I needed a way to put meat on the table; and since my aunt, Irene (like a second mother to me), had once raised Nubians, I decided on "dairy" goats. In this way we would have milk products as well as meat. Mother and I drove for hours to bring home our first two does, a Nubian and an Alpine. Both were 2 yrs old and use to being milked.
I had gone after a beautiful white Nubian when a black one came over, put her chin on my chest and looked up at me with those soulful eyes. Needless to say, I brought "Carma" home. The Alpine, Myra, did not want to leave her home; so it was difficult getting her into the van. However, the transition was easy and a couple of weeks later a friend brought me a 4 yr old Toggenburg doe.
The Toggenburg looked as though she had been mistreated in that her ribs were uneven, she walked on her pasturns and she would stand and wait for food until she saw a chance to run in, grab a bite of hay from the general feeder bin, then run out again chewing it. I spent extra time teaching this doe to claim her spot among the other two; and eventually she did. (There even came a time when this Toggenburg, Niestro, took time to teach her kids how to butt heads and stand up for themselves.)
All 3 of these does turned out to be unique. Carma would run to my side if she thought I was threatened...once when I was training my own puppy who started getting angry and once when one of my large dogs had accidentally knocked me down and was continuing to jump all over me. Carma butted her 3 times before she stopped. Myra would talk to the others and thru the years became invaluable during times when I trimmed hooves. She would stand around talking to the goat whose hooves I was working on and that goat would be still so I could work without problems. Niestro would get between me and any on-coming animal she thought was threatening...alert and ready to butt. Carma and Myra both gave more than a gallon of milk a day throughout a 10-month lactation; and Neastro gave nearly 2 gallons daily.
I had heard keeping a buck was problematic; so I carried my does off for the mating to occur. Then this became a concern; so I kept a beautiful buckling from Myra. We named him "Luke" and, as you can see below, he turnred into a handsome fella standing over 7 ft tall when on his back feet and weighing over 250 lbs. Notice the swing he enjoyed. David literally had to cut him out of that tire once and that is why it is no longer round. ROFL
Luke was a wonderful buck in the beginning. David had taught him how to play and it was exciting to see Luke make a mad run toward David, stop just short of hitting him, rear on his hind legs and then come down to gently push his head against David's chest. The problem arose when he got angry as he had the idea he could butt hard at those times; and that made him unpredictable and dangerous. I had to have him shot. Neither David nor I could do this as we loved him so. [This was (and is) one of the hardest things about living on a farm, i.e. having to put down what is loved. We have a "burial tree" for these occasions and under this tree are the beloved animals we no longer have with us.]
Thru the years I decided having only one breed was more practical; so I chose the Nubian for the high fat content in the milk. This is when we drove across 3 states to pick up a Nubian buckling. Here is "Chateau Bryant So-Gay Roman", our first Nubian buck, a 3rd generation from one of the most valued bucks in the USA, Frosty Marvin.
Roman was bottle fed from birth and I brought him home in a box when he was about 2 months old. He was exceptionally lovable and not once ever attempted to hurt me no matter what I had to do to tend to his needs thru the years. He grew into a beautiful buck and would literally "heel" if he caught me walking toward the barn ... so as to get a little grain. (Oh yes, during my times with him I had taught him to heel like one would a canine.) Roman also threw beautiful silver colored nubians and does with good milk production. You can see how beautiful and friendly Roman was by the picture below.
Roman died at the old age of 13 yrs; but by then he had given us a beautiful son we named Sir Alginon. Alginon was, also, bottle fed from birth and spent the first few weeks in the house with Cherokee our German Shepherd. Here is a picture of Cherokee protecting Sir Alginon (and his silver colored sister) from a stranger who was simply walking with me at the time.
Sir Alginon grew into a very large 250 lb buck like his sire; and, though he does not throw silver colored goats, he does throw heavy milkers. You can find a couple of videos on my YouTube channel "motdaugrnds". One video is of Sir Alginon when he was a baby and another young buck was teaching him to butt heads. Alginon is the little black one. The other video is where his sire, Roman, was playing butt heads with him in the goat pen. I trust you will enjoy them as much as I do.
Presently our small herd consists of 3 does and Sir Alginon. They all run together the majority of the time. Initially we had built our bucks a house (and pen) of their own farther back from the main barn because we had heard bucks had a bad odor; however, thru the years we have learned they do not smell at all except when in rut; and that is not bad unless they are not taken care of. (I wash the chest and front legs of my bucks during these times.)
A few years ago we moved Sir Alginon up to the main barn during the winter for ease in tending him. (The barn was fortified internally so the buck/does could not get to each other no matter how hard they tried...and at times even this needed bracers.) Now the only time the genders are separated is when the does are nearing kidding times; and I do this to ease my own nerves should anything come up during this time that requirs extra attention from me with a doe in labor.
The three does we have give more than enough fresh milk for David and me with plenty left over to condense for use when they are not lactating. I've not had any time to learn to make cheese, though I do create some delicious yogurt.
I will be preparing a few short blogs on milking procedures, care of hooves and feeding later on; so stay tuned.....