The story of Cotton Bean Goat Farms
We often have people ask why we selected the name, Cotton Bean Farms. It all started when Jason and I met. He was a country boy from MI where they grew soy beans and I was a SC girl who had seen cotton growing for as long as I could remember.
Fast forward over 37 years. Jason and I would be driving by a field and he would say look at those soy beans. My response was those are Cotton plants, we don’t have soy beans around here. We would banter about it and a few months later it would happen, the soy beans would bloom into beautiful Cotton plants. My response was, look baby “Cotton Beans”.
Fast forward another few years, we had gotten married and decided we wanted to find some land and build a house. We wanted our youngest child to grow up without a ton of electronic devices. We started looking for land and eventually found our little piece of heaven on Herrin Grove Road. It was all wooded, which was perfect and would provide us with privacy.
We would sit with our daughter and think of names for our new homestead / farm. We kept a running list. One day out of the blue, we found the perfect name. We drove by some "Cotton Beans" on our way to our future goat farm. We instantly loved the name and it stuck. We threw away our list because this one just fit.
Fast forward 2 years, we purchased our first 3 goats, a Nigerian Mom and her twins, which has multiplied and we have over 100 goats currently. We still have those 3 original goats. They remind me of cats! Lol People talk about chicken math which my husband practices but goat math is a taboo subject. I can attest that “Goat Math” is a real thing. You can't help but fall in love with goats. Some are like cat and others are like dogs but we love them all.
My husband insisted on having meat goats. My daughter and I always protested and said he could never let someone eat them. After delivering and pulling a few sets of boer twin goats, the hubby agrees with us. He loves them just as much as we do.
You don’t know what it’s like to love an animal until you are both sick with Covid and you have a Boer Doe reject a newborn baby goat. I set my alarm and got up every 2 hours with Covid to go out and bottle feed this little angel. This is what the “Love of Goats” is all about!
Goat farming is not for the faint of heart. We have had many sleepless nights with around the clock care to save a goat or fights over what is best for them. We have set alarms every 2 hours to feed a newborn baby goat, every 4 hours to see if a Doe is kidding or to give a goat with anemia supportive care. (We have rescued and saved numerous goats over the past few years that were worm loaded and on their death bed when we brought them home.) We have had to pull baby goats out thinking that we were breaking every bone in their body but if we didn’t we would lose the baby goat and the doe. I am happy to report we have never broken a bone. We have found many baby goats unresponsive and lifeless, they get cold easy. I bring them in water bath them, get their temps back up and they grow up to be happy bouncing baby goats. I have given puppies mouth to mouth and tube feed countless baby goats. We had to pull a baby goat during a play date and swing it to get the fluid out of it lungs because it was choking. After using a baby bulb to suction out everything it was fine. At the end of the day, the hubby and I make a good team. Our strengths and weakness complement each other. It’s sometimes hard to see that in the middle of a disagreement. He procrastinates and I make instant decisions. You can see how this can lead to many deep discussions or shouting matches. I would like to sugar coat it but when you are trying to save the life of another living thing, it can get tense. But at the end of the day, God knew what he was doing when he put us together.
As I reflect back on our goat / farming journey, we almost gave up on goats. In the beginning, we bought sick goats and didn’t know it. We learned the hard way that not all people are honest. We lost some goats and it was heart breaking, we had no idea what was wrong or how to save them. We spent so much money on vets visits only to hold them while they died in our arms. As it turns out, most vets don't know much about goats. Just when I felt like giving up, I took a stand and committed to learning as much as I could about goats. I joined a ton a goat emergency boards on face book and studied every website I could find with goat information. I have learned so much during this journey. I am still humbled and feel blessed by every baby goat born on the farm or every time we are able to nurse a goat back to health. I often pray for strength, courage and wisdom as we continue to build our dream of a more self sustaining life for our family!
Things have changed over the years as we continue to grow and learn. Typically when we go to the vet it is for an antibiotic we have to get from them, entropion or a broken bone. I try to give back often and help others who are in an emergency situation with a down goat. I am not a vet but I can often times give advice based on my experience and help someone save a goat when they don’t have a vet or can’t afford a vet. I wish I had someone to offer advice when we first started this journey. It would have saved us so much heart ache. Our daughter recently told me I should start a business helping baby goats since I am always helping someone save a baby goat. This is just confirmation from an 11 year old that I am giving back. I hope that she will give back. As of now she has big dreams of running a rescue. I am not sure what she will do but she is capable, has a village around her that will support, guide and help in any way possible to ensure her dreams become a reality. I have a quick reference goat medical book that I have made and she asked for a copy so she could study it. I think she is one of only a few girls who can tell you what the normal temperature of a goat is. This makes us proud and only confirms that we made the right decision starting a goat farm in our forties.
Note: We are thankful for the smallest of things! The animals have taught our daughter all about the birds and bees, life and death. She is wise beyond her years and often times we take it for granted. This journey has given our family so much. We have so many things to be grateful for.
On a personal note this journey has helped mend the relationship between her mother and her father, my husband. (Many people don't know this but our daughter was adopted at a few days old.) Our daughter insist on brining her Mom and sisters over to meet the animals. We have had a good relationship for years but it didn't happen overnight. It took work and compromise. They come over and visit the farm on a regular basis and we spend time together out exploring. Zay and I make soap together and her Mom bought some as Christmas gifts for her side of the family. I know it sounds odd but it is the most wonderful thing. I mentioned her "village", this is what will make her unstoppable and successful. I wish other families would our aside their differences and do what is best for the children. You don't have to agree on everything but you need to put up a united front and be the village your child or children need.
For The Love of Goats!