As I told you yesterday I will be getting some goats. Well, that will be a while yet, since we still need to complete the cow shed and fill it will baby calves. We are probably looking at Spring to finish the goat shed and play yard.
That doesn’t keep me from thinking about raising goats. I have decided I want Saanen goats. If you don’t know what those are, think of the Three Billygoats Gruff. These are big white “marshmallow” tempered goats that sport a goatee and whose females provide an abundance of milk. I would not be opposed to Alpines or Boers,if that is all we can find, but my preference is the Saanen.
The Saanens should grow to about 150 or 200 pounds, or about the size of our month-old calves, and for me may be less intimidating than a 1300 lb. bull…even if they do sport imposing horns. They are both dairy and meat animals and I’m thinking it might be fun to try our hands at cheese-making. I have made cows milk cheese in my kitchen with milk from the grocery, but would love to produce a good chèvre. Of course, with all there is to do on the farm generally speaking (plus school and work), there may not be time to experiment with the goats. But my-oh-my how I would love to produce cheese like I had in France! Wikipedia showed its goat cheese with water crackers, but nothing compares to a schmear on a fresh crisp baggette.
But the reality of raising goats is the same reality in raising cattle. Ultimately, no matter how much you love on them and care for them, they headed for someone’s dinner plate. And even if we, as Americans, do not think of goat meat as a protein source, the meat is quite tasty and valued by hispanic, Jewish and Arabic cultures. Weighing just 200 lbs on the hoof, they are also a perfect size for filling the freezer. Soft hearted me will have to find a way to reconcile my feelings about those beautiful creatures I buy and the purpose and costs of raising them.
Meanwhile, as Mike and his friends add the finishing touches to the cow shed and discuss the 8X8 goat addition, I can look out the window of the house and see the fresh-cut wooden siding and its close color to the soybeans now drying in the field beyond. It will not be long before time to combine them and take them to market. We are thankful that the drought, the neighbor’s rogue cattle, and other calamities will not affect the crop too badly. With basically a once per year paycheck, a lot is riding on this year’s crop. The good news is, the old calves can glean the field after harvest and add a little variety and protein to their diet.
That makes me think: Are soybean plants good for goats too? Time for a google search!