Backyard Dairy Goats is a book focusing on raising dairy goats in a way that respects their nature, on any amount of land. My aim with this book is to make backyard dairying achievable for anyone.
Most books about goats focus on keeping them on a larger scale, and don't address many issues for those who just want some milk from a couple of goats in the backyard. Topics covered include:
•Natural goat health, how to prevent and fix most issues without a vet.
•Small batch cheesemaking.
•Everything you need to know about goats - their behaviour, how to feed them, handle them, what they need to thrive, and so on.
I have set up this Kickstarter campaign as a way to fund the publishing costs of this book while (mostly) cutting out middlemen. As a result, by supporting my book in its early stages and buying it directly from me, you will get the book at a better price than the retail one, and I will be able to publish this book in the way it deserves.
What this book is about:
•Caring for goats in a way that respects their goatness.
•Getting dairy goats now, wherever you are. It doesn't have to be a dream that may happen one day in the distant future, it could happen now, and this book will show you how.
•Learning from observation, and goat behaviour in the wild to provide the right foods for goats to thrive.
•A permaculture approach, looking at the whole backyard ecosystem and the many interactions between goats, animals, garden, people, and trees.
•Cheesemaking and home dairying without artificial weird stuff.
•Goat dairy as a homemade staple food, for health, survival and self reliance. Recipes included.
Not just for backyards
This book is relevant for larger bits of land as well, especially in the early years while you're waiting for perennials to grow or waiting to build more fences. Goat milk provides an instant harvest, with a minimal amount of brought-in feed, using smaller amounts of land and food than cows, while providing manure for the garden.
What this book is, and what it is not
Backyard Dairy Goats is designed to be a practical book to be looked at whenever there is a question about goats, and also as a guide that will take the complete beginner from knowing nothing about goats, to finding their first goats, through to being a confident dairy goat owner that can deal with (and prevent) common goat medical issues.
It will be around 160 pages long, 6" by 9" in size.
It is not designed to be a colourful coffee table book, or a book that covers anything about fibre goats, meat goats, goat shows, or larger-scale goat dairying.
All of my favourite homesteading books are basic text-heavy ones that the authors have put their hearts into, Backyard Dairy Goats will proudly sit on the shelf with classics like Natural Goat Care, The Chook Book, The Healthy House Cow and The Permaculture Home Garden.
I’ve designed this book to make it as affordable as possible, while still covering all the topics the home dairy goat owner needs to know. I aim to publish the paperback edition of 'Backyard Dairy Goats' with a retail price of around $20aud (~$15usd). By supporting this Kickstarter now, when your support is most needed, you can get the book for a better price than it will be at later on, plus you will receive some extra mini-ebooks.
I have chosen to crowdfund for this book in order to raise enough money to buy ISBNs for both editions, along with the publishing setup costs with IngramSpark. The costs are fairly modest compared to conventional publishing, but it isn't free. With the way of publishing I have chosen, I can print as many or as few books as I wish, and avoid the waste that goes into warehousing books and mass-shipping them all over the place, while still making my book available through regular distributors that deal with libraries, bookshops and online retailers.
If you would like to support this book, first select the reward you would like from the rewards menu, and pledge any amount of money. Shipping will automatically be added when it's needed, and the payment process from there is pretty straightforward. The money will only be debited from your card if the funding goal is reached, so there is no risk for either of us; either the book is published, or it isn't.
$143. ISBN and ISBN setup costs to publish hardcover, paperback, and ebook.
$98usd (137aud). Publisher costs for hardcover and paperback.
$250 (approximately) to print reward copies.
$400 (approximately) for shipping.
20% ($186) miscellaneous and unexpected expenses (e.g. proof copies, publisher's revising charges, shipping cost increases, currency conversion changes etc.).
10% ($111) Kickstarter fees.
How you can help:
•Show your support with a pledge. Any amount can be pledged, and it will only go through if this campaign reaches its goal. You will get the ebook if you pledge just $5, and the paperback and hardcover are also reasonably priced. You will be getting my book for less than it will cost after publishing. If you just want to send $1, then you'll receive a recipe of your choice from the book.
•Share this Kickstarter project with your friends, followers, and anyone interested in goats.
•Sign up to my email list at thenourishinghearthfire.com to get updates about this book, along with lots of free recipes and homesteading ideas.
Available with all pledges above $5aud are two mini-ebooks (long blog posts) that aren't available anywhere else.
The Goatherd's Year goes through the yearly cycle with dairy goats, and how it interconnects with the garden and other aspects of homesteading.
Nine steps you can take now to prepare for future homesteading, wherever you are is a detailed list of ideas you can carry out for free (or for cheap) that will make life easier and more self-reliant when you do get on the land. If you feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to learn, or don't know where to start, this mini-ebook will help you fulfill your goals.
Bonus Pip Magazine!
The lovely people at Pip Permaculture magazine have included a digital copy of issue 8 (the goat issue) to all pledges above $10.
"In issue 8 we feature articles on backyard goats, an urban goat co-op, growing your own raspberries, communal living, earthships, bush foods, neo-peasants, a beanie pattern, DIY compost toilet, permaculture in Afghanistan, bush schools, urban farms, plus all the usual profiles, growing guides, kids section and more!"
Goats are one of my favourite animals. I have always appreciated the cute way they nibble the leaves off trees, the way they bleat, their goatish personalities, and just the general appearance of a couple of goats going about their lives, which for most of my life I had only encountered from the other side of the fence.
For many years I have aspired towards self-sufficiency and permaculture. Over the years I have kept vegetable gardens in different rental properties, never able to really appreciate the beneficial interactions that these gardens could have had with animals.
It wasn’t until I learned the benefits of raw milk that I put these two interests together. Having moved my family from a forest suburb near a city to a cottage on a third of an acre in the country, what I learned in this time moved us towards greater self sufficiency well before we were able to own land.
It was in this time that I learned of the benefits of traditional foods. Here in Australia (at the time of writing), selling raw milk is illegal, and as a result it can be very difficult to get hold of some. I began to look into the possibility of keeping a couple of dairy goats in our yard.
This meant asking a lot of questions, and some of them remained unanswered, or had very vague answers. Existing books about goats were written by people who kept them on a much larger scale. Most of them were filled with stuff about showing goats at goat shows, weighing the milk to keep records, dehorning goats and other things that I didn’t need to learn about, while not answering the questions that are most important to someone on a budget wanting to raise goats for milk: How much space do they need? What food do they eat and how much of it do they need? How do I keep them naturally healthy? How do I sterilise milking stuff without chemicals? What do I need to keep goats in a backyard?
A lot of these things I had to learn as I went. We bought a transportable fence designed for dogs, a moveable shelter, and not long afterwards we found two pregnant Toggenburg does for sale nearby. They had been bottle-raised as pets. The family had milked them a couple of times for fun but couldn’t answer many questions about it, and the goats had weaned their last kids and weren’t in milk anymore. I didn’t know much about goats back then, but I liked these ones, they were a pure dairy breed, and the people selling them seemed honest, so we brought them home and looked after them for the rest of their pregnancies, mainly following Pat Coleby’s Natural Goat Care for advice, and applying it to a much smaller scale situation.
A few months later, I milked a goat for the first time. All the preparation we’d had over the past couple of months, leading the goats up to the milking stand and feeding treats while I patted them had been worth it, and milking wasn’t much of a learning curve for them or for me.
The kids stayed with their mothers until around three months of age, when I found new homes for them. After this time I was milking twice a day and began to experiment with cheesemaking. I had some good books about this, but a lot of it was still trial and error, and I felt uneasy about using strange powdered cultures in the recipes, and eventually began to make cheese using only natural cultures that I could keep alive indefinitely at home.
My goats stayed in milk for three years, one of them having a break from it due to an udder injury, and then coming back into milk on her own the next spring. We moved house a couple of times during these years, eventually finding our way to a place of our own. Another goat joined our herd, then the opportunity arose to have a buck on our land for a few months. Our herd grew, and shrunk, and grew again. I have had time for many observations and cheesemaking adventures, and continue to learn as I observe and interact with the goats each day.
Every day I seem to appreciate more the simple beauty of the natural mixed farm, where animals feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants, and the plants then feed the animals.
Risks and challenges
I've avoided taking risks with this book by doing almost all the work before beginning this Kickstarter.
The only challenge I can see now is if there are delays with printing and shipping the book. I am aiming to send the books out in early December, but just in case there are delays I have given the delivery estimate for the books as January.
If there are any delays, I will communicate clearly by email, and if you're desperate to learn about goats as soon as possible, I will quickly send the ebook out to you as well.
I have a professional proofreader and editor who I'm trading goat cheese with, and I already have the skills to do all the graphic design needed to publish. These things have kept costs to a minimum, and everything else is fairly straightforward, just a matter of buying an ISBN for both the paperback and hardcover editions, paying the publishing setup costs, ordering a proof copy, and then ordering printed copies of the book. I have included percentages in my expected costs to offset anything unexpected, and if we meet our goal, this book will be published.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)