August 2018
For What It's Worth

A Livestock Handbook Trilogy

Dairy Goat and Sheep Operations in the Southeast Production Guide joins prior publications on beef cattle and small ruminants.


The trio of livestock pocket guides now available from ACES.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System continues to provide educational media to serve the interests of livestock producers. Many of you may already be familiar with the Alabama Beef Cattle Pocket Guide and the Small Ruminant Pocket Guide, which have been available for several years. The newest pocket guide is the Dairy Goat and Sheep Operations in the Southeast Production Guide.

All three are made possible by ACES, Alabama Farmers Federation and checkoff funds from livestock sales at statewide livestock sale barns.

One of the reasons these publications are called pocket guides is their narrow width and thinness which allows them to slide into a full-size shirt or pants pocket. These three publications will best serve any technical interests of experienced or novice livestock producers and 4-H youth.

Content of the three publications typically addresses categories including forages, nutrition, health, management, marketing, economics, reproduction, body-condition evaluation, and meat yields and quality. The appendices include a wealth of technical aspects, contacts and resources.

Contributing authors include specialists from ACES, Auburn University, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Louisiana State University, Alabama Public Health Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, and Dayspring Dairy LLC.

The dairy goat and sheep production guide is unique for the obvious reason that it addresses small ruminant dairy interests, which tends to be a small cottage industry. Yet, there is a strong interest among individuals and families who enjoy using the milk for personal consumption or further processed into cheese, fudge and ice cream or yogurt. Milk from small ruminants can also be further processed into skin care products such as soaps, lotions and shampoos.

Additional content of this production guide that makes it unique are chapters such as Preparing Your Property for Dairy Goats/Sheep, Selecting & Managing a Dairy Goat/Sheep Herd, Parasite Control and Milk Care.

Many of you may not be aware there are several breeds of sheep suitable for milk and cheese production.

There are at least five breeds of dairy goats and at least one breed of dwarf dairy goats.

In my 18 years of outreach, there have always been inquiries about where to find information on dairy goats, starting a goat dairy, regulations, facilities, etc. I would end up directing them to several resources including various experts within Extension, Department of Public Health, environmental agencies, internet and other producers. With the exception of a producer list, this publication contains all the information a novice or potential producer would need when it comes to technical interests in sheep or goat dairies!

This wealth of information in the form of a pocket guide is made possible by Boyd Brady, Extension specialist, Dairy Science Department of Animal Science, Auburn University.

The best part about this trilogy of publications is they are all free, thanks to ACES, Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Checkoff Funds.

How can you access this publication? You can contact Boyd Brady at 334-844-1562 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or you can call your local county Cooperative Extension office and ask how to get this or other publications.


Robert Spencer is interim facilities manager for Alabama A&M’s Agribition Center. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..