NYS 4-H Youth Development Program

Department of Animal Science

Goat Programs

In the news:

The 2014 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium will be held on Friday afternoon 3 October at the Cornell University Ruminant Center near Harford, NY and Saturday 4 October in Morrison Hall at the Cornell University campus.

We’ve updated our Fact Sheet Series on Meat Goat Herd Management Practices


Goat projects of many kinds are available to New York youth ages 5-19 through the Cornell Cooperative Extension program. For more information, contact your county CCE office or the address at the end of this page. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read many documents on this site. You can download it for free from Adobe.com

Dairy goat project –Dairy goats are much smaller than cows, cost much less to house and feed, and give family-sized amounts of milk daily. They are very affectionate, live about as long as a dog and make great companions. However, just like cows they need to be milked twice a day. If your family likes milk and dairy products, dairy goats may be the perfect animals for you.

Meat goat project - Goat meat is actually one of the most commonly eaten meats in the world and tastes somewhat like venison and beef. To find out more about meat goat breeding doe projects and meat goat market kid projects, or to obtain a copy of our 4-H meat goat record books and fact sheets, click the meat goat link to the left.

Pack goats - Wethers can also be trained to carry packs for you on long hikes. Training starts at about 2 to 3 months of age. By one year of age, a wether can easily carry a soft pack with your lunch, his snack and a spare jacket and water in it. When he matures, he'll be able to carry up to 50 lbs. of camping gear in a rigid pack. There are plans available for making your own soft packs. However, rigid packs for serious packing are pretty expensive. A wether can live as long as a dog so remember owning one is a very serious commitment.

Driving goat project - Castrated male goats (called wethers) can be trained to pull carts. You do not need to milk them; however, they require regular exercise just like a dog. A goat needs to be about two years old before he is strong enough to pull a cart. However, basic training starts at about 2 to 3 months of age. It usually takes two people to train a driving wether so make sure you have a friend or family member who is willing to help you. You should also plan on having to spend money on driving equipment. Be sure to check out the price of necessary equipment in various catalogs before you buy your wether. There are plans available for making your own driving carts. A wether can live for a long time so you need to make sure you will not eventually tire of him.

A 4-H Harness Goat Project Manual has been compiled from out of print materials and updated. (Materials originated from Ohio State University Extension, Michigan State University Extension and Cornell Cooperative Extension.)

Fiber goats - Some goats produce special fibers or wools in their coats that can be spun to make yarn for kniting and crocheting clothing. Angora goats produce curly long wool called mohair. All goats produce a fuzzy undercoat of soft wool in the winter to help keep them warm. This wool is called cashmere. Some goats produce so much cashmere that it is worth the time and effort to comb or shear it off them at the end of winter. You can use a female or castrated male goat for a fiber goat project. However, you must keep their fleeces clean all winter and harvest their fleeces every year. A fiber goat project is perfect for someone who likes goats, wants to learn how to spin, and likes to knit or crochet. The Michigan State University Bulletin Office, 10-B Agricultureall, MSU, East Lansing ,MI 48824-1039 offers for sale at $2.10, Your 4-H Angora Goat Project, Item # 4H1480, 40 pp. This is a very informative booklet, but does not include a record book.

Contact: tatiana Stanton