Despite my best intentions, it seems I’m always behind here…..
Things are progressing rapidly on our tiny homestead. While I grudgingly agreed to wait until Spring to begin adding livestock to our lives, I quickly killed that idea by rationalizing that if we wanted to begin doing dairy animals, we needed to get them ASAP to begin the process. After all, getting milk is a process that involves pregnancy, babies, and only then, milking.
I had been researching various goat breeds as dairy goats for a while since this is where we agreed to start with livestock. Eventually, I decided we should get Nigerian Dwarf goats. They produce high butterfat milk, are small and therefore a good “starter goat”, and frankly, I found them charming and adorable with their wide rainbow of coat colors and patterns.
With some poking around, I located a local breeder who was selling off her dairy goat herd due to recent health issues. Among the goats she was selling was a mother and daughter pair for a good price. I begged my husband to help me organize a goat area in our disaster of a barn and to put in fencing before the ground froze. After much harassment, he agreed. While we were truly ill equipped to take on goats, I was in the grip of goat fever, convinced that having goats then and there was the reasonable thing to do.
After a visit, I brought home mama goat Totem, and her daughter, who I named Talisman. We scrambled to get the appropriate supplies. With the help of a good friend, my husband put together a hay cradle and a milking stand in record time, especially for a total novice.
We finished the last touches on the old “under barn” to make it more secure. Things were good.
But could I let it rest? Of course not. After all, two goats wasn’t a proper herd, right? And besides that, I had fallen for a lovely goat named Sadie, a black and white beauty that was one of two remaining does at the farm where we had gotten Totem and Tali.
I emailed Sadie’s owner to ask about buying her as well. She told me she couldn’t let Sadie go by herself and I would have to buy Flinder, the remaining doe as well, so she wouldn’t be left alone. And so, I bought two more goats. My husband grumbled.
The goats came with a huge learning curve. We’ve had to arrange breedings, give shots, draw blood an administer medications. We’ve constructed them a new space within the barn, battled one of the coldest winters on record, and yes, acquired goat #5 as well.
It’s been more work than expected, but more joy as well. Even though the hubby still grumbles “we should have waited”, I think the goats have given him a lot so far as well.
For more info on the goats, please see the website I’ve been working on for the farm – www.featherandscalefarm.com, or Like my page on FB https://www.facebook.com/SarcastaFarm or follow me on Instagram – Feather and Scale Farm. I just love taking pictures and posting daily updates.