A common creature on farms is the goat. Ranging in size and personality, there are a myriad of breeds one can choose from. Often times, uses for the goat are also taken into consideration prior to purchasing. Maybe you want a small, stocky goat like the Pygmy, or one with a big personality and floppy ears like the Nubian. Or maybe you are looking for a dairy goat for milk and cheese, or a breed that is sure to help clear away those pesky blackberries that plague your yard.
Our first three kids are Kinders. Kinders are a cross between a Nubian and a Pygmy, making them a little sturdier and a little smaller in build, but pretty friendly.
Goats enjoy having a variety of things to climb on and jump off. My first creation included a combination of 2×4 boards and wooden pallets came together to create a raised platform.
Also, our expectation that they would be great brush and blackberry clearing machines fell flat. These three are by far the pickiest eaters I have ever met (and that includes some children and adults). Has any piece of hay in the pile you have offered touched the ground? They cannot possibly eat it. Were the leaves not pulled directly off the tree by them, but rather offered as a gift from your hand? They are no longer an adequate quality to eat. Quirky little kids.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were all sort of memes flying around the internet of what the most ridiculous thing you have purchased during the pandemic was. A pair of Saaen goats – a breed of snow-white dairy goats with eyes the color of the ocean and the personality of a golden retriever – was ours. Sometimes I might have even wondered whether it was really a golden retriever in the guise of a goat – but then, it really was a goat! I don’t think we would feel the need for a dog anytime soon, but if you would want to know how to raise a golden, you could look up resources (similar to Golden Retriever News) on the internet to gain further information. As for us, we are all set with our ‘almost-golden retriever’!
Extroverted children, Pan and Demi have no hesitation at introducing themselves to every animal they see. They greeted the resident goats, made friends with all of the horses, insisted on following the barn cats around until they were allowed to touch noses and say hi, and wandered in and around the poultry flock.
A stark contrast to the three Kinders, the Saaens were eager to put anything and everything in their mouths. Like a toddler you keep having to say “no” to as you pull them away from sticking their finger in the electrical socket, putting their hand on the burner, or trying to eat something that is without a doubt inedible, Pan and Demi were trouble (but in the most adorable way).
Over the summer months, I expanded the overall goat area to give them more grass. The youngsters were adept at pointing out every slightly loose spot in the fence line, going under it, and letting themselves into the backyard (which has rhododendrons – a plant poisonous to goats) or into the main yard and in the barn where they tried to consume bailing string out of the trash. They even wandered into the chicken coop and tried to convince us we should allow them to try out the taste of paint. Much to their dismay, the answer was “no”.
I have often been asked, knowing what I know now about the different breeds, would I get the same ones? Probably. Although Feline, Pasha, and Magda are more independent and not quite what we expected (though Pasha often tries his best to be cuddly – even though he has a decent set of horns), I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Likewise, with Pan and Demi. Their jubilant spirit and sweet nature are exactly what we needed to add to the farm, especially during such a time of uncertainty, chaos, and hardship.