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Goat Week: How It All Began

Goat Week: How It All Began

This next series of posts will be a bit out of the ordinary. I’m going to take you on a journey into my goat world.

It all started around 20 years ago when I met a lady named Laura, who made goat milk soap. I began buying soap from her, and our family loved it. Since I had never met a goat before, I gladly accompanied Laura one day to meet some of her girls. I remember being so impressed at how confidently and quickly she milked and got a pail full of milk to take into the house and then turned that milk into the wonderful soap we all loved.

Fast forward about a decade from my first introductions to goats and goat milk soap. My family had moved from New Mexico to Alaska, and we finally had an opportunity to buy some land. I was very interested in having goats to provide our family with milk, butter, cheese, and soap. One weekend my husband and I visited a few goat breeders and somehow came home with two doe kids. Bella was our first Nubian, and Twister our first Nigerian dwarf.

Walking the goats has always been fun for them and for us. These two babies were the first we bought, Twister (left) and Bella.

The goats lived in the house for the first couple of weeks until we got their shed built. Everyone liked holding them.

Both does were about two weeks old, and they quickly were joined by Emmy (another Nubian), mixed breed doe LaMutt and her kid Jar Jar, and another Nigerian dwarf named Yeah Right. Of course, we needed boy goats, so we brought home two Nigerian dwarf bucks named Diego and Adonis along with a mini La Mancha wether (castrated male) named Joe. We also added two pregnant does, a Nubian named Hollywood and a meat goat named Cleo. We also bought two does from a breeder in Oregon, who we named Z-28 and Malibu. Apparently, our motto would be “Go big or go home” for our budding goat operation!

Baby Shazam, one of the first kids born here. We kept him and used him as a herd sire for 6 years.

Twister as an adult doe standing in the summer pasture.

The whole family enjoyed learning about goats and watching Hollywood and Cleo grow huge bellies. The first kids arrived in early January 2011: a set of triplets the kids named Gilligan, Maryanne, and Ginger. A few days later, Hollywood had a beautiful buck kid we named Shazam. We were totally hooked!

This may be my favorite goat picture ever.

Bella was such a beautiful kid!

The whole herd gets to spend time during summer on a pasture that has lots of varied vegetation – it’s a perfect goat pasture!

We now have a herd of around 50 goats. The number fluctuates throughout the year, depending on how many kids are still around. Our kidding season is in the spring (April and May), but occasionally we will breed a doe or two to kid out of the regular season. (As I write this, I have a doe in the early stages of labor for some fall babies.)

We have mostly phased out our Nigerian dwarf goats and moved toward meat goats, but the Nubians completely have my heart. They are my milkers, and they win my affection every day with their silly antics and dog-like behavior. Nubians are the golden retrievers of the goat world; they are affectionate and seek a relationship with their humans. It’s said that goats are the missing link between livestock and pets. We certainly agree!

Tomorrow I’ll share pictures of baby goats and a recipe for goat milk kefir!

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