Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Goat Get ‘Em

Goats as pets, Mary Stone of Garden Dilemmas, Garden Blog, Gardening Blog

Hello fellow readers,

I had the privilege of meeting with Josh of Stillwater, who adopted Skippy and Jay Jay in March at five weeks old, weighing 15 pounds each. His “Kids,” the actual name for baby goats, are Toggenburg goats named after the Toggenburg valley in Switzerland where the breed originated. They are the oldest dairy breed of goats, though he opted for two males as milk production was not his wish. Skippy and Jay Jay are his alternatives to having a dog.

Mary Stone of Garden Dilemmas, Garden Blog, Gardening Blog, Goats as pets

Josh with ‘Kids”

Josh chose two goats hanging around together when he visited the breeder as he wanted them to be friends. They play by butting heads – their horns intact instead of burning the buds to keep them from growing. Usually, you disbud kids at 4 to 10 days of age, making them 4-H show-worthy. Josh has attended 4-H to learn about caring for his goats but does not plan to show them. Skippy and Jay Jay now weigh about 30 pounds in just three months and will grow 150 to 185 pounds (big dogs!) and live for 11-15 years.

When asked what two important tips he would share with a goat-owning newbie, Josh shared:

Tip 1 -“Have lots of money.” He paid $100 each and would have paid $350 if he opted for a pygmy. Plus the shed and fencing he and his Dad constructed; an impressive job, I might add. Then there’s the monthly cost of grain, hay, and pine bedding at around $55 a month, but their appetites and bedding will increase as they grow.

Tip 2 – “Don’t have a garden unless you have a fence,” advised this 12-year-old goat whisperer. They’ll eat just about everything, as I witnessed having a few fewer buttons when I left. They are charming and fun to watch as they follow Dad around the property; licorice-flavored goat treats in hand may have something to do with it.

I shared Josh’s goat wisdom with a Gwili of Annandale, NJ. She learned of a family taking on goats to clear the invasive Multiflora Rose that was overtaking their hillside – excellent garden application. Goat, get ’em. Garden Dilemmas? and your favorite Podcast App.

Multiflora Rose, Mary Stone of Garden Dilemmas, Garden Blog, Gardening Blog

Multiflora Rose

Link to a column on The History of 4-H

Column updated 6/11/22


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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