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  • Writer's pictureDaLana Kunellis

Meet Our Goats

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Meet the Goats at Sugar Creek Soaps


I have a secret, I use to be a little afraid of goats! Crazy right? But in my defense, they have those strange eyes and they eat EVERYTHING. My sister quickly got me over that fear one year by having me hold a baby goat from her herd. I was hooked after that. Who can be scared of a baby goat? This one was an adorable all-white Kiko goat (she raised meat goats) that was fluffy and cuddly. I was smitten!

After that, I loved the idea of having goats. Kenny, not so much. In fact, there was a time when we were first married that I had asked about getting a few goats so we wouldn't have to mow the 5 acres we had just moved out to. I believe his exact words were, "No, I'm not going to be a goat farmer". God really has a sense of humor!


The Herd


We started out with four little goats, but as Sugar Creek Soaps has grown, so has our use for fresh goat milk. While we don't need a huge herd (at one point we had 40 goats on our property), I think we are managing well with the herd the size it is. Right now we are down to eleven goats, nine does, and two bucks. We have a mix of Nubian, Mini Nubian, and Kinder goats. We love them all, but I have a few favorites.





The Buck


A male goat is called a "buck" or a "billy", we call it a buck. Every buck we've ever brought onto the property has been skittish, I'm not sure if that's normal, but that's our experience. The buck we have right now is named Joker. He's all black and white and has a striped black-and-white face. He's pretty skittish compared to our does, but he's loved and adored by all of us! Our other buck is a banded buck (he can't breed) we will raise for meat.


We must have a buck present on the homestead in order to breed our does and have new baby goats (a.k.a. kids) each Spring. New bucks are added every 1-2 years to keep breeding at its prime and to prevent any inbreeding.


The Does


Next, we have our female goats which are referred to as "does". There are nine milk does right now, although a couple of them are just doelings (young does) who were born last spring. Our first two does we bought, Louisa and Maude, are both still here with us, and honestly are our best mommas! They both teach the younger ones how to mother. It's a constant battle between them who is head of the herd, but they've managed to work out an understanding, and right now Maude is the leader of the herd. Violet, one of our other does, is Louisa's daughter, and she has a doeling from last spring we chose to keep because she's an absolute sweetheart! We also have Amelia and Alexa, our Kinders, and then Lily who is actually our daughter Mila's goat. Lily is Louisa's doeling from this past Spring. They are all wonderful milk does and have turned out to be wonderful mommas!



Kids Everywhere!


Every Spring, our does give birth and we can get anywhere between 10-20kids (baby goats) on the homestead. Goats typically have 1-2 kids at a time, but Amelia, our Kinder doe, has given birth to 3-4 kids numerous times, and has been able to feed and care for every one of them! Goats are amazing creatures!


Our Milking Routine


There are many steps involved in milking goats. First, we have goat feed that we set out in the stanchion. Then we prep the area (bucket of soapy water, washcloths to clean udders, etc.) and make sure everything is close by and easy to grab. Next, we let the milk goats out to a separate pen to make sure each one is milked. One by one, we put them in the milking stanchion, hand milk them, and then let them back into the holding pen. While they're in the stanchion, we also check their overall condition, and health, and trim hooves occasionally as needed.


In the winter when the does are being bred, we dry them up so they can concentrate on growing their babies. This isn't necessary, but we've found it makes things easier for them and for us during the coldest months of the year. We only milk once a day and share the rest of the milk with their kids. We prefer the kids to nurse on their momma as long as momma will allow and as long as she is able to keep her condition.


Their Feed


In winter, we feed locally bought hay without any chemicals sprayed on the fields. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, we rotationally graze our goats on pasture. We have about ten acres that we rotate them on. Depending on the season, we either move them every day, every few days or once a week.

We also give each milking doe a ration of dairy feed when they're milked. This is a treat for them and helps with their milk production and hormone levels. They look forward to this with every milking!



Their Supplements


Just like humans, goats don't get all the nutrients they need from their food. We are increasing our soil health and fertility each year, but ruminant animals are grazers who have historically moved from place to place to find the minerals they need in the soil. Because of this, we give our goats free choice of a goat mineral supplement, Thorvin sea kelp, and baking soda. The minerals and sea kelp are especially important during pregnancy, and help them grow healthy, strong kids and wonderful milk! The baking soda we use free choice in case they have an upset tummy from something they ate. Ruminants can bloat fairly easily if they eat something bad for them, and goats are notorious for getting into trouble, so we keep it on hand, just in case!


Disbudding


Horns grow on both male and female goats alike. These horns are for their protection. Some people dehorn (disbud) their goat's horns, but we do not. We like them to be able to protect themselves, and they make great handles to hold a goat steady if you need to trim hooves! A few goats we've purchased already came disbudded, but as a practice on our homestead, we do not disbud the kids born on our property.


Happy Goats


It's been an amazing journey since bringing our first milk goats to our homestead in 2020. What started out as a little herd has grown over the years. Here at The Healing Homestead, we believe that healthy goats make happy goats, and happy goats produce incredible milk, so going the extra mile in terms of caring for our goats is an easy choice for us. Our high standards and quality of care shine through in the quality of goat milk products we handcraft. Just give our goat milk soap and laundry soap a try to see and feel the difference for yourself!

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