What do you do when your back forty is covered in blackberries? You can spray herbicides (expensive and not environmentally friendly), you can hire a crew to chop them down (expensive and temporary), or you can get a goat.
Goats love to eat, and they really love the nasty stuff: blackberries, ivy, scotch broom. They’ll even eat poison oak.
That’s how Debbie Bales became a goat fan. “We bought a place with a pasture that was overrun with blackberries,” she says. “Someone wisely suggested we get a goat or two.” Their first goat, Sweetie Pie, was a Boer, a breed known for their distinctive white body and red head, large size, and docile personality; perfect for a family pet that will do some yard work.
Sweetie Pie gave birth to Kahlua, and soon after, Bales bought Chewy and Bambi. They now have seven goats, half from what Bales refers to as the ‘sweetie’ line. “Sweetie, Kahlua, and her two daughters all exhibit the same affectionate, loving personality,” she says. “It is very comparable to a dog that likes to cuddle.”
Kahlua, whose nickname is Loo Loo, is especially friendly. “She is always the first to approach people and will stand with her head resting on your leg, begging for some petting. She loves scratches on her top shoulders and she returns the favor by putting her nose in my face very gently, to let me know she likes me back.”
Kahlua’s close bond with Bales helped them both through a recent health crisis: Kahlua was diagnosed with breast cancer.