Yesterday was my birthday.
I don’t know anyone else who has ever received a longboard, an Avett Bros t-shirt, and and two goats on their birthday. :) Oh, and banana pudding.
We picked our new additions last night: a 2yo doe who kidded triplets earlier this year and a 3mo old wether. They. Are. Awesome. We’ve named them Minnie and Roscoe, after my Dad’s parents. (Minnie’s registered name is Diamond, btw, but that sounds like a stripper.) We chose the doe for milking (we’ll breed her soon to have kids in the spring) and the wether as her companion. A wether is a castrated male who can be used as a utility goat – but we won’t use him as a pack animal – and the boys can show him in 4-H after they leash-train him. (One important note about wethers is that since they’re castrated, they don’t produce the pheromone that bucks do, and that pheromone is what changes the taste of goats’ milk to the musty, yucky taste. Even if a buck is near your doe but not in the same pen, that hormone is PUNGENT and can make their milk taste funky. No funky milk here. Blech.) They’re both Dwarf Nigerians and won’t grow much more, possibly to around 60-65lbs (right now Roscoe weighs about 25lbs and we can carry him like a lamb – it’s super cute). After putting pen to paper, we decided on a doe and a wether based on how much milk we would be able to use, and two does would have produced too much milk for us to consume at this point. Dwarf Nigerians can be bred at any time of the year and have easy births, so should we decide that we’d like their milk year-round, we can raise another doe to work in and stagger their breeding to produce year-round. We’ll be able to have milk to drink and make soap, ice cream, cheese, and yogurt, but we do want to be careful and not wasteful. Our doe should give us about a pound of milk daily with each freshening, which is when she has kids (goats don’t keep producing milk like cows; they must have kids each year to produce again). We’ll bottle feed her babies with her milk so that they’ll be friendly and we can share her milk.
Hank and I (mostly Hank, because I “just held this board here” while he nailed things together) built this yesterday.
Again, we reused materials from our construction debris pile, along with framing materials from our first home’s neighborhood just down the road (they are removing all of the fence from the neighborhood and anyone is able to pull from what they’re pulling down; they’ll be throwing everything away – it’s unbelievable how much waste there is in construction). Our only cost in building the goat shed was nails (about $22) and the gate hinge and latch (about $7). We’ve used almost every usable piece of trim and old cedar siding from our pile now, and what we’re pulling from the neighborhood pile should be enough to build more fence for our property.
On a side note, I’m thinking about painting their shed to match the dark grey of our house to protect it longer.
Since our goats came to their new home last night after dark, they were a little tentative this morning.
We were so curious about how the chickens would greet their new pen mates, so Holden and I got up at 6:30 this morning with Hank to feed all of the animals (he usually does that chore before the boys and I are fully awake).
The chickens are hilarious. Anything new in the pen is a wonderful treasure. Hay. Goats. Goat shed. Poop. My red Wellies. They’re so weird.
Minnie will take a little while to be super social and comfortable with us, but she seems to really like Hank (he bribed her with treats and she’s his friend for life).
Roscoe, however, is a social butterfly. He is very happy.
The red lines across the top of the pen is twine that Hank strung to keep hawks from stealing our chickens. Roscoe wasted no time at all jumping on top of their shed. Their shed is not only their shelter, but where we’ll lock them in at night to keep them safe from coyotes.
I think they’ll be super happy here. :)
And Presley has absolutely no idea what to think.