We attended a large country fair today, one of many in our region but undoubtedly the biggest. Among the many attractions were the creatures in the Goat Barn. We saw all sorts of goat breeds and watched a few shows starring 4-H kids and their projects. Husband and I have been talking about getting goats next spring to help clear our land. We sought out one of the goat guys today and asked him some basic questions. We were delighted to hear that goats love salal and broom, both of which are plentiful here and the latter is an invasive plant high on the elimination wish list. Our overgrown woods make a perfect environment for the goats, who will have many things to keep them busy. And apparently they winter well here and don’t need anything other than a dry shelter (we have mild winters here, relatively speaking).
We had a wonderful time chatting with this guy about keeping goats in our region and climate. He was the proud breeder of Toggenburgs, a breed from the Swiss Alps (that’s a Toggenburg in the photo above). He was milking a female adult goat while we were chatting and she was the sweetest, calmest creature ever (and, we learned, a champion in the winner’s circle). He pointed out how quiet and docile his goats were, and his female definitely had the sweetest disposition I’ve ever seen in a goat. Also, the breed appealed to Husband who is all about Heritage Anything, as they are a rare breed in our parts.We don’t want the commitment of milking goats so he suggested some castrated males (wethers, I believe they are called). We don’t want meat or milk; these goats will be Land Clearing Machines. His farm is not far from us, so when the time comes we may buy our goats from him (want to do some more research first; can’t buy the first goat you fall in love with you know!).
When we left the guy we were both very excited. I’ve been to a few country fairs in my lifetime but none where the animals were all potential prospects for us! I can’t wait to start clearing the perimeter for our new pasture. It will be a fall/winter/early spring project, but how exciting to think we’ll have goats next year! In the meantime, I’ll supplement my winter reading with everything I can find about raising and keeping goats.