Bozarth’s offers Goats 101

Recently on a pleasant summer morning, sitting under the shade of a large oak watching several little two–-week–old goats frolicking on a small hillside, my husband and I enjoyed Lee and Chuck Bozarth’s entertaining version of Goats 101.

“We’d like for people to know more about goats,” Lee said. “The meat is sweeter, more tender and more nutritious than beef. Goats are easier and cheaper to raise. That’s why two-thirds of the world’s people eat goat as their primary meat.”

The Bozarths told us lots of fun facts about their animals: Goats won’t eat everything, as is a popular belief; they smell everything, but won’t eat it.

They do love privet, kudzu and poison oak. Goats have no upper front teeth.

“Don’t know why,” Chuck said. “But it seems to work for them.”

They’re fun, social and very intelligent, but not happy alone. They like to be with other animals.

Babies usually come in ones, twos and sometimes threes. A nanny has only two teats and keeps the nursing on a strict schedule.

There is a five-month gestation period, so a nanny could drop three times in a two-year period; a large herd can be built up quickly.

Lee told us that goat milk is very nutritious and that it usually can be used when one is allergic to cow’s milk.

Goat milk is naturally homogenized — the cream is blended throughout the milk.

A good nanny, like their Lady Gray, averages about a gallon of milk a day. Lee explained that goat milk makes wonderful cheese and fantastic yogurt.

As we sat there, one of the little goats nosed his way through the fence. Chuck laughed and said, “Goats are escape artists; they taught Houdini.”

Ears, the papa goat, came up to the fence about that time.

“Watch this,” Chuck said as he pulled out a Dr. Pepper and popped the top. Ears’ head shot up and he grunted enthusiastically. Chuck poured and Ears drank every drop.

The Bozarths explained that Ears won’t drink any other soda except Dr. Pepper. Lee has a strong background in goat farming. During the 1980s and 90s she ran a 400-goat dairy in Oklahoma.

After coming to Alabama, she and Chuck bought some kudzu-covered land in Montevallo. She explained she brought in the first goats to clear that land.

As the Bozarths talked, it was easy to see how much affection they have for their 20 or so goats.

Although they do harvest the animals for meat, they admit they always send several to the processor at the same time so when they prepare a meal they won’t know which goat supplied the main dish.

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at clegg2@bellsouth.net.