I was planning to write about the acorn harvest today, but that will just have to wait. After writing Tuesday's post, I checked some of the blogs I read, and I decided to check the blog for a family that bought a doe and a wether from us this spring. They were creating a sustainable homestead and were adding goats to create a home dairy. They already had chickens, rabbits, bees, and a garden.
Well, buried in a blog post it said that they no longer have goats, but they have goat meat in their freezer. There was no explanation. My brain did not even make the connection at first. I wondered where our goats had gone -- and where did they get goat meat? Then it clicked, and my stomach was turning inside out. They butchered the goats we sold them this spring? They butchered a $300, 25-pound, registered doeling out of my best milking line? Even the meat from the wether would be over-priced at $75 for the little guy, but seriously, who in their right mind would butcher a $300 doeling that could easily be resold? She was not even six months old. A yearling Shetland wether (sheep) only has a hanging weight of 25 pounds, and they're much meatier than dairy goats. Hanging weight on a young doe would be 10-15 pounds -- and that's not all meat. Even now my brain keeps thinking there has to be a mistake.
I know I'm supposed to be the hearty farm woman, right? I spent all day -- yes, all day -- thinking about this Tuesday, trying to tell myself that's just life. As another goat breeder said, you can't keep them all, and you can't control what happens to them after they leave. I know. But this is such a colossal waste of a goat that had so much potential as a family milker. Four families have been waiting six months to get goats from me, including a woman who is only 30 minutes from the family that had that doe. She would have gladly bought the doe from them, had they only told me they couldn't keep their goats any longer. I've turned away half a dozen more families that wanted goats this year, and I already have three families on next year's waiting list for goats that have not been conceived yet.
As you know, I'm not against eating animals that have lived a happy life, so I asked myself what is so upsetting about this. Obviously, I'm more attached to my goats than I realized, but beyond that -- it's a huge waste. Being sustainable means living a lifestyle that can sustain you. Eating $20-30 per pound goat meat is not sustainable. Killing an animal that could have provided thousands of pounds of milk over her lifetime is a waste. I had never even considered the possibility that someone would just decide to eat one of my goats one day, because they're too expensive to just eat. They're too valuable to be used for food.
I used to subscribe to the Flylady emails, and she always talked about getting rid of your clutter and anything that you don't absolutely love. By giving it away, you're allowing someone else to love it. As they say, one person's trash is another's treasure. It was the same thing with the goats. Even though they had become a burden to their current family, there was another family nearby that would have loved to have the doeling. It's not like the family that was faced with an $1,200 vet bill to get a c-section for a goat and decided to put her down. These people had real options. If only they had called me, I could have put them in touch with someone who would have bought her and loved her and appreciated the milk that she would have given them next spring.