Now that I am at the farm full time, we have been able to start building the livestock aspect of the farm. The chickens and pigs were easy. They could be set up on automatic waterers, bulk food and solar sensitive coop doors. They required little maintenance during the week. However, anything that needs hay is a whole different world. The donkeys need their hooves cleaned, need fresh water, need fresh hay, and, of course human attention.
In keeping with our wanting to become more and more self-sufficient we have added a small flock of Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Frankly, cows are too big and are a pain. I’ve had a lot of experience being around them, but they are very large animals and we didn’t want them rubbing the fences which would require maintenance and dealing with something that large (900 – 1200 lbs) when we don’t eat a lot of beef. So we investigated, and then purchased our little babies! Nigerians get to about 70 lbs. which is the size of a moderately large dog. These little sweeties aren’t raised for meat. In addition to being pets, they have very high butterfat content in their milk. It is our intention to 1. Milk them when they are old enough. 2. Use the milk for making soap and 3. Cheese. All of this to be made by a simple combination of pasture grazing, hay and water!
I knew quite a bit about the other creatures we have raised but these little buggers took some investigating. They can come down with all sorts of health issues and we wanted to make sure that we didn’t get caught off guard. The girls arrived about a month ago. They are Ginger (the patchwork baby), Cumin (The Chocolate one) and Paprika (the rusty colored one). This past Sunday (will need to post pictures) our two little boys arrived. Tank is all black with frosty white ears and nose and Dozer is a patchwork like Ginger.
Goats have an incredible amount of energy and personality. They want, and demand, attention, just like dogs. They follow you around all over and because they are currently pretty tiny, they can get underfoot without you knowing it. These guys are the reason for all of the extensive fence building. They are little escape artists so things need to be secure.
The youngest donkey has established his territory. He does NOT like them coming into HIS corral. He isn’t mean, but he will chase them off and the pecking order is being established. Not much of a contest between a 15 pound doeling and a 300 pound donkey. It has all been very entertaining.