The Deal of the Century
We are knee deep in placentas around here, partly by design, but mostly because the Pacific Northwest received record breaking snow. Something about the atmospheric pressure inducing labor seems to make a lot of sense but I’m not a Meteorologist and I don’t play one on tv.
Flash forward a week. 32 girls have kidded. We have 17 more girls left to go in this round. I’m tired, oh dang I’m tired, but goodness my heart is so full. I am truly living my dream and it feels so, so good. The blood, the placenta, the poop, the cold, the aching in my bones…it’s everything I ever asked for.
Because of this I’m finding it surprisingly easy to keep a chipper attitude.
There are still a few things that irritate me.
And one of those things has been the goat babies.
Not in the way you think, though.
One of my most favorite places in the world, Puget Sound Goat Rescue, just posted a photo of two baby goats. My very first goats came from this rescue, and I 100% blame them for making me fall in love with these amazing creatures.
The photo they posted was of boys. Drop offs from a goat dairy, who, obviously didn’t need them. I get it. You can’t milk the boys…and you don’t need a billion bucks to populate your herd every year. Babies, in general, drink milk…milk that you need to run your operation…to make a living. And so, finding a new place for babies to go is necessary if you even want a shot at making a living wage doing this.
It’s also harder to find pet homes for boys. For some reason, almost everyone who contacts me wants girls. I spend a lot of time helping educate people on the merits of wethers (neutered males) and selling the benefits of owning pets who are boys (as long as they’re castrated). Luckily, most of my customers are receptive to this and take boys.
In the past three years we have rehomed all our goats to pet homes. It’s one of the reasons we sell them for so cheap, and in many cases (like 4H kids) we give them away. We lose money during kidding season but, it’s a price we pay, because we really want our goats to spread joy in pastures across the Pacific Northwest.
But oh the time it takes.
So much time.
The amount of effort I put into communicating with prospective buyers, having them come to the farm to pick their babies, and then the follow-ups after they get home…it’s a lot of hours. We’re talking weeks worth of time, full time, all day, every day. Plus the sheer brain power of managing that many conversations in your head…guys, I don’t have a ton of room in this head of mine, space is precious, and baby goat rehoming takes up a gigantic amount of real estate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to do it, I always want to make sure that people are comfortable with their new creatures, and I will always be a resource for anyone who buys goats from us. I often need people to remind me who they are, or whose babies they got, but I like to think most of my customers are happy with their goat buying experience, and, even more, happy with their goats.
How nice to just dump your goats at a rescue and get on with your life.
To be fair, I don’t know the circumstances of the drop off. I don’t even know what dairy did it. What I do know is that these babies are now not their problem, and they can get back to the business of running a dairy.
Except, to us, this is part of the business of running a dairy. Rehoming these kids is a commitment we are honored to fulfill. Our goat moms trust us to do right by their babies and we take that obligation seriously.
Which brings me to the true cost of running a dairy.
It’s more than just the feed we buy, the chemicals we use to clean our milking equipment, the heinously expensive machinery we need to make legal cheese, the cost of the packaging to hold the cheese, the gas to deliver said cheese.
It’s more than the fences to keep the girls in, the barns to keep them dry, the land to house it all on.
Running a dairy is a recurring debit on your soul. An emotionally exhaustive expense that pulls from the depths of your being. Luckily, those of us who are called to farm take daily deposits that mean we can usually exist without being in the red…but sometimes it’s just one sucker punch after another and you find yourself curled up in the corner of a barn weeping uncontrollably.
As one does.
Why am I sharing all this? It’s not so you feel sorry for us. Oh goodness please don’t feel sorry for us.
It is so that we can continue to be part of the conversation of why cheese from farms with ethics is not only worth it, it’s actually the value of the century.
Our farm invested in solar power to run our operations. We have the debt to prove it. Why? Because we care about the dang planet.
Our farm feeds organic alfalfa, even though we aren’t certified organic, because we think Round Up is the devil and has no place in our animal’s lives.
Our farm supports other small farmers (shoutout to Patriot Feeds) to create a custom grain mix, which means more money stays in our community.
Our farm treats every single goat with the respect and dignity it deserves.
Even the boys.
We will continue to work tirelessly to find great homes for them.
Our promise has been, and always will be, to run this farm with ethics and integrity.
We hope, in return, your promise will be to buy our cheese.
Seems like a pretty fair deal to me.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in baby goats, please reach out to me! They are $25 each and $50 disbudded. The commitment to bottle raise them (by the time you get them) is about 6-7 weeks long, but in return you will create a lifelong relationship with your new best friend.
My cell phone (I prefer texting) is (360) 280-6730 or you can email me, email@example.com