We’re just a small operation here at Providence Farms and we like that. With just two does (female adults goats), we can give all the attention and care needed to raise healthy caprines (fancy word for goat) who produce the most wonderful tasting milk.
And then when the babies (kids) arrive, we are not too busy to spend quality time with each one. Yes, in some respects, they’re treated as pets. Now, don’t get me wrong. Our goats don’t come inside our house or romp around our backyard. We respect the fact that they are livestock and need to be treated as such. We do, however, go out and ‘visit’ each goat, several times a day. This not only allows us to enjoy our goats, but also to keep a keen eye on their health.
It’s a lot of fun. When they see us coming, they all run to the gate to greet us. And occasionally, if they happen to hear us when we’re at the front of our house, you’ll hear them calling out. My husband never thought he would like goats, but now they’re some of his favorite animals. He says their like quiet, very well behaved dogs.
Our goats are of the Alpine breed. Think French Alpines. You know, snowy packed mountains. They love to climb, lie in the sun on their ‘table’, and eat blackberry. Since getting our goats, I have visited other farms, and I am amazed at how quiet ours are. I love quiet animals. Aahhh.
We approach the health of our goats in a moderate naturalistic way. What does that mean? It means when we can treat something naturally, we’ll do that before administering antibiotics or chemical dewormers. But it also means if a goat is sick and needs medicine, we will not hesitate to do what we can to keep her healthy. Even if that means an antibiotic. Now, if we happen to need an antibiotic, you can be sure we follow up with probiotics. Gotta keep that rumen happy.
We also subscribe to many of the wholistic health approach philosophies of Fiasco Farms. Our goats are on Molly’s (Fiasco Farm owner) herbal dewormer program, which has led me to subscribe to many of the other ways Molly treats her goats. Using Molly’s dewormer, we not only have a low worm load in our goats, but the health of our dog has improved. Yes, our dog gets it too. Despite the Vet’s suggestion to give my dog a chemical parasite medication monthly because he couldn’t figure out why our dog was losing so much weight, I chose to start him on the herbal stuff. His coat has never been so soft and shiny. And he’s gaining his weight back. I am a believer in Molly’s herbs. All our goats, including the babies get their herbs weekly.
They are also fed the best quality Eastern Oregon Alfalfa we can buy, along with a nice grass hay. Each one is given grain while we milk her. The amount of grain is based on her milk output.
Our barn is cleaned out daily and sprinkled with something called Stall Dry. Urine in the barn can make for some very unhealthy breathing for goats. So, we do our best to keep it safe. The girls are brought fresh water every morning and, when needed, in early evening. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but so enjoyable.
We never handle our goats’ teats without first washing and sanitizing our hands and their udders first. Cleanliness is key to a healthy goat. And we keep them up to date on their tetanus boosters.
We have the best goat vet ever in Molalla and don’t hesitate to take our goats to her if there is something outside our capabilities or knowledge.
Both our does were purchased from a long time goat owning veteran and well known in the Dairy Goat Community. Helen Reasoner and her husband Frank raised goats for 30 years. She has been my mentor and friend, and taught me most of what I know about dairy goats. If you ever make it to the Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Association Conference (it’s always in February), Helen and Frank we’ll be working at the silent auction table. They’ve been long standing members of NWODGA. They have since retired from goat raising, but still stick around for the rest of us. They are an amazing asset to the community.