I think of Clarice Starling and her need for the silence of the lambs on mornings like this, mornings when Buttons won't shut up.
The decision to add goats to my backyard came with a few sleepless nights. It sounds crazy, even to me. Goats sound like a heavy commitment, and when I got them the first comment that dropped from the majority of my astounded friends and family was, "Wow, now you can never go on vacation again!"
The verdict is not in yet. There are still many mistakes for me to make, and so I can't claim to be able to answer the question of whether or not this was a smart move- not yet. But if you're wondering how the adventure feels to me so far, I can answer that.
I'm assuming that like different breeds of dogs, different breeds of goats have their own personality. I have Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are cute, sweet, and little. Their milk tastes like the best, richest cow's milk you have ever tasted. It was not at all goat-y or grassy, although I'm sure it matters what you feed them. For me, the milk is the whole point. I greedily dream of fresh milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter, and feta. Mine are four and a half months old, and at nine months they can be bred. If all goes well, five months later you have kids and milk. Many of the details are still a little fuzzy for me, but I know a super nice lady who has been explaining it all to me step by step thus far. They are little itty bitty goats, but when they give milk I should get from one to two quarts per day. It is entirely possible that this time next year I will get a gallon of milk a day. I am already researching yogurt makers. I can't wait! The adorable goat babies will start out about the size of a shoe, and at eight weeks they can be weaned and sold. Again, I haven't done this part yet, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.
The goats are very quiet. You have to have two or they cry, but once they made the adjustment they have been nearly silent except for the occasional little "Maah." They do like to climb, which I should have known but never paid enough attention. They are little acrobats. They are also escape artists, so fencing is a must, and my husband went so far as to learn to pour concrete before the goats arrived. A worthy investment of his time! Their droppings look like little black beans, and they're too small and disappear too quickly to collect and compost. I was a little disappointed by this at first, but the good news is that they don't stink! The side of my house doesn't smell at all.
They don't require much in the way of housing but what amounts to a dog house. They HATE to get wet, and they do need shelter from the wind. Since our goats are in a very sheltered spot on the side of the house, we just used a tarp to cover an old play structure, and so far this had been enough... Until this morning.
I came out to lots of heartfelt bleating and a miserable, wet little Buttons. I toweled her down, brushed her, pet her, whispered to her, and loved on her. She was quiet the whole time, right until I walked away.
I sent the kids back to her and the quiet Calypso with apples, carrots, and celery. They were quiet for a few minutes, presumably because they can't bleat and chew at the same time.
Maah, maah, maah.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!