The Goat Herd

Goat coop (2)

Enjoying the apple trees, Summer 2014

Our goal at Dirigo Farm is to raise healthy, quality goats, true to their breed standards and suitable for milk, meat, breeding, homesteading or pet homes.  Our stock is raised to be feed efficient and adaptable to change; well socialized to people, horses, dogs and machinery; hardy for New England winters; and trained to electric fence and grazing both on pasture and local invasives (like Multi-flora rose and Bittersweet).

We raise both Registered Nubians and Kinder goats. Does typically kid in mid Spring with offspring available to new homes 10-12 weeks later when they are weaned, unless for some reason they become bottle babies. We test every other year for CAE, CL and Johnes, avoid antibiotic use unless absolutely necessary and deworm for parasites on an ‘as needed’ basis. Our kids are dehorned at birth and non-breeding bucks are wethered at about 3 months.

Our does are given routine vitamin and mineral shots (BoSe for selenium and E, deficient in our soil) during their pregnancies, as well as their annual CD/T shot for prevention of Clostridium perfringens type C and D and Clostridium tetani -tetanus, which extends immunity to their kids until they get their first vaccine at 8 weeks. Vaccines can be controversial, but the Clostridium bacteria exist in most environments and can be deadly, following painful illness.

Flying Kids

Kids! Flying!

Inquiries about available kids are compiled on a dated list and we ask lots of questions of our buyers to be sure goats are going to secure homes with goat knowledge, or to owners willing to ask lots of questions and learn. Befriending new goat owners has been one of the most satisfying parts of our farm life so we like to keep it that way!

There are several local Kinder and Nubian breeders that we work with to satisfy the needs of buyers.  We are all friends and happy to coordinate sales so that customers can assemble the groupings they desire.

Freshening does are settled in with their kids and only milked to relieve excess pressure for the first weeks. When everyone is ready, we separate the kids from does at night and milk in the morning.  This helps everyone get accustomed to the additional milk supply and we can be sure new mothers are balancing production and demand. Kids then spend the day with does as a group, nursing as they wish.

Our Senior does are milked at least once a day after the bloom of freshening settles down (usually around the holidays we cut back to AM milking only).  We milk by hand or using a pulsating milk machine from Hoeggers, so the does are used to both options.  With the milk we produce soap and cheese, plus fermented products like Kefir and Yogurt.

We are in the process of adding a micro dairy so that raw goat milk can be sold legally from the farm, while we dream of adding cheese processing space.