Embarking on a Goat-Raising Adventure

Food & Drink, Livestock

The fight for legalizing chickens continues, though I’ve taken a bit of a campaign hiatus while summer activities caught me up in their clutches. I have to say I’m thrilled that — here in Central Texas anyway — school started this week.

And as we get into the new school year routine, we’re introducing another fun addition to the schedule — goat kid care. I’ve been thinking goaty thoughts since before we even moved here, and then I took that milking class (which actually discouraged me, because it reminded me of all the things we weren’t ready for). But, now, it’s finally time to take the step.

Since I have this “livestock should be useful, not pets” philosophy, our goal for getting goats is similar to that for having chickens: we want milk! Right now, our family is drinking so much milk that I’m constantly calling or texting my husband: “Could you pick up a gallon of milk on your way home?” With growing boys, I can only imagine that our milk consumption will continue to increase. And then there are the possibilities of cheese, butter, ice cream and even goat milk soap.

Decisions, Decisions

Even with our goal clearly in mind, there were still tons of choices before us. What kind of goat should we get? A normal-sized goat? A miniature goat? What breed? Where do we get one? How much are we willing to pay? Do we get an adult in milk or a kid? And then, since goats need at least one companion… what should the second goat be? Male? Female?

We finally settled on Nigerian Dwarf goats. They’re small and easier to handle — the breed standard for does is under 21 inches tall. They eat less than full-size goats. And there are breeders in our area that have been working to increase their capacity and suitability for milk production.

It helped that my husband found them cute, as he’s been a bit skeptical of this plan all along. We were also a bit unsure about whether we were really ready for a twice-a-day milking commitment, so we decided to get a kid and ease into it slowly. Get to know her for a while, then think about milking when she’s old enough.

The Kids Are All Right

Every spring, Craigslist and Facebook light up with the exciting news of new kiddings. For years, I’ve been watching and sharing the cute pictures and videos with my husband and children, and it served to whet our appetite. I got a better feel for the way things worked and learned that spring was the time to make the leap — in whatever year we ended up being ready. I scoured these Facebook Pages, groups and websites trying to learn everything I could about choosing Nigerian Dwarf goats. In the end, there were a couple of breeders here in Texas I had my eye on.

This spring, we had a fence, we had a little experience with chickens, and I had my eye on a particular breeder’s kiddings.

It was time to proceed. I communicated with the breeder about our situation and needs and put down a deposit to reserve a doe kid. Then I waited.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story coming soon.

2 comments… add one
  • Justin Sep 6, 2016

    Officially jealous—really more in awe. I’ve fantasized in the past about a future with sheep or goats (preferably on an olive orchard). But I’d successfully managed to suppress the desire until Stephanie showed me that video of goats on rhinos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skn45aCWfyI

    Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

    • Pamela Parker Caird Oct 26, 2016

      Just seeing this, Justin! My alert system is clearly flawed! Yes, I remember when you and Stephanie traveled and spent some time on a sheep or goat farm. That was inspirational to me, so I’m just giving it back. Now that I’ve had a bit more experience with them (still not much), I will say that our goats are very sweet and not very difficult to care for — which, of course, will change if/when we decide to milk.

Leave a Comment