Two Little Goats

Today, two more animals have joined our Farmlet menagerie: two little saanen doe kids. They are twins — five weeks old.

Today we went on a much anticipated mission to pick them up. It was a long day for the little goats, since they had already had a three hour journey to meet us. When we first put them into the cab of the truck with us, they were a bit feisty and unsettled. Luckily they settled down after a few minutes, and curled up in a box by my feet, a bit like two large cats. We were very impressed that they were able to wait until we got to the Farmlet to relieve themselves! We are delighted with these dainty, curious little creatures, and hope they will be very happy here on the Farmlet!

All aboard!

Settling in

Why did we choose saanen goats? Because we wanted goats bred for milking. Of the milk breeds, saanens are by far the easiest and cheapest to obtain around here. We got two of them, since they are herd animals, and do not do well without company. We are happy to have found two healthy goats from an organic farm. Their previous owners have been raising dairy goats organically for quite some years, and have given us lots of advice about how to care for them.
The little goats seemed to enjoy nibbling at the forage and looking around in their new paddock, but they still look a bit lost in a new place and without their mother. After letting them explore for a little while, we gave them a bottle of goat milk, mixed with some formula, and put them in their shed for the night. (Their previous owners gave us a bit of goat milk that we are using to soften their transition onto milk-replacer formula.) They are already grazing a bit, but will continue on formula until we wean them in about six weeks.

Evening meal

Why are we bottle-rearing the goats? According to the previous owners, five weeks will have given the little goats a decent chance to drink plenty of their mother’s milk. Bottle-feeding the goats should help them bond with us, and (we hope) will make them easier to handle and milk when the time comes.

We are still working on choosing suitable names for our dear little goats. At this point, it looks like we might call them Daphne and Lulu. Daphne (black collar) is the more settled of the two. She had horns, but has already been de-budded. Lulu (blue collar) is polled. She is smaller and a bit feistier than Daphne, so it’s easy to tell them apart.

9 Responses to “Two Little Goats”

  1. Frank Black says:

    They look so calm in the photo. Mmmm, I can smell the delicious goat cheddar now.

  2. Miraculix says:

    The gently sloping that is the back forty directly behind our house has been pasturage on-and-off for at least a couple centuries. Cows, sheep and surely at some point or another in the old farm’s history, goats.

    We’re planning to plant fruit trees across the base of the gentle slope above the hedgeline, adding to our existing stock of apple, plum, pear, cherry, etc. spread about the property. The fruit & forage concept just makes too much sense.

    I must say, having the two of you off in New Zealand “beta testing” so much of what we’re taking up is both practical and entertaining. While we’re investing necessary time and energy bringing back a decades-old family dairy farm “gone to seed”, you’re off into subjects soon to follow for us — like animal husbandry — at warp speed.

    Better still is the hemispheric differential, for lack of a prettier way to say latitudinal orientation. You seed as we harvest and plant as we winterize. We all shovel a lot of shit. And as much as we enjoy the tangible physical cues that mark the turn of the seasons, I imagine we’ll enjoy watching your garden grow — while we’re shoveling snow out front. A little window into spring and summer as the winds of Ardennes winter howl away outside.

    We’re quite happy with our twenty chickens, and I actually look forward to the day when we have a bit more livestock. With any luck the place will be ready for such endeavors in a couple years, as the big stable is slowly converted into a multi-function space including a south-facing indoor wintergarden, my workshop and several stable spaces. Beyond the current brood of happy hens, we see a pig, goats and a couple cows in our future.

    We’re not out to build an “eco-village” per se, but the idea of resident extended family and/or working boarders in the years ahead is in the back of our minds, even as we build toward a tourism-oriented business model in the present. Already made contact with another american ex-pat, to pay a visit to an actual eco-village a couple hours north on the Dutch border, to get a “feel” for their operation.

    It’s going to be a busy winter, but we’ll be able to watch a pair of baby goats grow into yearlings on a small holding a few thousand kilometres away. That’s pretty slick.

  3. George Kenney says:

    Here is what happens to animals when they are treated as factory inputs by corporations instead of as wonderful lives by loving people.

  4. Jason Minnix says:

    Just curious how you plan to get your does lactating when they’re of age. Do you plan to get a buck for them so they can kid or take them to a nearby farm to breed? I have 3 small dairy goats, 2 does and a buck and the buck really smells. So I often wonder about alternatives to keeping him . . .

  5. Kevin says:

    We don’t plan on keeping a buck. Of all of the male creatures that you WOULDN’T want to keep, that billy goat has got to be near the top of the list.

    There are a few nearby farms who have male goats. We will look at those options down the line. We have nearly two years to wait…

  6. Travis says:

    The goats are so cute. And they seem to be having a wonderful time.

  7. They seem to be lovely goats.

  8. George Lowry says:

    Saanens… wonderful critters. Our daughters raised them as 4H Dairy Goat projects. Too right about the billies. We made the mistake of keeping one born to one of the first does we had. One spring my then 10 year old daughter asked me why the boy was trying to pee on his own head. I told her that he thinks he’s putting on “Old Spice”.

  9. EVE says:

    Just wondering how much milk Saanen will produce on average per day? They are so cute!