And now, for the rest of the story…
The question for every farmer comes up: what should I grow? Such a decision has many considerations. One begins by simply looking around carefully to observe the natural advantages or disadvantages of the land.
Among other things at Chez Nous Farm, is a nine acre field, the so called “tillable ground” (non-sloping). Because I’m avoiding chemical based agriculture, the best use for this field is basically pasture. Grazing animals is the most natural state of grasslands. The next question is which animal? First—is there a market niche for a given kind of meat? Our standard markets—beef, pork, and chicken—are comparatively saturated.
I considered goats because they are smaller and easier to raise, and because there is a niche market (so-called ethnic communities) for whom sheep and goat meat are a staple food.
The next question is what breed. There are many to choose from. I wanted one that is hardy enough to withstand environmental stresses without too much care needed beside basic shelter, quality forage, minerals, and clean water. I chose New Zealand Kikos because of the breed’s well-known parasite resistance, maternal instincts, growth rate, and meat-to-bone ratio.
Dedicated animal husbandry entrepreneurs developed the breed in New Zealand by carefully cross breeding naturally hardy feral goats. This is a fascinating story from which one can learn some of the tried and true principles of animal breeding to produce physical traits that are beneficial to the integrity of the breed and the bottom line of the producer.
As of this writing, my goat enterprise is getting closer to becoming a reality. I have started slow because there is a lot to learn. For two years I’ve researched multiple resources and visited many producers. I’ve developed an extensive resource library. In 2017 I purchased two Kiko and two Black Spanish weanling wethers (castrated males) for control of woodland invasive plants. Having studied them and cared for them, I now feel better prepared to launch the breeding program.