Tag Archives: Nubian dairy goats

Visiting My Goat Herd

Fall has definitely arrived. One cool, sunny day I walked out to take a few pictures of the hills in color and ended up visiting my goat herd.

An electric line runs through the pasture making the nicest pictures of the hills from a vantage point out by the pole. I saw the goats off in the far end of the pasture checking out the persimmon trees.

It was early afternoon, far too early to call the goats in for the night. All I wanted was a quick couple of pictures. I opened the gate and slipped out into the pasture.

The goats were busy. I was quiet and at least a hundred yards away. They saw me.

visiting my goat herd
My Nubian goats spotted me out in the pasture and came over at a run to see what I was doing. They always seem to think I am doing something or going somewhere much more interesting than whatever they were busy with.

By the time I took my couple of pictures, I was visiting my goat herd. Several wanted to be petted. A couple checked out my camera. It might be edible.

The goats checked to see if I had any persimmons or other treats. I didn’t.

The herd milled around waiting for me to take them off somewhere. I took pictures of them.

Nubian doe High Reaches Rose
Nubian doe High Reaches Rose loves attention. Having me visit the herd makes her decide between grazing or coming over for petting. Petting often wins.

Finally the goats began wandering back the way they had come. They kept looking back to see if I was going any where yet.

I considered walking up the pasture. My goats would gladly tag along. Since I didn’t have my orange vest on and it was youth weekend, I watched the herd go back up the pasture without me.

Nubian doe looks at me visiting my goat herd
Nubian doe High Reaches Spring is watching me. She is sure I will take the herd someplace great, maybe knock down a bunch of persimmons.

Working in the garden later I heard shots from across the road from the pasture. The goats came running up near where I was working. Much as I enjoy visiting my goat herd and going walking with them, such outings will have to wait until after hunting season. I will get out my orange vest to wear and not wander off too far from the house and barn.

Taking Cute Goat Kid Pictures

Having new goat kids in the barn is fun. They do grow up fast so taking cute goat kid pictures is important.

Getting such pictures during the winter is a challenge in my barn. The open doors are covered making the interior dark even when the lights are on.

Another challenge to getting those cute goat kid pictures is getting the kids to stand still and look at the camera long enough to take the picture. Nine out of ten pictures has some blurring in it, usually ears.

sleeping kid cute goat kid pictures
Young goat kids spend a lot of time sleeping. There is a bench in the barn perfect for kids to sleep under or in front of where it is near the wall. Nubian doe High Reaches Drucilla’s twins are tired and snoozing. It still takes several pictures to get one in focus as the barn is dark.

Yet another challenge is the size of the kids. They are around a foot tall. I may not be tall, but I am taller than that so it’s easy to look down on the kid for a picture when stooping down gives a better angle.

The goat kid finds a goat keeper holding a camera on his level irresistible. Face shots are cute when the face isn’t bigger than the frame. Lenses take better pictures when they don’t have stuff smeared on them.

I solve the darkness problem by setting the ISO up to 500 or taking the kid outside. That ploy brings the mother goat into play as she is not thrilled with anyone fooling with her precious babies. She places the kid on her far side away from the camera.

Nubian doe High Reaches Drucilla guarding her kids
The goat kids find the pasture fascinating. Nubians doe Drucilla is convinced some danger lurks and she is on the alert.

Sleeping kids are easy to get pictures of in dark places. And these can be cute goat kid pictures.

Outside in the sunlight or under bright overcast skies is the best for getting those cute pictures. Kids do stand still for a few seconds now and then. They do get busy and forget to walk up to the camera. Even mother goats get careless at times and forget to block the kid from the camera.

cute goat kid pictures are mostly luck
Nubian doe High Reaches Juliette and her buck kid are out in the pasture for the first time. She is gobbling grass like she is starving to death. He is checking out a fallen leaf.

The key to taking cute goat kid pictures is patience and having the camera with you whenever you go out to see the new kids.

Test your goat knowledge working puzzles in “Goat Games”.

Goats Grow Old Too

I have two folders of goat registration papers. One is thin and slowly growing thinner. But goats grow old.

The thicker folder is filled with papers of goats who have died. These papers go back over the forty-six years I have had Nubian dairy goats. I rarely look through these papers.

goats grow old and I remember Nubian doe Patty
Written due dates are often on the mark. Then there are the does who come early or late or the goat keeper gets sloppy. However it happened, when the goats came in one evening, High Reaches Miss Patience better known as Patty wasn’t with them. I checked the usual places and finally started walking up the ravine. It was getting late. I’m not sure why I kept going further than I thought she could possible be, but I did. And she was there backed against a fallen tree guarding her new triplets still damp and struggling to their feet. Newborns are small enough I could pick up all three. Patty followed me in complaining I had her precious kids.

On occasion I need to look up a pedigree and sort through these old papers. I read each name and try to pull up memories of each goat. It’s easier to pull those memories up if I look through my pictures of goats from the past.

Even seeing the pictures often doesn’t trigger memories unless there was something special about that goat. High Reaches Jennifer was my very first goat. I wrote about her in “For Love of Goats”. High Reaches Miss Patience was standing far up the ravine, much farther than I thought the goats ever went, by a fallen tree with her triplets.

High Reaches Isabelle went down with a bottle jaw from anemia from worms and had to be drenched with our special fortified liquids. She was five months pregnant and I pulled quadruplets. All of them survived. She lived for years after that.

More often I am so involved with the day to day of goat care, I don’t stop to remember. But goats grow old and make me remember.

goats get old and Nubian doe Trina has done so
High Reaches Daisy was a long suffering mother goat. Her kid Trina was a handful. Her favorite napping spot was on top of her mother even when she got too big. They looked a lot alike. both were excellent milkers, friendly, gentle goats. First Daisy grew old and died. Now Trina is old and has gotten thin. She still tries to keep up with the herd, even lead them from time to time. After she is gone, her daughter High Reaches Trina’s Flame will be in the herd for a time.

High Reaches Daisy’s Trina has been in my herd for many years. She has grown from a rambunctious kid to a mature doe and is now thin. She was never a herd boss, but is now the bottom goat lagging behind the herd as they go out and come in.

Goats grow old and so do people. How many times do we think about the people of the past? They too disappear into memory snapshots.

Those goats now in my herd are the last. As these goats grow old and die, my thin folder will empty. And I will be left with my thick folder and memories.

Hazel Whitmore’s class does a class project writing about the soldiers who died in various wars, many of them almost forgotten, in “Old Promises”.

Endless Goat Year

Fall has arrived in the Ozarks along with cold nights and a smelly buck. Augustus is more interested in the does than his breakfast. Another part of the endless goat year.

People like to have a place to start the year. It’s an excuse to leave mistakes behind and try again.

For dairy goats the year never ends, only cycles through the seasons. Fall is breeding season.

My herd is smaller now, only fourteen does. Three are aged and retired. Four will continue to be milked over the winter. Two will have kids in November. That leaves five does to be bred in October.

Nubian doe High Reaches Drucilla is part of the endless goat year
Nubian doe Drucilla seems to like having her kids in the fall. She is due about November, but is already hanging heavy. She is a big doe and usually has big, healthy kids.

Fall breeding season might be a good time to begin the dairy goat year. But there is no real break. Milking continues every day. Goat care continues. Barn cleaning is necessary before winter. The endless goat year marches on.

The last few years a couple of does have had their kids in late fall to early winter. In the Ozarks Nubians breed all year.

The first time I expected frozen kids and lots of trouble. The kids were fine and livened up dull winter months. And the milk was welcome in the early spring when the other milkers began to falter.

Before these kids, all my kids were born in March and April. Perhaps that made spring feel like the beginning of a new year.

Nubian goat kids are part of the endless goat year
Spring Nubian goat kids go out with the herd when only a few weeks old. The grass is still short making it harder for them to get left behind. This one has found a good place to rest among the roots of a fallen tree.

But it wasn’t. Milking, chores, barn cleaning, hoof trimming continued the same way as before the kids. The endless goat year rolled on through into summer.

Since I am the only one caring for my goats, I am always here for milking. This gets frustrating as I can go no where unless the trip fits between morning and evening chores. The days blur one into another making an endless goat year for me.

As my herd dwindles, that year may sometime in the future come to an end. After forty-six years of routine, that is a bit liberating and frightening.

Kidding season can be daunting for a new goat owner as Harriet found out in “Capri Capers.”

Summer Goat Blues

My Nubian herd gets the summer goat blues in hot, dry weather. They stand in the barn looking out, wanting to go out and refusing to go out.

When convinced, the goats go out bunched closely together. They stand listening. And they hear the enemy zeroing in on them.

Nubian herd has the summer goat blues
The goats went out their pasture gate. They don’t know where to spend the day. Biting flies appear no matter which way the goats go.

There are several aerial attackers out in the hot summer weather. They are called stable flies, deer flies and three sizes of horse flies. The largest horse fly makes a loud buzzing as it streaks in to land on and stab its victim.

I’ve been bitten. It hurts a lot. All of these flies stab in leaving the goats with oozing sores.

summer goat blues don't stop the goat herd
The goats are hungry. The food is out in the pastures. Crowding together means your neighbor may be targeted, not you. The Nubian herd hurries out hoping to get some grazing done before the biting flies discover them.

The flies are worst in sunlit areas. When the weather is hot and sunny, the herd spends most of its time in the old cow barn making occasional forays out to eat until the flies zoom in and the herd retreats.

A week of cool weather slowed the flies down. The goats have enjoyed themselves immensely. They come in gorged on greenery.

Nubian wether goat eating grass seed
Warm season grasses are setting seed now. Grass seed is good grain to the goats so they reap as much as they can. This is High Reaches Juliette’s Lydia’s wether born back in April. He is enjoying his summer. He is for sale.

The hot weather drives me indoors much of the day. My computer is busy even though “The Carduan Chronicles” progresses slowly. This week it has been upstaged by an old project.

“Goat Games” was my first book. It started as a challenge to create puzzles about goats and morphed into much more. Along with lots of pencil puzzles, there are breed pages about fifteen different goat breeds, information pages including making cheese and ice cream and goat trivia.

Getting ready to have more copies printed, I looked over my files. And cringed.

"Goat Games" by Karen GoatKeeper
One of the special things about writing “Goat Games” was meeting so many goat owners. The people may be different, the young people grown up, but goat owners remain special in their relationships with their goats.

The summer goat blues arrived in the form of unanticipated editing. The pages were numbered incorrectly. Much of the writing needed adjusting. Some of the puzzles needed spiffing up.

The new copies of “Goat Games” will cost more as I printed them the first time, but not this time. The book will look much better as I have learned a lot over the years.

Unfortunately for my Nubians, the summer goat blues will return this week as hot weather again moves in.

Look over some sample pages and try to work the puzzles for “Goat Games“. I hear the puzzles are harder than I expected when I created them.

Uncertain Times

My life was a bit on the frantic side until last March. The pandemic arrived bringing uncertain times with it. My life went on hold – sort of.

Anyone with livestock, especially dairy stock, knows life never goes on hold. Chore time arrives every morning and every evening. Nubians are very insistent and vocal about that.

Kids were arriving. Now that does bring uncertain times. There may be a due date, but kids don’t pay much attention. The does don’t either as Natasha is still getting fatter, putting down milk in dribs and drabs and calmly chewing her cud.

Nubian wether kid cheers up uncertain times
Nubian doe High Reaches Agate had a single buck kid this April.

Spring barn cleaning time also arrived. The goats were extra wasteful over the winter so this has been a maddening task. It’s one of those tasks you work on and work on seemingly getting no where until it is done. Maybe next week will see the last of it out to the manure pile.

Baby chicks arrived. The order did have a hatch date. Uncertain times then take over as they might arrive the next day or the next or? They arrived the next day along with a massive cold front.

Baby chicks are not good house guests. They are accompanied by noise, dust and odors. The noise isn’t a problem. The others aren’t supposed to be, but always are as cleaning the box up never seems to keep up.

baby chicks arrive in uncertain times and weather
The first day I opened the outside door for the chicks they stood at the edge and looked. Not one came out. They now have feathers and fly out the door as soon as I open it. The two in front are Easter Eggers. The ones behind are Buff Orpingtons.

My frantic life? It’s on hold still. I visited town once a week. The library was closed so the computers were not accessible. Errands for three days were crammed into one.

I now own a laptop. We are getting acquainted. I’m planning on town two days a week now so I have enough time to do more than turn it on.

My Missouri county has no official cases of Covid-19. Then again I hear from a reliable source the virus arrived in the area last December when no one knew what it was. No one will ever really know.

Uncertain times did have a good side to them. My frantic life has slowed down. It’s wonderful to have time to enjoy being home even if the drudgery work looms.

Goat Kid Play Groups

Goat kids grow up so fast. There is a group of seven, yet already there are two kid play groups.

leader of one of the two kid play groups
Single goat kids have several advantages. Often they are larger at birth. Then they get all of the milk. Nubian Matilda’s buck kid takes advantage of both as he is awake more, plays more and explores more than any of the other kids.

The three older kids – older is relative as they are only three days older – are going outside. Matilda’s single buck leaps up on the bench and spends lots of time outside exploring. Juliette’s twins try to follow her out to the small pasture but stop at the gate and run back to the barn.

kid play groups need kids like these
Only a week earlier these two Nubian kids were wet newborns trying to make sense of their new world. Now they are lively and curious about everything. They sample grass, hay, dirt as their rumens start to work. They spend lots of time playing and sleeping.

The other four sleep more. These were smaller kids being a set of triplet bucks and a doe from a yearling.

Kid play groups matter. When kids are small, their mother answers their calls, comes running back when they are lost and showers them with attention. As kids get older, their mothers start to ignore them and get on with the serious business of eating. The play groups then keep the kids together, answer each other’s calls and occupy their time with various games.

The kids in a group are normally about the same age and stage. A smaller, more backward kid will often end up in a play group of younger kids.

kids sleeping group
Out in the barn kids dodge adult does. Young kids spend lots of time sleeping and want a safe, warm place. This old cobbled together bench offers a safe haven and the kids move in. It looks like they would smother each other, but each head is sticking out. The difficulty is getting up, especially if you are the bottom kid. Usually all the kids get up when one does and all of the kids go searching and calling for their mothers.

By the time these kids are a month old, the seven will spend most of their time playing together. Another two weeks will split them up again into two kid play groups as the three older kids get more serious about eating.

The groups will still merge for fun and games. King of the mountain, race down the log, tag through the herd and other activities are popular until kids get to be yearlings. Even then they indulge themselves at times.

Nubian doe kid
Nubian High Reaches Valerie is a first time mother. She is a yearling. She had this single doe kid that is a bit small. High Reaches Rose had triplet bucks at the same time. Valerie was happy to adopt one and much prefers the buck to her own little doe. The little doe has adopted me as I make sure she gets two or three big meals a day. She is growing fast.

The does watch the antics with such long suffering attitudes. They have forgotten when they were parts of kid play groups. As adults they are far too dignified to engage in such antics. Unless no one is watching.

Meet Star, The Little Goat, in “For Love of Goats” and read more about kids growing up.

My Photogenic Goats

I do try to put new pictures up in the My Goats Gallery every so often. Two things keep me from doing this very often. One is the time to get the pictures. The other is my photogenic goats who hate to have their pictures taken.

The goats have a schedule. They eat breakfast then go out to pasture. I normally try to take their pictures out in the pasture.

Agate thinks photogenic goats need close ups
Agate won’t listen. I tell her people want to see all of her. She wants her chin scratched, not her photograph taken.

Morning is not a good time. The light is great. The goats are off on the hills in the woods.

Trees give my photogenic goats great places to hide. And there is the ploy of ganging up.

The herd comes down from the hills in the afternoon. The light is more yellow. Shadows are darker. I must be on the south side of the goats with them facing east or west for a good picture.

goat herd leaving
When the picture taker is persistent, leave. So my herd takes off with the opinion I have to really get a move on if I want a picture. The ideal spot is in the middle so little more than ears are visible.

Afternoon is also when the goats start thinking about coming in for the night. My appearance is a good excuse to start off for the pasture gate.

I went out early the other day because the goats were down earlier than usual. They were scattered around the old cow barn. How many pictures could I get. My photogenic goats looked great.

photogenic goats are on the move
Lydia got left behind. I finally got a picture. She is doing her best to outrun me and nearly does. Now I need eighteen more pictures.

As soon as I got there, the herd bunched up and started for the pasture gate. I followed for a distance hoping for one or two pictures. No luck. I left.

The herd stopped. Every head turned to watch me go out a side gate. A short time later the herd spread out to graze again.

Another favorite ploy is to face away from me. All I see are rumps.

Tails are in for these photogenic Nubian goats
My herd is busy grazing. Pictures aren’t important. They don’t care if anyone else sees what they look like. One way to get rid of me is to turn tail and eat. At least they think so.

Agate and Pest come over to check the camera out. Photogenic goats or not, petting is much superior to having your picture taken.

I have one last recourse. This is highly unpopular with the goats. I tie them to the fence one by one and take a picture. since I’ve been trying to get pictures for the gallery for a couple of months now, I guess I will do this the next nice day.

Add some spice to the holidays with a copy of Capri Capers.

Special Needs Goats

One of the advantages of keeping goats more as a hobby than as a business is being able to keep special needs goats from time to time. Such kids are rare.

Most often these special kids are just small. They need bottle feeding and extra care. Most of those that survive will grow up to be small, but normal adults. Juliette is as big as my other goats.

Two special needs goats I remember here were born blind. The first was Louie.

blind goat is one of special needs goats
The herd crossed the bridge so Louie crossed the bridge. The first time he turned before getting to the end and fell in the creek. As far as I know that was the only time. Louie wasn’t going to let a little thing like being blind stop him.

Silk was close to due, but didn’t look that close. She went out that morning, but didn’t come in. Intense searching didn’t find her.

Early the next morning I went out again. This time Silk turned up with a single doe kid. I had expected twins and backtracked without finding a second kid.

My friend had started at the other end of the hill. He found a little buck kid. The kid seemed normal, but Silk rejected him. Bottle baby.

blind goat listening for herd
A herd of Nubians keeps track of each other with numerous clues. One is by sound. Another is smell. Sight is an important one. Louie could hear, but couldn’t see. When Louie got more than five feet away from the herd, he was lost. His first reaction was to lift his head up high to listen and smell. If he couldn’t find the herd, he next started to circle and call. His ringing calls would echo back from the trees and confuse him sometimes sending him running off up a hill looking for the other goats. Calling him once he started this had no effect as he had panicked. He had to be caught and calmed down. Then he would follow back to the herd.

In the house we noticed his eyes didn’t look right. Examination showed the corneas to be badly scarred and white.

Newborns have a short time in which they learn to use their eyes. If their eyes are covered during that time, the animal will never see well even if the eyes are normal. This is true not only of goats, but people, cats, dogs and others as well.

Louie’s eyes were not usable at that special time. They later cleared a little, but he could never see.

Louie learned to find his way around the barn. He followed the herd out to pasture for a time. He got his name because he would get separated and we could hear him trumpeting his distress at the house and go out to rescue him.

Louie and Gaius were best friends for several years until Louie got urinary stones and died.

another of my special needs goats was blind, deaf Martha
Even as a very young Nubian kid Martha was adventurous. Being blind and deaf was the way it was for her. She explored everywhere. She had no playmates so she found her own ways to play. The ramp on the goat gym was a favorite. She did get knocked off a time or two, but never fell off on her own. She climbed to the top and circled the platform then careened down the ramp bucking and kicking up her heels. Once down she turned around and went up again.

My other special needs kid was Martha. She had several disabilities being born blind and mostly deaf. She didn’t let it slow her down much. She couldn’t go out to pasture, so she learned to play on the goat gym by herself. She amused herself for long periods of time going up and down the ramp.

Martha was my shadow as I worked around the workshop and garden. Evidently she had no sense of taste either and I didn’t watch closely enough. She got into some poisonous plants when only a few months old.

blind, deaf Nubian kid playing
Every picture of my blind, deaf Nubian kid Martha coming down the gym ramp is blurred. She raced down that ramp. At first I cringed as she could fall off the edges, but she never did.

Do I regret keeping these special needs goats? No. They did have disabilities, but were able to have good lives during the time they had.

Remembrances of these and other goat adventures will be part of the new goat book. For now, check out Capri Capers.

Unhappy Goat Snow Days

My Nubian goats are spoiled. Dairy goats in general seem that way, or so I hear. They hate to get wet or tromp through the snow. They like to go out romping. Snow days are tough on them.

The first day wasn’t too bad. My herd is smaller now and has plenty of room in the barn to argue among themselves. Standing around with enough hay in the troughs to replace their bedding is fun too.

Nubian goat herd on snow days

Snow is still covering most of the ground. Still my Nubians look out from under their door cover blanket hoping I will open the pasture gate. Somehow I must be able to give them their pasture back minus the snow. I wish I knew how. They need the exercise. Mobbing the milk room door is not exercise for them, only frustration for me.

Even Augustus didn’t mind the first day. He is lonely now without Gaius around. He liked having the herd stay around all day.

Day two wasn’t so fun. The goats have plenty of hay to eat. They are bored with hay. Acorns are tastier. New hay doesn’t appear often enough.

Water is another complaint. The buckets don’t arrive often enough. Of course, the goats can’t be bothered to get drinks when they do arrive. New hay is on the agenda, then water. I am supposed to wait around until they are ready.

Nubian buck Augustus on snow days

Nubian buck High Reaches Silk’s Augustus has room in his pen, just not enough. By day 3, he is ready and eager to get outside and run. Unfortunately the snow is not leaving and he is stuck watching the world go by.

Exercise is important. The goats chase each other around in the barn. There is one bench and the thunder of feet going over it is almost continuous. I’m glad I got it repaired last week.

Augustus is tired of snow days. His pen is big enough for a short time. Two days is too long. He wants out to play too. His brand of playing is not appreciated by the does.

Up north the snow days lasted for months. This herd would go nuts. Luckily for my herd Ozark snow days last only a few days.

The storm should pass tonight. The sun will start melting the snow tomorrow. By the next day the goats will be ready to race out the gate churning up the mud as they buck and bounce their way out to find those acorns.

Enjoy raising goats? Try Dora’s Story.