Winter may be a slow time for animals, vegetables, and people, but here at the farm at the Pearlstone Center, things are picking up. One of the biggest and exciting stories from the animal pasture is that we currently have between three and six pregnant goats (G-d willing)!
Blood tests will confirm exact numbers in a week or two, as our vet’s ultrasounds were only definitive for three. We expect them to begin kidding in late April and finish in early June. We don’t artificially inseminate our goats but rather bring our does to two different goat farms here in Maryland where they were allowed to mate with the billy goats/bucks.
The act of goat love is an interesting one to watch. Did you know that male goats stick out their tongues sideways as a way of flirting? Our seven females (Hannah, Calypso, Challah, Nechama, Estelle, Muzette and B’sheret) are back on the farm now, eating a variety of alfalfa hay, orchard grass hay, veggies, sticks, bushes and the occasional fruit treat.
Goats normally give birth to one or two kids but can give birth to upwards of six kids! As it stands, Challah has at least two kids inside of her; last year, Estelle gave birth to three.
We’ll milk our goats until the fall and then dry them off for six or seven months. While many goat dairies continue milking for nine months and dry off their goats for two months, we prefer to have our goats dry for a longer period of time in order for them to recoup minerals lost during milking and in order to give their bodies adequate time to rest.
Ben Taylor, Animal Manager
B’sheret gets up close and personal!
From L to R. Hannah, Challah, Calypso, Muzette, Nechama.
Goats love to go on walks, forage, browse and eat all kinds of brush and brambles. This also saves staff the time and energy of having to weed-whack around the fences.
Goats love apples!
Mother (Hannah) and daughter (Calypso).