Friday, April 30, 2010

First Lessons in Goat Farming

Goats like groups.
Goats like to nibble.
Goats like to jump...on everything.
Goats like to chew on sticks.
Goats like to bounce.
Goats like to climb.
Goats like people.
Goats like dates.
Goats like company.
Goats like platforms.
Goats like children.
Goats like other animals.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Home

They finally arrived! After months of searching, a week of manual labor, a 2 hour drive, and a few hundred bucks...they're here!

The girls are slowly adjusting while Francis is already dominating the ranch.  He was not thrilled with the idea of having dogs run around outside his pen but he's learning to accept their un-goatlike behavior. He's rediscovered milk and is determined to get his little roman nose and mouth at the bottles when they arrive for feeding time. This turns into a game of "push the goat" which we're currently winning but not for long as he's learning to "butt" very well with that little head of his. 

Lap-jumping is the newest favorite thing for the girls.  They both love to jump into your lap while you're sitting in a chair and then they leap off to start the game all over again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Build a Goat Pen

A goat pen can be made of a variety of materials...wood, barbed wire, electric wire, cattle panels or chain-link.  We chose chain-link because it is sturdy and can keep predators out.  Coyotes are prevalent around here and there is a fear that with easy access they would love to take one of my little girls away for dinner. We're going to try our best to prevent this by building a pen made of 6' chain-link fencing.

Since my husband and I are anything but handy, we enlisted the help of my father to assist us in constructing the new goat home. First, we needed to stake out the future post sites.  Next, we dug post holes, then we filled them with sand.  Finally, we set posts in each hole and filled the hole with a cement/concrete mixture.  After we used a builder's level to ensure our posts weren't leaning we let them sit (or rather stand) over night.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The countdown begins

Because of a miscalculation...or rather because of my misreading of a calendar...the goats will be arriving on April 26, 2010. One week from today.

This is what the goat area looks like now. By next Monday it will have:
      • 40' x 20' 6 foot chain-link pen
      • Sun shelter
      • 1 gate
      • water bucket
      • feed trough
      • various toys and platforms
It will also have three goats in it. :) Rosy, Clover and Francis.
Rosy and Clover are Nubian sisters. Francis is a wether who is a Nubian/Nigerian Dwarf cross.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

And then there were three...

We have goats! They're still residing in Poway until April 26th but they are ours.

After seeing both Nigerians and Nubians, and speaking extensively with a dairy goat farmer, I decided that Nubians are the goat for me. So, we picked out two cute little Nubian kids (1 month old) and then the lovely lady at Urban Acres Farm threw in a wether as well.  Apparently the wether will be great company for the girls and he will help me realize when the girls are ready for breeding.

This cutie is named Rosy.

This one is Clover.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Goats for Leche

For the past few months I have continuously searched for dairy goats in the Coachella Valley but to no avail.  Perhaps they simply do not exist here.

A couple of weeks ago I visited a small goat farmer and was disheartened to see the conditions the goats were living in. Hundreds of goats to a relatively small pen and nursing does suffering from all kinds of ailments. Additionally, although I repeatedly asked the farmer over the phone if his goats were dairy goats and each time he replied yes, they were not.  We had some difficulty communicating until finally I said, "cabra por leche??" to which he replied, "oh no." thanks

Not all hope is lost because we're driving to Poway, California tomorrow to visit this farmI'm confident they'll have healthy, happy and high producing goats. I'm not confident I'll be able to afford them. We shall soon find out.