These are Boer goats. Originally from South Africa, they are primarily sold for meat. (I know, don't get too attached.) While I have a few kids for sale in the spring and take a couple to market in the fall, goats have taken a backseat to the more lucrative flower business.

Julia, the Great Pyrenees, was raised with goats and guards against the coyotes. Good electric fencing also helps keep coyotes out and goats in.


History

The very steep open hillside on the farm was unsuitable for planting, so it made sense to look for a grazing animal to take advantage of that space. The sheep market was already crowded but in 2005 the Boer goat market was taking off and goats prefer the bracken that grows on the hillside. It would have been fun to make cheese but my schedule wouldn't allow milking twice a day and meat goats are much calmer. 

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Knowing nothing about goats (or any pasture animal), I visited farms all over the midwest and northeast to learn and buy quality stock. I took online goat classes from agriculture colleges (there was actually a lot of homework), showed does and bucks (got a painted circular saw blade for a big win, it's still in my living room display case), attended seminars on how to judge shows, and learned how to give injections, assist difficult births and determine what kinds of worms my goats carried (all grazing beasts have some kind of worm - yes, yuck). 

But selling breeding stock means going to shows which involves days of prepping and travel. Unfortunately at the same time the garden needed to be planted or harvested.

My youngest son raised his own wether to show.

My youngest son raised his own wether to show.

My biggest show achievement.

My biggest show achievement.

Trying to get the name out there.

Trying to get the name out there.

Getting ready to be clipped up for show.

Getting ready to be clipped up for show.

I've learned to back this into all kinds of places.

I've learned to back this into all kinds of places.

This young woman did a marvelous job with Hensbury Farm wethers a few years in a row.

This young woman did a marvelous job with Hensbury Farm wethers a few years in a row.


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Now I keep the herd to under 10 as the flower business has proven more profitable but I generally have a few choice kids available for 4H each spring.