Raising Dairy Goats Sustainably

Online Certificate Program

Instructor’s Bio



University of Massachusetts Online education


Fall Semester 2014 - Online

Register Here


Instructor: Deborah Niemann-Boehle

          13128 East 2700 North Road

          Cornell, IL 61319


Description of course:  This course explores the differences between conventional, organic, and sustainable methods of raising goats and managing a dairy, whether for home or commercial use. It will cover planning and managing the dairy, as well as natural methods of raising goats. It will integrate current research on goat health issues with management practices. Breeding and birthing issues will be discussed in detail, as well as raising kids. Basics of cheese and soap making will be included, as well as composting waste and using milk or whey as fertilizer or to raise other meat animals, such as poultry, pigs, and calves.


Learning Objectives:

Students will –

   Explain the difference between goat management systems that employ

conventional, organic, and sustainable methods.

   Plan housing, fencing, and milking infrastructure required for the number of goats

they plan to milk.

   Evaluate goats to purchase.

   Explain how management practices can impact the use of antibiotics, anthelmintics,

and coccidiostats.

   Recognize behavioral and physical changes of a sick goat, a doe in heat, and one

about to give birth.

   Recognize the normal birth process, as well as variations and danger signs.

   Make simple cheese.

   Make milk soap or a meal with goat meat.

   Develop a plan for extra buck kids.

   Develop a plan for using whey from cheese making process.


Course Components:

The course is presented in an online learning environment through PowerPoint

presentations, videos, and online discussions.


Required Textbook: Niemann, Deborah. (2013). Raising Goats Naturally: A Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC.


Grading: Because this is an online class, there will be some type of written assignment every week, such as an online discussion or blog post. There may also be a short quiz some weeks.

1.   Four blog posts* (2 @ 10 points each; 2 @ 20 points each)

2.   Quizzes (questions 1 point each)

3.   Online discussions (3 points for initial post; 1 point for each response to other

students’ posts)

4.   Final exam (30 points)


* Blog posts will provide an opportunity for students to experience the difference between writing as a marketing tool and writing as a scholarly activity. The blogs will be written as if you owned a dairy and were writing them for your customers. The difference between them and the online discussions is that your instructor and classmates will be the only audience for the discussions. In the past, these discussions have provided a place for students to talk through potential issues that might cause marketing challenges in some areas, such as selling extra bucklings for meat.





Unit I: 

Planning Your Dairy



Week 1

Introduction: Why are we all here?

Online discussion about


Week 2

Goat breeds

Blog post: What breed will

work best for your dairy?

Week 3

Buying goats

Evaluate five goats for purchase (found online)

Week 4


Fencing budget

Week 5

Housing and equipment

Online discussion; budget

Week 6

Goat nutrition

Quiz; evaluate commercial

goat feeds

Unit II:

Managing Your Dairy



Week 7

Day-­‐to-­‐day life with goats

Online discussion, dealing

with waste

Week 8

Parasite control


Week 9

Illnesses & disease


Week 10

Breeding, pregnancy, birth

Online discussion

Week 11

Raising kids

Blog post: What will you do

with extra bucklings?

Week 12

Milking & milk handling


Unit III:

Dairy Production



Week 13

Cheese making

Blog post: Make cheese

Week 14

Soap and meat

Blog post: Make soap or

prepare a goat meat dish

Week 15

Final exam




Additional Useful References


Caldwell, Gianaclis. (2012). Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide for Home-­‐ Scale and Market Producers. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.


Caldwell, Gianaclis. (2010). The Small Scale Cheese Business: The Complete Guide to Running a Successful Farmstead Creamery. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.


Caldwell, Gianaclis. (2014). The Small Scale Dairy: The Complete Guide to Milk Production for the Home and Market. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.


Karlin, Mary. (2011). Artisan Cheese Making At Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering

World-­‐Class Cheeses. Ten Speed Press, Berkley, CA.


Kindstedt, Paul and the Vermont Cheese Council. (2005). American Farmstead Cheese: The Compete Guide to Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.


Matthews, John. (2009). Diseases of the Goat. Wiley-­‐Blackwell, Ames, IA


Niemann, Deborah. (2011). Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-­‐ Reliant Living. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC.


Solaiman, Sandra G. (2010). Goat Science and Production. Wiley-­‐Blackwell, Ames, IA. Smith, Mary C. and David M. Sherman. (2009). Goat Medicine. Wiley-­‐Blackwell, Ames. IA




To register for this class go to UMass Online



This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate Program.  A UMass Certificate may be earned by the successful completion of 15 credits of approved courses in this series.  For information, contact Dr. John M. Gerber at;  Or learn about other online courses offered as part of the Sustainable Food and Farming certificate and B.S. degree program.