So many people have asked my advice on which books they should buy, it is time to publish that list for everyone to hopefully benefit from! And yes, we have a real physical library with a bookcase and all… such an old-timey thing in today’s digital world isn’t it?
As a self-described “Research Queen”, I studied for 2 years before we bought our first goat, sheep, chicken, turkey, and livestock guardian animal. My studies involved a lot of internet research, but also through buying books from subject matter experts. Be careful any internet research you do…. if we had just gone by the internet opinions we wouldn’t own any bucks. The bucks have turned out to be easy to handle, our biggest babies/best pets, and don’t affect the taste of the milk *at all* if they are not housed with the milkers.
Not only are these animals our pets, but we also wanted them to be productive. The Nigerian Dwarf breed was selected based on ease of handling and high butterfat content of their milk. The Babydoll sheep were also selected based on ease of handling and the high quality of their wool. French Black Copper Marans chickens were selected due to the cool color of their eggs as well as how they handle the cold winters we have here on the Highland Rim in Middle Tennessee (right on the KY border). Bourbon Red turkeys were selected due to how delicious this heritage breed’s meat is. Great Pyrenees were selected over livestock guardian alternates like llamas or donkeys as the best fit for us.
The material in the books not only helped us with what breeds we wanted, but also with developing housing, care, feeding, fencing, predator prevention etc. We wanted to be organic and follow some permaculture practices and the books help there as well.
I would highly recommend the Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats book. LOTS of great milking advice. Also highly recommended are The Backyard Goat (one of my favorite reads!), and Natural Goat Care (great book but not really a beginners guide) books. All of the Gianaclis Caldwell dairy books are fantastic as her herd is Nigerian Dwarfs.
The only book I would *not* recommend is Nigerian Dwarf Goats Care by Taylor David as it was meh and not a very helpful book. It’s like c’mon – the book’s cover photo is of a goat with horns. These are dairy goats which should not have horns! And the book has several pictures of goats which are NOT Nigies (Nubians, Boers, brush goats, etc)! Perhaps if I had found anything that would indicate the author is an expert I would not have noticed the other breeds pictured in a book about Nigerians. It almost seems the book is simply a bunch of internet stuff pulled together. Looking at the Acknowledgement page it says he has a whopping TWO Nigerians he bought as a result of his children’s 4-H. Draw your own conclusions.
Here’s the list. Anyone who is local can borrow any of these books – just let me know. If you have any other recommendations please let all of us know by leaving a comment!
Goats & Dairy
The Backyard Goat: An Introductory Guide to Keeping and Enjoying Pet Goats, from Feeding and Housing to Making Your Own Cheese by Sue Weaver
Nigerian Dwarf Goats Care: Dairy Goat Information Guide to Raising Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats as Pets. Goat care, breeding, diet, diseases, lifespan by Taylor David
Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby
Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, 4th Edition: Breeds, Care, Dairying, Marketing by Jerry Belanger
The Small-Scale Cheese Business: The Complete Guide to Running a Successful Farmstead Creamery by Gianaclis Caldwell
The Small-Scale Dairy: The Complete Guide to Milk Production for the Home and Market Paperback by Gianaclis Caldwell
Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home by Gianaclis Caldwell
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers–With information on building by Harvey Ussery
Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard by Bloom, Jessi, Baldwin, Kate
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery
The Complete Guide to Organic Livestock Farming: Everything You Need to Know about Natural Farming on a Small Scale (Back-To-Basics Farming) by Terri Paajanen
The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by Seymour, John, Headon, Deirdre
Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance by John Storey
You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise by Joel Salatin
Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement by Manalo, Paula, Fleming, Severine von Tscharner, Bradbury, Zoe Id
The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way by Michael Phillips
Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Garnener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, by Jeff Lowenfels, Wayne Lewis
Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in Any Home, Anywhere: (like lemons, limes, citrons, grapefruit, kumquats, sunquats, tahitian oranges, barbados … by Martin, Byron E., Martin, Laurelynn G.
The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen by Tony Hill
The Ultimate Guide to Herbs by Jenny Linford
Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing Paperback by Althea Press
The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes by Jennifer MacKenzie
The Complete Guide to Raising Pigs: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (Back-To-Basics Farming) by Carlotta Cooper
Living with Sheep: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Flock by Hansen, Geoff, Wooster, Chuck