Merry Lea Sustainable Farm is now home to six new baby goats, also known as kids, born the first week of May. Our two adult female goats, Ruby and Diamond, each had triplets and both families are doing well.
A Goat Family History
Ruby and Diamond are five-year old twin sisters. They are Nubian-Saanen crosses: Saanens are a Swiss breed known for high dairy production; Nubians contribute a higher butter fat content to the milk. Ruby’s black, tan and brown patterns on her fur represent the Nubian side of her family tree; meanwhile her sister, Diamond, is an all-white goat like their Saanen relatives.
They both arrived to Merry Lea in the summer of 2017. They were donated by a generous contact through the Goshen Farmer’s market who wanted to find their herd different homes. Merry Lea was given two of their favorite, best milkers so the goats could be used for education.
Ruby and Diamond love to greet school groups and host cheese making workshops. Meeting the goats is always a highlight for PreK-12 students on the Exploring Merry Lea Sustainable Farm program. They are an important part of our Agroecology Summer Intensive (ASI) program – an undergraduate residential program focused upon food systems.
Spring Brings New Life at the Farm
Ruby gave birth (referred to as kidded) on Sunday May 3 to three bucks, or three male kids. Diamond kidded the next day, Monday May 4 and had one buck and two does. The births were smooth and neither needed any assistance from the farm team, which is typical for these two hardy goats.
Ruth Mischler, an assistant professor in the Sustainability and Environmental Education Department (SEED), oversees Merry Lea’s livestock and teaches animal husbandry for ASI. Ruth attended both of the births.
Although the births went well, Ruth makes sure each of the kids get the hang of nursing before she heads home for the night. She remains at the barn until the newborn kids all get a good feeding from their mother.
“This puts my mind at ease so I can sleep better and not worry about them. But I really don’t have any reason to worry. Ruby and Diamond are good moms and do a great job at taking care of their kids,” says Ruth.
To learn more about the livestock at Merry Lea, read this post: