Would you like to own a dairy goat? Do you know the different breeds of dairy goats and how to identify them? In this project area, we will be studying dairy goats, their proper care, and benefits of a dairy goat’s milk.

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Dairy Goats Spark Activity: Homemade Goat Cheese

 Make Simple Goat Cheese

  • 1 Gallon Goat Milk
  • 1/2 Cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 TBSP dried sweet basil
  • cheesecloth and strainer


  • Slowly bring milk to boil on stove, stirring constantly
  • Once milk starts to froth (little bubbles on spoon) it is close to boiling
  • Turn off heat once it reaches a boil
  • Gently stir in vinegar. Milk should start to curdle or clump.
  • Prepare a strainer or colander with a two layers over a stainless steel bowl
  • Slowly pour milk mixture over cheesecloth. This will separate the curds from the whey. Be careful to avoid getting splattered with hot milk mixture!
  • Drain off the whey and bundle the curds in the cheesecloth.
  • Twist the cheesecloth to squeeze remaining liquid from the cheese curds. Press with a spoon to release more liquid.
  • Pour drained curds into a bowl.
  • Mix in garlic salt and dried basil.
  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Extra Tip: You can make your own cheese mold with a tin can or a coffee mug. Line the can or mug with waxed paper. Alternately add curds to the mold and press down with a smaller can or glass to form cheese into a ‘log’ shape. Remove by lifting out with waxed paper.

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Identify different dairy goat breeds 
  • Learn and demonstrate the basic needs of a dairy goat (feed,medication, shelter, etc.)
  • Learn to milk a goat and make simple products out of the milk
  • Attend an ADGA sanctioned show
  • Learn about the milking process 
  • Learn proper identification by tattooing or tagging a dairy goat 
  • Learn types of goat diseases and disease management 
  • Learn about goat nutrition Learn about dairy goat breeding Enter a goat in an ADGA show
  • Understand dairy goat husbandry 
  • Research goat related career fields 
  • Try making goat cheese, yogurt, butter, or cream from goat’s milk 
  • Learn about controlling external and internal parasites. 
  • Develop pasture management plan Learn to properly trim hooves
Put Your Project Into Action

 Service and Leadership

  • Volunteer at your local dairy goat farm
  • Volunteer at your local veterinarian office
  • Teach younger members about dairy goats
  • Teach workshop about dairy goats Entrepreneurship
  • Make soap products out of your dairy goat’s milk
  • Sell and breed dairy goats
  • Look into permits and guidelines for selling raw milk and cheese

Technology Connection

  • Find dairy goat live cams! There are many “live feed” cameras that focus on dairy goats and their behavior. They can show anything from baby goats playing, the birthing process, or proper care.
  • Learn to use ADGA’s online registration service or record your goats.
  • Learn to insert and read microchips

Connecting with a Mentor

  • Contact local dairy goat farmers
  • Connect with local veterinarian
  • Reach out to goat feed nutritionist
  • Contact farms permitted to sell raw milk - see Illinois Department of Public Health website


  • Attend a ADGA sanctioned dairy goat show
  • Show your dairy goat in your local fair
  • Master Showmanship
  • Jr. Showmanship
  • Animal Science Project in General Shows
  • State Fair
  • State 4-H Junior Livestock Conference

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • LEVEL 1: Getting Your Goat     
  • LEVEL 2: Stepping Out         
  • LEVEL 3: Showing the Way      


Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

Man holding goat cheese standing in front of his goats
  • Dairy Goat Farmer
  • Nutritionist or geneticist
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinarian Technician
  • Cheese Maker
Start a Conversation
  • What do you think is the most important part of taking care of a dairy goat?
  • What could we make from a dairy goat’s milk?
  • Who can we contact to learn more about dairy goats?

American Dairy Goat Association

University of Illinois Extension Website- Goats

Illinois 4-H Project Manual

Dairy Goat Project Books 

Penn State Extension