Giving Up On Goats?

Giving Up On Goats - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
Giving Up On Goats - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
I kinda miss these little guys.

No More Goats on My Homestead

After one month of keeping goats, I decided to put them up for sale. A family came and purchased them yesterday and I’m sure that they will give the goats a good home. There were many reasons that I wanted goats and many reasons that prompted me to let them go.

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I loved having fresh milk every day. That was the biggest reason for buying goats and the hardest thing to let go of when the goats left our homestead. However, there were many trade-offs. Here are the reasons that I decided that goats don’t fit into my current situation…

  • Goats need proper fencing. Upgrading our pasture fence was going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.
  • Goats need good-quality hay. We don’t own a hay field and I was having trouble finding good hay for sale.
  • Goats need a lot of care and proper feed, minerals, clean water, and housing. I managed to get all of these things pretty well taken care of, but their stall needed improvements, such as a concrete floor, a better hay rack, and a more secure door. I knew that I could cheap out on some of these things, but it would take work and time to get things fixed up for them.
  • Goats are curious, intelligent, and quite stubborn. I really started to feel like I had a little herd of dogs in our barn and it was very difficult to butcher the buckling that had health issues. There was another buckling that would need to be butchered in a month or so, and I wasn’t looking forward to that.
  • Did I mention that goats are stubborn?
  • I think the biggest limitation for me is the time and energy needed to train the goats, upgrade their housing and fencing, and their daily care. With the gardening season getting underway and all of my other homesteading and writing commitments, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with the workload. There were quite a few things going undone around our homestead, so I knew I needed to make some decisions about what was most important to me.
I definitely miss the fresh goat milk!
I definitely miss the fresh goat milk!

Homesteading Fail? Or Lesson?

I really felt like a failure when I admitted to myself that the goats needed to go. After all, I’ve wanted goats for a long time and they were starting to produce all the milk that our family needed. It was wonderful to go out to their stall in the morning and come in the house with a quart of milk! I was actually starting to get used to their stubborn nature and they seemed to think I was a part of their herd.

Selling them means that I need to go back to buying milk, yogurt, and all of our cheese. I feel more dependent on the grocery store. I feel less self-sufficient. Was this decision a homesteading fail?

Perhaps I did fail in some ways. I feel like I failed the goats. As they were loaded into their new family’s suburban, they gave me a look of disbelief and dismay (I might have imagined this part). I remind myself that the gentleman I bought them from was going to take them to the slaughterhouse if I hadn’t bought them. So I know that they are better off than if I hadn’t brought them home.

Plastic, sigh…

I also feel like I failed to reduce our purchase of plastic containers for yogurt, milk, and cheese. If I am able to, I’ll return to purchasing raw milk from a family farm. That will reduce our plastic consumption, but will increase our fuel expenditures. Every other week I was making a one-hour trip to purchase milk. It doesn’t feel sustainable.

In the end, I need to keep in mind the limitations of my time, energy, and budget. If my husband and I are able to move to a larger homestead where we can grow more feed for our animals, we might be able to keep goats again. But if we do, I’ll be sure to have everything in order and do my research before I bring our new additions home.

I try to remind myself that I have learned a lot about goats and their care, plus I think I’ve learned something about what I am capable of handling. So, in the end, I try to tell myself that I really didn’t fail, I just learned something the hard way. It seems to be the only way I learn anything!

86 Comments on “Giving Up On Goats?

  1. Hi Alli,
    Best wishes with downsizing, a little πŸ˜‰ I didn’t have that many problems with my goats and still decided to sell them. I guess I just don’t have the time to work with them. Thanks for sharing your comment on my blog πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Lisa…..
      I kind of hate selling my goats as i worry about how they will be taken care of & in the case with the boer’s (meat goats) I worried if they would be humanely killed. But I worry about more than i should LOL

      Time is a precious commodity & one, I think, that we have to constantly look at. I always wonder if i’d have more time for the house, if i didn’t spend time on the computer or outside with the animals. Or when i’m told that i’d have more time to do other things if i didn’t have the animals & how I’d be better off if i got rid of them. Well, i think back to when i didn’t have them & I honestly didn’t have a lot of time back then. So, its always a give & take. I could feed less if I got rid of some of my “extra’s”, which is one of the things I’m looking at.

      I am still looking at how my time could be better spent & as I read your initial post on this topic, I was wondering the same thing. I know my husband would be happier if i sold them, because then he wouldn’t have to worry about feeding so many, he wouldn’t have to build or help build shelter’s for them & he wouldn’t have to worry about the occasional vet bill. But he’s enjoyed the butter, ice cream & shakes from their milk. I’d like to learn how to make cheese, then we’d almost not have to worry about store bought stuff anymore πŸ™‚

      we bought a Jersey heifer late last year which will be old enough to breed next year, so I might be lowering my numbers even more. πŸ™‚ I have some heavy milkers, so I may reduce my not so great ones down, but that’s always a wait & see thing πŸ™‚

      Thanks for writing your blog πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Alli,
        I understand completely why you would be concerned about selling your animals and worrying about them being humanely treated…I would too. I was really happy to find a lady who is treating them kindly. I suppose you could have them processed at a humane facility if you weren’t sure.

        I bet you will be swimming in milk soon! I hope you find a good balance between chores and free time!

  2. Hi Lisa Lynn –
    Sylvester017 here – Smiles

    I’m not a goat person for so many reasons and my folks had them on the farm. However cuddly, cute and useful we presumed them to be they were more work than they were worth which so many of your bloggers and you have pointed out. I’m glad you were able to rescue yours and that they have a place to continue being productive now.

    My folks had cows, horses, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, chickens, dogs, cats, and a myriad of household pets along the way. My Mom kept a cow who was bred and the calf sold for profit. Cow milk was way over the top on gallons per day which was a chore milking her twice a day or she’d moan horribly. We had cheese, milk, cream, and butter coming out of our ears for a family of 4. When we got to the point of having to give so much away the cow was sold. A failed farm experiment but also a relief it was over.

    There weren’t the self-sufficient farmers markets in our area in those days – everything was barter or trade. Our horses were used to pull a plow so when we got a tractor they were gone. The sheep were raised for freezer meat so that was a short-lived farm experience. The goats were ultimately kept for milk production and were the largest livestock left on our property.

    But those goats are an ornery bunch when you can’t spend time to socialize them on a busy farm. They are expensive to house because they are so curious and break out of pens easily – we were constantly repairing their damage. We had a barn for them but it wasn’t adequate to keep them from destroying anything their teeth could reach – wood walls, gates, leather, tools, etc. They were great natural lawnmowers on weeds but had to be moved on a stake to keep them from wandering off. One wriggled free one day and chewed all the sleeves off my Pop’s uniform shirts hanging in a row on the clothesline. It trampled and chewed through my Mom’s garden. Goats will butt from behind unexpectedly. Their antics caused them to get scratched or injured often. Needless to say, our goats were given away to a relative’s farm! It would cost more to fence our big house yard from them than the trouble those goats were worth. The cow was easier to stake and manage for grazing. She was sweet but just produced too much milk. Well, this was failure with all larger livestock.

    Wouldn’t trade the experience but made us realize we couldn’t do it all – not enough property, manpower, vet knowledge, or returned profits. On top of that my folks tried raising 3 acres of citrus crops that cost more to maintain than the profits. We just settled on letting the citrus grove go untended and only kept poultry for our immediate family’s eggs and meat. At one time my folks had over 50 chickens but after butchering day only kept as many as needed for family use plus a few geese and ducks. After 10 years of self-sustenance trials the farm was reduced to a pen of a few chickens, geese, and ducks and a vegetable garden for poultry and/or human consumption. There was an acre of various fruit trees but they were not productive enough for the water bills they cost. Plus all the summer fruit varieties ripened within a 2-3 month time frame in which we were constantly standing over a hot stove in summer to can the excess crops. Talk about disappointment and failure! Looking back at my folks experiments showed me that the ultimate sustainable farm animal to receive returns are the poultry – eggs, meat, and if desired were manageable pet animals. They were not destructive, good insect foragers, useable fertilizer, stayed within parameters of the farm, made good pets, easy on the feed bills, gave eggs regularly, and were not the kind of farm animal that neighbors complained about.

    We had 5 acres on one side of the road and 20 acres across the road but it wasn’t enough to keep grazing-type livestock like horses, cattle, or goats. Spring was good when there was plenty of grass but expensive to get good hay for the Winter months. This was over 60 years ago and livestock upkeep is more expensive today.

    One blog I recently read said their two goats broke out of their enclosure and trampled the chicken flock to death – even their best breeding rooster who was trying to protect his hens. The goats were gone that night.

    On a positive note I read the experience of one young San Francisco family with a small city yard make a mini-barnyard for 3 laying hens and 2 pygmy type goats. Don’t know if they are still doing it but it worked for them having the smaller goat variety for milk. It was a way to have several pets for two home-schooled children but still have manageable yet productive pets.

    1. Wow, what an experience, Sylvester! I grew up with a lot of livestock, but never goats. I think if I were to try it again, it would definitely have to be dwarf goats. I think I’d like to try them, but not until we have more room.

      Sounds like you had quite an exciting childhood πŸ˜‰

    2. wow……those were some destructive goats. I’m glad we haven’t had that kind of a nightmare raising goats, either as a kid or now. The worst goat experience I had growing up was with a billy goat my dad got from the neighbor. That thing was meaner than a mad Brahma bull & my older sister & I were stuck moving him. So one of us had to be the “target” (usually me) while the other one untied him & the target guided him to the next location LOL Now we’ve got a Dairy Buck that we’ve had since he was a weanling, but due to being off our property after he was a yr old to breed a friends goat he turned mean, so much so that we had to have a club of some sort to let him know to stay at bay while we untied him or while we walked him. I’ve been really tempted about dehorning him, but since he protected one of our goats while he was off property breeding from being killed by a neighbor dog & had protected a friends goat from being killed, I haven’t done it.
      All of ours are staked out in our yard, as our pasture fence is too warn out (torn down) that they’d escape, but even when they’ve been loose, they’ve never injured out chickens (which are free range). They’ve never chewed up their shelters or destroyed them. And the shelters are just Pallets & some have plywood on them (most don’t)
      They have baling twine collars & lead ropes. Its interesting to see everyone’s experiences. Dwarf goats are very small, lap size goats. They do ok for milk supply, but the next size up is a Nigerian & they apparently put out a lot of milk.
      I’m going to reduce my goat numbers but only because I’d like to regain some of our yard & some haven’t produced any offspring & I have too many bucks. I know that my husband would probably be thrilled if i got rid of the whole lot of them, he’s a city/ocean boy stuck out in the middle of nowhere, dealing with my animal “hobby” lol

      1. Hi Alli –

        Maybe you should try chickens instead of goats for your husband to bond with? My city DH in less than a 6 months completely bonded with our backyard quad and completely took over the care, feeding, and cleaning of those girls LOL! Unlike goats that have to be moved around, staked, and corralled at night chickens will take care of themselves all day and put themselves to roost at dusk with never a worry that they will escape or wander off the property.

        Yes, our folks’ farm experiment was a fun 10-year experience but a dismal failure since Pop had to keep a regular job because the farm wasn’t self-supporting in any way. It was always costing more than returns. 10 years was the experiment and 12 more years it was fallow then finally rented out. You would think 60 years ago things would be cheaper to maintain a farm but it was relatively just as expensive as it is today. If you couldn’t save a farm animal and it had to be “put down” it was money wasted.

        My sister was a 10-year-old city girl and I was only 10 months when we moved to that farm. My sister hated it until she was 17 and moved back to her beloved city – teenagers can behave miserably but she spent an isolated time as a teen on a farm with lots of chores and no social life. That’s why men and women got together on butchering day, or sewing bees or canning circles – to have some kind of social life while still being able to complete a farm chore. I knew nothing but being a farm child so life was different for me compared to my sister.

        The goats we had were huge – don’t know what kind – as a child I wasn’t concerned with breed names and only remember the “Babcock Leghorns” and “Pekin” ducks and gray/white geese Mom kept towards the end of the farm experiment. The migrating wild Mallards would stop over to share the water and feed with the Pekins and then move on as quickly as they dropped in. I remember Mom wishing she could try Muscovy ducks but never asked her why.

        The farm goats were an ornery bunch for sure but the sheep were no picnic either. They could butt you and be just as nasty as the goats. I wasn’t allowed around either for safety reasons. The cow “Betsy” was a Holstein and sweet-natured but I wasn’t allowed proximity to her either because she was quite huge.

        We were at our County Fair last year and saw some miniature cattle. That would be a very economical alternative for grazing and raising dairy products but on the negative note they are very expensive to purchase. Ahhh – the ups and downs of farm life!

        Listened to a radio program on how the FDA, DOA, etc shields commercial producers of livestock meat/products that can virtually torture, beat, and inhumanely confine animals on large commercial farms and not be illegal to do so. Photo equipment is banned from inside those premises or even at the outside gates so it’s hard for animal humanitarians to show proof of those wicked conditions which ultimately produce tainted meats/eggs/dairy products for public consumption. Would you want to eat an egg in a carton layed by a sick bird sitting on top of a dead decaying hen in a one-foot square cage in a barn filled with 3 and 4 stacked rows of caged chickens? You don’t believe it is not still happening? These farms are in remote areas completely shielded by govt agencies. Even the so-called free-range livestock though not confined in a stall or cage, are so cramped in a dark building or covered pen that they still can’t move about in sunshine or on grass but on feces covered floors? Because the natural farmer can’t make a living, the U.S. public is exposed to obtaining food products from these abhorrent commercial farms – animals still being fed GMO and SOY feeds which have been banned in European countries. Ron Howard’s movie “Bitter Harvest” showed the govt’s bureaucratic apathy toward tainted dairy feed killing livestock and people.

        Happy Egg Co is one of the few humanely raised eggs/chickens living in open fields, foraging in grass, dust-bathing in natural dirt, and roosting on perches under shady trees. If you ever see that brand support them even if it costs $1 more than a so-called free-range brand that you have no idea where it came from! Mary’s Chickens is another brand of organic open-air chicken raised on the West Coast and usually found in organic market stores. Buy from the local open air farmers markets if you can. We haven’t eaten beef or pork in 6 years so have no knowledge of any beef/pork brands.

        We have 4 hens in our yard free-ranging, and dust-bathing, running around flapping their wings, scratching for seeds and bugs, and laying their eggs in clean straw boxes – but it is anything but cheap to do so. (Even our raised bed gardens are costing more than buying limp produce in the markets.) Our only satisfaction is knowing we are not supporting and eating eggs from the inhumane unclean commercial farms who are literally allowed to get away with murder under govt protective laws.

        I don’t imagine anyone on these blogs is not aware of the inedible foods in supermarkets – even produce is being irradiated to kill bacteria (also killing the food value as well!). That’s why we’re on these blogs. Self-sustenance is wonderful at whatever level you can do it but just know it will cost you more than the junk in the markets. With the new housing we are planning for our hens the cost of our eggs will probably be around $15 to $20 a dozen for the next 5 years at which time we’ll have to replenish our whole laying flock again LOL ! We always buy heritage breed chickens from costly private breeders rather than inhumanely hatched hatchery chicks. It’s no wonder self-sustenance is called a “hobby” as it’s difficult to break even let alone make a profit.

        As for having a pygmy or dwarf goat – I’ll pass LOL. Just got the neighbors to like our chickens. Don’t want to push our luck with a noisy bleating goat too!

      2. I agree with allot of what you said, especially the commercial farms & they’re being protected. Our stupid governor recently signed the Ag-gag bill, i was/am livid over that. Instead of addressing the problem & realizing that there is so much abuse from the farm workers there, whether its dairy’s or butterball farms, they decided to protect the abusers & punish those alerting others to the abuse. So backwards to me.

        I have a ton of chickens, probably 20 or so & have a few young ones that won’t be “mature” until fall. I have a source for Heritage breed chickens which I am still trying to get a price on their chick’s. I have bought some of their Heritage breed pigs (Mule Foot & Red Wattle) mine are crosses, but he’s got purebred’s of each too. He has heritage geese too, there’s a breed of geese (I forget the name) that they use to use the feathers to stuff their beds with & you didn’t have to butcher them in order to get the feathers. I’ve been tempted to get some, just because they are unusual & beautiful. But I’m not fond of standing in a snow storm & filling up pools for them. Been through that with a couple other breeds of geese….they were cool, but that was too much of a pain to justify having them.

        My chickens are 100% free range, my husband doesn’t do anything to care for them (outside of working to buy their feed), he wasn’t even too happy when i initially got them. He’d actually be a lot happier if we moved to an apt., which i refuse to do πŸ™‚

        When i was growing up we lived “in town”, but we had farm fields that surrounded us on the back & side. By the time i was in the 5th grade the fields behind us became a subdivision. We moved 15 min’s away, but it seemed to be like forever. By that time I had gotten use to houses being around us & our new house had houses on either side of use (across the road for some) but we were still surrounded by fields. Its funny because back then…that area (the new house) was considered out in the country, where I live now (a 1/2 hr away) was considered out in the sticks & where i lived (an hr & 1/2 away) was considered out in the Tullies or worse LOL Now all the fields “in front” of my folks has become subdivsions. There are few small farmlette’s in town, which i am facing to find & move to, because the cost of even living just a 1/2 hr away is rising. Making the cost of raising animals more expensive, we just rent so its a bit more doable to move.
        Raising our chickens really isn’t that costly for us, we just now got nesting boxes for them (an early birthday present from my parents), but they find their own food. About the only time I buy feed for them is in the winter. But they eat the feed we give to our pigs & occasionally the goats (I give them grain when i milk)

        Unfortunately it is costly for the farmers to buy heirloom seeds & of course with Obama’s recently passed bill that PROTECTS Monsanto, I don’t know if we’re ever going to be able to get rid of them & get our foods safe again.

        Being self-sufficient is definitely more of a hobby, because (I think) most of us can’t afford a big acreage to raise crops for ourselves, animals & sell off “extra” anymore. But I have heard that there are more & more farmers starting to steer away from Monsanto seeds as its costing them too much to grow them.
        I found that interesting. πŸ™‚

      3. Monsanto and DuPont also – if their GMO seed pollen blows over into your organic field from another farmer’s field, Monsanto and DuPont can have the govt agencies cite you with fines for having their seed crops mingled with yours even though you didn’t have anything to do with it. Grrrr!

        I buy and swap only heritage seeds. I don’t plant corn any more so as not to have some neighbor’s hybrid GMO polluting my heritage crop – the pollen travels for miles in the wind. Saving seeds hasn’t been as hard as I initially thought. My 3rd year garden is now all planted from my own seedlings. I’m experimenting with a couple hybrids to see if I can get them to breed true by F3 or F4 generation. The big seed companies are trying to get rid of OP seeds and just sell their genetically modified hybrids which won’t breed true to force customers to have to re-buy their hybrid seeds year after year. I don’t mind OP new varieties that gardeners experiment to create naturally but not the genetically modified commercial junk seeds.

        Wow, didn’t mean to get off-topic about the goats. I do love goats, and all livestock. Just have to be practical in the city for now and stick with pet chickens!
        Talked with someone today who said Dana Point in Calif is having a hulabaloo over someone with 3 chickens who got complaints from neighbors that they were too noisy. Dana Point is a luxury area with lots of room per lot so how can 3 chickens be so noisy as to cause a hulabaloo and yet it’s absolutely allowed to have yapping dogs barking whenever an owner is gone for the night or dragging it’s dog dish around the patio at 3 a.m. in the morning? The city would never stop that because they earn revenue from dog licenses and spay/neuter fines.

  3. Hi Alli,
    I hope you find some time to relax and take it easy! It can be very draining to have all the livestock, kids, neighbors who need help too. I understand completely. But try to make a little time for yourself when you get a chance!
    Best wishes!

  4. I am new to this blog & read the post with some interest. I am unfamiliar with your place, so it may not be something you can do. But, if in the near future, you choose to get goats again just know that they are pretty easy to maintain. They do quite well grazing down a ditch bank or a hard to mow area, they can be tethered out to graze in a yard or along a road. Yes, even the milking goats. They don’t need a cement floor in which to lay on, that’s actually hard on them. If you have a small pasture they would just fine in that, even through the winter. Minerals & such is necessary to keep healthy goats, but the “lack of” minerals in ones area is important, such as Selenium. Their hay can be “feeder” hay, which isn’t as superb as dairy (too rich for many). Some things you said, seemed to me, to be more for human comfort than need & it definitely creates work. You can build a shelter out of pallets, which isn’t as beautiful as a barn. But easy.
    I don’t think you failed the goats, or even your family. You made the best choice for you & that’s important.

    Our goats are in our yard, as we rent & our pasture in 1/2 fencing & the other 1/2 barbed wire & very worn out, so the goats would escape constantly LOL
    A little bit ago we had one goat that had triplets, she was very weak afterwards & for some unknown reason we lost 2 of them. the last one splits her time between being outside with her mom (who has recovered) & being in the house. She thinks she’s a dog. πŸ™‚ We have another who hangs out with our Jersey calf & seems to think she’s a cow too & that the calf is her momma (too young) & tries to nurse.

    I don’t know how to lighten my load. Even if i got rid of all my goats, calf, pigs, chickens & other pets, i’d still have a heavy load. I watch my neighbor, who has alzheimer’s & recently suffered a small stroke, several times a week. In addition of caring for 4 kids at home (home school), the house, the yard & soon to be 2 gardens. As I will be making raised garden beds out of our bad straw/hay & helping my parents with their garden, as years before our garden has not produced anything more than weeds, despite of all the “goodies” I kept adding to it, so they started planting to share with us kids (they must have better water than we do LOL) So the kids & I will be trying to go & help them (they are 1/2 mile away) on my days off, weekends. Plus, maintain the house & yard at home.

    Overwhelmed……is my middle name. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Pint Size,
      Someday they may very well work out for you. πŸ™‚ I think that if we had a better set up here and I had a little bit more time, or if my family was working on these projects with me, it could have worked out. Maybe someday.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. You’re not a failure, AT ALL! Some things are just right timing, or wrong. It sounds like you’re be a wonderful goat keeper, but in the future when maybe times are different and you have more resources/time/etc. A close friend of mine has been farming for years, and still struggles with properly caring for his goats because of their high needs. Keep your head up, you’re doing a great job!

  6. How can you say you failed when you learned so much. Education is priceless! Also, thanks for sharing your story. I have been considering goats on our homestead. Now, I will make sure that everything is in place before purchasing our first.

  7. We should be neighbors. We have no goat issues. They have never gotten out of our fences, unless the gate was open. My homestead fail is the garden! Ugh, I am so bad at the garden. Then if we do grow something, I am horrible at the harvest. So, I will raise and milk the goats, you help with the veggies! Deal??

  8. My sweet, tender-hearted friend – you did NOT fail. We also try for short durations to raise different species of animals. Some work, some don’t, but when my other homestead tasks start falling behind I have to figure out how to restore balance. It sounds like you’ve done just that. Take pride that you tested the waters with raising goats and have gained that experience, but don’t beat yourself up because it didn’t work for your homestead. Kudos to you for not trying for FORCE it to work with your homestead. (hugs)

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  9. Ohhh! We’ve just ventured into the goat realm with three Nigerian Dwarf does a few months ago. Although they certainly do present their own challenges, we’re hoping to keep ahead of the curve with them. Thanks for sharing your experiences as the lessons learned help us all!
    – Katie and Mark

  10. Of course you’re not a failure! I just got two additional goats, and it was definitely some work building a new shed and hay feeder. But, then, I love goats. What I hate is gardening. I simply don’t like it. I figure our local farmers need someone to buy their wonderful food. Might as well be me. And besides, it gives me more time to be with the goats (and the pig…and the chickens…not to mention the dog!)

    1. Lol! To each their own, Joan! I actually liked the goats a little too much in some ways…I hated to see them go. But the cost of fencing was more than I could justify…plus all the time and energy they needed.

      But I love my garden!

  11. The one thing I hear time and time again is that goats are a major pain. I’m stubborn enough to still think I’d like to give a dwarf goat a try in the future but I know we just aren’t ready yet.

    We are fixing to move from our .75 acre house in a subdivision to a 950 acre farm to work in cooperation with a farmer. We first have the task of growing into large scale organic farming and mass roaster chicken producing… then we can think about adding livestock for ourselves.

    Isn’t everything homesteading kind of a trial and error thing anyway? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Next time you be a pro with the goats, when the time comes to try again.

    1. Hi Talina,
      Thank you for your kind words! How exciting to be moving to such a large farm and all those new lessons and experiences! I hope you enjoy your new life! Thanks so much for stopping by πŸ™‚

  12. I think people who eat meat and don’t want to hear anything about the killing of the animals are living in denial. I’d like to at least know the animal had been treated well, as apposed to tortured to death possibly for it’s entire life. I eat a lot less meat than I used to but I am not vegetarian yet. Just my thoughts—I thought I’d share.

    1. So true, Nancy! It’s much easier to buy a package of meat from the store and then act as though it didn’t come from an animal. One of the reasons I started raising our poultry was so I could stop buying the inhumanely raised meat from the store. I have trouble looking past those things.

      Thanks for sharing!

  13. My husband and I decided one year that we wanted to keep ducks. We live on on 1/2 an acre, no natural water body in sight. We wanted heritage breeds and planned to sell their eggs at the farmer’s market. We got one male and two female of each breed – Cayuga, Indian Runner, and Khaki Campbell. My dad helped us build the “Duck Hilton” – a very large coop with a decent sized yard. Well, it was a big, muddy (in summer), icy (in winter), messy mistake. Yes, they laid eggs and people though they were a novelty, but they didn’t sell as well as we hoped. Keeping them supplied with clean water in a tupperware container was a hassle. And to top it off, they were really loud and didn’t like us! Our chickens come running towards us when they see us, wanting their kitchen scraps, but the ducks always ran quacking in the opposite direction! So, that was our biggest homesteading “failure”. But at least we gave it a shot and now we can say that we kept ducks for 2 years – how many other people can say that?

    1. Lol! Ducks are a pain, Katie. πŸ™‚ I downsized to 3 Pekins…one drake and two hens. They run away too. I think they’re on to me…sometimes their friends disappear when I come around. But I get 2 eggs almost every day from them and I like them for baking. But I realized that I really didn’t need to have 5 and gave 2 to my friends.

      I think you did great keeping them for 2 years! Kudos!

  14. What about the family who brought them, would they sale milk to you? Homesteading is also about community. Goats are a handful, my daughter raises them. You might want to try again, later, after changes are made, when upgrading is needed to be done sometime anyway. Smile it was fun wasn’t it?

    I’ve always started my plants in my greenhouse, but this year, between weather, and upcoming family events I will just buy plants for my spring garden.

    1. Good question, Debbie. I’d have to ask. I know that they have 5 children, so they might be using most of it. πŸ™‚ I can understand the need to buy plants too…been there! It was fun…mostly! I think someday I will want to try again…maybe I just needed a dose of reality to keep me in line…lol!

  15. Awww, you’re not the only one! I felt this way after we had a rough time delivering our first and only round of piglets. All I kept saying was, this is a nightmare!:) Lol! It was really out of our hands what type of mama our pig was gonna be, but it was a struggle from the get go with her. So, we went back to buying our piglets for now. Maybe in the future when we have a good mama we can try again.:) so, no, you’re not the only one. Sometimes we have to try things out to see if they work. There’s nothing wrong with saying, nope, this doesn’t work right now. I would never trade our experience with farrowing pigs. We all learned soo much. I’m proud of you for trying goats!;)

    1. Oh boy…pigs are on the list of things I want to try after we move to a large place, Farmlife Chick! Now I’m rethinking so many things! You’re so right and I’m just thankful that I didn’t have to send those goats off to the processors πŸ™‚ Thanks for visiting and encouraging me!

    2. The first time I helped a friend mid-wife her mama cat when she had kittens was the last time I ate liver, and I’m sure you know why. I used to love liver and onions, but after seeing mama cat gulp down those placentas I cannot even look at it in the store. But I do buy raw chicken livers and feed them to sick dogs and cats, particularly those who are anemic, which we have a problem with sometimes where I live due to tick fever. The raw chicken livers are great for building up their red blood cells and iron they lose from the anemia. Does the same for people with cooked liver. I might be able to eat friend chicken liver but never what used to be my favorite meal, liver and onions. Never again.

  16. Well….. you were very successful in teaching me something more about goats! My husband and I have been on the fence about getting dairy goats and we were almost ready to nix the whole idea, especially since when he is retired and our home is built, we want to start traveling a bit. The problem of finding a “goat sitter” was puzzling us. Now, after reading your experience, I am sure we won’t get goats! Also, I don’t have a problem killing fish or poultry for food, but somehow it’s just different with four legged creatures. I know every goat I would have would become a dear family pet, and I just couldn’t bear having to butcher one of them. Call me a softie, and maybe that’s my downfall, but that’s just the way it is. I thank you for telling the truth. Even though you may feel like a failure, you are a hero to me!

    1. Hi Vickie,
      Well I don’t know that I deserve the classification of hero! But I am so glad to help you decide what is best for you, even if it was through my own lack of planning and what seemed like a fiasco at some points. πŸ˜‰ Yes, the goat sitting is a difficult thing for many people. I was very lucky to have friends who were willing to goat sit for me…but I know that it would be a big job for most people. It’s a lot different than feeding a cat!

      I hope that you enjoy your travels! Thanks so much for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  17. Most people don’t even try to do half of the things you are doing every day! You don’t need to be so hard on yourself. You made a tough but well-thought out decision based on your experience and circumstances. Most importantly, you unselfishly did what you felt was the best thing for the goats.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Thanks for your words of wisdom πŸ™‚ I just heard back from their new family, and they are doing great! I’m so glad that they have a good home and a nice family to care for them. I’ve been invited for a visit and that means so much to me. I think it will all be a fond memory soon. πŸ™‚

  18. Others have already told you that you aren’t a failure, because you learned something. You learned a LOT of things. At some point, you’ll get back to goats, but it will be when the time is right. One of the downsides of buying someone else’s livestock, is that you inherit all the good AND the bad. I know for me on my little home acre, I’ve had to restrain myself from doing too much too soon. Especially when things feel serendipitous: like finding dwarf goats not for sale, but for free. How could I not? I’d just gotten the ducks, though, and had yet to finish their house/manger, so it made no sense to add to the menagerie, even if it was free.

    When you factor in how many of us share your ethos and read your blog, not only did you learn something about goats, but we learned right alongside you. I’m thankful that I CAN have goats. I know where they’ll go when the time comes. And I know the work I have to do in order to be prepared. And now, thanks to you, I will be even more conscientious about how I move forward. After all, it was Thoreau who went to the woods to “live deliberately.” We’re all in this together, one step at a time.

    1. And you will make an awesome goat herder when you do get your goats, Rob!!! Thanks so much for the affirmation of my decision! I’m glad to help others make the best decision for their situation, in some small way. πŸ™‚

  19. You can make your own yogurt! It’s very simple. Also many cheese are easy as well. Yogurt you can make using a tablespoon or two of store bought yogurt as a starter and you can make it in the crock pot. Adding powdered milk and straining with a cheese cloth will make thicker yogurt. You can also make kefir very simply and use the for yogurt type foo, a yogurty drink, cheese and even bread. There’s even water kefir that you can make fruit sodas with.

  20. You’re not a failure! Remember that what you wanted “eventually” was Nigerian Dwarfs, and they will be smaller goats that you can handle easier. Plus now you know what you need to do to fix your fences and barn. It was a learning experience and you’ve learned from it, so it’s a positive thing. I know it must have been hard to see them go though. You’re right, goats are like dogs.

    We had hair sheep for awhile and sold them. We had alpacas for awhile and sold them. We’ve given up on rabbits, we can’t keep them alive in the Oklahoma summer heat. I’ve given up on guineas (coyote food) and geese and ducks even though I love them and still miss them. I guess the longer you homestead, the more you know what you can handle and what you can’t, and what just doesn’t work for you.

    As long as you still want goats in the future, I’ll be happy. πŸ™‚ And I’m really glad you found them a good home. They are better off than if you hadn’t gotten them, so that too is A Good Thing.

    1. I’ve been thinking about getting goats myself and I’ve been scared that I’d be biting off more than I can chew. After reading this post, I’m sure of it. Trying to get chickens now, but I’m trying to get completely ready for them before I bring them home. Working on the chicken house and run now. I have a bad habit of jumping in things before I’m ready then having to run around getting stuff like it’s an emergency! I DON’T want to go down that road. Thank you for sharing all your experiences with me. You have been a great help!

      1. Hi Kim,
        If I’ve saved one person from having a huge headache, then this has been worth it! Definitely get your chicken coop in order before they come and see how that goes for a few months, or even a year. Maybe goats aren’t too much for you in the future, but don’t overwhelm yourself…add one thing at a time!

        Best wishes with the chickens! Let me know how your chicken keeping is going πŸ™‚

    2. Thanks, Kathi! And thanks so much for all of the help you’ve given me in this journey! It was great to know that you had my back πŸ™‚

      I think that Dwarf Nigerians will be more my speed and when the time is right, that will be the breed I look for. We had some other things happen around here recently that made me question my work load. Of course, it helps to have more time today to get caught up on some tasks that were going by the wayside!

      Thanks again for all the information and help you provided! You’re a gem!

  21. you are by no means a failure. I can’t and don’t do half of what you do. It comes with understanding your limitations! I admire you for all that you do in raising your family and keeping up with the commitments you already have! You have some serious pluck girl and already do amazing things. So what the goats didn’t work out! You tried and learned from the experience, and that in itself is awesome!!!

  22. Aw, I’m sorry to hear that! I don’t think you should count it as a fail though. The issue of tradeoffs is one we’ve had to visit more than once. You tried a project, and learned things, and at this point in your homesteading journey, it didn’t work. But who knows how that knowledge may come in handy down the road!

    That is where we were with our cows. When we got married, my husband had a lovely half Jersey, half Mini Hereford cow named Tinkerbell. Good milker, absolutely the gentlest, quietest, nicest cow ever. Perfect for me, a beginner. And her heifer calf, Pixie, 3/4 Jersey, was also very gentle. But at last we had to face the fact that we just didn’t have the equipment or land to keep them without buying lots of feed, which was expensive. So we had to sell them. It was sad, but it was for the better. Our own goat project has been a success so far. Except that right now, we are at the decision point because one of my does hasn’t been able to get bred. We could either spend money on hormone treatments and medicine, or we could sell her as a pet to somebody. It is a tough call for me. πŸ™

    I hear you on the difficulty of butchering. Our first ones to butcher were intended to be kept as pets until they got too mean to the other goats, so it was better for them to go, but it was still hard. They look at you so intelligently that it’s hard to think of them as food.

    They do need a lot of attention, for sure. My goats come and stare at me through the windows when they get lonely. I am curious about what you mean by your goats being stubborn? I hadn’t really found that to be the case with mine, but it may be because they’re so small and easily move-able.

    I also agree with the look of disbelief. I sold a group of Pygmies, including two orphan babies I’d fed with an eyedropper and then a bottle, and gotten very attached to. When we put them into the folks’ dog carrier in the pickup bed, they started bawling for me, and screamed as long as I could hear them down the driveway. It just about tore my heart out. I’m a softie, but still…

    Those kinds of decisions are definitely hard. So sorry your goat project didn’t work out!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I can understand how hard it was to sell those cows! It really is hard because, as an animal lover, I get attached too.

      Stubborn? Yes…my goats were very stubborn. It gives me hope that you haven’t had this experience. Maybe it was the ones I bought. They hadn’t been milked by the previous owner, they just nursed their kids. So they were not at all happy about having me milk them. That was quite an experience right there! They also found the weak point in the fence and went back to it at every available opportunity. As soon as they were loose, they went in the barn door to the feed storage and would eat until I got there to bring them back into their stall or pasture. Now maybe that’s not stubborn as much as being constantly hungry. After living on a farm where they had only hay, they were pigs about the grain. They also gave me constant headaches as far as feeding them (knocking over buckets, head butting each other if they weren’t tied up), head butting me when I tried to work with them, and just generally being rather ornery. They weren’t used to the attention and hadn’t been trained. If I try again, I will start with young goats and the training will be more likely to sink in…at least that is my hope!

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

      1. Sounds like they were especially ornery goats.
        Our Oberhasli’s are sweethearts. Our Toggenburgs are a little more of a nuisance but still can be handled pretty well.
        Goats are curious, they are opportunist, but not all of them are that difficult. πŸ™‚
        As far as grain, I have found that is like candy to goats/sheep. They lose their heads a little when grain is involved!

      2. I think that their background had a lot to do with it. They were in a barn with goats, sheep, cows, dogs, and donkeys. I don’t think the people spent much time with them. And they didn’t have grain, so I’m sure that it was a huge temptation!

      3. Ok, I do agree with that definition of stubborn… LOL! But I think it also does depend on the individual goat and whether you raise them from babies. I have one who is cuddly and sweet and likes to give kisses, but it’s taking a while to get her to stand still for milking without kicking and struggling. I have another one who was a perfect doll from day one – standing like a statue. I have another one named Fifi Flyer who is so named because there is not a fence in Texas that will keep her in. We got her as a wild, pregnant yearling. She likes to walk along the top of chain link fences just like a cat. She is a loud, crazy, kinetic, quasi-tame drama queen who hates restraint. But I put her on the milk stand just for fun, and she stood like she’d been doing it for years. Go figure!

        I’ve never been head butted, though. Yikes…that is scary to think of with big goats like yours! Even my bucks are sweethearts. The only time I’ve been hit was when I reached down to pick up Cocoa, and at that moment Fifi had just shut her eyes and charged at Cocoa, and hit my arm aiming for her. I was glad it was a little 60-pound dwarf rather than a 200-pound Boer or something like that. LOL.

      4. Oh my goodness! Your description of your goats is hilarious, Rachel! And it also makes me realize that I will have my work cut out for me if (when?) I do try raising goats again! But I think that I will definitely go with young ones to train them better before we start the whole milking procedure!

        Thanks for the entertaining description of your goats!

      5. They give me so many laughs. πŸ˜€ It sure is fun to raise the babies too! Oreo’s litter of triplets will crawl all over me like bugs if I sit down in the yard. πŸ˜› It takes more time before they are grown up and can produce, but it’s so nice to have them tame from the very start.

        It is sad that goats didn’t work for you now. But who knows what can happen down the road? πŸ™‚

      6. It really helps to start with them as young babies then they bond with you and are more likely to do what you want them to. I got mine when they were a few days old, bottle raised them, and they were the sweetest little goats you could possibly have. We were in the city limits, and I got this feeling one day we were going to get a visit from animal control, so I called the woman I had bought them from and asked her to come get them. I think she thought I was nuts but said she would come get them on the next Monday. She was in the area on Friday morning and came by and got them, and Friday afternoon animal control did show up, and luckily they were gone or animal control would have had the most expensive cabrito bar-b-q after work that evening. I had paid $150 each for three of them, and $250 for the last one, miniature dwarf pygmies. I was out the money but at least they didn’t get slaughtered and eaten.

      7. I have only had that feeling one other time. I was taking care of one friend’s five dogs while she was going through a difficult divorce and another friend’s dogs while she was in the hospital and I had a feeling animal control was going to show up. I told the woman with the five dogs she needed to come get them, I felt very strongly animal control was going to show up. She insinuated I was nuts and said she could not get them (her husband had gotten some sort or court order than she could not have the dogs in her house with their daughter). Well, sure enough a couple of days later, animal control showed up and gave me 48 hours to get all extra dogs over the limit off my property. I called the woman, who apparently thought I was lying and she told me that if I wouldn’t keep them to just take them out and dump them on a highway. Of course, I wouldn’t do that and she knew it. So I called a friend who had a no-kill shelter and she drove down and got them. When the owner called to check on them, and I told her I had had to send them to my friend’s shelter as Animal Control had only given me 48 hours to get them out, she was shocked as she had thought I was lying just to get rid of them, and insisted I call my friend and have her return the animals down here. My friend was in her mid-70s then, the owner was in her 40s, and bless my 70s aged friend, she did drive down and bring the dogs to the woman. I never had anymore to do with the dogs’ owner after that. Those were the only times I’ve ever had that “feeling,” and the only times I’ve ever gotten visits like that. It was really weird as I had no idea where the “feelings” were coming from but they were so strong I felt I needed to act on them, and they were correct both times. And I don’t think I have ESP or anything like that, or any supernatural stuff at all. I have no explanation either.

      8. Wow! First of all, you are a saint to take care of five dogs for a ‘friend,’ Gena. I couldn’t handle that many dogs at one time in my house. But to have someone think you are making things up and not take you seriously when you have their best interest in mind is rather insulting. I don’t blame you for not contacting her anymore.

        It is strange how we sometimes just have a feeling. You have to follow your instincts because they are usually right!

  23. Certainly not a failure! Even farmers from long ago were not completely self-sufficient. Food items were traded. And because you will again purchase your milk products, you are helping a family farm to survive. Plus, I’m not sure I was up to the inevitable blog post ‘How to butcher a goat’ πŸ™‚
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Thank you! Yes, very true…I don’t think that there is any such thing as complete self sufficiency. But you may still see that post…But it will be clearly labeled and you are free to delete. πŸ™‚

      1. Got to admit, that will be one I will likely skip over as well. I have a friend who does that and she has her kids (human type) and the grandkids (human also) acclimated to that. I honestly think I could not do that for the same reason I decided I was not fit to be a vet or a human doctor. You probably cannot eat food you have thrown up on, same as it would not do your patients any good if you threw up on them. Or passed out. I’m old enough to remember Life magazine. And I remember seeing their coverage of what was brand new – heart transplants, and getting violently ill at the PHOTOS. I have gotten to where I can give sub-cut shots without getting ill, and I no longer run out of the room gagging when one of the animals gets an abscess that needs cleaning, can even clean some of them myself. I cannot go into the room where my vet friend’s office is when she is even spaying, without getting very ill. When I lived on another friend’s ranch where she had hunting leases, I could not go to the ranch dump during hunting season and see the dead deer remains without getting really sick.I once worked as a unit clerk in an ER while in college, and was very good at letting patients hold my hand and tell them to squeeze as tight as they had to when wounds had to be probed and stuff like that. I never could look at the wounds themselves. I guess I’m just too spoiled or something.

      2. Oh, I don’t think that means you’re spoiled! Maybe something happened when you were young to cause that effect on you? It’s hard to say, but we aren’t all cut from the same cloth and I’d hate to live in a world where we were all the same. πŸ™‚ I completely understand that those posts are not for everyone. I post it for the folks who are looking for instructions to help them get through a tough job that they need to do.

        I’m sure that there are people who stop coming to my blog because they are offended or find some of the subject matter too disturbing. The only thing that bothers me are people who are judgmental about it or hypocrites because they eat meat, but put me down for killing my own animals to provide humanely raised and processed meat for my family.

      3. I have absolutely no problem with people who can butcher, by God, someone has to do it. And if you can do it for your own family and know for sure you are getting untainted food for your family, more power to you. Likewise I have no problem with hunting so long as either they eat the meat they kill or at least make sure it is given to people who will eat it (or sold, whatever), just not killing for the sake of killing or trophies.
        I just had to take my elderly dog, Betsy in this morning to be put down, as her cancer had gotten so bad she could no longer eat. I took her in about eight months ago when I had heard from a friend that her owner was having to go into a hospice and was worried because she could not find anyone to take her 13 year old dog due to age. So I took Betsy in and then about 7 weeks ago discovered she had lymphoma and it was spreading like wildfire in her. I was told there was no effective treatment for lymphoma, to keep her comfortable as long as I could, hopefully she would die in her sleep, peacefully, but that if she got too bad, even though I am very much against putting down sick animals, I might have to make myself do it. I had the local vet check her before putting her down and he said her body was literally riddled with the cancer and that the nodes in her throat were, indeed too large to allow her to swallow food, and that she was blind due to more cancer behind her eyes. Even as weak and sick as she was, she would force herself to get up to follow me when I moved around the house, and if the weather was good, I would carry her outside and sit next to her on the outside futon since she loved being out in the fresh air.
        As much as I hated to give up on her and let her go, I’m sure her prior owner, who had shown her love and concern about Betsy when she was dying herself, is glad to have her back, and that is my ONLY consolation today. I am, as I guess you can tell, really upset and depressed right now, gonna miss that old dog a lot.

      4. Thank you, Ellen. Your name happens to be the same as my older sister, who will be 68 in 9 days.

      5. I am so sorry for your loss! When my little girl (a pug) was totally blind and deaf and could no longer get up on her own, I felt I had no choice but to put her down. I cried and cried, and reading your story brings it all back. At least we know we gave them all the love they needed when they were alive, and gave them dignity to die peacefully at the end of their life.

      6. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, Gena. πŸ™ Thank you for doing the right thing and helping your dog by bringing her suffering to a close. It is always so hard to do, but it was the kindest thing. My heart goes out to you.

      7. I will read that post because you write very thoroughly and thoughtfully about the butchering process. I really respect your tenacity and authenticity about self-sufficiency. If I am ever put to the test, your information is what I’m using but mustering up the courage is the issue. Do you believe that meat purchased from CSA’s is processed humanely? I have purchased much less meat because of what I have learned on your blog. I feel guilty walking through the meat department!

      8. Hi Ellen,
        Thank you so much! You have no idea how much that means to me. I would contact the CSA and ask them about where the animals are processed. Most likely they are processed at a small butcher shop and that is my preferred place to purchase anything that I can’t raise myself. If I ever get to the point where I just can’t process my own chickens anymore, I will switch to a small butcher shop, or go vegetarian.

        I’m sorry I made you feel guilty! But I’m sure you will be healthier with less meat from the grocery store!

  24. Lisa,
    I don’t feel that you are a failure. You tried something and it didn’t work. There is no shame in that. In fact the scientific method is “ruling out possibilities”. You were just ruling out possibilities for your homestead. Good work I say!

  25. Thank you for the kind words, Sandra! It helps so much to have friends who ground me πŸ˜‰

    I’m glad that they went to a good home too…I sort of feel like, ‘hey, I rescued them…so what if I couldn’t keep them’…but then I think about buying milk again. Oh well!

    Thanks for the reminder that none of us can do it all! Very true, and something I need to keep in mind. πŸ™‚

  26. I don’t think it was a failure. I think you learned a lot about yourself and goats. I never feel something is a failure if I learned from it. Failure is never trying.

  27. You are NOT a failure! I think it is a reality we all come to understand-we cannot do everything!
    We have not had chickens for a couple of years. At first, I felt the same way you did. A homestead without chickens? What kind of homestead is that?
    I got over it!
    I eventually plan on getting chickens again, but only when I have a chicken tractor.
    We have tried different things on the homestead and some thing work out great and some do not.
    I have found it is best to let it go and focus on the things you CAN do.
    I am glad you were able to sell them and found them a good home.

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