Tag Archives: Goats

With apologies to Aberdeen…

aber face

…for taking so long to introduce her!

aber blaaaa

Aberdeen is the latest addition to our little goat herd. Another yearling doe from the same herd as Drama, Aberdeen came to live with us just over 2 weeks ago. She’s bigger than either Koko (yes, we just found out we’d been spelling it incorrectly) or Drama Queen, but much more shy and skittish. (And did you notice her wattles in the above photo? Are they cute or what?! We call them her “caterpillars”.)


It took her a few days to get used to us, though now that she has identified Peter and me as the bringers of treats, she seems to have gotten over some of her shyness. I don’t think it helped that both Drama and Koko began beating her up incessantly as soon as she first walked through the gate to her new home. (Apparently goats find it very important to establish their pecking order – and poor Koko, the lowest of the low in her old herd, finally had someone that she could pick on! Drama, on the other hand, just likes to be top dog no matter what.)

aber-drama butt

Now that she’s been here for a while, she’s settled in nicely. The other two goats still like to put her in her place, but they seem to have accepted her as one of them. The plans are to breed both Drama and Aberdeen sometime this fall, so by spring we’ll have kids bouncing around and fresh yummy goat milk.

3 goats

Meet Drama

drama head

Just in from putting the goats up for the night. Yes, I said goats, plural. We are now the proud parents of two of these beautiful creatures. As you know if you’ve been reading along (you have been reading along, haven’t you?), Peter’s been hard at work getting our goat house and pasture ready for the impending arrival of a couple of dairy goats.

Of course, once we met Cocoa, we totally fell in love with her and had to add her to our soon-to-be herd. She was our first arrival, on Sunday afternoon. If you read Peter’s post about her first day (and night) with us, you know that she really did not like being left alone – goats are social animals – hence his night in the goat house in 37 degree weather.

cocoa cute

So, we needed to get another goat, fast. We’d already planned to purchase our two milk goats from a neighbor who raises them, and were in discussions as to whether we’d buy a milking doe and her female kid, or a milking doe (once her kids were weaned) along with a female yearling. To our delight, Cocoa settled it for us by coming to us now and needing a friend.

On Monday, Drama Queen came to live with us. She’s a yearling doe, young and frisky, but long weaned from her mama. And she certainly lives up to her name. She’s gorgeous and graceful, moves like a deer, and has the temperament of a spoiled movie star. We love her.

drama alert

drama the queen

drama and house

Her first day with us was mostly spent establishing her dominance over Cocoa by butting her (see photo below). At first Cocoa butted back, but after a while I think she just got tired of it and learned to ignore Drama’s obnoxiousness and move away. By yesterday Drama had calmed down a lot – she now seems to be buddies with Cocoa (though she makes it clear she’s still top dog), and has even warmed up to us.

butting heads


The two of them together are quite a pair, and we’re smitten.

I think we’re now officially “goat people”…

P.S. Ok, I know this is Drama’s debut, but I just can’t resist one more shot of our baby – she’s about 3 1/2 months old, so still being bottle fed once a day (though she’s happily eating her share of the “grown-up” food too).

cocoa bottle

Go ahead, say it – you know you want to:

“Aaaawwwwww, cute!”

Another P.S. Can you believe I already have nicknames for both of them? Cocoa’s is Cocoa Belly (get it? Like Kokopelli?), and Drama’s is Dramarama (or if she’s being extra dramatic, it’s Dramarama Ding Dong).

Our first kid! (And no, we’re not planning to get married)

After all the planning, preparation, and stockpiling of supplies, Teri and I have our first kid. We didn’t, of course, think we’d have one this soon, but fate intervened -the mother didn’t want it, and the people she was living with already have loads of ’em.

We have a small house, and kids can make a real mess with the milk and poop and whatnot (plus diapers are EXPENSIVE!), so we’re keeping her in a shack out in the yard for now. I know that sounds messed up, but we’re not cruel; there’s a nice thick layer of straw on the floor and a bucket of water.

OK, April Fools is past, I’ll stop trying to confuse you.

Last month, I went to pick up our milk and eggs at a neighbor’s farm. The milking wasn’t done yet when I arrived, so I wandered down to their goat barn, where they’ve got dozens of meat goats. They were all fun to watch, but one in particular really got my attention – she seemed to have no fear, and soaked up affection like a sponge. On a later trip, Teri got to meet her, and was also struck by how sweet she was.

After that, we had a BBQ and invited our farming neighbors. We commented on the friendly goat, and they kind of chuckled – “Oh, do you want her?”. We hadn’t realized it when we met her through a fence, but she is almost completely blind, and has been a big pain. She would get left behind by the herd, and once they had to hunt for three days before finding her.

Yesterday we finally went to pick her up. Her name is Cocoa, and she gets around amazingly well for not being able to see much.

Goats are social animals, and having been rejected by her mother this one is more partial to human company. The bleating whenever we left her alone in the pen yesterday was heartbreaking. I ended up putting a tarp down and climbing into my sleeping bag wearing a down jacket…in the goat house. Once I settled down to sleep, Cocoa did the same. It dropped to about 37 last night, and I have this thing where I wake up whenever a goat walks across my face, so I’m very much looking forward to a nap!

She seems to be happily settling in now. But let’s get to the part you’ve all been waiting for, the cute photos (all taken by Teri)

This shot, taken as she turned her head, really shows off her Bassett-hound ears:
Now those're some EARS!

Here she is with some grass hanging out of her mouth:
Yummy lawn!

A closer shot (you can see some of the notching in her ears here – too many adventures, probably involving barbed wire fences she didn’t see):
Cocoa headshot

And finally, enjoying some fresh alfalfa hay in her new house:
MMMMMMM, alfalfa!

Painfully cute, eh?

And there’s more to come! You can’t keep just one goat (and Cocoa wouldn’t provide a lot of milk anyway, being bred for eating) because they get lonely…but we thought we’d give her a little time to settle in and get familiar with the place…

Note: Don’t worry, Cocoa isn’t here to become goatburger (though I’ve had goatburger from the same farm she came from and it was delicious). She’s probably going to be “just” a pet, since her kids wouldn’t have much sale value and she isn’t from breeds known for high milk production (she’s a Boer/Kiko mix). The other goats we get will be for milk purposes, though of course they’ll get all the attention and skritches they want.

Goatlandia infrastructure report

The goat house now has a floor, all its walls, and half a roof! It has also been jacked up and set back down on (scavenged, naturally) concrete blocks to prevent the wood beams from rotting in the Oregon moisture. The top 1/2 of 3 walls will be left open for ventilation and light, and shuttered during any cold winter storms.

Investment so far: about $50 for roof beams, screws, tar paper (partial rolls from a local construction materials reclamation facility called Bring Recycling.), and a roof vent (also from Bring).

Goathaus 20080303

Room for ruminants

After a few weeks of mild weather, today dawned chill and rainy. I stayed inside for a while, but then had to just go “look at” the goat house. About 8 hours later, I had cleared several hundred square feet of thick old blackberry brambles. That’s the sort of thing we do for excitement out here, you see. Now I’m satisfyingly exhausted and enjoying fresh banana bread (Teri) and oatmeal cookies (me).

The whole reddish area in this picture was a tangled net of blackberry vines, mostly dead ones. It was about as tall as me, and to get the scale of it, you have to know that the white square is a bathtub that was hidden in there. (background mosaic-ed out to preserve neighbor’s privacy)

Clearing Goatlandia of old blackberry canes

Yesterday, I created and placed the roof beams for the goats’ house. They’re the only part of the structure made of purchased materials (aside from some screws) . I want it to be really, really solid in case one of the 30 foot limbs from the tree above the house falls.

You can tell I did more work on it – there’s another empty beer container resting on the beam.

Goathouse 20080224

Goatlandia shaping up

3-day weekend! Pretty much finished two websites that I’ve been doing on evenings-n-weekends, ahhhhhh.

In between bouts of coding I cleared several hundred square feet of old blackberry cane and continued to work on this gorgeous mansion:

goat house about 14 hours of work in

I know, still looks like a ragged pile of garbage, but it’s a damn sturdy and shaping up nicely pile of garbage. Pretty much literally; everything here is repurposed/recycled/used.

These shipping pallets account for an astonishing percentage of the hardwood we cut in the U.S. – estimates from around Y2K ran to millions of board-feet every year; over 40% of our domestic hardwoods. Joined properly, they are a ready-made complex frame that can accept any type of sheathing, treatment, paint, etc., but gazillions (ish) end up in landfills.

Many of the screws used to be part of a gigantic loftbed-garden-closet-bookshelf thing that took up a whole room in Brooklyn for years. The nails came in a bucket of “building crap” from Craigslist Free.

And really, trust me – it’s gonna be cute when it’s done. I’m already plotting out a workshop for myself, based on a 6-pallet floor. That would enable us to use the current workshop/junk storage area as an aux living space, office, etc. It’s just too nice to be filled up with my sawdust and greasy tools.

OK, you come here for pretty pictures…here’s some of today’s programming from the wacky nature show that is our life here:


Beautiful! And here’s something even prettier – Teri visiting the goat house construction site:



It may not look like much yet, but it’ll be sturdy and cozy for a couple of goats, coming this spring:
Pallets becoming a stable

Here’s the gate to goatland…this will take a bit of work too:
Door to the goat area

* Oh, the title…it’s meant to mean “The goat house rises”, but freetranslation.com may have betrayed me. The goats we’re planning on are half Oberhasli, which is a Swiss breed. The Swiss people are predominantly German speakers…yeah, it’s a stretch. But German is fun for making enormous compound words!