Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pick A Goat, Any Goat

Whether or not to involve livestock in our little homestead adventure was a subject of some debate.. except when it came to goats. I've always liked goats. They're curious, intelligent, outgoing, quirky little creatures. They like to play and explore. Plus they're kind of cute. Calvin fell prey to goat fever pretty quickly as well.

After developing a mutual desire to have a dairy goat or two, the next step was to address the practical aspects. We needed a shelter, secure pasture (both to keep them in and to keep predators out), a plan for care, and to choose a type of goat.  Shelter worked out neatly, since this whole endeavor was well timed with the building of a storage shed anyways. Pasture along the wood line provides browse (brush type vegetation for happy goat munching) and a mix of sun and shade. The plan for care mostly resolved itself by location (their proximity to the driveway makes it convenient to check in for anyone on their way in or out). That left breed.

Our goats are Dwarf Nigerians. I looked at several breeds, but in the end it came down to La Manchas, Nubians, or Dwarf Nigerians. While I was much enamored with the cute little elf ears of some La Manchas (not ideal for the breed, but I like them), and the rounded faces and floppy ears of Nubians, in the end Dwarf Nigerians won out. My research led me to feel like they were ideal for our situation. They give birth easily, require less land per goat, don't mind the heat, have a great temperament, give a respectable amount of milk for their size, and are small enough to be managed with minimal effort, even when they're dishing out a generous portion of stubbornness. So far, these little goats have been a great fit for us!

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