‘City’ Goats?

I  ♥ L-O-V-E  ♥ this article which was posted by my blogland friend, Anna (at http://www.asthegoatworldturns.com/ ) .

Can you imagine g-o-a-t-s as neighbors…in the City! Why not?? I often find myself offering a few of my goat kids to city folk who are visiting the farm. Their reply…”Oh, I wish I could!” What’s not to like about an adorable productive goat? How forward thinking is your City government? Perhaps it’s worthy of a discussion at your next City Council meeting?? Charlottesville, Virginia has already paved the way…

Horning in

Goats move to Woolen Mills, clean up Pen Park
Zinnia and her half-sister, Ella—short for Ellamenope—ran to the fence and wagged their short tails when called. They enthusiastically hopped and bleated while Woolen Mills resident Laura Covert uncovered two baby bottles filled with milk. Three times a day, Covert and her husband cross their 1.5-acre garden to feed two of the first miniature dairy goats permitted in city backyards.

Ella (pictured), along with her half-sister Zinnia, now calls Woolen Mills her home. Owner Laura Covert says her two goats will begin to produce milk in a year.

“I didn’t expect them to be so social. That was something that totally took me by surprise,” says Covert while Zinnia chews a button off Covert’s beige pants. Ella, not to be outdone by her one-week older sister, curls up in Covert’s lap.

Last September, City Council passed an ordinance that allowed city residents to own up to three miniature goats—dehorned, weighing less than 100 pounds and, if males, neutered. The goats must remain on their owner’s property at all times. Covert says she thought about raising dairy goats before the ordinance passed, both for the milk and to provide her family’s 10 ducks with a few friends.

“I was surprised that it went through so easily,” says Covert about the ordinance. “I know there is a big community in Charlottesville that’s interested in local food. If you are going to have a pet, it might as well be a productive one, right?”

Zinnia and Ella are Nigerian dwarf goats, a popular dairy breed, and will begin producing milk in a year. Heidi Passino, who runs Dragon Hill Farm and sold the goats to Covert, says Nigerian dwarf goats are unique because “they are the smallest of the dairy breed, so they don’t produce as much milk as the larger breeds.” Their milk has lots of butter fat, according to Passino. “It makes the milk rich and creamy, and it’s ideal for cheese making or yogurt,” she says.

While owning a goat is not rocket science, says Passino, goats are dependent upon humans for their survival. “Do your research. Look at the breed carefully,” she says. “Just be clear that you are prepared to go out in the freezing rain and take care of your animals.” Nigerian dwarf goats are priced anywhere from $50 to $300.

And if you take care of your goats, they may also take care of you. The City of Charlottesville recently contracted Goat Busters of Afton for three weeks of invasive plant management in Pen Park. The animals will help tame privet, honeysuckle and kudzu in the park. City landscape manager John Mann calls the goats “very cost-effective.”

“Prior to this, all we were able to do was to try to keep the vines out of the trees so the trees will survive,” says Mann. He adds that because most city parks are located in wetland areas, chemical use is a significant concern.

“Some chemicals are used as a follow-up, but you can imagine the goats have taken care of the majority of it,” says Mann. “So if there is any use of chemicals, it’s very limited.” 

Article Credit: C-Ville:Government

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