By Jacquie Jenkins
I'm a wife and stay at home mom of three. I've always wanted my own land but I grew up in south Florida where open land was few and expensive.But in 2004 we moved to central Florida and bought a house with 1.73 acres. I was going to landscape the whole thing because as a city girl I thought you had to have a lot of land to have a farm.
Then I found the Urban Sustainable Living website and everything changed. I saw that it could be done on a smaller scale and I started researching how to make our property productive.
Chickens and eggs were the first and most obvious option. A milk cow needs more land then I had. Then I found milk goats. Further research produced Kinder goats, a cross of nubian and pygmy goats, which are excellent for milk and meat. But I had no money for goats.
On a whim I posted on a goat forum asking if I could trade work for the use of a nubian doe. I had never worked on a farm before but figured it would be a great opportunity to learn. I got a response from a lady about a half an hour from me. She and her husband owned a goat farm.
I started working there and they offered me a mixed breed doe to use as a milker. Then they offered me two nubian does to start my kinder herd. They also bred all three does to a couple of very handsome spotted nubian bucks I'd admired while there. That way I could have babies to keep or sell and I could milk all three does sooner then if I waited to get a pygmy buck.
When I worked off my does, they kept me on a couple more weeks and paid me so I could buy supplies for fencing. They even gave me some posts to help cut down my costs and let me use some of their fencing tools. I will always appreciate their generosity.
After a couple more weeks of hard work, I am finally done with the goat shelter and fencing. I won't be bringing my girls home until after Thanksgiving but except for a couple minor details everything is ready and waiting.
This was a story about how I got into goats. But I was asked WHY I got into goats. The benefits of raising my own milk and meat animals is the main one, of course. But there's also the fact that goats can be such loving, funny, and endearing animals. The entertainment value alone is worth it. I mean, what's cuter than a baby goat bouncing around? Add to that the educational value for my kids of how to care for animals, knowledge of where food comes from, and the experience of witnessing birth. Also the personal satisfaction of being able to use my property in such a productive way. And lastly, just because I love animals. =)
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