Farmer Steve’s blog: April 1, 2013
One of the least known challenges of goat dairying is that of finding homes for the +-110 goat kids that our 55 adult does deliver each spring as they begin a new season of milk production. [No kids, no milk; no milk, no caramel —, so it’s a critical phase of our annual cycle.
Each year we keep 15 doelings to raise as replacements for adult retirees (old age, poor production, etc.), and the productivity of our herd makes it possible to sell many of the 40 doelings we cannot keep. The big challenge — until this year — has always been the 55 bucklings who come in the package. Yup, the average number of kids born to a doe is 2 (triplets are pretty common also) and the split is 50/50 (boys vs girls).
This year, however, all of our bucklings have gone to my friend, Chuda Dhaurali, who is raising them on a farm just outside Burlington, Vermont to provide goat meat for the immigrant communities (Somali, Bhutanese, Burmese, etc.) of Chittenden County who love to eat goat and have a tough time finding it. Chuda is a native of Bhutan, who raised goats in Nepal where his family and many others from Bhutan lived as refugees for 18 years prior to emigrating to the Vermont several years ago.
I first met Chuda when he came to Fat Toad Farm last August for an introduction to electric fencing for goats — not an issue in Nepal where his goats went into the jungle in the morning and came home by themselves at night. During the week he spent with us, Chuda taught me at least as much about goats as I taught him about fencing, and we’ve been ‘fast’ friends and goat raising colleagues ever since.
In February, Chuda and his family moved to a former dairy farm in Colchester, VT that has been leasedto the Vermont Goat Collaborative by the Vermont Land Trust, and I made the first of 3 kid goat deliveries — our Honda Odyssey van is referred to as ‘The Goat-mobile’ — on March 12th.
All of the kids are thriving under the excellent care Chuda, his wife, Gita, his brother-in-law, Tika, and their extended families have provided, and every time I deliver a van load of kids I get a spectacular lunch of curried goat, Bhutanese pickles and rice. I’m very proud that Fat Toad Farm has become a key supporter of the Vermont Goat Collaborative — and I absolutely love curried goat!