I've thought long and hard over the decision to bring some goats into my family. I've looked into them over the last few years and finally made the decision I was ready to add some to my family. I choose the Nigerian Dwarf goats after lots of research on the different breeds of goats. I love their temperaments, size and colorful markings and figured these would be great goats to bring home as a first time goat owner. I looked into everything it would take to care for them properly and what kinds of supplies I would need. I also found a local vet in my area that deals with goats so I knew I would be able to provide them with the proper health care.
I finally contacted a Nigerian Dwarf goat breeder in South Carolina on April 1st, 2008 to inquire about purchasing some kids. I was hoping to bring home 4 kids at the same time since they are herd animals. I figured 4 would be a nice small herd and would be a good start. I got approved to bring some kids home from some late summer breedings that I was looking at. It would give me plenty of time to get ready for their arrival come fall. Everything was in motion and I was getting excited to start preparing for the new additions. While in some talks with the breeder over the summer breedings, 2 kids were born on April 10th. I took a look at them and decided I would like to bring home these cute little ones from these kiddings instead of waiting until fall. We also decided on 2 more from 2 kiddings in March that I was very interested in. That decision was made on April 13th, 2008. It would be better to bring them home in the summer and have them get used to their new home and surroundings and also to grow some before winter hit. I felt much better bringing them home earlier in the year instead of bringing home little babies near winter and having them be so young in the dead of winter. Their expected arrival date to come home was now the first week in June.
So the plans were kicked into high gear and things needed to get done FAST. My mother was going to be having surgery on May 15th, 2008 and she was the only one I had to help me try and build something and set up fencing and such. After her surgery she would not be able to do anything or lift anything over 5 pounds for 6 weeks. That only gave us 4 weekends to get things done for their arrival due to our work schedules during the week. The weekends was all we had to get ready. At that point I had no idea where to even put the goats enclosure in the yard or what I was going to do about a shelter. I either had to build something fast or buy something for them.
Over the following week we talked about the shelter and if it would be better to buy or build one and we were trying to decide on where to put it. I wanted to keep it closer to the house if possible for their safety and also so the dogs could be with or next to the goats 24/7 to watch over them and protect them. We tried to decide on what to do about the fencing and how to lay it out so everyone would be happy. The goats and the dogs could be with each other without being in direct contact until I knew they would be ok together. We finally had it figured out what we wanted to do about their enclosure but the shelter decision was still up in the air.
On April 19th and 20th the shopping had begun. We spent the entire weekend going all over the place to get supplies. We even went looking at buildings to see if we could find something that would make a suitable home for the new goats. On April 19th, we found the perfect building and it ended up being cheaper to buy it already built and have the free delivery of it instead of trying to build one in a short amount of time. It is a 10x16ft building with double doors on one side for the goats run in/feed area and a door in the front to access their bedding area. It also had a nice floor inside too. So I purchased it and set up all the arrangements to have it delivered. Our only concern was if it would fit through the drive through gate to get into the yard and when it would be delivered since they were running behind schedule on deliveries. All we could do was hope it would be here in time and that we could get it in the yard without having to take down some fencing. The building was the hold up on getting the fencing put up. It would have to be brought in first before we could finish the fencing to their enclosure due to the location of where it was going to be sat down. The entire weekend all we did was run all over the place and try to get as much basic supplies as I could get in the local feed stores for the goats. Everything else would have to be ordered online from goat supply houses. At the end of the weekend and after all the local shopping, I sat down and started the internet shopping and everything was ordered and on it's way. At this point all the basic medicines were ordered, the feed and bedding and other items were all here.
On April 22nd, I received a phone call from my mother and we had gotten use of my grandfather's truck. She was heading out to the local Home Depot with him to find fencing. I met up with them when I got out of work and we got all the fencing and loaded it all up in the truck. My mom was talking to my aunt about all we were getting ready to do and not sure how we were going to pull this off with only 3 weekends left. My uncle had offered to come and help. A family friend had offered us the use of a post hole digger so we could get the holes dug to put up the new fencing. He delivered it on April 23rd. That evening we measured out where the fencing was going and where the building was going to sit before beginning to dig.
On April 24th, my uncle showed up to help and we broke ground. 9 trees and bushes had to be dug up and moved in order to remove some old fencing and they also needed moved because we did not want them in the goat enclosure. Half of the privacy fencing for the dogs nighttime area was torn down and the holes were dug for the fencing to be moved and new fencing added.
The holes dug for the new fencing.
Half of the dogs privacy fencing for their nighttime area ripped down and the bushes and trees are now missing from beside where the old fencing was ripped down.
The area where the barn is going to sit all marked out with spray paint.
The old part of the dogs privacy fencing was then put up and used as the back part of the goats enclosure. We also strung up some 4ft chain link fencing temporarily to keep the dogs contained at night while the privacy fencing was down. The chain link would be more permanent once everything else was in place. The following pictures were taken the morning of April 25th of the work that was completed on the previous day.
The back side of the goat enclosure with the old privacy fencing put in it's new place.
Another angel of the area and you can see the chain link put up temperarily in place to contain the dogs.
Here's a shot of the dogs wondering what is going on. Some of the dogs area was also filled in with some dirt because they had huge craters from digging which this breed loves to do.
Some of the supplies that I had ordered from online began arriving on the 24th also and I got a notification that the toys I had ordered for the goats had shown up in the store. On April 25th, my uncle had shown up early in the morning to help again and my neighbor had also come in with his bobcat to help level out the foundation for the barn to be sat down. The temporary chain link fence had to come down so my neighbor could level out the area and not hit the fence with the bobcat. My neighbor also brought in stone we had purchased from him to lay as the foundation for the building. It was not as easy as it looked to level out the foundation. He brought a laser level along to shoot at the site to make sure it was level. We had a tough time making it level and had to bring in more stone that we dug out of our front road. It's a dirt/stone drive and it's stone we had purchased before to lay in the drive. We just scooped some excess out of the drive to help level out the foundation of the barn. All in all, it was about 3 tons of stone brought in to level out the area. We also realized that some of the holes that were dug for the new fencing were not lining up right so the old holes previously dug had to be filled back in and new ones needed dug. There was an incident that held up work that day. The hole digger had gotten stuck in the ground for 2 hours and no one could get it out. It was finally pulled free and work was able to resume. The chain link fencing was moved again and put where we wanted it but it was still very temporary and needed set in properly.
Below are some pictures of my neighbor using his bobcat to level out the building foundation.
This is the area all leveled out and ready for the barn to be sat down.
Now where is all the dirt that he dug out for the foundation? Well, it was laid down in the dog area to help cover up all their holes they had dug and to help even it out more so it's not so hazardous to walk in their area.
What a mess that is! It needed to be raked by hand and smoothed out as much as possible. We got a heavy rain in the next day or so and it was a muddy mess. You couldn't even walk in it without slipping and getting stuck in it. It literally pulled my shoes right off of my feet when I was out to get one of the dogs. The dogs loved it! I am thankful for the rain because it helped to pack it down more and now it's nice and solid again and not messy like it was before. It also had some grass in it and it's actually helping grass to grow in their area again.
Here is the chain link fence moved yet again and put into place of where we wanted it.
Here is another angel of the messy area and some of the chain link moved.
By the end of the day on April 25th, the dog area was raked and the rest of the chain link was put back up but still very temporary until we could set it in place permanently and stretch it. The 9 bushes and trees that were pulled out were replanted along the backside of the fence that we moved. One new section of fencing was also put up but we could do no more until the barn arrived or the truck would not be able to make it in to sit it down. Over the weekend of April 26th, I had gone to the store and picked up the toys that had come in and brought them home. I had to put them together and due to the weather we were held up work wise outside. By now all the supplies were here and I was trying to get everything in order. We cleaned out the garage and set up an area to keep the goat feed, hay and some other supplies. I also threw down some grass seed all through the dog area and some extra in the goat area. We now just had to patiently wait for the delivery of the barn.
On April 29th, I received a phone call at work from my mother. The barn was on it's way and would be at the house within 3 hours. They were supposed to give us a warning in advance but we expected a day or 2 warning that it was coming. I could not get out of work so she went and waited on it to arrive and had to unlock all the gates for the truck to get into the yard. Below are the pictures of the barn arriving and being sat into place.
Here it comes!
They just barely made it through the gate. They made with with only inches to spare. That driver was good!
It's in the yard!
They need to back it into the area now.
It's backed into the foundation area now.
They are moving it into place.
It's ready to be dropped!
Ready, set, begin!
There it goes!
Here it is in place.
Side view of double doors.
Another view so you can see how the fence in positioned by the barn.
With the barn finally here we could get back to work and finish the fencing. We didn't really have time to do anything else until the weekend due to our work schedules. The weekend of May 3rd we got back to working. That Saturday we got up early and began to put up the rest of the privacy fence. We got it all up and sat in place. We later went to the store and bought some weatherproofing stain to help it kind of match the old fencing which it doesn't match but it's better than it was originally. The new fencing we were not very pleased with but it had to do. We planted some new plants on the new side of the fence that we purchased while we were out to get the weatherproofing. We had also bought some solar lights to put in the goat enclosure so they had some light at night and so I could see a little if I looked out to check on them. We then spent the rest of the day painting the fence. It took about 7 hours for me and my mother to paint the inside and outside of the fencing. We also sealed the floor inside of the barn with water resistant stain and had to let it dry for 72 hours before walking on it. The toys for the goats were moved into the yard and the solar lights were put in place. We were on hold again until things dried and we could figure out how to build a wall inside the barn.
Here's one of the goat toys sat in place and you can see some of the solar lights in the background.
Another goat toy in place.
On May 5th, my grandfather came to help build a wall inside the barn. The wall is the dividing wall for the bedding and feed area. It has a small dog door type opening in it for the goats to go from area to area. The wall goes up to the tops of the main barn walls but stops at the ceiling for ventilation. There is a nice opening in the top of the barn to allow air to get through so it's not airtight and enclosed but it'll still provide a nice weather barrier for the goats and a comfortable bedding area. I also began moving some mountain stone into the goat enclosure for them to have a rock pile to play on. I was out in the yard collecting it and loading it into a cart. I was loading some pieces and only had one more piece to load. I went around to the front of the cart to lay the last piece in it when the entire cart flipped forward and the handle nailed me in the bridge of my nose. It felt like I had broken my nose. It was an instant headache. Thankfully my nose was not broken but it felt bruised but it never bruised on the surface. It hurt to even touch it for a few days afterwards.
On May 7th, my grandfather came again to help finish up the inside of the barn and to help pull the chain link fence tight. The chain link fence was completed finally in it's permanent place and pulled tight. He then helped build a shelf in the bedding area of the barn for the goats to jump up on and lay. It's 2ft. high so they can jump up on it and also still fit under it. We then began discussing lighting for the barn. My grandfather contacted my uncle, who had come to help previously, to see if he would want to help run some electric to the barn. On May 8th, they both came and ran electric to the barn. There was now a flood light on the outside of the barn to light up the entire area if I needed to go out after dark to tend to the goats and also a light inside the barn. On May 10th, we had hung the feeders and hay racks in the barn and also spent the day painting the shelf with waterproofing and the inside walls of the barn and some of the privacy fencing with chew proof stuff so the goats don't chew on their new home. Here are some pictures of the work done over those couple of days.
The wall with the hole in for the goats to go back and forth.
The divider fence completed.
The new flood light on the outside of the barn and the walk in to the goat enclosure.
The inside light which will give light to both areas inside the barn.
Feeders in place.
More feeders and a hay rack that still has to be hung.
I even hung a cow bell to call them at feeding time!
Now here is a shot of their enclosure with the toys and the small pile of rocks. The rocks were just thrown down and not completed yet. I still wanted to collect more from around the yard and then set them up in a nice pile for them.
Here is another view of the entire area from inside the dogs nighttime area.
This is a view from the back yard of the entire enclosure with all the plants replanted. Remember, this is only the dogs nighttime area and the goats living enclosure. All of the animals have access to the larger area of the yard during the daytime.
This picture is not really good but it gives you the general idea of what it'll look like at night with all the lights lit up. Not all of the lights will be on at the same time but they will if I have to go out and tend to the goats in the middle of the night.
Everything was pretty much done at this point except for some loose ends that needed finished like hanging the remaining hay rack and finishing the rock pile. I'm glad we got this far so soon. On Sunday, May 11th and Mother's day, I suffered a bad hand injury and ended up going to the hospital. I ended up needing a stitch and my hand got all bandaged up and put in a splint. I had to remain in the splint for one week and kept it bandaged for 2 weeks. I could not do anything or lift anything with my hand and it'll take a while to heal due to nerves. My mom also went in for her surgery on May 15th. We were both out of commission so we could not do anymore at that time.
After about 2 weeks and after my hand began healing some, we went shopping again on the weekend of May 24th. This time I bought some pretty flowers for on the barn for the goats. They are fake so they won't be of any harm to the goats. I will be changing flowers with the seasons. I figured it was something fun to do for the kids and a nice welcome home. I was able to hang the flowers in their new containers and also able to hang the remaining hay rack. I also have been letting the dogs explore the new goat area and investigate the barn. They are very curious and excited to what is happening. I have a feeling they know something big is happening and something is going to be coming home soon but they are not sure what. Below are some pictures I took of the barn finished and Kazara testing out the barn.
Both hay racks finally hung. They are hung very low right now due to the goats being tiny babies. They can be adjusted later as they grow.
Kazara is testing out the shelf for the goats. She's such a goof ball!
Here she is taking a break and a short nap inside the bedding area.
She likes this new barn!
Here she is testing out the goat door.
Here is the barn completely finished with the flowers added for the finishing touch.
The only thing left to do was finish the rock pile. We had spoken to my neighbor that had helped us level out the foundation and he was going to help get some big rocks to bring in for the pile. So I was waiting on that to finish the rock pile. On May 31st, I was out shopping again and a last minute decision was made to get some big patio stones for the entrance to the feeding area so the goats would not be stepping in the dirt that was there from leveling out the ground and tracking a bunch of mud inside the barn. I had got 8 large patio stones and laid them down in front of the door. I also got the hay and brought that in for the goats and then placed bedding inside of the bedding area. Everything is here and ready now except for the stone.
Here are the new patio stones. They are not laid perfect but it'll do to help keep mud out of the building. I can redo them later and lay them down better once my hand heals since I will be able to lift things better.
On June 2nd, my neighbor had brought over some big rocks for the goats to jump on. He had set some of them up before I got home from work to help me out. Once I got home from work, I moved the remaining stones that I had originally brought in the area and completed the pile. I think the goats should like their rock pile!
Front view of the rock pile.
Side view of the rock pile.
Now the entire goat yard is finished!
Everything is now complete and we are relieved that it's done. It was a short time frame to do it but we did it. We could never have gotten it done if it wasn't for those who volunteered to help us. I am so thankful to have had the help. The new kids will be arriving home on June 6th, 2008! We got this all done just in time for their arrival. All that's left to do now is play the waiting game.
Special Thanks to: