers or herders to round the goats up at night and bring them back into the houses. In certain regions this is considered the best type of farming as it allows for the goats to free range and exercise during the day but keeps them safe from predators at night. The downside, depending on the size of the farm, is the time spent each night bringing them in. Goats are clever and can work out that feeding takes place at a particular place and time, so once a routine is established then it becomes easier to manage the movement of goats in the evening as they come in for feeding.

Goats can actually make you money... not cost you money.

Domesticated goats are one of the most intelligent, rewarding and entertaining animals to own.

As a domestic farm animal they can be used to produce a variety of products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, meat, wool and body products such as soap and therapeutic skin creams.

Whether you are interested in goats for their fleece, dairy products or for filling your freezer, your choice and management of the 300 available breeds can make the difference between your goats making or costing you money .
No matter which type of goat you are considering keeping, knowing the tricks of the trade will allow you to make the most out of your goats without losing your shirt in the process. This course will give you the tools to choose the most appropriate breed  for you and give you the management skills to get the best out of them.



Goats are a viable breed to farm - they are popular with hobby farmers but also gaining strong popularity in general in farming.
Goat products are also increasingly in greater demand.
Some businesses are running an entire value-added business around goats (e.g. offering milking demonstrations, selling direct off the farm products such as cheeses etc. and even running cafes featuring 'goat products'.

It is a growing industry with many opportunities for the well-informed. This course can give you the background information to set up such a business.

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Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South
Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
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