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The Tour

Posted by patriot@harnerfarm.net on October 22, 2016 at 10:55 AM

As a test of the eagerness of goat owners to learn from each other - I helped organize a tour of goat operations. The event was held Octover 22 at the farms of Deb & Martin McAvoy, Marla & Monte Countess (all near Anamoose) and the Velva operation of Christi and Troy Bragg. 33 people pre-registered with LeAnn Norton.

The day was pretty warm for October with a slight chill in the morning, so the group gathered near the coffee and hot chocolate pots to taste delicious dairy goat products and get to know each other. Deb explained a bit about her operation and the group kept talking and moving through the barns, seeing the milk room, corrals, Great Pyrenees and German Shepard dogs as well as registered Nubians in a variety of ages. Deb explained the care of each group in their different stages of life, problems she'd encountered as well as solutions.

By noon we were at Countess Farms, where Marla had the barn all decorated for lunch - again with a variety of goat products. In addition to her Nubians, we also saw a variety of buildings, feeders and shelters and learned about their construction and purpose. Marla talked about her sheep operation a bit just to highlight the differences between sheep and goats. She also showed her Jersey dairy cows and discussed her innovative CAE prevention technique of feeding raw cow's milk to the kids and raw goat's milk to calves.

The sun was in full force when we reached the Bragg Farm. Troy and Christi have both registered Nubians and Boers and do a bit of crossbreeding to put extra milk into their Boer herd. They've done extensive work on an old dairy barn and corral system with a wide variety of options for feeders, kid warmers, etc. The tour ended with a look at how Troy is retrofitting a quonset for goat housing.

The participants truly enjoyed the day and asked for each other's contact information so they could keep in touch. Our hosts were all gracious in opening their operations and sharing the good and the not-so-good. There's nothing like seeing another operation to help generate ideas for your own. I hope this is only the first of many such tours in our state.

By LeAnn Harner

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