Tuesday, November 27

Keeping Goats

Little Miss Claudia Milkmouth

It’s a long story as to how I received goats as a gift for Thanksgiving, but I’ll try to condense the story.

Long, long ago in a land far away (Wisconsin) my husband, fresh out of college, started selling insurance. His territory was northern Wisconsin. He went door to door to farmers, and one farm he called on was the Burish Dairy Farm. As time passed, my husband quit selling insurance, but he remained close friends with the dairy farmers. More time passed, he took a job offer and moved to Ohio and him and I met.

We decided to get married in Wisconsin on a Christmas trip to see the Burish’s, even getting married in a beautiful little picturesque snow covered church in Cadott, down the road from the Burish dairy farm.

Then one spring while visiting the farm on a return trip, Al and Carrie asked us to be the God Parents to their daughter Shelby. Of course we accepted!

Fast forward to November 2012, with one year under our belt as owners of a small beginning farm. We recieved a call from Shelby asking if she could come visit us for Thanksgiving. Shelby was raised on the Burish Dairy Farm, worked the farm, milked the cows, mucked the barn, everything. While growing up, she also raised a few goats. Now married with three children of her own, she and her husband are dairy goat farmers, with nearly 200 head!

When Shelby and her family arrived at our farm, they had with them 3 of the most precious little baby goats (kids) I have ever seen. (Shelby's children are also beautiful and a joy, but that's another story) The little male goat, a buckling is an Alpine and the two females, doelings, are Saanen.

Frolicking Goats!
Saanen goats come from Switzerland and are renowned for their milk.
The Alpine goat originates from the Swiss and French Alps and is known for their easygoing nature.

I think goats are amazing! I fell in love with them 2 years ago on a trip to a working farm called Peaks of Otter / Elmo's Rest in Bedford, Virginia. That farm had baby goats running everywhere.  Frolic, that's a word for what those goats did.

According to historians, the goat may have been one of the first animals ever to be domesticated, even before the dog. Excavations from the Middle East indicate that goats were being kept as far back as 10,000 to 13,000 years ago, according to the book “Goats” by Janine Verschure. And goats are extremely social, affectionate and respond well to human attention.

There are numerous reasons to keep a goat, here are just a few.

My new little baby goats, I have a goat herd!
MILK:  Each doe will give you about 90 quarts of delicious fresh milk every month for about 10 months. Goat milk is slightly sweeter than cow's milk and often times a person with milk sensitivities can drink goat milk without problems.

Milk Products: Goat milk can be used for yogurt, cheese, butter or ice cream. Surplus milk may be fed to chickens or other livestock.
Goat milk can be used to make lotion, and soap, and really goat milk can be used in any way you would traditionally use cow’s milk.

MEAT: From each castrated buck you will get 25 to 40 pounds of tasty lean meat (Chevon). Each doe you breed will produce one to two kids annually, and when mature will produce more milk, more meat.

FERTILIZER:  Each goat will drop approximately 1 pound of manure a day, which is wonderful garden fertilizer!

MOWING: Goats are also well-known for their ability to wipe out weeds, they're living breathing weed whackers.

Goats can be kept as pets, used in a dairy business or sold for meat. I am keeping mine for a combination of reasons, the top of the list being for companionship (pets), milk production, and in the future if I’m able, (sniff, sniff) for meat. Goats can help you along your path to healthier organic food and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Cell pic of goats and Doxie at night
How are the Dachshunds doing with the goats?

A lot has happened since my last writing!  My daughter Alexis brought home another rescue dog, putting our total number of Dachshunds to 3.

Our Lucas, (in the photo) the second rescued Doxie, is very good with the goats, gentle, and loves sharing the milk supplement I feed the baby goats. 
Dillon the newest and a puppy, has to be watched very closely. He is not even trusted with the chickens.
Josie the oldest in age and time living with us, is too busy looking for something to dig up or kill to care about the goats.

I've only had the baby goats for a few days now, but it is such a wonderful feeling to sit on the bucket in the barn stall and watch them jump up and down on bales of straw, or nuggle against me for attention.  Hearing the rustle of the straw under their feet, and the little baby goat bleating sounds, and feeling their warm fuzzy bodies against my leg, already pulls at my heart.  I am a goat farmer now, all be it on a small scale.  The goats took no mercy on me and wormed their way quickly into my heart instantly.

I hope your year is ending on a fantastic note, like mine is,

Goat Birthing

Building A Hay Feeder

Building A Milking Stand

My littlest milk faced baby goat, taken with my cell, her 1st night at my farm. Named her "Miss Claudia Milk Mouth"

More Info On Goats:

Recipe For Goat Milk Lotion

How to Make Goat Milk Soap

American Dairy Goat Associations website

Goat Lingo:

Kid - a goat less than 6 months of age

Doeling - immature female goat

Buckling - immature male goat

Doe - mature female goat

Buck - mature male goat

Wether - castrated male goat

Chevon - goat meat

Parts of a Goat (Doe)


Ya-Ya said...

Amazing! Lucas McCain is assistant goat-herd-er. You have a herd of fat-belly milk-mouths, is what.

Anonymous said...

Fat-belly-milk-mouths, funny! Made me laugh out loud!

Anonymous said...

I really wish we could find saanens in canada. They are my dream goats! Nubians seem to be the popular breed here. Ive seen a Boers I think their called before also but really have my heart set on saanens.

Elizabeth said...

Saanens seem to be a really gentle breed, so friendly and calm. Our friend's herd is a mix, very beautiful and provide tons of milk, which is where my Saanens came from.