This year, we added some new permanent family members to our farm. I work for a farm called Lamborn Mountain Farmstead, run by James and Carol Schott. James had a career a large scale goat dairyman for many years, then retired with his wife to Paonia in 2008. While I was still interning, I would go up to the Schott's farm to irrigate and milk the goats early in the morning and take care of their 35 acres when they would go out of town. After my first year, James underwent shoulder surgery, which resulted in me milking and irrigating every day. Nearing the end of the season,James and Carol approached me about taking over their small goat herd enterprise. By then, I had stopped interning, and Sharon and I had purchased the farm already. The decision seemed like an easy one, and after a couple of meetings, we scheduled the move for February, 2016. As for the logistics of the transfer of ownership, we decided that I would purchase all the equipment (stanchion, pails, totes, supplies) and the goats would be traded for milk over the years.
In February, after building a barn, milking parlor and transforming our basement into a washroom and kitchen, we welcomed our herd of five does and two bucks- Bert and Buck that we keep for breeding. They are quite the addition to our farm, and we are excited to see what they have in store for us this season.
Meet the Herd:
Gwen- an Alpine, the oldest, but the spunkiest. She is twelve years old, cunning and sneaky, but the most consistent milker. Age has had no effect on her energy, nor her plans for escape, so she definitely keeps things interesting.
Daisy- a five year old Saanen. She is the biggest goat in our herd and was the only goat that was not bottle fed as a kid. She can be flighty at times, but produces the most milk. She is my favorite to milk and will usually nibble at my hat or beanie if she's done eating.
Calamity- enough said, her name is pretty self explanatory. To say that she was vocal as a kid is quite an understatement, and she was a terror to train on the stanchion. Although, now that she has grown into maturity, her name-sake is almost ironic. She is a two year old Nubian, one of our sweetest, and will hopefully ramp up production this year.
Gertie and Duchess- they are the youngest, both yearlings. Gertie, the most curious and friendliest, is Gwen's kid and Duchess, who appears to follow slightly after her mother, Daisy's. This will be their first year of stanchion training and milking.
I've known these goats for some time, but all the decision making will be new to me. It's a pretty big step for us, especially since we haven't had any breeding livestock until now, but like I said, we're pretty excited.