Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting Goats

So yesterday I put a deposit down on a starter flock of goats. We're getting Kiko goats from John Jeffries, who breeds Kikos on his farm over across town. He's got a herd of around 50 Kikos plus a whole lot of (goat) kids running around. We looked at getting Katahdin sheep, but we went with goats for 3 reasons:1.) Land - our land is perfect goat land. The pasture that we've fenced in is full of sericia lespedeza, cedars, locust trees, briars and rose. The sericia is choking out the fescue and other grasses, and the goats will relish the browse. Parasites are inevitable in goat herds, and will be the biggest threat to our herd. S. lespediza actually acts as an anti-helmitic that kills the worm eggs and slows down the adults in the goats intestinal tract. Lespedeza is also a legume that's high in protein. One man's weed is another's resource.

2.) Price & Support - The goats are about half as expensive as the sheep we were looking at for local breeding stock. Also, John is very easy to talk to, and breaks things down easily. From experience, you never really have a clue what you're doing with livestock until you start to raise that particular animal and have to start troubleshooting problems. Having someone who can hold my hand through the first year, and whose farm gate is always open is very attractive to our family.

3.) Market - We have a good amount of connection with people who come from other countries and areas of the world where goats are valued as a meat source. I have no problem dealing with people from other cultures - and that's skill or stumbling block that's taken for granted. A friend from Trinidad recently brought Carla goat curry to try - and Carla loved it. So whether we keep the goat operation small for our own use, or want to scale it up, we've got the options either way, and we really dig that.

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