This is what is goating on at the farm!!!

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So goats are the best. They are adorable, affectionate, hilarious and intelligent animals. Toby and I love to have them around.

We had a big scare in October when one of our goats was attacked by a dog we were house sitting. The goats had managed to put the door of their house open and the dog just did what any animal with a prey drive would have done. Unfortunately I was away doing a Yoga Tune Up workshop but Toby did a wonderful job of managing the situation. When he arrived home to find the dog covered in blood and Montoya torn up in the backyard, he called the vet and rushed over.

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They treated her wounds and gave Toby shots, cleaning solution and instructions on how to help her recover. The injuries included: a puncture wound through the base of one ear causing neural damage resulting in temporary loss of movement, puncture wounds through the bottom of her mouth, cuts at the base of her jaw and cuts across her face.

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The main concern was infection, her staying hydrated and well fed. I had a pretty solid cry when I first saw her and rushed her to the vet when I thought she might have developed an infection in her ear.

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But within a week she was making huge improvements, eating lots and even seeming cheery. When we put her back with the other lady goats they beat her up quite a bit. Eventually she was reaccepted into the herd and now she is good as new. Just a few scars, which let the other goats know she is a badass.

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Toby and I built a small winter house for the ladies. It has insulated aspenite walls and a tin roof. It is pretty darn cute! With their combined body heat they stay nice and cozy warm during the night. We have surrounded their house with a 6 foot high section of snow fence.

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The boys are still out in the old chicken coop and have a nice outside run attached to their house. The plan is to build a little cuddle cave in the corner out of straw bales with an insulated roof. This way they can keep cozy at night and have something to jump on in their house.

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Within the next month we will be breeding Bella and Buttercup to Vizzini in hopes of kids in June. That will give us time to get setup for kidding and milking. I cannot wait to have our first kids! They are going to be super cute! All the milk and cheese to come!!!

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Update on the Farm: Building the Goat House!

We are just finishing our fourth month in the house and still as busy as ever!! Our to do list only gets longer and our weekends are getting more and more booked up as the summer comes to an end.

This Friday/Saturday we will be visiting some family and picking up some wood. We are intending to heat with wood this winter but are quite a few cords short. Hopefully we will be able to cut enough for the winter, it would not be awesome to have to buy it when we have it available to us through family.

We should have Sunday free for work around the house. We will most likely get started building our wood shed. It will be a simple post and beam structure with recycled barn boards on two walls. We will also spend a few hours on sketch up working on the building plans for the barn! We are running out of time and need to get started on a winterized building for all our critters. So far the plan is post and beam framing on a concrete foundation with radiant heating and straw bale insulation. It will be a very useful space containing stalls for the bucks, stalls for the does, kidding pens, a milking room, a feed and tack room and a chicken coop. There will be separate fenced in runs for the animals out back. Keep your calendars open for a barn raising party in the fall.

A few weeks ago we built a small structure for the goats to sleep in until the barn is built. It was a relatively quick project and looks quite nice.

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We grabbed cedar posts and old barn boards from Toby’s dad’s house and used some of the 2 by 4’s we had laying around at the house. Toby built  the walls on the ground, dug some small holes for the posts and propped them up so we could attach the walls. There was a pretty immediate need for the shelter so we designed as we went. Toby made sure it was as level and square as we could manage without a foundation.

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We attached the barn boards to the sides trimming and adjusting where necessary.

Toby put together two big barn doors in no time and voila we have shelter!! Unfortunately after only one night of sleeping in the shelter the males began trying to mount the females so we had to move them into the old chicken coop on the property.

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For a week or two we just had sheets of aspenite on the roof. Last weekend we used some tin from Toby’s dads barn and finally put a real roof on it. We still need to tar the roof so it is sealed but it is pretty much finished. The goats love it!

Our Goats! Our wonderful beautiful goats!!

The title of this post was going to be Totes My Goats but I could hear Toby’s voice in my head saying “Ouuuur goats” so I had to change it. They are our first real farm animals (the chickens are easy!) and we are in this together. This is a post about the Nigerian Dwarf Goats we picked up two weeks ago. They are dwarf milk goats that can produce on average one liter of milk per day that has 8% butter fat.

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They are the cutest most adorable little beasts. I’ve never had experience with such affectionate livestock. They “baaaaa” every time they see us and run up for kisses and cuddles when we get close.

Toby took the lead on finding the right farm to get our goats. After much searching he happened upon The Potting Shed, a garden center and hobby farm owned and operated by Jack Kent. Jack was super helpful and enthusiastic about getting us set up with our own herd. He sent us a video of the first kids born and pictures of our future goats.

Two weeks ago we drove out to Dunnville, ON and picked our five goats up. The garden center was spectacular! There were beautiful plants, stunning flowers, rare trees, peacocks, goats, fish and chickens.

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Jack took the time to show us around the place telling us all about how he and his partner became successful. We learned a bunch and had a blast! I highly recommend stopping by the potting shed if you any where close! They also have  a really great gift shop with all sorts of rustic garden decorations.

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I really can’t say enough good things about Jack and the Potting farm.. but this post is supposed to be about the goats so let me try and get back on track.

Before leaving I prepped the car to transport 5 goats for 6 hours. I laid down a tarp and tied it up so that it would not slip when the goats move around. I created a divider using some hardware cloth we had lying around for the chicken coop. This was a very good idea because the goats tried very hard to come sit in the front seat. I finished off by lining the back with two old duvets.

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We left the house just after Toby finished work and drove straight to Toronto to have dinner with some great friends. We stayed the night in the city and took off first thing to meet our new babies. As soon as we arrived at the potting shed we knew that we had made a wonderful choice. We explored a little on our own before finding Jack. He showed us around and brought us to meet the goats. It was easy to see which ones were ours because they had been tattooed that morning and still had green ink on their ears.

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We loaded them up as Jack gave us all sorts of tips as well as hay and feed to get started. Finally we said goodbye to Jack and all the other animals and started for home. Immediately the goats pooped everywhere and baaa-ed there little hearts out.

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It didn’t take long for the goats to settle down and get comfortable. The ladies cuddled up together in the back while the boys stayed closer to us.

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We drove straight to Kingston with no problems. We stopped in to visit my dear friend Laura and to introduce the goats to Caitlin and Tom. As Toby ran to grab Caitlin and Tom from the coffee shop down the street I stayed with goats at the car. It didn’t take long for a crowd to form around the car – at least 20 people were gathered to meet our new gang.

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We had just decided on names before driving into the city. We went with a movie theme,  The Princess Bride. The tricolour male is Fezzick, the brown and white male is Vizzini, the larger white and beige female is Buttercup, the smaller female is Bella and the tricolour female is Montoya.

After leaving Kingston it took no time at all to make it home. We backed the car right up to the fenced in area behind the house and introduced them to their new home. We ran around with them snapping pictures as fast as we could. Frisk tried to herd them which was very impressive.

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The first week the goats ended up sleeping in our breezeway – which will smell like a barn forever more! But last weekend Toby build an amazing improvised shelter. It is made from cedar posts, salvaged barn boards, salvaged tin and some 2 by 4’s we had in garage. It looks rustic and beautiful, the goats love it.  The ladies are sleeping there and the boys are sleeping in an old chicken coop that came with the house. We could not be happier with the goats. I’m glad we decided to go with milk goats instead of meat goats. Not ready to slaughter an animal I have raised.

We welcome visitors to play and help out on the farm! Please come on out!