Some of the does grazing in one of 6 1/2 acre pastures.
Today our herd consists of many of the most influential bloodlines making up the Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat breed and we continue to breed for well conformed animals that are quality for both show and MILK!
Our herd consists of a small amount compared to most breeders. We run about 10-15 goats with a temporary explosion in population in the spring during kidding season.
We feel we want to keep our herd to a number that makes it easy for us to give personal attention to each animal. This means we must make difficult decisions every year regarding who will stay and who will be moved on to another farm. Difficult as this is, we are nearly our perfect size herd so it must be done.
As you may have read in other parts of our website, we have not always lived in the country. Originally, after our move we did not plan on raising goats! In fact, Keith had stated that goats would be the last animal he would want to raise.
But after several years of research we were hooked on the idea of wonderful, full cream goat milk and as we visited and learned from other experienced breeders, we fell in love with the Nigerian Dwarf goats.
We set out on a search to purchase only the highest quality goats we could find and afford to start our herd. We saved in order to do just that and after a 14 hour one-way trip and what seemed like an enourmous amount of cash... we arrived home with our very first goats from the well known Lost Valley Nigerians in the hill country of Texas.
One of Lost Valley Rachel's Well 2020 kids enjoying his outdoor time in the kid "play pen" as a transition to adjusting to life on the pastures.
It is rare that we will add to our herd from an outside farm but as we study our own herds strengths and as we are keeping our numbers low, it has become necessary to add. We make these decisions with great care! We know a solid herd will need to continue to evolve so we are committed to careful consideration of this each year. We research other breeders based on conformity, genetics and solid herd management philosophies. We spare no expense when we find the right addition and are grateful that we have been able to do so!
Sheri with her morning face, getting some goat loving from a 2018 kid.
Our goats are all cared for with stringent health and management issues in mind allowing them to reach their full potential and of course we give them tons of love and attention daily. By spending this amount of time with them we are able to "know our goat" and what is normal and not normal for each of them. Being familiar with their daily routine means health issues are noticed before they become a big problem. We try to combine our goat watching with our break times and with our normal morning and evening routines moving them in the barn or out to the pastures each day. Sometimes this means we have to fight off a few of them from piling up in our laps!
I never grow tired of watching them on the pastures and my only regret is that I don't remember to bring my camera with me each time!
Tiny Tales Beth March 3*M is one of very few goats we have carefully selected to
add to our herd. She's a dream!
Our "down time" is not wasted time, getting to know our goats and spending time with them helps us identify any issues before they become big issues.
Our entire herd is fed free choice, high quality minerals from New Country Organics along with good quality orchard grass and other forage which we cut from our own, untreated pastures each year. Spring, Summer and Fall they are out on pastures during daylight hours free to forage on their goat "salad bar".
We also provide baking soda to them which acts as a rumen buffer to thwart off any serious digestive issues. They hardly ever each much of it but goats are smart and know to lick some if they have an upset tummy.
A few years ago we found that many of the minerals in our well water were inhibiting copper absorption in our goats. Copper is a necessary mineral for goats so we started a rain water capture so that as much as possible, our goats get fresh rain water both out in the fields and in the barn. Fresh well water is used during the winter months when rain water is frozen. They also get a splash of apple cider vinegar at times and probiotics. We use Replamin Gel Plus as well, which is pricey but we have found it is a well rounded supplement that is well worth it.
During good weather the goats all have access to large pastures where they love snacking and exploring. We offer moveable shelters on these pastures so their shelter is always on clean ground. Every month the goats are moved to a new pasture and chickens are moved on to the pasture where the goats once were. The chickens act as a clean up crew, keeping parisites low and cleaning up any bugs. After the chickens have been on a pasture for a month, the pasture is then put to "rest" for one or more months. The sun, wind and rain take care of the rest.
Regarding those movable shelters - we tried many different types of shelters and the high winds here (almost daily!) blew them all away. We finally landed on heavy dog type kennels with canvas tarps in the winter and shade cloths in the summer and that has done the trick. Perhaps not the most attractive but very effective. We want everything on our farm to "move" as it does in nature. Stationary shelters mean a build up of waste, flies and parasites. Not to mention the need for constant cleaning.
Our cleaning crew in their movable "egg mobiles"
Sochi with her kid as a first freshener.
We believe a goat that is raised by its dam is the healthiest, most well-adjusted goat. We always let our dams raise their kids and we only start milking our does when the kids go to one feeding a day and/or are weaned. We also have found that dam-raised kids does not produce that rather bratty, needy behavior that is associated with a lot of kids that are strictly fed on bottle only.
We disbud our kids between the ages of 3 and 10 days old to help ensure they do not develop scurs. In spite of this an occasional spur will exist in the buck but usually is not troublesome. We wait to tattoo our kids until just before weaning. We like to tattoo them while they are still with mom to help lower stress. Right after tattooing they get to go back with mom for comfort. Shortly after that we will begin to wean them at between 9 to 12 weeks.
Our aim is goats who live as stress-free as possible for a strong immune system.
Liberty Mission Farm goats always get a monthly "physical" exam while also getting hoof trimming or other necessary things done. This is a time that allows us to keep close tabs on each goat and keep good health records as well.
When our goats move on to a new home they will always go with good health records and instructions for the new owners as well as feed and hay to help with their transition. We always make ourselves available to new owners who might need mentoring.
We are very fortunate to have made many friends near and far as a result of being part of the goat community. We love that we can have this involvement and appreciate all we have learned from others who have walked ahead of us on this journey!
Enjoying some of the kids from 2018.