Goats are Coming!

The roomie and I have talked about adding goats to the farm since our initial chats last summer. I have trouble digesting cow’s milk and miss its richness in my daily oatmeal (though almond milk is a fantastic sub). Nigerian Dwarfs are just 2 feet tall and produce about a quart of milk per day. Once the babies are weaned we’ll have milk to drink, churn for butter, and make cheese. Plus, of course, there’s the cute factor.

We got a line on a pregnant female last fall, but opted to wait for late winter/spring before purchasing. The delay meant I’d have time to get the barn, the stall, and the run cleaned up and secured first. My seemingly crazy outdoor workdays these last couple months proved wise this week, as we got a line on our desired Nigerian Dwarf goats. A farmer in Tonganoxie (about 20 minutes from our farm) has several pregnant, 2 year old goats. Some have already given birth with others ready to go any day.

We made a plan to pick them up on Saturday afternoon – which meant a change to my plans for Thursday and Friday. After swinging by my aunt’s to borrow her truck we headed to Lowe’s for lumber and hardware, then Feldman’s for feed.

20170203_barn02A quick lunch and I got to work building a Dutch door. This practical option will allow us to get fresh air into the barn on summer nights or inclement weather when the animals prefer to stay indoors. I used two 2′ x 4′ plywood sheets and cut a 2′ x 4′ x 10′ in half for the post. The post is buried about a foot deep and secured to a stud. Careful measurements and my trusty electric screwdriver made quick work of the hinges and the bottom half was done.

20170203_barn03The top piece went up easier and I’m happy with the result. It’s not perfectly square, but since wood is impacted by dampness that’s alright. I’d like to put some sort of flashing across the top to deflect water, but there is no horizontal stud to hold the other half of the 2′ x 4′. I’m thinking a piece of guttering might work there – I need to find some for my water barrel projects and am hopeful for extra. This is my first door and I’m pretty proud of it.

20170203_barn04Once the door was done I did some more stall cleaning, clearing years of cobwebs and the manure/straw from the mini-horses that called this home until last summer. The existing feed bucket needs a good wash, as does the covered trash can we’ll use to hold feed. I installed a few boards to the interior fence for added security, then worked a bit on the barn floor. Some boards have been damaged by water and/or the weight of items on them and need to be replaced – a project that can be done after the goats arrive. I removed the damaged wood so I could see the studs and safely move around inside.

Today I’ll finish up the chicken wire on the run, clean the feed bucket and install it, then spread the straw and place the salt block. My goal is to get everything set today so I can rest in the morning before we go get two mamas and their babies Saturday afternoon. Watch my Instagram feed for barrels of cuteness!

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