Jordan Owens, age 11, already knows what she wants to do when she grows up. She wants to be a goat herder. “She has wanted to have and raise her own goat for as long as I can remember,” said Jordan’s mother, Janelle Owens. “We finally decided she was old enough to take on the responsibility and so we surprised her. Jordan thought she was going with her father to look at calves and was so happy when she saw this little goat.”
Owens lives on a farm where there are many different kinds of animals, but there were no goats. The goat her father, Jeremy, got her is a Nigerian Dwarf goat. This breed is known for not getting larger than 75 pounds and staying under 24 inches. “They are sort of a big dog,” said Jordan.
Jordan named her goat Daisy and leads her “kid” around on a leash when she takes it for a walk. “Daisy follows Jordan around just like a family pet would,” said Janelle. Eventually Daisy will have her own pen, but currently resides on an enclosed porch sheltered from the winter temperatures. Jordan bottle feeds Daisy and spends every free moment she has with her much the same way a child would with a dog. Jordan said Daisy is pretty verbal and likes to bleat when she is hungry or wants attention.
The life expectancy of this breed is eight to twelve years. Females of this type can commonly begin to breed as early as seven months of age. Jordan has already put in an order with her parents for a Billy to go with her Nanny. She wants to start-up her own little goat farm.
“Learning to raise goats and making a little money will be good for her,” said Janelle. “Her great-grandfather actually once raised goats right next door and raising farm animals is something several of her cousins have done over the years.” Jordan has cousins who have raised sheep and pigs.
Goats do not require much in the way of care. They can thrive on simple housing, fresh water, and a balanced goat feed. Providing them with plenty of room to graze on good grass and brush generates a good herd. Nigerian Dwarfs are easy to tame and good around children. Once they get regular feedings from a human they are more than willing to be petted. The most important thing to know about raising a goat is don’t let them near anything you don’t want nibbled on.
Jordan’s Motto: “I’m just a kid raising a kid.”
— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday and weekend editions.