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    Of Ducks and Goats {Part 2}

    January 25, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    You didn’t really expect me to write a post about goats, did you? I mean, we are only a month in. I’m not an authority; I’m still flying by the seat of my pants! But you asked about them. Why did you do this to me?

    {Note: I added photos to yesterday’s post.}

    On Goats
    You all seem to be specifically asking about raising goats in a suburban or urban area. This is what we are doing. The first issue, then, is your zoning. In our area, we are zoned for up to three pygmy goats or pigs. Kinder goats are half pygmy, genetically speaking. We purposely picked out goats that were more pygmy in size. One of them in particular was nicknamed “Tiny” because she was so small when she was born. We looked for signs of health, of course, but because of our zoning, we wanted to make as sure as possible that we weren’t going to have to get rid of them later because they grew too large!

    With that said, I learned last week that the breeding organization trademarked the word Kinder. If a goat is not a registered Kinder, bred to registered parents, they are not legally Kinders, regardless of actual lineage. I understand why they did this, but I also find it annoying. In interviewing the former owners, my best guess is that these doelings of ours are what are referred to in the breeding world as “third generation Kinders.” This means that, once upon a time, someone crossed a Nubian doe with a Pygmy buck. The resulting offspring is called first generation. When two first-generations are bred, the result is second generation. You do the math and figure out what a third generation is.

    However, comma, we purchased these from a woman who was first and foremost a pet owner. The goats were wild with spoiling, to be honest. The buck was not registered. The mother was not registered. We even met the grandmother, who was also…wait for it!…not registered. {All conformed to breed standards, though.}

    So now I don’t know what to call these girls. Perhaps “Knockoff Kinder Goats?” He he.

    I wasn’t out to become a breeder, so I don’t think this hurts me too much, but I do find it annoying. I mean, I can’t really call them a Pygmy/Nubian cross when they have Kinder blood going back for three generations without registering! Seems a shame to label them “mutts” when the breeding was done by design, if informally.

    Abigail {background} and Charlotte

    When we looked into rabbit breeding, the authenticity of the breed was judged by the breed standards and not registration of lineage alone. I wish there was a loophole where I could document the lineage to the best of my ability, and then have them evaluated for conformity to breed standards. They are not full grown, but so far they appear to conform.

    Anyhow, that is neither here nor there, but beware that breeding rules can change right after you purchase your goats.

    Did you know that goats are more like deer than anything else? They are a beautiful, fun animal to keep as a pet. {But treat them like farm animals so they don’t get wild on you.}

    Read and Talk
    We are still in training as far as raising goats, so I have no advice to give you other than to read and talk and read and talk some more. Find people who are experienced with goats and get their advice. Interrogate them! You will get different opinions from different people, for sure, but you will learn how to think about goats from these conversations.

    Kelly suggested that I read Pat Coleby’s Natural Goat Care. This is an amazing, amazing book. Who knew that brown goats need more copper than white? And black even more? Who knew that free access to seaweed meal would cover a multitude of sins, as would free access to dolomitic lime? I am learning a ton, and our doelings appear to like the results.

    Goats like to eat trees and leaves because trees have roots that go down deep into the soil, bringing up broader spectrum of minerals. (Goats have high mineral requirements.} So almost every single day the children and I take a walk and gather a bucket of fallen leaves {the cleanest ones we can find} as a lunchtime snack. We wouldn’t have done this had I not been reading Coleby.

    Someday I’ll share some quotes from the book.

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  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    On Work and Division of Labor
    This is a hard question for me to answer because the division between necessary work and “unnecessary” work/fun/spending time with them is sometimes a gray area around here. Goats are like any animal in that, on a rushed day, you can “take care” of them in less than 10 minutes a day. You can run out and give them food in the morning. Run out and give them food in the evening. If you gave them enough the first time, they’re good.

    These girls were wild, as I mentioned, so we spend time feeding them by hand, letting them out to graze on weeds, and so on. Our walk to gather leaves isn’t necessary, but we do it.

    Their stall is cleaned out once or twice per week, and my oldest son and husband do that. My son likes to do it. I usually do the morning feeding. One of my girls like to feed the leaves midday. If I have time, I try to be the one to hand-feed their grain ration, but if not one of the kids does it. If we’re in a hurry, we just toss it into their hay bucket and they find it themselves.

    The more time we spend with them, the tamer {is that a word??} they become, but in a pinch chores can be done quickly.

    A woman we met who milked her Kinders said that she could milk a goat in 5 minutes {they must be milked 2x/day}. When she included all of the milking chores–brushing them, washing the udder, milking, grain feeding, putting them back in the cage, and straining the milk, she still said it was only 15 each time. If don’t know if you are considering milking, but I am sure a person has to work up to that–having never milked an animal in my life, I am quite confident it would take me a lot longer than that to milk a goat!

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Julie, This is turning into another post! I may have to do multiple comments.

    On Fencing
    I have to say that we were very blessed in this regard. We had an area that was already fenced on three sides that looked perfect in size, so my husband simply fenced in the fourth side. He used T-posts and 5′ no-climb fencing (which rolls out). He bought a gate at a hardware store and put two latches on it–one on top and one near the bottom–because people told us these girls are smart and can figure out how to escape if there is only one latch.

    On Shelter
    We were told that the main things goats do not like are wind and rain. We put a tarp over one corner as a “roof” in case of rain, and their food buckets and mineral licks are underneath that. It doesn’t rain often here, though. In places where it rains a lot I am sure a stronger, more secure area would be necessary. We purchased a very large dog house, and were given a second of similar size. For now, the girls share a house, but when they are bigger they will each have their own.

  • Reply Anonymous January 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks for these posts, Brandy!
    Okay, so what did you build to house them in? How much work would you say the are everyday? To whom does that care/work belong?
    Julie in St. Louis

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