MerZee-Doats on my shouldersWe live on 2 beautiful, little, humble acres in Lebanon, Maine.  In the Spring of 2005,  I started my quest in search of miniature dairy goats, with my main objective being to have enough fresh milk to supply my handmade, goat milk soap making. My search brought me to the Nigerian Dwarf Breed. I only wanted to keep two does, but little did I know that these beautiful animals would steal my heart. They entertain me, they are lovable, beautiful, smart, and I could spend all of my time with them. I not only use the delicious milk for soap, but we all drink it as well. We have graduated to making delicious cheese, kefir, and yogurt, and as of summer 2009, we will dabble with making ice-cream and butter.  We go for walks on our rural road and my neighbors are always looking for us!  One neighbor told me that she told her city dwelling co-workers, "you know you live in the country when your neighbor is out walking her goats".  :~)

During kidding season, I keep a video monitor, as well as a baby monitor in the kidding stall so that I know when they could use a little support and a loving massage (Reiki, too!) during labor. It's also a great time for bonding!  I have to admit that I don't usually leave their side at all once I see the first signs of labor beginning. About 2 weeks before they are due to kid, I start feeling for ligaments. Once the ligaments disappear, I know that kidding is within 12 hours and I don't leave home. Contrary to what you might have read, they do need you there, in most cases, to assist in the delivery.

My unfortunate dilemma is that I can't keep very many goats because of my limited space.  That said, having a small herd allows me to give each goat lots of individual attention, which is something I really don't want to lose by indulging in becoming a large breeding farm.  This does not deter my goal of breeding for excellence; allowing me to offer well bred goats to purchasers. The hardest part of raising these beautiful animals is having to sell them, especially the older does because you become so attached. It is, however, necessary in order to continue breeding and making sure they are clean and well cared for without being cramped or compromising their health.