now commanded a good bit of the property, as well as various tall weeds, trailing vines and bamboo. My first thought was GOATS! Really, goats?

I hasten to add I had no prior experience with the species and ac- tually knew very little about their habits, care or dietary requirements. I just knew this particular property needed some sort of livestock on it that could eat a variety of plants and that wasn’t terribly finicky. As a livestock newbie, I liked the idea that goats were small- framed compared to cows and horses and that they had the unique ability to convert many noxious weeds and marginal plants into food — and could ultimately end up on our menu! I suppose I’ll always be impressed with the small miracle of ruminants converting solar, water and grass into protein.

So, what came of the property

I’m describing? Through an interest- ing turn of events, I had actually met the property owner’s sister on a dif- ferent occasion and was able to con- tact her. Peggy’s family used to pasture a horse there as well as farm a portion of the land years ago. After her husband passed, the land lay barren and nature inevitably began to take back the land.

When I told Peggy of my inter- est in bringing in a few goats, she reminisced that her husband had also kept a number of them on the acreage and that she’d like to have some to “keep down the weeds.” So, after discussing a few details, I set to work clearing overgrown fence lines and strung a perimeter of polybraid

of experience, knowledge and encouragement, I was able to obtain a beautiful herd sire and 3 quality nannies with bloodlines including Low Country, Baylis and Valera. Another breeder an hour north of me had an additional two doelings that I added to the merry band. We’ve now had one “crop” of offspring and I’m slowly building the herd from the ground up. I’ll never forget seeing the first tiny kid emerge from a thicket to join her mother — just a day old and already very active and very alive!

At that point, I knew I was on to something. While 11 goats are not exactly a herd size that shouts, “Team Weedbuster,” it’s a great start and provides me with a manageable group of animals I can learn and grow with. The personalities of each goat are unique and the playful antics of their kids continue to provide hours of entertainment whenever I’m with them.

I’m continuing to grow in my knowledge of animal care, rotational grazing and what constitutes a qual- ity animal. And with the property lo- cated just off the road that connects my home and my office, I couldn’t ask for a better situation to check in on them each day and enjoy their unique greetings. (Did I mention they’re very vocal?)

Oh yes, one last thing — the Paul’s bloodlines include Low Country, Baylis and Valera.

wire to keep goats from rubbing on and stretching out the chain link. At the same time, I dove into researching the different goat breeds and finally landed on what I thought was a good match for my objectives: the Spanish goat. I concluded this breed was likely to be the most resilient for our South Carolina climate and less likely to suffer from parasitic overload. With their reputation of being adaptable browsers and dependable reproducers, I hoped this would be a good breed for me to start with. After locating the Spanish Goat Association (now Spanish Goats LLC) and speaking with president Donna Askew at Living Oak Farm, I knew I had found the right breed for me. With her wealth

chickens. Fortunately, it turns out that these goats don’t seem to mind the company of laying hens. Soon after I got the property set up, I was able to convert an old horse stall into a henhouse. Outfitted with a small

automatic door that is activated with a photo-electric eye, I am able to keep the flock on the “goat ranch” safely and provide them with far more area to forage than they had before. Each evening after work I’m able to stop by and collect eggs after my daily “goat chores.” One never knows what might happen when you inquire about

an overgrown field just down the road. You just might end up with a new hobby!

(Paul Bailey and his family live in Spartanburg, S.C., and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area. He is a licensed financial advisor by day and hobby rancher “after hours.”)

34 Goat Rancher | September 2021

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