My Nubian dairy goats are livestock. They are business. They are also a hobby. They are also pets. That creates problems.
Raising livestock is like any other farming or ranching business. It is supposed to make a profit.
Raising livestock as a hobby can remove the profit requirement. Pets aren’t supposed to make a profit.
Hay and grain are part of raising livestock. Goats love to eat. They are messy eaters. As food just appears in front of them, they can drop some on the floor. More will appear later.
Purchasing hay and grain is expensive. That dropped feed and hay is money ground into the mud.
Goats do get sick. They get parasites such as intestinal worms. Medicines and wormers are expensive.
Livestock requires equipment. I get by with a minimum, but still have hoof trimmers, disbudding iron and other items. Luckily these can last for years with a little care.
Before retiring, these expenses weren’t a big problem. Now the goats must pay their way, at least much of it.
My goats bring in money from milk and selling kids. I’m not a commercial dairy and don’t officially sell milk. Still, other people in the area are like me: intolerant of cow’s milk.
Selling kids is where much of my hay money comes from. My kids are now close to three months old now. They are for sale.
In past years I’ve kept a kid or two or three. This made it easier to say good-bye to the others.
Getting older changes things. Raising livestock is work. Each year the work seems harder and takes longer. The solution is to have fewer goats.
My goats are pets. I know each and every one and have since they were born. The obvious solution is to not keep any kids. The adults get old and die. The herd gets smaller.
And saying good-bye to the kids gets harder, especially the bottle babies.
Dora’s Story deals with some of these issues following Dora, an Alpine/Nubian dairy goat, through several owners.