By Janet Kehres
The Eisenhauer family loves goats.
They live near Shiloh and have two barns full of goats.
Most of their goats are Nubians. Nubians have very long floppy ears that should extend about one inch beyond the muzzle. They can be any color and should have a convex (Roman) nose. Nubians are considered dairy goats and are one of the larger breeds of goats, with a height requirement of thirty inches weighing around one hundred thirty-five pounds. This breed of goat tends to produce some what less milk than other breeds, but their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat content than other breeds. They tend to be a little bit more stubborn than other dairy goats and make a distinctive sound. Even Nubian kids sound like they are complaining. This is probably the most popular breed of dairy goat in the U.S. Most Nubian goats in the U.S. derive from English lines developed by crossing English dairy goats with African and Indian lop-eared breeds.
You don't need a large amount of property to raise Nubians. Two goats will produce enough quality fresh milk, with each doe averaging three quarts a day for ten months.
The goat is a member of the family Bovidae and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, and have been used for their milk, meat, hair and skins over much of the world. Goat meat is the most popular meat to be eaten in the world. Maybe it is not in the U.S., but in Somali and Kenya it is the primary meat used to feed the population.
Female goats are referred to as "does" or "nannies", intact males are called "bucks or "billies" and juveniles of both sexes are called "kids". Castrated males are called "wethers". Goat meat from younger animals is called "kid" or "cabrito", while meat from older animals is known simply as "goat" or sometimes called "chevon", or in some areas, "mutton".
Goats are reputed to be willing to eat almost anything, including tin cans and cardboard boxes. While goats will not actually eat inedible material, they are browsing animals, not grazers like cattle and sheep. With their curious nature they will chew on and taste just about anything.
The Eisenhauers raise mostly dairy goats, but have some meat goats intermixed.
The Eisenhauer family have approximately 40 or more doe and one buck. A buck can be quite odoriferous, and his strong, musky scent can permeate the milk. Usually the buck is mixed with the doe only at breeding time.
Recently, the family delivered forty-four baby kids from twenty two does. They keep track of the birthing situation through the use of infrared cameras located in the barns. These cameras are built for ruggedness, reliability and accuracy. You can watch what is happening in the barn on a computer or smart phone. During the busiest time of birthing, a member of the family could be in the barn whenever needed by checking their computer or phone. They stated during one period they were spending 12-15 hours in the barn taking turns.
The Eisenhauers like to breed early which means most of their kids will arrive in January. This makes the kid the right age for 4-H and FFA students to take the animal to the county fairs during the summer months. They raise their goats for the students to purchase and because they have a great love for the frisky little critters.
Each goat is tagged on the ear. A different color tells them who the mother/father goat is and the first number on the tag tells what year the goat was born.
Kristin Eisenhauer, the youngest daughter, is getting close to graduating from Ohio State University with a major in Agriculture Science Education and a minor in Production Agriculture. She loves all animals and enjoys every aspect of agriculture. Kristen stated they have always had goats on their farm. She grew up helping her parents raise goats.
Eileen Eisenhauer, Kristin's mother, works for Richland County Farm Bureau. She can be seen at numerous county fairs helping the students in any way that she can assist.
Randy Eisenhauer, is the Vocational Agriculture teacher at Shelby High School where he has built a reputation for making Shelby's FFA program one of the elite in the area.