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Lessons learned in goat farming

An Iowa family has embraced raising goats

Doug Reynolds never imagined that one day he would have a herd of goats roaming his acreage near Earlham, Iowa. But when his daughter Macy entered 4-H, she wanted to show goats more than anything. What started as a couple goats, has blossomed into a herd of 30.

Getting started with goats can be a fun and exciting experience, as the Reynolds family has learned. Having good fences is one thing Doug recommends for anyone looking to start their own herd.

"We have definitely learned that good fences are important. Goats can be rough on fences, so we’ve done a lot of work around here to get new fences put in and nice posts, and nice, heavy steel gates," says Doug. "Because they will definitely work over your fences if you don’t have good fences."

The knowledge of caring for livestock, such as space requirements and health needs, is one thing the Reynolds’ feel their children have learned from raising goats. Today, Macy and her two brothers, Blake and Brady, are all involved with the hobby. Doug says caring for the goats has taught the children many valuable lessons, such as responsibility.

"I guess the thing that we’ve realized is that if its cattle or hogs or sheep or goats, kids can learn so much from taking care of them, being responsible and all of the lessons you learn in a show ring. But you can learn those same lessons regardless of what species your raising," he says. "I think the thing we’ve learned is that you can make it what you want, make it as big or as small as you want and we are certainly enjoying it."

Three years after purchasing their first goats, it’s clear the Reynolds family has a passion for this species. With the increase in the number of their herd, the children have a firsthand look at the breeding aspect of their hobby, furthering their learning experiences and knowledge. From learning about caring for goats, to learning about how to handle them in the show ring, these adventures have sparked a love in the Reynolds family for these four-legged creatures.

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