When living in the countryside of North Yorkshire, friends who ran a sheep farm nearby had a couple of goats and helped me get started with keeping a goat, teaching me the basics and being on hand to help me in the early days. When we moved to Nottingham, we brought Heidi with us and converted the back of the garage into a stall. (We also brought our bees and a cat.) We arrived with our livestock under cover of darkness, fearing what our new neighbours in an urban square of semi-detached houses would say! A year later, Tessa (our daughter) bought her own goat – as well as five hens.
Apart from wanting to keep a few animals, tests showed that my hay fever and asthma was exacerbated by drinking cow’s milk, so there was strong justification for producing our own goat’s milk. At her peak, a few months after delivering kids, Heidi, she was producing 11 pints (5 litres) a day, so we were selling milk to people who needed it because of eczema and other allergies.
After about five years, when our family circumstances changed, including me working and Tessa leaving home, we sold our goats. But about 15 years later, when we moved to Loughborough, we again kept goats although after the serious outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, restrictions on animals similar to our current coronavirus lockdown were so strict that we it became increasingly difficult to keep them and pass on the excess milk to other people, so I reluctantly sold them after two years. I often yearn to have goats again, especially when the time comes round each spring for kidding.
Heidi was a British Toggenburg, Tessa’s goat was a British Alpine and the two I had in Loughborough were Golden Guernseys.
Here are some photos of my lovely goats …..