Finding a Billy Goat
Last week our first baby goat was born on our little hobby farm. As I go through this journey of having a new baby on the farm, I think back to how we got here. It was my mission all last summer to make sure my goats got big enough to breed in the fall and to find a billy goat. I am not sure why, but it was not an easy task. We live in the country, but it wasn’t easy to find a breeder. I tried the local cooperative extension, and I visited every farm market in the area looking for someone who sold goat cheese. I figured if they sold it they either had goats or had a source. I did meet some nice people, but the breed of goat was not really what I wanted.
One day we set out on a drive around the block with my mother-in-law to show her some of the new Amish farms in our area. We were less than a mile from the house, and I noticed some goats grazing in a field next to a small barn. Where did they come from? Outside the barn sat an Amish buggy. I felt like I was saved. A couple days later I decided to take a walk to their house since it was only a mile away. Their kids were playing outside and the mom was doing laundry. She told me that they just moved in. I spoke with her husband, and he agreed that we could borrow his goat because he was just about done using him. The next weekend was the day to pick him up. The Amish have been buying up a lot of the broken-down farms in our area and bringing them back to life. I was grateful that they agreed to help us out.
I had never been up close and personal with a billy goat before. I had sheep when I was growing up so I figured billy goats were similar to rams. I did hear that they stink and pee on their beards. I didn’t understand how they could pee on themselves until I witnessed it firsthand. It was pretty disgusting, and I can say they are nothing like sheep because our rams never did that.
This goat, who we called Billy, lived with us for about a month. Our fenced in area is a good distance from the house, but you could smell him all throughout the backyard. My poor girls stunk like him for a good month after he left. That smell is really hard to get off your clothes, hands, everything. He has a whole story all his own for another day, but his broken collar still sits outside the fence and neither my husband nor I want to pick it up because I am guessing it still stinks even after having been snowed and rained on. I guess one of these days it will find its way to the garbage, but I am not touching it.
Like I said, there are more billy goat stories to come. The best thing that came out of it was our little baby goat and, of course, goat milk. I am going to let nature take its course and have the baby nurse before we start milking her full time. For more photos or to hear more about our farm you can visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/conleyfarm.
Our Amish Neighbors
It hasn’t been easy getting to know them as they are leery of us non-Amish folks. I would say now we are friends.
Time spent with an Amish man brings fun and laughter,
Frustrations of a First-Time Milker
The first month of hand milking my goat has not been an easy one.