It’s the day after Thanksgiving and what did we do? Drove two goats to upstate New York, of course. We’re traditionalists.
About a year ago, we dried off our milking goat, Willow, to give us all a bit of a rest. The plan was to breed a couple of our does again this Fall to start the milk flowing and to make progress on the Guernsey breeding program. Since there are no other Guernseys that we’re aware of in New England, we had to search around a bit for a suitable buck that was within driving distance.
Luckily, the breeder from whom we bought our girls told us about a couple goat farmers who have a buck in upstate New York. So we took a visit to their farm this summer and fell in love with handsome Brady.
He’s a charmer, isn’t he?
His owners, Bailey and Thomas, showed us around their huge farm. Goats, pigs, sheep, poultry of all varieties, cats. We hit it off right away with Bailey and Thomas, and loved all the work they’d done on the farm and the care they gave their animals.
After the tour, they fed us a wonderful lunch made from the bounty of their garden. We sat outside at the picnic table, watching the goats, and talking about farms and goats and cheese. You know: the important stuff.
After meeting Bailey and Thomas and their goats, we were sure we wanted to breed our goats with Brady, but their farm, though far closer than any of the alternatives, is still nearly four away from us. And here we were without truck or trailer.
Until, through the magic of the Internet, we found this tidy little trailer that would do the job.
We prepared the trailer by painting it inside, covering sharp screw ends that the goats might bump against, adding air vents, duct taping a plastic tarp on the floor, and then laying down a layer of soft hay for bedding.
We prepared the lucky girls by letting them sniff the “buck rag” that Brady mailed them earlier this Fall.
All of which led to today, when we coaxed Wellesley and Westwind into the trailer. With just the incentive of a handful of grain, Wellesely hopped right in. Westwind followed Wellesley without hesitation.
We had a perfect, blue-sky day, warm and clear, and the goats tolerated the drive well. When we stopped at Bailey and Thomas’ farm, we found Wellesley lying down in the trailer, looking quite relaxed, and Westwind was up, sniffing the new scents through the air vents.
Maybe they could smell Brady?
We settled them in to their new stall and gave them reassuring head scratches and a banana snack, then went to see Brady one more time before we got back into the car for the trip home.
The girls will spend the next few weeks in New York, getting some time with Brady, before we fetch them home.
For now, we’re down to three goats around here. With any luck, next April will bring us the first buds on our new apple trees, and a few golden doelings springing in the goat yard.