My first goats, unintended (with video)

September 20, 2011

This first venture into goats started out very innocently, even accidentally, definitely not planned.  Until now, it was only a minor consideration, a maybe someday thing. 

One day, the man I work for said he was going to have the blackberries cleared from an empty lot he owned. It had cost him more than it should have the year before so I suggested he hire some goats to clean it for him; it was already fenced with a chain link fence.  There is a company in Portland that rents goats for just that purpose.  Goats have gotten very popular for clearing areas, especially parks, airport areas, roadsides, etc. They do a great job with no pollution and always show up for work in the morning.  They don’t complain and don’t ask for a raise.

When he left for lunch, I started checking on prices.  It looked like it would cost, based on what I could find, around $200 to $250 versus over $300 the previous year and still having to haul off the cuttings.  I also looked for goats for sale and found a pair of wethers (neutered males) in Amboy for $100.  I told him he could buy them and then sell them when he was finished with his lot. He suggested I buy them and said he would rent them from me for $100 and then I could re-sell them.

Foolishly, I agreed.  After driving to Amboy and meeting these boys, I borrowed a truck and went back to buy them and bring them home.September 20, 2011  They had been working as a brush-clearing crew but were socialized and very friendly.  Because I was only going to have them a short time, I only prepared a small area of my yard for them with shelter from the rain but no formal barn or shed.  For one thing, goats usually don’t need more than protection from the rain and the wind, this was September and they would not be here very long.  It would also give me some idea if I even wanted goats.

These yearling boys were thought to be 1/2 Pygmy and 1/2 Nubian, medium to larger goats, so just me walking both of them at once was not an option.  A dear friend, who was afraid of goats because of a bad childhood experience, came to meet them.  Of course, they showed her that not all goats are like the one that chased her so many years ago.

It seemed like a fun idea to take them for a walk.  Also, in the fire alley behind me there is a good patch of blackberries that the owner isn’t wanting to stay so there was a treat for them on their walk.  Rachel came up and we took them for a walk.  This time we walked in the alleys along my block.  Taking Rusty and Randy for a walk - it does take two people!

Another time, we took them by her house (this photo is from that walk).  It became apparent that walking along the alleyway was a better idea.  When we were on the sidewalk along the street, a car would drive by, the driver would glance and think they were dogs and realize they were not and his/her attention was distracted from their driving for a second, longer look.  Better idea to not facilitate distracted driving!

Getting to know these sweet boys convinced me that I could have goats in my life.  However, there was a problem, two actually.  One is that wethers do not give milk.  The other was that these are full-size goats and our code allows only miniature livestock on city lots with miniature defined as under 100 pounds at maturity.  So these boys, definitely not 50-pound goats, would need to go to a new home.  Even though I did not buy them to keep them, it was still hard to sell them because they had such great personalities.  One can lose a heart very quickly to goats.  When I was working in the yard, I let them out in it and they followed me around like puppies.

I started watching for Nigerian Dwarf goats for sale.  I contacted Joann to see if she was ready to sell any of her goats yet.  She was not which was a disappointment.  I had decided, when I met hers, that I wanted to buy from her.  It was clear her goats were very well cared for and that she loved them so very much.

Finally, I made the decision to sell Rusty and Randy, sooner rather than later because I was getting very attached to them.  One of the responses was from a family in Amboy (yes, Amboy from where they came!) who wanted pets to also be pasture goats.  What a perfect match.  Because these little boys won my heart, I absolutely did not want to sell them to be butchered and, with this buyer, they would be going back to near where they were born.

The day before they left, I brought home a tiny brown Nigerian Dwarf doe which made letting Rusty and Randy leave a little easier.  She may have been nearly full size for her breed but next to them, she was definitely tiny!


Still photos on this page by Matt Clark:


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