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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Griswold's Get Goats

Once upon a time, my dad heard a rumor from his friend that goats would take diseases out of sheep and you could milk them and never buy milk replacer again.  This was both music to my dad's ears and a clever ploy for this same friend to unload some goats.  

So we got goats.  And fell in love.  And got more goats.  My dad and I loved Nubians:  large bodied, arched roman noses, long floppy ears, and beautiful colors and patterns.

Hubby and I have been in search of a few goats for our farm.  We have some brushy/weedy areas that need some natural attention and we'd really like to milk a few.  I posted an ad on an online classified site and I was pretty specific....just floated my balloon to see if anyone would bite.

And we got some responses!  We wanted Nubian does, either in milk or freshening shortly and no horns.  The owners of three does lined up a pick-up date and we were set.

Problem:  we had planned on taking our diesel pickup with the stock rack to save on gas mileage.  However, it only seats two and Hubby is not-yet-a-goat person so I'd have to go along.  And seeing as how I'm a not-wanting-to-ever-fix-mechanical-stuff person, Hubby had to go along.  We called our trusty babysitter (Grandma) and she was not available.  

Plan B:  We moved the stock rack to the pickup box trailer and hitched it to the back of the suburban.  The 1990 Chevy Suburban, aka The Tank.  Both because of its size and its fuel consumption.  We strapped the three kiddos into the back seat and away we went!

We could only drive 65 on the interstate, so there was plenty of time for vehicles passing us to check out the set-up.  And to mock and ridicule.  And point fingers.  

Then add three floppy eared goats.  Well, it really was a scene from National Lampoon's Summer Vacation.  And while I never saw Christie Brinkley, I don't think she would have made "eyes" at our stock rack.  Just doing our part for tourism and family communication.  Because I'm sure there were lots of oil field workers who called home last night and said, "You are NEVER going to believe what I saw today..."

We had talked up the goats a fair bit to the kiddos so when we passed New Salem I said, "Kids, look on the hill.  What is it?"  Both Kiddo1 and Kiddo2 yelled "A goat!"  

Ummm, no.

After 10 hours and two different farms and three crabby kiddos (particularly the last 40 miles), we brought these beauties to their new home:
Scarlett is on the left - she is 6 and has amazing conformation.  Her udder is not the best, the right side is definitely harder to milk and the previously owners just decided not to milk it as well so it's markedly smaller and less productive.  But the left side milks great!  

Suzanne is in the middle - she is 2 and will freshen (give birth and start milking) around the 4th of July. Her mother gives almost a gallon a day so we have high hopes for her!

Rosie in on the right - she is 3 and will also freshen around July 4th.  Kiddo1 has picked Rosie as her favorite and is crushed that we don't milk her right now.

Scarlett is the only doe "in milk" and with her udder issues, we're only getting about 3.5 cups per milking.  With a family of 5, that's not quite enough for daily consumption, but we'll make due!


After Suzanne and Rosie freshen in July, we'll have PLENTY of milk!  Until then, Scarlett gives us good practice in milking technique and equipment.

4 comments:

  1. Your goats look wonderful, as does the milk - congratulations! I am in awe of your adaptability in fetching them with the whole family along - I bet your kiddos will remember that day for a long time! Just came to your blog recently, and loving it!

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    1. Thanks Dawn, necessity IS the mother of invention! I sure hope they will remember it.

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  2. Your goat getting sounds a bit like us about 16 years ago though we wanted Alpines and drove to SW ND to get them with a homemade contraption on the back of our Ford pickup. It worked but we did get some stares. I enjoy reading about your life on the farm and would love getting some free range chickens and turkeys.

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    1. Kimberly, email me morningjoyfarm {at} hotmail {dot} com and I'll send you our brochure!

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