Our Goat Family
Breakfast in the nursery
I never thought I would be a goat person and it was more than a little shocking to realize that I had grown very fond of our 2 little brush eaters.. When the first little boys arrived here on the Ranch, I remember telling Greg that I would never get used to the smell. It was more than a little scary to realize that I have become so used to it that it just blends in with all the other various smells on the farm. Goats have a very distinctive aroma...the does are pretty bad but the bucks in the rut are off the scale (.that testosterone again!!!!) It wasn't too long after one of our very informal (...Greg," I've had an idea “) business meetings, we made the decision to raise meat goats and duly (and with total ignorance!) set off to buy a readymade herd of Boer Goats. I don't think anything could have prepared us for the impact that those young ladies had on our previously fairly organized day. Goats notoriously have a mind of their own, the new arrivals weren’t' any different, they knew that their new guardians were novices and were fully prepared and I believe very happy to initiate us into the goat world. Many evenings were spent perched on a bucket in the middle of the stall offering peanuts in bribe for their friendship. I soon became aware that goats have their own agenda and as long as I was prepared to offer peanuts the act of total indifference would continue. Over time the ladies accepted us and although I am fully aware that we will never actually control their behavior they would at least all head in the direction we wanted rather than head off determined to cover every point of the compass. Sadly, when Greg had an accident and damaged his back we had to reduce the size of the herd we have only Jolene and Freckles left of the original band of 6. Another “business meeting” (another of my ideas!!) and the meat goats were joined by Watch Me and Wistola, 2 milk goats. Greg has become the nominated milker as the ladies seemed to have much more tolerance for him and less milk was spilt / kicked over / sprayed. Greg has been very enthusiastic about trying his hand at making goat cheese, the first attempt sadly resembled chewing an eraser rather than mozzerella but never discouraged he hasn't given up, things can only get better....can't it ??? . As the ladies have become part of the family, the concept of eating our goat meat was inconceivable but a friend offered Greg some chops in return for certain services rendered and reluctantly I conceded that the meat was very tasty. Up to now all our babies have happily been re-homed as brush eaters, this year we have had many enquiries about meat. It would appear that America and the UK are some of the only countries where goat meat is not readily available. Thinking about it, it does make sense, goats can live on very sparse food (nobody seems to have told our goats who are the fussiest eaters on the ranch!) they typically have twins or triplets they provide rich creamy milk and their meat is considered to be very lean and good for you. I still won’t eat my goats. Smile. This year we bought a new buck after sadly retiring our old buck, Mr. T. We bought Macho as a 6 week old kid and he is growing into a very handsome goat, we are looking forward to seeing his offspring next spring. This spring the last of Mr. Ts babies arrived, Jolene had triplets Watch Me and Wistola each had twins. We love the kids and are bottle feeding the babies from our milk goats so part of our day is spent trying to make sure that each baby gets his or her share whilst the stronger and bigger babies try equally hard to make sure that they get the lion’s share of the warm frothy milk. Hopefully all the doelings will be ready to meet the public at the open farm day in October...we look forward to introducing them to you.