Academy of Self-Reliance

The Farm Gets Goats

We finally added a couple goats to the farm. This was a long time coming, but was just one of those things I didn’t feel like dealing with yet. Until it became easy.

We currently have about 60 sheep that we graze across our pastures using intensive rotational grazing… sheep are moved to a new paddock every 2-5 days. Our current breed of choice for East Tennessee is the Katahdin Hair Sheep. They are a meat breed. These sheep have hair that sheds, not wool, so there is no shearing. They were developed in Maine from sheep originating in the Caribbean combined with established British breeds. They have excellent disease resistance, great mothering, and can easily handle the humid conditions of the South.

Our second son with the Katahdins.

Katahdins are sheep that tend to eat more like a goat; meaning they love grass and good pastures like all sheep, but they will eat more browse than most breeds of sheep. But they are still sheep, and they only lightly graze the blackberries and wild roses and “leftover” plants that goats love.

It is well known that goats are escape artists. They old saying goes, “If you can build a fence that holds water, you can build a fence that holds goats!” Now, of course, this is an exaggeration… mostly.

Our sheep are very well trained to our temporary electric polybraid lines with a portable solar charger. I wanted more even grazing of our pastures, but we have too much blackberry and wild rose than our sheep would care to eat. But I didn’t want to deal with difficult to contain goats.

Anni with the goats.

Then our dear friend, Anni, shared her dilemma. She raises goats for milking. She handcrafts incredible soaps from the goat milk. Well, she had bought two older Nubian goats that were supposed to be pregnant, but they turned out not to be. And unfortunately, her small farm cannot support extra goats that are not producing.

These goats are gentle, older (and not so focused on escaping all fences just because they are there!), and really respect electric line. And now we have two new additions to our sheep herd.

Anni and I unloaded the goats from the back of her vehicle, and the first thing they ate was the seedheads from the patch of Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) that our sheep had left over. Then they took down a half dozen blackberry seedlings. Then they decimated a wild rose bush! They are the Queens of Good First Impressions!

The goats immediately went to work!

So welcome, Anneke (“AHN-eh-kuh”) and Jantine (“yahn-TEEN-uh”).

The goats have been given traditional Dutch names, since my wife, while American, is 100% Dutch in ethnicity.

Yes, our Nubian Goats… a British breed developed from Middle Eastern and African and Indian goats… have Dutch names, but live on an American farm with a German name, the Bauernhof Kitsteiner (the Kitsteiner Family Farm”)… but, of course!

The goats meeting the sheep for the first time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top