Nigerian Dwarf

Goats of dwarfish proportions were once widespread across much of Africa, their historic home being a large swath stretching from the Atlantic coast inland as far as modern Sudan and almost spanning from 20°N to 20°S latitude. These miniature goats varied by region, some being stocky, cobby little animals and others proportioned like true dairy…

LaMancha

As its name suggests, the LaMancha does have ancestors from Spain, but it was developed entirely in the United States. Its story begins with the arrival of the conquistadors. The conquistadors and the missionaries who accompanied them always brought along livestock for food. Goats were usually among the herds and flocks, thanks to their versatility;…

French Alpine

The French Alpine originated thousands of years ago as the direct descendant of the Pashang of Persia, one of the earliest goats to be domesticated. The Pashang traveled to the Alps with the original settlers of this rugged region, and here it adapted to new conditions. For millennia the goats of the Alps developed as…

How a Milking Machine Works

While many small farmers still love to hand-milk their cows, commercial dairying usually employs the milking machine. The modern milking machine looks complex, but the principle on which it operates is actually quite simple. The machine pulls a vacuum on the teats of the cow, causing the milk to flow. Here’s how it works: The…

Brix: How Do We Use It?

Now that we know what brix is and how to measure it, we’re ready to find ways to apply this knowledge. So what is an ideal brix level?  Most plants show markedly improved vitality and pest resistance when their brix levels hit 12 degrees on a refractometer, although with care many can go far higher…

Brix: What is It?

Brix is one of those topics that come up fairly frequently in sustainable agriculture.  Simply put, brix is a measure of the sugar content of a plant or other substance. To be more specific, Brix expresses the weight of dissolved sugar as a percentage of the weight of the entire solution.  Pure water has a…

What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)?

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a unique and somewhat controversial nutrient.  Linoleic acid is an essential polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid.  It necessary for the proper functioning of the human body but cannot be produced internally.  It must be obtained from the diet. The word conjugated refers to the unique structure of this particular form of…

Breeds of Livestock

The varied livestock breeds of the world have fascinating histories and characteristics.  Many country living enthusiasts have spent enjoyable hours researching their favorite breeds. One good source of information is the Breeds of Livestock site put together by Oklahoma State University.  This is a handy online encyclopedia-type reference packed with facts about both popular and…

The Two Subspecies of Cattle

Did you know that cattle breeds are commonly categorized into two different subspecies? While the two subspecies can breed and produce fertile offspring, they do come from different parts of the world and have very distinctive characteristics. The species names are: Bos taurus taurus. Bos taurus indicus. Bos taurus taurus Simply put, Bos taurus taurus…