Friday, July 9, 2010


Because we have six and a half acres of  uncultivated land, this means we have 6.5 acres of weeds. Goats love weeds.

Humfleet Goats Bend, Oregon
After fencing an acre of land, off we went to find a goat. We had driven past Humfleets Goats in Bend many times on our way to the Big R Ranch Store. Fat happy goats grazing on the lush greenery had caught our eye, so we made it our first stop.

On the way up the walk were signs that read "A house without a goat is not a home" and "Goat Crossing Ahead". Who knew there were crazy goat people?

We knocked on the door of the small, compact home and were welcomed by Noah, the owner of the home and of Humfleet Goats (who did not seem crazy at all, despite his obvious affection for goats). As we walked to the goat yard,  he gave us a crash course in his breed of choice. "Nubians are considered one of the friendliest of goat breeds" he explained, "And the most vocal".

This was evidenced in the greeting we received by the does that surrounded us as we entered the gated yard. They were so polite! No jumping or butting. As soon as we stopped walking, they would stop, too, and lean against us, happily accepting rubs.

"Do they ever bite? I asked (secretly I was afraid of getting a nip-these goats were not small!")

Noah seemed to suppress a grin as he pulled back the lips of the goat who had been nuzzling him and showed us a lack of upper incisors. "It would be kind of hard for them to bite without upper teeth", he said, kindly.

That was enough for me. Besides, the goats all seemed well cared for, happy, and healthy and Noah had shown great patience for all of my city-girl questions.

Since we were novice goat people, and also cheap, we chose two wethers . They were still nursing, so arrangements were made to pick them up three weeks later. This should give us plenty of time to prepare.

Oh, a word on "bucks". We met the resident bucks (males who had not been castrated). I am not sure why...but somehow I was instantly repulsed, bemused, and irritated, and...well...if they were transformed into a human right before my eyes, I have no doubt they would look something like this: 

Yeah, baby, YEAH!

Goat shelter

Back at home, we began to build the shelter for the goats. Three sides with a feeder seemed just about right. Now all we had to do was wait.

Goat Day!

Finally, July seventh arrived and off we went to collect our boys. We chose names for them prior to their arrival; Donatello for the black one and Valentino for the tan.

Noah had lured them into the barn ahead of time and we loaded them into dog crates in the back of my truck. On the drive home we were struck by the uncanny resemblance of their cries to Kenny of South Park calling out 'Mom!' ("Meeeeeeem!!!")

We had been emphatically warned not to turn the boys out into the field until they adjusted to their new home. The first night they slept inside our sunroom, curled together in a large dog crate. The dogs were very excited about the new additions, too. They welcomed the goats with cries of their own from the dog yard, which I am sure added to the goats sense of bewilderment ("Where are we?!")

Valentino (left) and Donatello

Day 2

The boys are still wary but now allow our approach and touch. My daughter and I moved them into a large kennel outdoors just off the kitchen. Yesterday we both took a blanket and books and various lettuce greens into the pen where we settled in for three hours, alternately reading our books and hand feeding the boys.

Our plan is to clicker train these guys as soon as they are settled in, so be sure to come back for updates!

Happy Training,

Search for goats