Goats

We’re Going All In: Nigerian Dwarf Goats

January 21, 2015

Two years ago, Scott and I were down in Portland for a mini-break. We ended up meeting two backyard ‘herds’ of Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

As they say, the rest is history.

We already knew we were goat people. We knew that we wanted goats. I was once again relieved and grateful for Scott’s tendency to research every nook and cranny of a subject before reaching a conclusion. Nigerian Dwarfs. Half the size, high butter fat, mildest of milks, lower upkeep costs.

And CUUUUUUUUTE. Let’s not forget how friggin adorable they are.

Easter, our proud, leggy Toggenburg, represented a change, validation, and a chance to have milk right away. Plus we needed to know. Do we really prefer Nigerian Dwarfs or do we just think we do?

We do.

Don’t get be wrong, I love Easter. But I don’t think my level of love could compare to the starry eyed magic that emanates from my good friend Kristina who was lovestruck the minute she laid eyes on our dear doe.


Love at first sight.

Six months later and Easter is now on loan – that may turn permanent – to Kristina at her home which incidentally is called… The Goat Barn. I couldn’t possibly make this up. Part of the drive to set up temporary separate accommodations came from our four pregnant little does who were increasingly at odds with our tall girl. Easter escaped a few times. She’d kick them out of the barn. Everyone was just generally on edge.

Of course, we couldn’t just leave her in a field by herself. And knowing that Kristina’s commitment to goats runs deeper than just a passing fancy to ‘goat-sit’ (case in point: in three days she had constructed a full acre five strand electric perimeter fence for her new charges)…we set out to find her a goat of her own who would be Easter’s companion for the next several months.


Enter Camas.

A 10 month old mostly Alpine with a dash of Nubian and a sprinkle of La Mancha. A beautiful girl who came with three pages of notes detailing her history, quirks, preferences and lineage. I couldn’t help but tell the woman who sold her how rarely (i.e. Never!) I’ve seen this kind of detail and how much it is appreciated.

When we’re ready, I hope I do the same for our customers.


Which brings me back to the other driver for this change.

Scott and I are going all in. We’re committing to Nigerian Dwarfs. We’re establishing a herd.

We’re bringing up 3-4 new bucklings from 3-4 of the best farms on the west coast this summer.

One day, we want to establish a dairy. But that dream is still likely to be 6-10 years down the road.


Sometimes I want to be selfish with my animals. Say “no, you’re mine – I love you and you’re pretty and I’ll miss seeing your face so you stay.” But that wouldn’t be fair. Easter deserves to be the queen that she is (though Camas is already spunky enough to try and give her a run for that position) instead of second fiddle to a bunch of shorties.

Besides, we’ve already established that once we find our land – wherever we find our land – we’d like to bring Kristina with us (you caught that note about the perimeter fencing, right?)…whether she’s committed to leaving her incredible cabin by the sea, well…we have our work cut out to convince her. But no matter what happens – if Kristina, along with Easter and Camas, can come with us or everyone stays at the Goat Barn and we get to come and visit…we can rest assured that our big plans and dreams didn’t prevent us from doing right by each of these animals that have touched our lives so far.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Aimee February 6, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Hello!

    Have you ever considered having some help on your farm, like an intern? I am so so interested in raising my own goats and having other animals as well. Also growing my own food. I live in Alberta. I have just been reading your blog and love what you’re doing! (I found you on instagram through @farm2me).
    I am looking for an opportunity to learn about raising animals, for a month or less, short term.
    Thanks!
    (the kids are so dang cute!)

    • Reply rachel February 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks, Aimee! Yes, it’s definitely something we’ve considered – once we know where we’re going to be long term (the hunt for land continues) we would absolutely be open to that – especially since we anticipate expanding the herd quite a bit over the next few years. ;) Stay in touch! Who knows what will happen!

  • Reply angelica February 12, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Your blog posts are wonderful and make me smile!! I can feel your passion and love in your writing! Its truly contagious! The more and more I read your posts the more and more I’m anxious for our own future!!!

  • Reply erin perry February 16, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    i too have been hankering for goats and the more i read about nigerian dwarfs, i think they would be the ones for us. my oldest is so keen to farm and works well with animals (right now, at 13 he tends a sheep herd for our landowner while he’s backpacking asia for the winter.) we have so many similar ideas!

    • Reply rachel February 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Any time you want to talk goats, I’m more than happy to! We crazy goat ladies are always recruiting. :D

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