Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Hello From Oregon

2/1/2012 4:25:35 PM

Tags: goats, dairy goats, Caitlyn Menne, herbalist, , Caitlyn Menne

 

 Poppet 

Well, I suppose I should start off by stating that the chubby goat in the picture is NOT me! I'm actually the person behind the chubby goat. Yeah, the black boots. That's me. Many people simply know me as 'Goat Song', and some people do actually call me "Goat Song". But if we want to be professional here, my real handle is Caitlyn Menne. And the four-legged miscreant is a Nigerian Dwarf doe named, 'Poppet'. I'm the newest goat blogger here at Mother Earth News, so this first post will be more of an introduction, rather than a compilation of useful goat knowledge. But the goat knowledge will come. I promise.

My two passions in life are very simply summed up: Farming, and goats. The farming part has always been a given in my life, but I didn't fall into goats until about six years ago. I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which offers many challenges when raising livestock. It's very wet here! I primarily raise Nubians, as I'm a sucker for their noise and drama. But I am always willing to *ahem* take in other breeds, which has put me in a position in which I have now tried all the dairy breeds (including the rare Guernsey), and many crossbreds. Besides the Nubians, I also have a rogue Nigerian Dwarf (I had to buy her... How do you say "No." to something that's only eighteen inches tall?!), and a grumpy Saanen/ La Mancha doe. 

My herd name is "Goat Song", and online it's usually my alias. People ask why I chose that name, and I simply smile and state one fact: I have Nubians. Fellow goat raisers will nod in understandment. Folks who are new to goats will look puzzled. 

Not all Nubians, but MOST of them, are talkers. They are a vocal breed and love to voice their opinions. It didn't take long before I started defending their noise level by calling it "singing". It seemed a better way to put it... My "girls" sing when they see me coming, and they sing when they see me leave. They'll sing when something new happens, and they'll sing simply because they can! I can't blame them for their noisiness though; I love to sing too. I am forever singing old celtic ballads when outside, and I sing while milking and doing chores.

After awhile, all this singing between handler and goats morphed into our herd name: Goat Song. I have a certain song for each doe, which I sing during milking, and they each have their own unique song which they sing back. It just seemed like a natural choice to call ourselves that. 

Along with being a goat raiser, I am also an herbalist who is working towards certification, and I'm a teacher. I've had the privilege to teach many people about goats and small-scale farming through various workshops, and I love being able to share my knowledge, and help others get started in the wonderful (and addicting!) world of goats! 

I look forward to blogging here at Mother Earth News, and not only teaching, but learning here as well. 

Do you have goats? What kind? I love hearing other's experiences! You can read more about my goat adventures on my blog, To Sing With Goats.



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CAITLYN MENNE
2/2/2012 11:13:30 PM
All goats need hay, loose minerals, and baking soda, to supply them with fiber and nutrients, but grain is not always necessary. It just depends on each individual goat. None of my goats are receiving grain right now, since they are dry and open (i.e. not pregnant), and they are all doing fine like that. You will however, want to look at getting two goats, to keep each other company. A pair consisting of a doe and a wether (castrated male) is always a good choice, since the wethers are quite cheap to buy and maintain, and you can eventually breed the doe!

Jennifer Berg
2/2/2012 10:26:48 PM
That is great information. I am going to start looking into the Nigerian Dwarfs. It will be for a pet and berry control but I think it would be interesting to try milking to make cheese, although I am not sure that I would want to start that this year with my first year garden and chickens too. It is hard to keep patience when I want everything up and thriving. I need to go step by step so I don't get ahead of myslef. Do the Nigerians need supplimental food or can they thrive on foraging?

CAITLYN MENNE
2/2/2012 10:08:56 PM
Thank you everyone for your welcomes!

CAITLYN MENNE
2/2/2012 10:07:55 PM
Hello Jennifer! I'm glad to meet a fellow Oregonian! ;) Are you looking for a goat that would just be a pet/blackberry eater, or a milking goat? All the breeds (both meat and dairy) are friendly, personable animals. More often than not you just have to go by what looks appealing! But if you're looking for a small sized goat, then you might look into either a Nigerian Dwarf (dairy breed), or a Pygmy (meat breed). There are also lots of crosses between the standard sized goats and the minis, which gives you a nice, mid-sized goat. February through May is a good time to start looking for goats, since that is when everyone in the area has goat kids for sale. Try looking on Craiglist, if you haven't already. :) I personally love the Nigerian Dwarfs, when it comes to pint-sized caprines. Their colors and sweet temperaments are absolutely endearing!

Jennifer Berg
2/2/2012 9:29:36 PM
Hello, I also live in the Willamette Valley and my family just moved to the country in June. We now have just under 2 acres with lots of blackberries etc. My husband said I could get a goat and some chickens. I am so excited to start. I was wondering what advise you could give me on what kind of goat would be good, we have a dog and 3 kids I am going to plant a garden with a fence around it but I am new at most of this. I would like a small goat that is fairly friendly. Any suggestions?

K.C. Compton
2/2/2012 5:32:19 PM
Welcome to the Mother Earth News blogosphere. I love to think of you singing an individual song for each of your girls. And especially of them singing back to you. A lovely picture here in my head. --KC

Will Wiese
2/2/2012 8:37:05 AM
Hello from Idaho and welcome to the Mother Earth News staff! I've been reading MEN since 1976. I love the country lore! I have not had goats since childhood, but remember those days fondly. I'm sure I will enjoy your articles. Will

Helen Boland
2/1/2012 11:43:28 PM
Welcome Caitlyn, I, too sing to my goats. I raise Nigerian Dwarf goats and sing to calm my first freshner while milking and to keep the rythmn of milking. Helen







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