Facebook is full of beautiful goat kid photos, and I love to see them. But you won't usually find many from Hames & Axle Farm. Why? Because I think people should buy goats, not babies. Baby goats grow up, and they are still just as charming, entertaining and in my opinion, cute. They are also useful, friendly, and rely on their people, even as they mature. Would you throw your child out because they hit the "tweens?"
Buying goats based upon photogenics is dangerous, for the kid and for your wallet. That sleeping kid may not be able to stand up. That beautiful color will more than likely morph into something else. Maybe it will be better, maybe it won't be. But that baby won't give you any milk until it's past the "cute" stage, and to me that's where the goat earns its keep.
When people buy from me I encourage them to look at the history of my herd. We've been around for 20 years. We've never had a case of soremouth, CAE, CL or Johnes. How do I know we haven't had Johnes, because I don't test for it? Because my animals live to be 14 years old, and 16 years old. Because I do keep animals around that long, to make sure they are not dying too young. Sometimes it happens, but it's usually incidental, such as brain tumor or a severe concussion (that's what too Timpact.) It's never been due to a contagion, yet.
Why do I clarify? Because we can only be careful, and I know we've been lucky. We keep our herd away from big shows, and when we do show, we bring our own stalls, our own bedding, often with our own tarp underneath. We provide our own water and our own buckets. We do everything except hermetically sealing them, to keep them safe.
Our goats also know how to browse. They don't have to wait for room service, and they have retained their natural ability to balance their diet. I didn't think of that as much of a difference until a customer told me that they want our bloodline because of the milk and because of their hardiness and ability to browse. If they value it, I do too.
I don't bring goats to shows that I have for sale because I don't want anyone to buy on impulse, and because I don't want to risk exposing my "sale goats," to the stress of showing, transport, and exposure to other herds. I want my goats to have "forever homes and forever friends." If that means I don't show off the cuteness factor, then I may be missing a marketing opportunity, but I'm promoting the mission of this farm - to provide healthy, helpful goats, that often come in baby form at first, but guaranteed they will grow past that cute baby stage, as long as they are well cared for, and God's looking out for them along with me and the buyer.
Hope that makes sense. It does to me.