Oct 30, 2009


When we moved to the farm I was single minded--we would have goats before I had my baby. When we moved to the farm I was seven months pregnant and we didn't even have a barn so there was much to be done. I vividly remember pounding fence posts at nine months pregnant! (For the record don't even bother to try--it won't put you into labor.) We moved to the country on July 26, brought the first goats home September 28 and I delivered Noah on October 8. In that time period we also added a hive of bees and almost thirty baby chicks. We also started going to goat shows and began our relationship with the longtime area goat breeder who would become our goat mentor. We were busy!

After I had Noah, I slowed down a bit. This meant that oldest daughter Katarina took over much of the fledgling farm (her father was still making the long daily commute to Houston for work). She also fell under the spell of our goat mentor and was unduly influenced in a regrettable way--she went to the dark side--she went to ears. In short, Katie fell for Nubians. With her doing so much of the work, how could we tell her that she could not have the breed of her choice? So in March of 2005 we brought Rhonda home. She was not a good representation on all that makes a Nubian, though. Oh, she was very correct, conformation wise. (She is the goat in the picture above.) She had the proper ears, nose, etc. What she did not have was what we had heard was the Nubian temperament. Rhonda was so sweet, quiet, laid back and calm that we joked that she thought she was a LaMancha with an unfortunate ear deformity! We assumed that we had merely heard horror stories from very unfairly biased uninformed goat people, so we added more Nubians, now they total a good 30% of our herd. We have learned that although many Nubians are like Rhonda and wonderfully mellow, there are also those who are the epitome of neurotic.

Like LaManchas, Nubians come in almost any color and pattern. There are lines even known for their spots. They are a tall breed. They have long, pendulous ears that are mesmerizing to caress and a strong Roman nose. The stature plus the nose tends to give them a regal, almost haughty look, especially when walking in the show ring.

They are known for having the highest butterfat percentage of all of the full sized dairy goats. This is offset by having (generally speaking) the lowest amount of milk, quantity wise. They are the Jersey of the goat world.

They are also known for their personality...some would say their neurosis. Nubians are said to be the loudest of the dairy goats. They are also somewhat temperamental. Not nasty or mean, we have never had a mean Nubian. But...well, let's say that if there were medications for goat mood disorders that Nubians might well take most of them.

About a year ago, when we were setting up the milk room we had the milk stand a certain way. After a few weeks we realized that the flow of movement in the room was such that the stand would work much better turned ninety degrees from the position it was in. So after milking one morning, we turned the milkstand so that instead of facing due North, it now faced towards the West. Time came for evening milking. The LaManchas came in, took one look, hopped right up. They didn't care--they were there for food, no matter where it was. The Alpines came in, quickly sized up the situation, hopped right up. The Nubians came in...and screeched to a halt. There was no WAY they were getting up on that stand! Goodness! It was different! It was changed! It might just kill them!

Many Nubian breeders cite the quirky personalities of Nubians as one of the main reasons to own them--with them life is never boring. Frankly, my life isn't boring to begin with and I would appreciate having goats that didn't feel compelled to add to the excitement. But once you have Nubians...and get to snuggle a brand new, still wet Nubian baby whose ears are so long that you are sure they will trip on them...you are willing to tolerate almost any amount of eccentricity.


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