Meet Vanilla, the herd grandmother.
Have you ever wondered what happens to our goats as they get older and are eventually unable to produce offspring and be a part of the milking herd? Well, read on to find out how our newest retired doe, Vanilla, will spend her golden years.
Vanilla was born on the ranch on February 29, 2016 - that’s right, she was a leap year baby! So while she technically will only be celebrating her 2nd birthday this year, she is actually 8 years old in 2024. This means that Vanilla is in her retirement years, which our does usually reach when they are between 6 and 8 years old.
How do we know when it is time for the does to be retired, you might ask. Well, it is usually quite obvious as they will begin to produce less milk over the course of the year, they will dry off (stop producing milk) earlier in the year than the rest of the herd, and they generally are a bit less fertile than they were in their younger years. Once it is time for a doe to be retired, we then decide to either keep the doe in the herd or re-home her to a loving family who is looking to add one of our lovely does to their family.
Vanilla is a beautiful doe with strong genetics - most of her daughters look just like her and share her tan/white coloring.
These does make a valuable addition to both our dairy herd or a loving family, as they are generally very docile, friendly, and mostly just want to enjoy some green foliage and warm sunshine as they relax through their retirement. Vanilla happens to be the owner, Michelle’s, favorite goat (not that we have favorites…), so we plan to keep Vanilla in the herd with her daughters, granddaughters, and her many friends for years to come.
While Vanilla enjoys her retirement, she will get lots of scratches from her caretakers and tour guests, long afternoons napping in the sunshine, and all the delicious hay and foliage she desires. Goats generally live to be about 12 years old, though our last retiree, Almond, lived to be over 13 years old before quietly passing away in her sleep in her warm barn among her lifelong herd mates.
Hopefully Vanilla will live as long a life as her predecessor, and we will be there to enjoy every minute of it alongside her. If you would like to sponsor Vanilla to help pay for her feed and healthcare during her retirement, you can do so here. You can also come meet her and the rest of the herd on one of our ranch tours by visiting our website here.