for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Hi everyone, my name is Amalia, and I live in Northern California with my husband Richard. Four years ago we "escaped" the city and moved higher up in elevation, where one can see the stars at night :-) We have two acres of land and last year we fenced up about half, and got eight baby ND goats! My husband had long lost the battle with the blackberry bushes on the property, so his main reason for goats was for them to give him a hand with clearing our property. However, he soon grew to love them to death just like I do!
We never even had a dog... (just cats), let alone livestock. We had no idea what we were doing, but relied heavily on my determination to learn all there was to learn (from books and Internet) before the goats arrived. Hmmmm.... I am sure a lot of you can relate to this! In a short amount of time I realized I was completely lost and utterly confused about how to raise our goats. The ol' internet is making it so easy for people to read things on any topic these days, yet - at least when it comes to raising goats - the information out there is so contradictory, so spread out through hundreds and thousands of blogs and posts... that one (like myself) could easily find themselves overwhelmed.
So last year was the year of trial and error, unfortunately. We constantly changed things, based on the 'new' thing I'd read online or in yet another book. Honestly, I am so happy my dear husband loves me so unconditionally!... I must have driven him crazy with all these changes, especially since he is the one who gets to run all of our errands. We kept switching hay, minerals, treats, dewormers, and everything inside the barn. No wonder that a year later I am learning that all of our babies have copper deficiency (and who knows what else!)
To my absolute relief, a few days ago I discovered Deborah and her Thrifty Homesteader website! In her infinite patience and kindness, she answered every question I had and offered invaluable advice. Yesterday I got her "Raising Goats Naturally" book and last night I was up late reading, I just could not let the book down! I am so-so grateful that she has taken so much time to first educate herself on every topic, and then to create all these valuable resources for all of us!
About our "babies" - we have six wethers, and two doelings. We hope to breed the girls sometimes around their 2nd birthday. We figured, we first need to learn how to best take care of them all, before dealing with breeding, kidding, milking, and making cheese and other yummies. We had initially planned to start with three wethers, but when we got home from the breeder we discovered one of them was actually squatting when she was peeing, lol. So Stanley was a boy! (the breeder had eleven births that day and Stanley came last, a friend was helping with the kidding and somehow the sex of the baby got documented incorrectly). And Richard and I were cruel enough and left her name unchanged. So she's been "Stanley girl" for a year now, and - to my husband's joy - she is growing a goatee! And Stanley is the reason behind our "farm" name - "Wethers (or Not)"... After we realized she was a girl, we got one more (Prada), to keep her company and help with the "boy attention", lol. Little did we know that Stanley was just fine being the only girl in the herd, as she has been butting heads with Prada for a year now!
Last Nov we also brought home a livestock guardian dog, Maddie. She came from Oregon, where she had guarded sheep for three years. She is of the less known Karakachan breed from Bulgaria. Our neighbors, knowing I am originally from Romania, like to joke that I 'just had to get a dog from the mother land!'. Maddie is very sweet, and has finally adjusted to her new life here. She got used to the goats fast, but had a hard time with us. Now she and I are buddies, but she's still shy around my husband. But I know she's happy and that makes me happy. She also does a great job protecting our babies! A couple of weeks ago she chased away a bear that was rummaging through our neighbors' trash can! She was on our side of the fence, but barked so loud that woke us up and scared the bear away!
Anyway, very long story short... we have a very happy here with all of our animals, and now I know I can do a better job caring for them! With help from Deborah's advice, I have changed things up in terms of what we feed, what minerals we offer, etc. I am so-so excited to be here, and am looking forward to also learning from all of you!
Attaching some "photo books" I had put together, hopefully for a good laughter.