ON THE FARM
Goat Talk – Part 1
Goat care and dairy production are the most time-consuming activities on our farm. We didn’t realize when we started just how much they would impact our lives. Is it worth it?
As sustainability (or as we prefer to call it these days–subsistence living–meaning, no waste) is our primary goal, yes, it is worth it for us. In the next six issues of our newsletter, we will devote a column to describing our goat experience, and the part it plays in our daily life. We take the time because we get a lot of questions about goats.
Despite the amount of work, we find our delightful relationship with goats to be worth the effort. Let me assure you, we had absolutely NO goat rearing experience before the opportunity to have goats dropped into our lives nine years ago. We learned the way most people learn—through trial and error. We thank all of the goats who helped us learn along the way. We thank other goat owners who coached us when we knew we were in over our heads. That’s the way most of us learn to homestead, isn’t it? There is no substitute for first-hand experience, but it sure helps to glean information from your neighbors. So here we go . . .
Goat Talk Part 1 . . .
Our goats (Nubian and Boer mix) are a core component of our subsistence (meaning: no waste) lifestyle. They provide: milk, cheese, kefir, butter, meat, lactic acid–a source of beneficial microbes (probiotics for us) and a contribution to soil fertility and healthy plants. We also spray lactic acid in the chicken, duck, and goat pens to keep them cleaner and odor free.
Last but not least, goat manure provides essential organic material for soil building. Goat manure is one of the few manures that can be taken straight from the goat pen and put right onto the garden beds without first composting it. One of our key objectives is to make as many of our own soil replenishment materials as possible—shrinking the amount we have to import from other areas outside of our farm. To that end, we are also looking into crushing our own rocks and creating some of the essential trace minerals our gardens need to remain vital and productive. That is a topic for another newsletter, however.