These days, when Wendy Carroll talks about her kids, she probably means the four-legged kind. She has a new family of goats. Her Nubian doe gave birth to four healthy goat kids on May 30.
“This is fairly rare, and they are more than fairly cute!” said Carroll. Nubians are the breed of dairy goat with the Roman noses and the ‘hanging-down ears.’ The kids are coming up to two months old, and like to indulge in a little head butting and kicking back in their large grassy pen on Carroll’s farm near Dalmeny.
Ginger, Long Tall Sally, Ivy and Black Bart, as they are known, have bonded with Carroll and shadow her as she moves through the grass. She intends to keep the three does.
Carroll learned to love animals while taking her human kids to the petting zoo when they were young. “The goats were so cute and interesting.” She also has practical reasons for having Nubians. “Goats give you milk. I’ve learned to make six to eight different cheeses. It’s a really interesting thing to try doing!” She and her husband Bryan make their own yogurt as well.
Carroll says the doe produces close to a gallon of milk in the morning and the same at night. “For a goat, that’s really high, especially with this breed.” Nubians also have the highest butterfat in their milk. Carroll doesn’t make butter, but loves the enhanced flavours in the cheese.
Carroll has lived in various places including Winnipeg and Salt Spring Island. This is not her first foray into goats. She got some in Manitoba after escaping the city in favour of country living. Besides the goats, she had a dried flower farm, supplying Winnipeg as well as Thompson, MB with dried flowers.
While the kids are outdoors kicking up their heels, mama Nubian and her sister spend the summer indoors cooling their heels. They prefer to escape pesky insects and the heat of the day.
The kids come in at night mainly because of predators. “Coyotes are a major problem out here. Some people have gone out of sheep just because of the coyote situation.”
While Carroll doesn’t mention any downsides to having goats, she doesn’t love trimming their hooves. “Often an animal will think this is ok, but sometimes they let you know, today is not the day and leave my feet alone.”
Goats also take time away from one of her other loves: music. “Long Tall Sally” provides that clue. Carroll is a trained singer and jazz vocalist, and plays the chromatic harmonica. Most recently, she is learning to improvise in the jazz world.
Carroll, however, seems skilled in improvising at life in general, balancing goats, music and whatever life serves .