Have you listened to our newest podcast on goats??
Listening to Aust contemplating goats and sharing his experience of goats on his homestead was a huge eye opener for me.
Confession: I’ve always wanted goats. More than chickens, more than a garden, more than any other homesteading item. Actually, untrue- I really want a giant red barn. Which leads me back to goats, because if I had goats, I would be able to rationalize the barn.
Why goats? They’re cute. They’re friendly. When you milk them, they provide the basis for soap, and goat cheese, two things I hold dear.
Then, I listened to this podcast, and heard the truth: Goats are instruments of destruction. They will eat all the things. They run away. They jump over fences. Basically, they are masters of disaster.
I am not big on disaster. As a mom of two young children, I am already on disaster management detail every moment of every day. I don’t know if adding more “kids” to the mix is really the best choice for our family.
What about the non-monetary benefits of homesteading we talk about so often? What if I put my own two instruments of destruction on Goat Detail? How would I deal with a heard of hairy escape artists prancing in my neighbor’s hydrangeas? This is a philosophical discussion that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of animal husbandry.
Wait, isn’t this post about goats?
Goats, if nothing else, build on that value of community. Goats are social creatures. Goats are desperately unhappy (as is evident by the Wandering Goat featured in our podcast) if they are alone. Someone in my neighborhood got a single goat and its plaintive cries haunted the air until the goat was either given away or was joined by another goat. Goats engage the homesteader in reaching out to the community around them, whether it is through answering and deciphering cryptic Craigslist posts on goats looking for a new home, or knocking door to door when the goats escape (again) goats make you engage with your neighbors.
Engaging the family in the keeping and care of the goats is another way to build a feeling of community, by teaching your children that teamwork and collaboration begin at home. We talk a lot here at Homesteady about the “priceless” aspects of homesteading, and for me, this is the biggest one. It’s challenging to ignore current events these days. One thing that has become apparent to me is that one way I can effect the future is by instilling in my children the skill of working together towards a common goal; and through feeding, caring for, receiving food from, and even chasing down an escaped animal, that all our lives are connected.
I believe a goat- a small heard of goats-would be one way to do that.
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