Title: February Member of the Month
Description: Skippy of Annie's Goat Hill
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:32 AM (GMT)
We'd like everyone to meet Mary Humphrey of Annie's Goat Hill, or Skippy as we know her, our GoatChat Member of the Month for February! Mary and her family raise boar goats; mostly precentages as a commercial herd, although they have 2 full blood bucks and 2 full blood does. They also have 3 Nubian does and a beautiful Nubian buck. They raise goats mostly for meat to sell from their commercial herd. But they are starting to get interested in dairy with their Nubians. She is totally, utterly, hooked on goats!
The story of how Mary and her husband, Bob, got interested in goats is quite interesting. We'll let her tell it in her own words: "One day a few years ago we went to buy hay from our normal supplier. He raised cattle. That particular day we were surprised when we saw the cutest, friendliest looking goats come up to the fence, not cattle! We had to be told that they were boer goats and we fell in love instantly! I started researching boer goats and found they were not only a “cute” animal but were raised as a meat goat and from there the interest grew. I have read daily anything that I can get my hands on about goats! A little over a year ago we discovered that one of our neighbors also had boers goats (about 300 at that time) and we decided to stop in, introduce ourselves, and ask questions. They took us in and told us all about goats. We were pretty green! We bought 3 kids at weaning age shortly thereafter from a different breeder. Then we went back to our neighbor and bought 3 bred does. That was the extent of our kidding season last year. By the end of last summer we had 42 goats on our lot. We were hooked! With a little time under our belt we are now focused on quality and not so much quantity."
Mary believes experience in the last year or so has enabled her to understand goats better and she is better able to spot a winning breeder. She's working on culling everything that is not a pet or a good producer from her herd and she is very focused on improving her herd. This sounds like something we all end up coming to, doesn't it?
Mary's routine starts after the sun comes up. She feeds the horses, the chickens and ducks, and then moves into the goat barn. She gives them hay and grain, and checks on their minerals and water. She interacts with all of them as she goes along, talking to them and petting them. Goats are a joy, and, as we all know, encourage such interaction. During kidding season Mary checks on the does in 'maternity row' and then goes to check on the animals in the dairy pen. The dairy goats are spoiled and get to leave the pen while she fills their grain pans. In the evening Mary and her husband feed the goats together, spending a lot of time just sitting and watching the goats at their evening feed. This is a great way to unwind, we here at GoatChat highly approve.
Bob takes care of the hooves and does most of the medicating and vaccinating for the herd. He also stacks all the hay and drives the truck, and is there to help her when she needs help the most. Mary takes care of the day to day care and the research that is needed to keep up to date on a growing goat herd.
Mary is very particular about feed. She feeds different quantities and mixes based on the goats' needs, breaking the goats down into 4 categories: less than 5 months old, pregnant, buck, or maintenance. She has rarely had to use a vet, but she will when she needs a second opinion. She finds vets have different degrees of knowledge and conflicting information and so prefers to research things herself. Once she has gathered all the information she can, she makes her own decision about care. She and Bob give all the goats their vaccinations, using the most common ones such as CD/T, Bo-Se and so on, regularly. They've not had many health problems in their goats, but occasionally they have to drag out the extra medications and shots. She never stops reading about goat care and is always striving to give the best care possible to her animals.
Mary and Bob find the most challenging aspect of goat raising to be kidding. It's always a wonderful time of anticipation and joy, but it can be extremely stressful as well, as we all know. She carefully observes each doe, checking their faces, tails, how they walk and eat and act. She acts quickly if she sees something unusual or something that seems wrong, and tries to follow her first instinct as she does so. It's easy to get side-tracked and hard to stay focused when an emergency arises, but she does her best!
Mary finds some of her favorite things about goats to be their personalities and their intelligence. She loves just sitting amongst them, letting them come up to her and nibble on her hat or shirt. Goats are peaceful animals, and Mary enjoys that peace.
Mary and Bob plan to continue raising meat goats in the future, but they are going to expand and have a small dairy herd. This will require the construction of a new dairy barn. They are also thinking about raising Angoras for fiber. They don't show their goats yet, but Mary is working up the courage to do so soon. That sounds like quite a few of us here on GoatChat. Mary will be restarting her soap business this year, and will include goat's milk soap in her line. She also sits in on the Southwester Ohio Dairy Goat Association committee meetings and is hoping to become an alternate for the association. She really likes helping kids show goats and helping them to learn about goat care. She and Bob are breeder members in the ABGA and ADGA.
In closing we are going to let Mary tell you about her proudest achievement as a goat owner:
"We are proud of our Annie. She is a lovely percentage boer goat. Last April a husband of a neighbor/friend telephoned. He said, “Helen is in the lot and is helping a doe kid. She has a job for you, can you do it?” I responded, “I will do what I can, and will give it my best,” without knowing what “it” was. He said, “Helen pulled a little doe from the mother. The mother is not going to make it. There may be another kid but it will not make it either. We have too many house kids and want you to come take this doe and raise her.” Well, he didn’t have to prompt me! We were at that house on that cold morning, ready to take that baby home within minutes! She was new alright, and we were totally inexperienced with kid goats! We brought home a wet kid wrapped in an old towel and a small frozen bottle of colostrum. We got Annie home, got her good and dry, got her fed, set her up in a laundry basket with baby blankets, towels, and a heating pad underneath. That evening we returned from having dinner with friends, not knowing if Annie (as we decided to call her) would be alive. She didn’t stir. We were heartbroken. Then we saw a beautiful little eye open, I will never forget our joy! The story unfolds from there, but the 3 weeks that our little Annie was in our house were indescribable. What is better than a little goat under the blankets in bed, with her little head sticking out, getting warm on my body, before she is put to bed in her crate? She was a living doll…and because of her, Annie’s Goat Hill became a real thing. Annie is still growing up, and she is still the goat that everyone comes to see first!"
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:32 AM (GMT)
Here's some pics:
First Mary and Bob
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:33 AM (GMT)
Here's son Marc, with his daughter Kayleigh and fiancee Amy:
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:34 AM (GMT)
Looking out the back door and over the pond across their property:
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:34 AM (GMT)
Down the hill to the barn:
rikke - February 8, 2006 01:35 AM (GMT)
Their bottom pasture/pen. What a nice bunch of goats!
Southard Farm - February 8, 2006 01:43 AM (GMT)
Beautiful photos, wonderful article!
Skippy - February 8, 2006 02:51 AM (GMT)
Sigh...where do I start. Thank you.
I am so proud to be a member of Goat Chat. I have learned a lot from all of you, but better than that, your friendship, as if we are one big family, has made a huge impact on my life.
Raising goats, as all of us know, is one monstrous challenge. As we all do, we love our animals here at our place. There are dissapointments and tough times, but they are always followed with joyous times and accomplishments. I am just glad we (GC) have such a place to share in all of this!
Hugs to all of you, and thank you! g hug)
Amy Goatress - February 8, 2006 03:21 AM (GMT)
Congratulations to you Mary, wonderful article and lovely pictures, so glad to have you here with us.
Skippy - February 8, 2006 03:36 AM (GMT)
Amy Goatress - February 8, 2006 03:40 AM (GMT)
Rockin B Farm - February 8, 2006 03:41 AM (GMT)
Congrats Mary, I enjoyed the article about you. You seem to be................(nevermind I'd hate for ol' Bob to get jealous) la) la) la) . LMAO
Skippy - February 8, 2006 04:23 AM (GMT)
la) Not fair, Jason, you have to tell.
prairiewolf - February 8, 2006 06:15 AM (GMT)
Congratulations! Very nice article and pictures! You sure have some beautiful goats! :D
fritzie - February 8, 2006 11:51 AM (GMT)
p) congrats mary & bob what a great story. mary i got goose pumps & a tear in my eye reading about annie. what a special story you have. i know that you are as honered as i was to be chosen memeber of the month & girl you sure do deserve it. i hope to see you in the show ring some day. we on goat chat are sooo lucky to have you here with us.
rycj - February 8, 2006 01:19 PM (GMT)
Hey Mary! Congrats on being the febuary member of the month. It is very nice to read about you and your goats. The pictures are great too.
goatsrule2003 - February 8, 2006 02:08 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (rycj @ Feb 8 2006, 08:19 AM)|
| Hey Mary! Congrats on being the febuary member of the month. It is very nice to read about you and your goats. The pictures are great too. |
Mary, Wonderful story!! I too, loved the story about Annie. :D
I can relate to taking care of kids in the house. LOL :P
Can't we all pretty much?? :D
Great Article! :D
amo69 - February 8, 2006 03:15 PM (GMT)
oooo i almost cryed reading about annie. what a wonderful story yours is!!! thanks soooo much for sharing it with us!! i feel blessed to have you apart of our little family here.
Classicironman - February 8, 2006 03:22 PM (GMT)
i really love these! it is so good reading about each persons reasonings in getting into raising goats.ms marys was again a wonderful story.
ms mary has been a joy and very active member from the day she got here and i always enjoy reading her post. now bob have joined the crew so yet another great addition to the goatchat family p)
Jean - February 8, 2006 08:20 PM (GMT)
Congrats. Mary on being "Member of the Month". p) That was a great "Annie" story. I felt like I was right there peeping into the laundry basket seeing that little eye pop open. :lol:
Skippy - February 9, 2006 02:57 AM (GMT)
Thank you everyone.
Yes, Annie was/is very special. I need to get a good up to date picture of her. She is getting to be a good sized doe. That kid would sit out in the yard, under a tree, and watch the house. She was looking for me to come out. When she was just 6 to 8 weeks old she would "holler" at the neighbors across the road when she heard their voices. For example, they would be having a family cookout and Annie would start bellowing for a bottle. I would have to go out and retrieve her, give her a bottle. Of course, they thought it was hilarious, and it was cute. Now she just stands back, behind the crowd, with a look on her face, making eye contact, "Yep, it's my mom, and I am in no hurry." She is just a doll baby.
RockSpringsRanch - February 9, 2006 06:41 PM (GMT)
What a wonderful article! It is so nice to get to know more about our friends here...
I was holding my breath waiting for you to say Annie was okay..
What a beautiful herd you and Bob have there Mary, just beautiful!
gardengoat - February 12, 2006 06:53 PM (GMT)
Oh Congratulations Mary!!!! Enjoyed reading your story, and Annie's g hug)