We have been wanting goats for some time now. We did a lot of research on what breed we wanted for milking. Then there was the question of the age. Do we buy a doe already in milk, a pregnant doe, a doe that has been bread and possibly pregnant, or simply go with doelings and raise them until they are of age? Then there was the question of horns or no horns!
There was so much to consider. Based on our research and personal preferences, we were back and forth between Nubians and Nigerian Dwarfs. We liked the idea of having milk sooner than later, but those in milk or pregnant carried a higher price tag and babies are just so blame adorable! Finally we decided that either breed would be fine and we would simply base our decision on what we found available at a reasonable price in our area. We knew we wanted two because goats are herd animals and do so much better with a friend to keep them out of trouble. So, we decided any combination of two female goats of various maturity (doe or doelings) of the same breed (Nubian or Nigerian Dwarf) with no horns would be acceptable. We would see what we could find in our neck of the woods for a good price.
Finally, back in August we bought three baby Nigerian Dwarf Goats. From back left to front right, Brownie, Blueberry (being bashful), and Strawberry.
|3 Month Old Nigerian Dwarf Doelings (Day We Brought Them Home)|
The doelings were three months old when we got them. Two of them (Strawberry and Blueberry) came from a set of triplets and the other (Brownie) was born near the same time. The lady we purchased them from raises and shows goats. She kept the third of the triplet set for herself as she was show worthy. It was really all three or not at all, so we got three instead of two.
|Left – Strawberry and Right – Blueberry (5 Months Old)|
All three of these little cuties were really bashful and skiddish at first and didn’t want us to pet them unless we were feeding them goat feed (aka goat crack). We got them used to us by feeding them regularly out of our hand. They already knew full well what a bucket was and that it meant feed!
We do not give them much goat feed daily so they do not get bloated. Their diet mostly consists of hay, leaves, pine needles, and weeds. We routinely let them out of their 10 x 20 pen to browse the fenced in back yard.
We thought we had it all planned out before we brought them home, but when we started deviating from the plan we did encounter a few difficulties. Originally, we were not going to let them out in our backyard unless they were “supervised”. But we quickly started letting them out unsupervised. Our garden area is fenced in so we did not think it was a huge issue. However, our new herb bed was not.
Then they found the chicken coop and the chicken feed. The chickens want to eat the dog food and the goats want to eat the chicken feed. Gracious? We are learning that we cannot let the chickens and goats free range at the same time. So, we are alternating. And Jon has built a fence to protect our herb bed.
These little darlings are a nuisance and wonderful all at the same time. We adore them. Look at that face! How could you not?
|5 Month Old Nigerian Dwarf Doeling|
|The Twins – Blueberry and Strawberry|
Once they make a few laps around the back yard they inevitably end up on the back deck. They like it up there. It is higher and I believe they like the sound of their hooves on the wood. Occasionally, they look through the back door or even “try” to open it to see just what we are up to inside the house.
|Brownie Thinking Just What Do They Do in There Anyway?|
|Strawberry is the Adventurous One. She is Trying to Figure Out the Door Handle.|
We’ve had a few unexpected issues, but wouldn’t trade them for anything!