My “herd” is finally complete. I’ve been waiting to introduce you to my sweet goats but today is the day.
We now have four goats on Half-Way Farm, la ferme a mi-chemin. They can now re-produce. I’m calling that a herd. Don’t laugh.
It all began last spring when I was DEATHLY ill with the flu (and pregnant). Nothing was working. It was like I was dying. I was in bed for about a week and so I started spending a LOT of time on the Mac-top. I found myself watching YouTube videos about Nigerian Dwarf goats and my subtle interest became a full blown obsession.
I found the WONDERFUL breeder, Beth, of My Own Private Idaho and we set out to find just the right goats to suit our needs here on the farm. I wanted a “fresh” goat and she considered selling me and older one of hers but then decided she wouldn’t be a good fit for our milking needs. (She’d never been on the stand). She encouraged me to be patient and start with babies that we would grow to love and just wait a year or so for the milk. The kids and I went out for a visit, held a couple and we were smitten. She called when two were born that she thought would be perfect for us. A brother and sister. Darling. All we had to do was wait 60 days and we could take them home.
That was a long sixty days.
Last 4th of July we brought Coco and Valentino to Half-Way and I became a changed woman.
I don’t really like animals.
Or let’s just say – I’m not a dog person. That might cushion the blow for some of you. Others may never read this blog again:). But boy, oh boy I’ve become a goat woman!
Nigerian Dwarfs are sweet little, deer like goats. Their milk has a high butterfat content, they throw multiples (meaning they can have two, three and four kids at a time) and they are perfect for a farm with small children.
Coco and Valentino… oh, let me stop there. I learned while doing a ton of research before buying them that it is customary to pick a theme for your farm when naming your goats and since I am “Parisienne Farmgirl” I thought it appropo to name my goats after my favorite fashion designers. Silly girl that I am.
Coco and Valentino came to love us all quickly. The children singing them “Jesu m’aime” nightly in an effort to tame them was about the cutest thing EVER. We loved on them. Ran them thru the farmyard for giggles and made it thru the horrible winter of 2013/14.
And then I got the fever again.
Not the flu.
The goat fever.
I needed another one. No, scratch that. I needed two more. I needed another darling girl. And I needed me a buck. So I called the wonderful Beth and again, she assessed our needs. Milk making Mommas and a gentle buck for my children to be comfortable around.
Carolina was born first and she came to Half-Way Farm this spring. Carolina’s momma (like Coco’s) has a FABULOUS udder. Thus meeting our need for milk which we should have sometime this winter.
Ralph was born next and he came to Half-Way Farm about four weeks ago. Ralph’s Momma has a HUGE udder. He was one of FOUR kids this last time. And Ralph’s sire is kind and gentle and does not jump up on you. Ralph is a sweet as cream. With BLUE eyes to boot! Did I mention boyfriend is HUNG??? Geesh! Go make those baby goats!
We’re hoping for blue eyed kids this winter. Pure bred Nigerian Dwarfs bring a great price. Ours weren’t a cheap investment. Sure, I could have bought any one of the mangy goats off Craigslist that people were trying to unload but we have a rule here on the farm: the animals have to pay for themselves. By the time my girls are milking and I’m selling two, three, four, five, six kids a year they will pay for themselves over and over again.
I’ll talk more about goat care soon (like I’m some expert or something) but I’ve been dying to show off these sweeties. Pardon some of my evening time photos. Joel and I go out and love on ’em after we get the children to bed.
This is my herd. Someday I’d like about fifteen but this is our practice farm so I’ll bide my time with these four cuties!
I typed this up weeks ago trying to set aside time to get some better photographs than what were in my files. Since then my sweet Ralph has died. It was a horrible day for Half-Way Farm and for me in particular. If you followed on Facebook then you know how hard I tried to save him.
I have my eye on a fresh doe with excellent milking bloodlines and another buck but alas, they are NOT in the farm budget right now. She is going to be dried up for breeding in September. No doubt before I can set $ aside for her purchase. Grrrrrr… I want her! I’m so sad, this puts such a kink in my home-dairy plans but if there is one thing you have to practice when trying to create a “homestead” – it’s patience. I miss Ralph though. He was so sweet.