Many of you know me as a cow girl, but what you might not know is that I'm a goat girl too. :) While my Jersey cows are my passion, my Nubian goats are my hobby and I can't imagine life without them.
In 1992, when I was four years old, my parents transplanted our family from Kamloops to an acreage an hour outside of the city. Our first farm animals--a flock of laying hens and a small herd of Alpine-cross goats--arrived in 1994.
I was homeschooled as a kid, and one of my assignments in Kindergarten and Grade 1 was keeping a "Nature Book". I still love going back and reading the journal entries in my Nature Book and looking at the photographs and my drawings:
November 1, 1995: I milked Buttercup today!
November 27, 1995: Made Cottage Cheese from Buttercup's milk. We gave the whey to the chickens.
March 22, 1996: Today is Friday. Daddy went to the barn, and then he came running back up to the house to tell us that Buttercup's baby kids were born. There were two of them. We all hurried and got dressed and ran down to the barn. Buttercup was licking the kids off. They were so tiny. They couldn't even walk yet! Then Daddy said he thought Buttercup was going to have another baby. Mama didn't think so, but she checked Buttercup, and sure enough, she could feel a little hoof. It was almost an hour after the last kid had been born, so we thought this little kid might not be alive, and we saw it being born!! We didn't know if it was a boy or a girl, but Peter named it STRIPE. I named my little goat girl PUSSY WILLOW, and Anna named her little goat boy SPOT.
March 23, 1996: Daddy told us this morning that Stripe is a little girl.
March 31, 1996: This evening, just as we were getting ready for bed, our goat Daisy had her kids. Daddy went down to the barn, and when he came back to the house, one kid was born. We named him Blizzard, because it was snowing and blowing outside. Then Mama went down to the barn and Daisy had another kid! This one we named Blackie, because she is mostly black. Mama came back up to the house to look after Thomas, and Peter, Anna and I went down to the barn to see Blizzard and Blackie, and while we were there, another kid was born. We named her Sunday, because she was born on a Sunday. So now we have six baby goat kids - three from Buttercup and three from Daisy.
But as every farmer knows, not every minute of farm life is joyous.
April 10, 1996: Aster's kid 'Midnight' was born tonight at 10:00 p.m. He was huge, and Aster is very sore and not feeling very well.
What we didn't know at the time was that Aster wasn't feeling well because she cracked her pelvis while birthing her huge kid. We bred her again, and the following spring she and her kids died while trying to give birth. My dad buried Aster at the back of the goat pasture and I remember that every summer her grave was covered with fireweed. It was beautiful!
I loved our goats and spent countless hours cuddling and playing with the kids. When I was a little older and wanted to learn how to milk, our goat Buttercup was a great teacher. She was very patient and would do anything for grain. :)
My parents sold our goats while our family spent two years in McBride, but after we came to Enderby our first farm animals were again chickens and goats.
After reading the book Your Goats: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing by Gail Damerow I wanted to buy purebred Alpines. I never dreamed that I would be raising purebred Nubians instead and in fact I thought that they were not very attractive with their floppy ears and funny noses!
All that changed when my friend Natasha offered me her two Nubian goats, Garden Gate Barbie Doll and Cot'Wood Sweet Treat, for a really good price. I agreed to buy them, and my first purebred Nubians arrived at the farm on October 27, 2006.
These two goats changed my life! I fell in love with the Nubian breed and their floppy ears and funny noses, and today I can't imagine raising any other breed.
Barbie Doll was 6 and died the following spring before she kidded, but her family lives on today on Birdsong Farm. Barbie Doll's dam was Willow Way Dolly's Daffodil, and Daffodil is the great-granddam of my buck, Garden Gate Sir Lancelot and the great-great-granddam of my doe, Garden Gate Perfect Breeze.
Leave a comment below to tell me how you got started with goats and what breeds you raise. I'd love to hear your story!
I love to share stories and tips from living on my farm in Enderby where I raise Jersey cows and Nubian goats and make cheese. I work part time at the Enderby Museum, and enjoy reffing minor hockey, teaching cheese making workshops, and reading. Click here to read my bio.