August 30, 2010

Goat Tales

Our goat population has been fluctuating.


We've gone from two to three to two to three.

My first goats were Abigail and Bathsheba Crybaby (Lord B's first love, aka Baby, aka Baby Dumpling)


They are Boer/Nubian crosses, mother and daughter. These were badly needed as brush goats, with future plans that they would breed meat for us.

Next on my list to get was a dairy goat. As I looked around on Craigslist, I thought even the mixed breed dairy goats were kind of high. I was actually thinking about a Kinder. As a small dual purpose goat, they seem perfect for the modern homestead. Since I couldn't find any in my area, the next best thing would be to start my own herd. For that I needed a a registered Nubian doe, so I bought Surprise...


Then the problems started. I knew there would be an adjustment phase, but what I didn't know, was that Abigail would turn out to be something of a bully. She never fully accepted Surprise.

At first I assumed this had to do with maternal instincts, but once Surprise had been around long enough to obviously be no threat, (and indeed, Baby loved her), I thought everything would be okay. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and Abigail never liked Surprise. She was ever chasing her away from the food and the barn. Since she was horned and Surprise wasn't, this was a concern. I tolerated it until Abigail cornered Surprise in the barn one day, ramming her until her shoulder was bleeding. That was it. I sold her.

Baby frantically searched for her mother (in between mouthfuls of grass and browse) for about a day, and then we got Charlie....


Never mind mom, what in the world was that huge fuzzy thing in our barn??? Baby attached herself to Surprise pretty quickly and adjustments were made all around. Then Dan thought we needed another goat, since two and a llama weren't keeping up with all the vegetation in the field.

I perused again craigslist, and found a gentleman in his 80s, who was selling off his herd. By the time I went to visit, he had three registered Nubian does left. Two were in milk,and the third was being dried off. Since we aren't really set up for milking, she was the one I bought.


This is Deer Ridge Farms L Jasmine.


She started her residence here like the others, in the barn (shed really, but we call it the barn), with the gate closed until introductory sniffs could be made.  I don't believe she'd ever seen chickens before, so she was a bit cautious about them. She'd definitely never seen a llama, and she wasn't all that thrilled about her new caprine companions. Understandably he just wanted to go home.

After the others wandered off to browse and graze again, I let Jasmine out. She stuck to me like velcro. She  had her face glued to my backside as I walked her out toward the others.  I had to sneak off by taking gradual backward steps because she hollered every time she thought I was leaving her out there alone with them.  (Melodrama is a Nubian specialty.)

Everyone gets a small amount of feed in the evening. Jasmine of course, didn't know the routine and wanted to chase Surprise and Baby away to eat it all herself. That's when Charlie stepped in. I usually feed Baby and Surprise from a large pan, and Charlie from a small, handheld enamel sauce pan. I had a smaller pan for Jasmine. When he saw Jasmine try to run the other two off, he got right in there. He shouldered Jasmine out of the way and blocked her so that he, Surprise and Baby all ate from the big pan.


Of course Jasmine was upset and the whole neighborhood knew all about it. We soon got it all straightened out and over the next days things settled down and Jasmine quickly became one of the girls.  Anytime I say "girls," all three goats will answer me. (I made the mistake calling the hens "girls" the other day, and the goats all answered in unison.  I have to remember to call the hens "chickens" with the emphasis on the "ch".)

Jasmine is a very sweet goat. Loud, but very friendly. And she adores Dan. Of course, her previous owner was a man, so while she likes me well enough, she'll drop me like a hot potato and run to Dan every time she sees him.

And about her being dried off. You may have noticed that I mentioned goat milk for my coffee in my last Independence Days Challenge update. When I first brought her home I wondered how well miking would go.  I'm happy to report that milking a goat is like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you never forget.  I'm not getting much, less than a quart every so many days, and that not for much longer.

The plan now is to breed them this fall. I'm trying to find a registered Pygmy buck to breed the Nubians to, so I can start my Kinder herd. That's proving to be a more difficult task than I thought, as there seem to be zero registered Pygmy herds within 150 miles of here. Hopefully I'll have some success with that to blog about one of these days soon.

Goat Tales photos and text © 30 August 2010 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/

16 comments:

Theresa said...

Oh my, there have been a few changes. Glad the browsing population is finally getting along and settled.
The new girl is very pretty! Good luck in your sire search.

Julie said...

Things are really changing at your place! But it does look like your having a good time with all those fun friends!

Michelle said...

Great post on goats & how you are doing things there.
Have you visited the Kinder Communique site? I am sold on the idea of Kinders over all other breeds of goats after reading about them there. They seem to be non existent in this area too . The Pygmy's & Nigerian Dwarf's however, are very popular, easy to find & cheap. Last week a friend was given 5 ND's free...4 does & a young buck. I was offered any that I might want. I would rather hold out though for Kinders & esp goats without horns! Hope you find your pygmy & look forward to seeing how your goat project progresses!

Renee said...

I'm glad things are working out for you. I love how Charlie was such a helper for you and that the girls are getting along now.

Looking forward to more goat stories soon.

Benita said...

They are such pretty goats, but I don't blame you for getting rid of the bully. How are they doing at keeping the vegetation down in the field?

Scented Leaf said...

Very interesting to see how Jasmine has made new friends at the farm. Glad it was integrated into her new family.

Blue bird said...

Hello Lee! Your blog is the most enjoyable blog I have found.
I would love to live like you, but I think is really hard work.
And you still have time taking pictures and post! Amazing. Love: Julia/Blue bird :)

Nina said...

Gotta love those Nubian ears and expressive faces. Very pretty girls you have there. There is no place on a small farmstead for a grouchy, bully animal. I've never heard of Kinders! Is it similar to a pygora, but obviously not with an angora goat?

Leigh said...

Theresa, good changes I think. I have to say things are quieter around here! We do have a possible lead on a buck. Maybe there'll be news on that soon!

Julie, thankfully the goats are all happier. Surprise wasn't too sure about Jasmine at first. Bad memories of Abigail I think. But once they got used to one another, everything was fine.

Michelle, yes, I subscribe to the Kinder Comunique feed! In fact, I'm just getting ready to join the Kinder Goat Breeders Association. We do have pygmys around here, but as far as I can tell, none have papers, which I would need to register my 1st generation kinders. I hope you find what you're looking for soon. And I do agree with you about horns!

Renee, Charlie's been great with the girls. And for the most part, they're pretty accepting of him. :)

Benita, they're doing pretty well. We lost a lot of vegetation when we had the leach field put in, but it's been growing back in grass. There are still some things in there that Charlie gets in to, like blackberry briars. I thought they were all gone but the goats only ate all the leaves! We're working on getting the other field fenced, so that will be a little better for grazing.

Scented Leaf, I think she still misses her previous owner. He said they were all just big pets. But she's a sweetheart so I hope she feels more at home here soon.

Julia, thank you! I admit that I write for my own blog more than I keep up with others blogs. Or answer emails. :)

Nina, kinders are a small, dual purpose breed, perfect for a small farm or homestead. Being smaller than a standard size goat, they don't eat as much and so are more practical for homesteaders. From the Nubian side they get good quality milk. From the Pygmy side, they are good meat producers. They are calmer than Nubians (who are very melodramatic), and have good personalities. It takes several generations to get a true Kinder, so we'll have to start at the beginning!

Cathy said...

"Nubians are melodramatic". Yeah. And my pygmy was pretty bad too. I can't imagine crossing the two. This should be interesting. :-)

Razzberry Corner said...

You have been very busy! You have quite the farm going now! How do you ever find the time to do all the work, and blog about it, too?

The goats are beautiful!

~Lynn

bspinner said...

Pretty goats!!!! We only had angora goats but I love yours. Sometimes I wish we had more land so we could have animals.

motherhen68 said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my new chicks! I am in love with your goats and very jealous. I want a goat for milking, but dh thinks goats are Satan's spawn and they freak him out LOL. I think he's just trying to reign me in, especially since I brought up goat raising after questioning him on how much room does a pig need to grow to market weight LOL.

I'm subscribing to your blog, it's great!

Flower said...

It does take time to settle into what the farm will have in the way of goats. Nubians are so sweet in the face and eyes. And no horns!
You should be able to locate some free goats...but maybe not on Craigslist....word of mouth.

Leigh said...

Cathy, oh no, Pygmys too? Kinders are supposed to be fairly mellow. I wonder where they get that from then!

Lynn, I love to write so I do set aside some time for that. I admit that I never feel caught up with the other projects going on, so I prioritize. Garden and animals always come first!

Barb, actually I think angoras are absolutely the prettiest goats there are. Maybe someday I might have one or two.

Paula, thank you! Maybe your husband just needs to meet the right goat. :)

Flower, I'm with you on the no horns. Dan likes them but I'd rather not. We will probably have to have a disbudding discussion once the kids start coming along. I'm on the hunt for that buck. Hopefully I'll have success to report soon.

Robin said...

Sounds like fun over there.