We have a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats here at Living GoatHerd-2015Land.

We are permaculturists first, not “goat people.” No offense to goat people, that’s a great kind of person to be! But we are keeping goats because they match the needs of us and our land, not because we simply HAD to have goats (I had actually hoped for a Jersey cow back when I was dreaming of pastureland). I also hope it helps explain to you why we use some practices that are unusual among goatkeepers. We are just coming from a different starting place.

As advocates of natural-rearing, we don’t give medications to our goats unless they truly need them. That means we don’t routinely vaccinate or de-worm. All our goats are “dam-raised” for at least 2 months (and for the ones that we keep, much longer). We are sure this gives them a good foundation to stay healthy with minimal intervention from us. We also think it’s better for their temperament / psyche. We want our goats to CocoaWBabiesknow they are goats and learn from their moms and their herdmates how to behave. Joel Salatin says to ‘Let a pig be a pig, let a chicken be a chicken’ and we want to let our goats be goats. Our goats are very friendly even though we do not bottle-raise them.

We don’t breed our goats until their second year. We understand this as an investment. Allowing them to be more developed before putting energy into their kids means a healthier, longer-lived animal.

We feed them on forage, especially trees and brush, as much as foragingpossible. Of course they get supplemental hay offered all the time, but we try to keep them in woods more than on grass pasture and we went grain-free after a few years. We do have lower milk production because of this practice, we know. But we are critical of the current animal production system which feeds lots of grain to animals that aren’t well-suited to that diet, and we don’t like buying all that grain from afar. One reason we wanted to raise our own animals was to be more environmentally sustainable – then we find ourselves shipping in all these bagged products! Our hay is from neighbors so we are comfortable with that. Milk-CreamLine

Although we give up milk quantity, the quality is amazing… here’s a pic of some of our milk which we let sit for a few days to separate – see that cream line nearly half-way down?!

We do offer our goats a mineral mix and baking sodium, free choice, at all times.  Our herd tests fine for selenium, so we haven’t given them extra supplements of that.  We have seen some signs of copper deficiency in some of our goats, and give them copper oxide wire particles (COWPs) when that happens.  We do monthly hoof-trimming.  We have had almost no parasite problems.  We watch their dropping consistency, and have them tested now and then, and just haven’t had problems.  As natural-rearers, we would not worm them on a schedule, but only if needed.

As for the big goat diseases – every year we test for CAE, CL and Johnes – all negative so far.  We do not go to shows, only brought in bucks who have been tested, and now keep our own bucks to further minimize disease risk.  HoneyAndLilyRestInBarn-1

We don’t disbud (we are willing to have it done if a kid is retained and that is wanted – we are NOT saying everyone should keep them horned). For our situation we just don’t see any need for disbudding. We have mentors who have horned goats, most fiber goats stay horned, and in many places of the world dairy goats aren’t disbudded. The horns do serve a purpose for them, which is why they grow them. So far it has worked out fine for us. We think folks should know this is an option to consider, though we know that it is NOT appropriate in every situation.

Our major influences / teachers on goatkeeping are: Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Susun Weed, and Deborah Niemann.

We want to give thanks to the goatkeepers who did the wonderful breeding that we are benefiting from now, especially: Tragos Trip Farm, Old Mountain Farm and Rosasharn Farm.

Below, meet our current herd.  I’ll include a pic of each of them and also a few generations of lineage.


Tragos Trip Honey

Born: May 22 2011

sire: NC Promised Land Tur-BeauHoney-3
grandsire: NH PromisedLand MG Beau
granddam: Caesar’s Villa DN Lizzie
great grandsire: MCH PromisedLand S Mel Gibson
great grandsire: Dover Cligg Duncan
great granddam: PromisedLand My Fair Lady
great granddam: Caesar’s Villa CBS Lynn Marie

dam: Tragos Trip Farm Brandywine
grandsire: ARMCH Dawnland Tabby’s Halifax
granddam: Tragos Trip Farm Nienna
great grandsire: Rosasharn Tom’s Water Tabby
great grandsire: ARMCH Inavale Paradigm
great granddam: Stonewall’s India Wilkes
great granddam: Bull Moon Merry’s Mirror

Tragos Trip Cocoa

Born: May 20 2011

sire: NC Promised Land Tur-BeauCocoa-4
grandsire: NH PromisedLand MG Beau
granddam: Caesar’s Villa DN Lizzie
great grandsire: MCH PromisedLand S Mel Gibson
great grandsire: Dover Cligg Duncan
great granddam: PromisedLand My Fair Lady
great granddam: Caesar’s Villa CBS Lynn Marie

dam: Tragos Trip Farm ZippinPippin
grandsire: Old Mountain Farm Just Zip It
granddam: Willow Moon Farm Indian Summer
great grandsire: Springs run Merry BrandyBock
great grandsire: Rosasharn UR Sun Ray
great granddam: Twin Creeks AH Finale’s Zip
great granddam: Old Mountain Farm Maine Lilac

Living Land Lily

Born: April 19 2013

sire: Tragos Trip Farm Diableau
grandsire: NH Promised Land Tur-Beau
granddam: East Rivendell Safari
great grandsire: NH PromisedLand MG Beau
great grandsire: PromisedLand JP Full House
great granddam: Caesar’s Villa DN Lizzie
great granddam: East Rivendell HSRD Savana Blu

dam: Tragos Trip Farm Honey (see above)

Living Land Luna

Born: April 7 2016

sire: Living Land Pan
grandsire: Old Mountain Farm Shindig
granddam: Living Land Lily
great grandsire: Old Mountain Farm Oliver Again
great grandsire: Tragos Trip Farm Diableau
great granddam: Old Mountain Farm Parti Favah
great granddam: Tragos Trip Farm Honey

dam: Tragos Trip Farm Cocoa (see above)


Living Land Pan

Born: April 4 2015

sire: Old Mountain Farm Shindig
grandsire: Old Mountain Farm Oliver Again
granddam: Old Mountain Farm Parti Favah
great grandsire: NC PromisedLand Sayit Againsam
great grandsire: Old Mountain Farm Stag Party
great granddam: Old Mountain Farm Oliv A Suddn
great granddam: AGS East Rivendell HK Ruby D

dam: Living Land Lily (see above)

Smoke ST Marley

Born: July 13 2016

sire: Rosasharn Prince Liteningwhelk
grandsire: Rosasharn AX Whelk
granddam: Rosasharn TL Queen Bee 5*D AR2172
great grandsire: Rosasharn Al’s Asterix
great grandsire: AGS Rosasharn’s Tiger L
great granddam: Rosasharn H B Kujira
great granddam: AGS Rosasharn’s UMT Honey Bee

dam: Rosasharn RS Rita Salidadelsol
grandsire: Rosasharn GX Ringo Star
granddam: Rosasharn DB Afternoon Delight
great grandsire: AGS Rosasharn’s TL Galaxy
great grandsire: Rosasharn SH Celtic Ballad
great granddam: AGS Rosasharn UMT Even’ Star
great granddam: Rosasharn TL Almond Joy