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Independent Voice

Here's Looking at You Kid!

Feb 24, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman

The 8 Gables Ranch is a 5-acre home for Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Photo by Debra Dingman

Here's Looking at You Kid! [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Love of Goats Found at ‘8 Gables Ranch’

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Driving down a dirt road off Timm Lane in the rural area between Dixon and Vacaville, you’d reach ‘8 Gables Ranch,’ a 5-acre home for Nigerian Dwarf Goats, a bunch of beautiful chickens, a couple small dogs, and a few rescued cats. 

At the entry is an area the size of a large front yard designed with succulent plants arranged in pretty pots and wrought iron patio tables with matching chairs invites visitors to sit and rest for a cup of tea or refreshing lemonade and listen to the peaceful sounds of the quiet neighborhood.

But then Barbara Tucker might walk in sight of one of many goats in the pens behind the neat home and you would hear at least one of them yell, “Maaaa! Mmmaaaa!” and you’d be reminded, “Oh right, this is a goat farm.”

Barbara and her husband, Dave, have been working on improving the property for the last eight years after Barbara’s son, a Vacaville real estate agent, showed her the nearly-abandoned"'and certainly neglected property"'and the purchase was made.

“It was a hell hole,” said Barbara flatly. “It was uninhabited for at least three years as the owners didn’t live here but rented out the house, a cottage, a trailer, and a couple out buildings. The only things that lived here were dry rot, termites and rats.” But it had potential so the couple went to work despite that they were at supposed ‘retirement’ age.

Barbara was a business woman with her own accounting and tax practice, working in commercial real estate development before deciding to leave her Benicia home of 35 years to get closer to her two sons who live in Vacaville. 

They took out 60 trees, added to both sides of the house, restored the cottage and painted every building in a uniform tan with brown trim. Everything is spotless and clean.

“My neighbors really like us,” she said. She first got a couple goats because she had always wanted a “little land with a couple of goats.” Now there are 60 Nigerian Dwarfs in several large pens divided by when they are due to have babies and all the males in the extra-large pen are in the back. Each pen has colorful play structures, small climbing platforms, and or giant sand-filled tractor tires to climb on.

Each pen also has a name (after Barbara’s grandchildren.) Plus, all the goats have been named according to a ‘theme’ so Barbara can keep track of who is due to ‘kid’ next. Country western singers, wineries, flavors, perfume, or names of cookies are some of the groups, for example. Today’s visitors meet Dark Mocha, Kelsea Ballerini, Brown Sugar, Godiva, and Bit O’Honey. She knows each and every one of them as if she was their mother.

“Six weeks prior to kidding, I do their hoofs, give them their shots, and shave the back part of their behind,” she explained while visitors took in the expansive sides of the pregnant goats. This is important to keep them clean for the birth process in case she needs any assistance. Three days after birth, they are taken from their mom, and Barbara bottle feeds them so they bond with her and she really does ‘become their mother.’ This makes feeding and caring for them easier but that’s only for the first five to 10 days as then they are turned over to their new owners.

“The new owners have to bottle feed it. That way the goat bonds with the new owner,” she explained. People buy these goats for a variety of reasons. Goat milk is popular due to its premium health benefits but is also trending for use in soaps and cosmetic products. Some buyers are ‘backyard milkers,’ some are 4-H or FFA (Future Farmers of America) students learning to raise animals, and some just want a goat for a pet. The females sell for $175 to $200 but since boys can be bred, they cost $500.

“They’re designer dogs,” explained Barbara. “They are always happy. I don’t know what I’d do without these goats. I’d be extremely depressed if I did not have them.”

Barbara called out one of the goats by name and bursting out of a pen came the happiest goat ever, twisting its body to one side and the next in mid-air as it hopped and bounced gleefully toward her. It seemed similar to a dog greeting its long-lost owner. 

Then there was a tour of a large barn with a separate area holding a washer, dryer, and numerous cupboards neatly labeled for nursing supplies. In the larger part of the barn were pens full of tiny playful goats and their lounging moms snoozing on soft hay seemingly trying to ignore being climbed upon. 

Intern and junior college student Frida Marmolejo chatted with visitors while cuddling a young, brown-furred kid that was “naturally disbudded.” That is when a baby is born with no horns. Disbudding is stunting the horn buds within a week or two of birth so that they don’t grow because horns can injure people. Interestingly, in California, one cannot show a goat with horns so all of these goats had silver circles the size of quarters on their foreheads where the horns were removed. 

Most amazing was that the entire place did not smell foul at all and was remarkably clean"'perhaps because a goat is potty-trained in a day. But even outside, there were wide swaths of artificial grass dividing the pens and work sheds. From contemporary decorations on the walls inside and outside of the buildings to the shining feathers of the friendly chickens or to the adoring eyes of goats, this is what pride of ownership looks like.

For more information, call (925) 250-6188 or see the website: 8gablesnigeriandwarfs.com.

 

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