Hi, I’m Lucas Bales, high school student at Jefferson County High School and owner here at Bales Goat Landscaping, or as I like to call it, Bales Goats. I’ve had a lot of people ask about how I even got this started in the first place, and you may be wondering the same thing. I know when I first got into goats, I certainly had no intention of starting this.
About 2 years ago in the summer of 2019, my dad offered to rehome a bottle baby NIgerian Dwarf doe from the local animal shelter, who can’t keep livestock. At the time, my twin brother, Tyler, took care of her and named her Scampers. Slowly, he began stepping back as I took over goat duties. Just like with anything else, we knew we had to get Scampers some friends (I know I wouldn’t like being alone), and thus my dad bought two LaMancha does, Nanny and Nanko. Things went pretty smoothly for a while and I fell in love with the small herd instantly.
This all got more difficult when Scampers accidently had her leg run over after laying under a truck. She suffered a broken leg and had to wear a cast, which was a funny sight since the cast was longer than her other legs. I felt terrible watching her get around like that during the middle of summer and I guilted my mom into letting me bring Scampers inside while my dad was at work. She would lay in my lap as I sat on a bean bag in the floor and would nudge me when she needed to go outside. It worked.
The next year, my dad asked me a question that changed the course of my involvement with goats for the better: “Do you want to try to make money off the goats?” My dad was referring to goat breeding, but the question got me thinking and I did a lot of Google searching on how to make money with my ruminants. This is how I discovered goat landscaping. Regardless, my dad worked it out to borrow a young Nubian buck named Billy who eventually bred Scampers and fathered our first baby: Scuttles.
Scuttles was special not only because she was my first kid, but also because she was born on the same day I ran at the TSSAA Cross Country State meet. When I came home, Scuttles was still wet form birth.
Since Billy had been returned back to his home, I began looking out for a new buck for my small herd. In December, I found Gizmo, a Boer-Kiko-Saanan cross who introduced me to the idea of graham crackers as a goat treat. With Nanny and Nanko, Gizmo missed his mark, as the pair are seasonal breeders and were only in-season between Billy’s leaving and Gizmo’s coming. With Scampers though, we had some success.
Merry and Pippin were welcomed into the herd on May 18, 2021 and were the twin kids of Scampers and Gizmo. The herd, of course, didn’t stop growing there… Four days later, I bought the purebred Boer buckling, Ferris.
My brother, Tucker, went with me to pick up Ferris. We had a large dog crate on the back of the truck with us to put Ferris in for the ride home. Tucker chose to learn the hard way and suggested I simply hold Ferris for the short drive home. There was a lot of regret as soon as Ferris began screaming at the top of his lungs. And Tucker tried to drown it out. He blasted the radio as loud as he could. Ferris continued bleating. Tucker yelled over him. Ferris only got louder and continued this trend for the first four days at his new home.
But alas, you can’t just have 8 goats. They’re like Pringles. You can’t just get one more. One of my neighbors had a friend going through some surgeries who was having to give up her herd. All registered, pure Nubian stock. That’s where Everest came into the picture. I never intended her to join the landscaping crew, I was going to raise her as a milking goat, but after about a week of milking her with little milk production, I realized it was too late: Everest was drying up. So, I put Everest with Merry, Pippin, and Scampers, and the four quickly formed their own herd. (At this time, Nanny, Nanko, Scuttles, Ferris, and Gizmo were already working their first job on the Nix Project.)
Even later on, I began searching for more goats to create a full second work herd, which led to me discovering four Nigerian Dwarf bucklings on Craigslist. Luckily, it ended up being a guy who my dad used to work with, and I bought the group. They soon found themselves names: S’more, Skunky, Domino, and Pegasus… or as I like to call them, the Four Cabritos.
I now had a complete Herd One and Herd Two, and they were already getting started as the finest landscaping crews around.