Aspiring goat producers get textual help
By BARB GLEN, EDITOR
23/09/2010 12:00:00 AM
When Dr. Marion (Meg) Smart offered us a copy of her book,Goat Production Manual, A Practical Guide (Second Edition),we seized it as an opportunity to learn more about the subject. Smart, a veterinarian and professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, has a long history with theProducer,so it was a pleasure to receive a copy.
But there’s no sense pretending anyone on staff can objectively review its contents. None of us raise goats. As
Smart says in the chapter entitled My Goats, “I
always advise my students to listen to the seasoned producer, as nothing upsets a good theory like a little experience.”
Lacking aforementioned experience, allow us to at least observe that the book offers information on goat nutrition, health, breeding, common diseases and medications. It’s easy to read and understand.
The book says that “worldwide, people eat seven times more goat meat than beef.” Wikipedia, which is quite arguably a less reliable source than Smart, says goat is a distant fourth globally, behind pork, beef and chicken. Other sources at the universities of Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn maintain that goat meat comprises 63 percent of all red meat consumed worldwide.
Suffice to say that goat meat is a popular protein, particularly in the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Mexico and the Caribbean. Its popularity is also increasing elsewhere.
Smart’s book arrived just after we had requested a review copy of the recently releasedRaising Goats forDummies.
As its name implies, the book starts with the bare basics, from getting acquainted with goats to 10 misconceptions (No. 1: Goats will eat anything.) Author Cheryl K. Smith raises goats, and we were intrigued by a note that she also served as legal counsel for the American Goat Society. What legal trouble might goats or goat societies get into? We know from Smart’s book that goats are intelligent, but apparently they are not as smart as lawyers.
Our assessment of the two books: If you have goats, Smart’s book is a good resource. If you’re just thinking of getting goats, start with the Dummies book. Once you’re in business, Smart’s book will serve well.