Online


 

Chicken house in winter

Chicken house in winter

The first couple years after we moved out here, Deborah belonged to about two dozen Internet groups, and she credits all of those people for helping her and the family to navigate the unfamiliar territory they encountered on the homestead.

Lizzie the goat and her daughter Bonnie

Lizzie the goat and her daughter Bonnie

In 2009, Deborah created an online network for people interested in Nigerian dwarf goats. Sometimes, you just can’t find the answer in a book, and you need to talk to someone who’s actually “been there.” In our online community, you can ask questions, create a blog, post pictures and videos, and meet new friends who also love the littlest dairy goats. Whether you’re just thinking about adding goats to your homestead or you’re a seasoned goat breeder, you’re welcome to join us. Visit Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats community online.

If you were ever curious about the natural process of birth for a goat, you can watch this video of our goat, Carmen, giving birth to twins in January 2009. All of our goats are allowed to give birth naturally and raise their own kids. In the rare instance when there is a problem with the mama goat or the baby, we will, of course, step in to do whatever needs to be done to best care for the individual animal. We will only bottle-feed kids if there is a reason they cannot nurse from their own mother, and when bottle-feeding, we still use the mother’s milk. Hypothermia at birth is the most common reason for bottle-feeding, which is why we need to be there to dry the kid completely as soon as it’s born. Although most mamas can do a great job of cleaning up one or two kids, it is often impossible for them to care for three or four when they’re born very quickly. It is especially challenging when kids are born in the middle of an Illinois winter. A mild case of hypothermia will mean a kid is too weak to stand or nurse, but kids can die from hypothermia, which is why we need to be at the births of all goats born when it’s colder than about 50 degrees outside. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s terribly important.

For more farm videos, check out Deborah’s YouTube channel.