Not that it happens all of the time, but for the entire month of December anything goes. For the last eight or so years, my family has raised meat goats and on occasion, a Nubian as well. I once had …
Not that it happens all of the time, but for the entire month of December anything goes. For the last eight or so years, my family has raised meat goats and on occasion, a Nubian as well. I once had a Nubian named Dolly Parton and she was the sweetest thing ever.
I remember the first goat my grandmother ever brought home. John Wayne is a Nigerian dwarf who spent the first few weeks of his life living in the house with a diaper on. Everyday when we would get off the school bus, we would run across the street to my grandmother’s house just so we could see him. He bounced across the house swiftly as a little deer and cuddled on the couch with us. At some point, John Wayne moved to the outdoors, but it wasn't long before he had another goat friend join him. And then another… and another….
At some point I lost track of who was who and then one day, grandma came home with a whole herd of boer goats. When she said she wanted to start breeding them, we were all in to help. Christmas hasn’t looked the same since.
Just as many other things in life have their ups and downs, kidding season has had a few. Anyone who raises livestock can relate in some way. Night shifts in the dead of winter that leave you exhausted. Fingers and toes are always just a little too cold, and praying everything goes right and the births are easy. There have been some hard days, and some might say we are a little too soft when it comes to babies not making it, but there is no worse feeling than watching a mama goat look for a kid that’s not going to be there.
The flip side to the hard times are fuzzy babies running around everywhere. Bottle babies to snuggle on Christmas Eve while you watch a movie and have some hot chocolate. Learning new things everyday from my grandmother and having my whole family together doing something we all enjoy. The best part is getting to send the baby goats to their new homes, usually with kids who will show them at the county fairs. Going to watch them compete and show off their goats and all of the hard work they’ve put into them is surreal.
A few years back, my mom jumped on the bandwagon as well and raised a herd of her own. Not nearly as large as my grandma’s, but enough that we’re still busy with it. Thankfully, the two women live right across the street from each other and everyone is close by when help is needed. Having something we all do together has definitely brought us all close. From the not so smooth moments you have to help a mama goat, to the quiet hours of the night sitting around talking and laughing while we wait on the kids to make an appearance.
Raising livestock has given me a strong work ethic and pride in what we are able to do. I see it in my brother the older he gets, too. It’s been a joy to watch him grow up, always eager to help and eventually start showing his own goats as well. He puts so much time into them and seeing his hard work pay off, his smiles of triumph and having the privilege of helping him in any way I can will always be something I hold near to my heart.