Spring is Underway, and the Herd is Expanding
In one week we've gone from snowstorms to almost 80 degree weather. That's a Maine spring for you, and with the onset of warmer weather we are scrambling to get projects underway.
Our first new addition of 2017 will be another goat. After we visited the farm where Tater and Sweet Pea were bred, we were charmed by the floppy ears and loving eyes of some Nubian goats.
Nubian goats are more than twice the size of Nigerian Dwarf goat, which is part of why we decided to only get one to start. An adult female Nubian goat is around 135lbs, while a Nigerian Dwarf doe is only 75lbs. Nigerian Dwarfs are from Western Africa and are a relatively ancient breed of goat, prized for the high butterfat content of their milk. Nubian goats are a somewhat more modern breed, refined from goats brought to England from India during the early 1900s.
Nubian goats produce a maximum amount of milk, and therefore are kept primarily as dairy goats. They also produce milk with a high butterfat content, although not quite as much as the Nigerian Dwarf. You can tell Nubian goats pretty easily - they have remarkable Roman noses and long, floppy ears. Extremely hardy, these goats are known to be both stubborn and highly intelligent.
Our Nubian goat will be coming home from a local creamery that makes delicious fudges and yogurts, Copper Tail Farm. Copper Tail Farm is the home to Willie Nelson, who we used to breed Tater and Sweet Pea. He is a Nigerian Dwarf, but most of their goats are Nubians. If you are local to Maine, be sure to check out Copper Tail Farm's wonderful products at various health food stores in the midcoast area.
It took a lot of restraint to select only one Nubian doeling, but starting with one is best for our small farm, where the indoor barn space is limited. In order to milk the goats, every year we'll have to breed them, and while we do plan to sell some of the kids, I know our herd will see an annual expansion of at least one or two.
So, we've decided to bring home a delicate little doeling named Ginger. Ginger will be coming home to us in early May once she is weaned from her mother. She should settle in to life with our trio of Nigerians quickly, and will soon outgrow them in size.
New goats aren't the only additions to the farm this year! In addition to Ginger and hopefully some fine kids from our girls, we should have half a dozen new goslings arriving in the next few weeks. It isn't like we need new geese - our current flock of eleven keeps me baking with all their eggs - but goslings are hard to resist and we're adding a new, rare breed to the farm: the Pomeranian goose. Pomeranians are uncommon in America, they're half gray and half white and known to be fairly docile and friendly.
These new creatures should keep us quite busy, when we put them alongside our ambitious plans for a large vegetable garden, starting crops, and continued land clearing. And it is a relief to get outside and start our plans in motion again now that the weather is warmer.