Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

MOSES runs an organic university - you can view the online course structure here:

4. Organic Sheep and Goat Production
Whether for milk or meat, full time or part time, small ruminants may be a good fit for your operation. Veterinarian and producer Ann Wells, DVM, and Iowa goat dairy producer, Merle Steines, will share their farm-based knowledge and best practices for successful organic production. Although dairy goats, dairy sheep, lamb and goat meat systems are all unique, there are many commonalities that will be discussed in this session. Ann has had her own sheep flocks and goat herds, and has also done a lot of research and writing on small ruminant systems. She has also done work specifically on meat goats. Merle and his wife have milked a small herd of certified organic goats for over 20 years, and have utilized a wide diversity of markets. General herd and flock management will be discussed, including a look at the elements of successful pasture systems, feeding systems and how to manage your animals’ nutritional needs. Learn about herd/flock size issues and discuss the economics of different types of systems. Explore facilities you may need and various marketing strategies. A good amount of time will be spent on the details of successful reproduction and organic animal health management. Ann will detail parasite management strategies generated from research she has undertaken.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goat racing!

So I came across some info on goat racing while looking to see where Trinidad and Tobago were on a map. These islands are the home of some carnival festivals leading up to and including Easter. One of the most off-beat is the The Buccoo Goat Race Festival, which takes place on the first Tuesday after Easter. The tradition started about 75 years ago as a grassroots response to the upper-class pastime of thoroughbred horse racing.

This is a really cool pic, although a little large to post here:


In looking for more details about goat racing, I found that in Tanzania, there is a charity goat race that happens in the summer called the Dar es Salaam. To quote the site: "The main point of the Goat Races is the serious business of raising money for very needy causes here in Tanzania. Money is raised through the sponsorship of races, ticket sales, goat buying and betting plus a variety of other generous donations. We are deeply grateful to all those who have contributed. Over the last seven years a total of around $180,000 has been raised to help over twenty different charities all over Tanzania."

The Tanzania fest is in tun based off of the Royal Ascot Goat Races in Uganda The first goat races there were held in 1993 at Kampala Rugby Club. The idea of goat racing was developed from a pig race that had been held in Zimbabwe to celebrate the birthday of a horse breeder who did not have enough space in his garden to hold a horse race.

You should check out their goat info page where you can learn, among other things, that goat meat is not called muchomo (?)

I am still searching for US goat racing. There is a Phoenixville PA race in May that is sponsored by Sly Fox Brewery. The winning goat will have a seasonal beer named after them!

The Falmouth Goat Races legend has it, were started due to a practical joke played on a man by the name of Glen. After Glen lost money at the (horse) racetrack he and his friend joked that since they both had goats, they should just bet on them. His "friend" took out an ad in the paper telling people to call Glen to register their goats for the race. When more than a few people registered, they decided to hold the races to save face. There was also a video made about these races.