Our goats are like an extension of our family. They are a part of every day of our lives on Tottys Bend Farm. Each one of them has a distinct personality. We know our goats so well that we can tell them apart by the sound of their voices. Nubians are extremely vocal animals! Our very first goats were Nubians and that is the only breed we’ve ever had. Nubians are striking because they are quite large and have long, wide ears. They come in every color combination imaginable in a goat but most of our goats are brown and black. Nubians also produce some of the best tasting milk because it has a very high butter fat content. Our herd is usually no more than 20 goats at any given time. We breed them each year, to keep the milk flowing, and sell most of the kids after they are weaned. We are working on improving our herd through our breeding program, but we do not consider ourselves goat breeders. We just love our goats and do everything we can to keep them healthy and productive.
Trudy was our herd matriarch and our foundation doe. Many of our current does are from her bloodline because she was such a great milker and was a gorgeous girl in her day. But the reason we loved Trudy so much was her personality. Trudy was the sweetest goat we have ever had. She always wanted to be close to people. She loved being a mom and babysitting the little ones under our huge oak tree. 2014 was Trudy’s last summer with us. Before she died she gave us some great goats, but there will never be another Trudy.
Liberty is Trudy’s last baby. Trudy was twelve (which is pretty old for a goat) when Liberty was born, so we were more than a little worried that something might go wrong. However, Trudy prevailed. Mom and baby were fine. Trudy only lived a few more months, but it was the head start Liberty needed. Liberty’s big sister, Orange Blossom, finished nursing her until she was old enough to be weaned. It was a little sad and confusing for Liberty, but she is doing great and is friendly as heck.
Zelda was the first doe we kept out of Trudy. She was born in 2010 on the coldest night of the year. When she came out the ends of her ears were folded upwards. The left ear eventually unfolded but her right ear got frostbitten and the folded up bit came off. Zelda grew to be our largest doe and blessed us with three doelings who still live on our farm. Zelda’s first kid was Beatrice, a single doeling born in 2014. In the spring of 2015, Zelda gave us twin doelings we call Hazelnut and Honeynut. Sadly she died just a few weeks later.
Orange Blossom (a.k.a. “Orange-y”) is one of the twin does we kept out of Trudy. She and her sister Violet are a year younger than Zelda. Orange-y is a pretty low-key member of the herd. She is bred to our herd sire, Blaze and is due to kid in February 2015. This will be her second year to kid. She had a single buckling last year and helped us raise Liberty after Trudy died. Orange-y is one of our best milkers. She is a breeze to lead to the milk parlor and jumps right up on the milk stand every time.
Violet (a.k.a. “Blue-y”) is Orange-y’s twin sister. We call them Orange-y and Blue-y because that is what color their collars were when they were little kids. Blue-y is a sweet girl just like Trudy was. She is a little on the small side but she has a huge heart. Blue-y is bred to our junior buck, Rango. We’re hoping his genetics will improve the size of Blue-y’s kids. One thing we’ve learned from our goat breeder friends is that you always want to breed your doe with a buck who has desirable traits that she doesn’t have.
Cindy is our biggest doe. She weighs about two hundred pounds. That is pretty big for a goat. One of Cindy’s favorite things to do is rub her head on you. She gets so into this that she has actually knocked a few people over. But don’t be fooled by her strength. Cindy is also very tenderhearted. She is such a wonderful mother and like Trudy used to do, Cindy loves to babysit the other does’ kids. She lets them jump and climb on her and she keeps a watchful eye on the trouble makers. We think Cindy will be the new matriarch of our goats.
Casey was Cindy’s twin sister. Why do they look so different? Well, Nubian goats are funny that way. You can breed a brown buck to a brown doe and get a black kid. Or a spotted kid, or a tan kid. And of course, a brown kid. That just makes kidding season that much more exciting. The thing about Casey is she is a total loud mouth and is glad to do the hollering for everyone in the group if need be. She is the first one in the morning to emerge from the barn and stands there bleating loudly until she gets her breakfast.
Windy is Casey’s doeling from 2014. She was born on a very windy day. As you can tell, we come up with really creative names for our goats. Windy is going to be a large goat like her mother. She might be just as loud too. She loves playing with her buddy Beatrice and challenging some of the older goats to a head butting session. Windy is extra friendly to people.She is pretty full of herself these days. We think she will be a good mom and we are planning to breed her to Rango this winter.
Beatrice is Zelda’s first baby. She is extremely shy of people but she gets along perfectly well with the other goats. We are trying to get her to be friendlier by giving her special treats. However, we don’t want her to turn into a pushy pig like her mother. She and Windy are best buddies. They are quickly out growing some of the older goats like Blue-y and Magic. Big is good! Large size is desirable in dairy goats because larger goats have the capacity to produce more milk and they also tend to have an easier time delivering their babies.
Magic is kind of a loner. Lots of times she goes off by herself which isn’t goat-like at all. Goats are herd animals, so being alone is very stressful to them. But not Magic. She has her own agenda. Magic is also a great milker, an attentive mom and an all-around sweet heart. She begs to be milked and literally runs to the milk parlor when it is her turn. Magic’s kids are always the fastest growing babies around here because her milk is so rich. It is high in butterfat which makes it taste really sweet!
Jane was Magic’s first doe. Magic has had lots of bucks for us over the years and in 2014 she finally gave us this pretty little girl. Since she had no fancy markings or spots we call her Plain Jane. Jane had two brothers. She had a hard time competing with the boys for milk so she was kind of small. When we sold the boys Magic tried to wean Jane but Jane wouldn’t give up nursing. We helped her by holding Magic’s collar while she ate. Eventually Magic accepted Jane back and continued to feed her until Jane gave up milk on her own.
Dot was born in the cull. That is to say she was still in her placenta when she came out. It looked really weird. We named her dot because she has a little white dot right on the top of her head. Nate saved Dot’s life when she was just a few days old. He found her lying alone in the barn and she was cold all over. Her body temperature had dropped. She was in critical condition. We gave her a warm bath and blew her dry with the hairdryer. It was too cold to put her back in the barn with her mother so she became our first bottle-baby.
Tootles is the only goat we have ever had in the show ring. She showed twice (both times as a favor for a good friend). Both times she won third place. Not too bad. She even got a blue ribbon out of it, but she chewed it up some on the way home. Tootles has a Peppermint Patty (from the Peanuts cartoon) type voice. Its really cute and raspy. She is the lowest ranking goat in the herd which makes her one of our favorites. She loves the special attention we give her, especially treats like privet and blackberry.
Blaze is our herd sire. We bought him in 2013 when he was two years old. We bred him to most of our does that fall and winter and were very happy with the results. All of his kids had beautiful, splashy coloring and good temperaments. Blaze stays in his own area with Rango, our junior buck. That way we can control the breeding (theoretically anyway). Last year he jumped the fence while we were in Atlanta and bred three of our yearling does! Blaze can be quite naughty at times but he is an excellent sire for our herd.
Rango is our junior buck. He was born in 2014. Rango spends most of his time eating and flirting with the girls when Blaze isn’t looking. At night he and Blaze curl up together but during the day Rango likes to hang out with one of our roosters. They make quite a comical duo. We got Rango because of his large size and super long ears. He will add these desirable qualities to our herd when he is old enough to breed with our younger does. We are really looking forward to seeing how his kids turn out.