In the Beginning
Something about a goat... the beautiful eyes, the airplane ears, the earthy smell, the grace and joy with which they move. There's just something about a goat. We acquired our first goats in July 2003, and immediately fell in love. We'd bought 5 goats, 2 wethers and 3 does, to be brush eaters. But they soon became treasured pets; valued for their companionship, their beauty and their milk!
Because they are such a joy to be around, they make chores easy. It's fun to be with them; so fun we often plant our lawn chairs in their enclosure and bask in goaty kisses and love. Our goats are small because they are of the Nigerian Dwarf breed. They are curious, intelligent, friendly and excellent nurturers and companions, even the boys!
We started with 5 and now have a permanent herd of around 18. The herd used to grow in size every year when the babies were born, and reduced as they are sold to new homes. We haven't been breeding the goats in the last few years, so the herd size is stable, except for the ravages of old age.
We enlarged our herd size beyond the original size by acquiring two bucks; AJUD LD Senor Bandido (we called him 'Frito') and Poppy Patch Casanova ('Cas'), who greatly improved our herd. Both of these bucks have passed away due to old age, but we acquired three more bucks; AJUD Shekel (known here as 'Stinky'), FoxDog Stampede Ozzie Osbourne ('Ozzie' or 'Damn, you are Handsome') and Mighty Meadows AJ Hot Jalapeno ('Peno'). Peno passed away recently due to old age. Ozzie is the only buck bred here that we've kept. He is gorgeous; the product of 'Stinky' and Foxdog Stampede Florence (now sadly passed on; again due to old age), one of our best does.
With the exception of Ozzie, who as mentioned above was born here, we have acquired all our bucks from other, reputable breeders who live half a state, or more, away. We do this because we keep a closed herd. Aside from the original foundation does (and wethers), and our few bucks, all the goats we keep have been born here. A closed herd means our stock is kept disease free (the bucks were kept in quarantine for a few months after they were acquired until they pass vet inspections and shed any 'non-native' parasites they might have brought in). Keeping a closed herd can be difficult, but it does mean that our goats are very healthy and have few parasite problems. It also means that they die of old age (including cancer) or weird accidents (including cougars), rather than disease.
We kept our original two wethers for their whole lives. Both have passed on, Scottie at 13 years, and Travis at almost 11 years old. We miss them. Of the does, they are all now retired from breeding and kept as beloved pets. Although... who knows, someday we might start breeding them again.
Time and nature being what they are, we have now experienced the full range of goat keeping, from the excitement of the first young goats on the property, the first babies, to the tragedies of old age, difficult births, cancer and cougar attacks. Despite the admittedly sad and difficult aspects of goats, the positive, fun, and satisfying parts of goat raising keep us going. We love the little ruminants!