My name is Susu. I am an Anglonubian dairy goat and I am two months old.
I have been asked to tell my story to give the writer of this blog a break.
Picture of me
People say that kambings (goats) are not very clever and most of the time we are stubborn. It is ok. I believe when I was born, it is for a purpose. And this purpose is to give the villagers of Podosko 1, Magelang, Central Java, a livelihood.
I live with different families of kambings in the hamlet of Gledek.
When Care Channels first came to this lovely place which overlooks wide, green, paddy fields, they wanted to build a house to be used as a home and training centre. But they could not. So Care Channels decided to build a home for us kambings to live in.
My home at Gledek
Pak Paulus is in charge of taking care of the whole kambing farm and the farm that grows yummy, organic food. So he has Pak Nano, Pak Panut and Pak Raka to take care of us.
They take turns to prepare our food, milk us, clean our pens and convert our poop to fertilizer to make the plants healthy.
Look at the tender loving care given to us when they milk us with gentle, warm hands. Look at how clean they keep our pens.
Pak Nano milking my Podosoko friend
We all live in a community of 86 goats. Along with my family, there are dairy goats from the families of Peranakan Etawa, Saanen Anglonubian and Jawanrandu.
My friends, the meat kambings
To give the farmers of Gledek a livelihood, we are offered as capital in a micro loan dispersal programme. This is what will happen…
When I am eight months old, I and my sister will be given as a loan to a farmer for three years. The farmer has to care for me and make sure I grow up healthy.
He also has to look for a husband for my sister and I. He cannot choose any old ordinary kambing from any old ordinary kambing family. He has to choose a really good kambing from our Care Channels’ kambing farm. This is important because my sister and I want to have healthy, strong children that would give more milk.
I am suppose to have at least five batches of babies in the three years I live with the farmer. For every batch of my babies, the farmer will take some babies to continue caring for them but he will also give some babies back to Care Channels’ farm. This is because my children have to live with my husband’s side of the family too and be part of the dispersal programme.
At the end of the three years with the farmer, my sister and I will be returned to Care Channels’ farm – back to our families.
Ten families participate in this dispersal programme. The community leader helps to choose the farmer to participate in this programme. There are many poor farmers who would like to participate and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve them. The community leader also monitors the programme, making sure that the farmers will know what to do and benefit from it.
Community leaders discussing dispersal programme
During our stay with the farmer, the farmer will learn from Pak Paulus how to care for my sister and I so that we will live healthy lives. Pak Paulus will teach him how to prepare our food, how to keep us from getting sick, how to keep our pens clean, how to milk us, what to do with our poop and even how to care for our babies.
Our pens have to be kept clean and well organised
When the farmer chooses a husband for me, Care Channels will help him choose from my own family of Anglonubian or from the families of Peranakan Etawa or even Jawarandu.
It doesn’t matter whether we marry dairy kambings or meat kambings as long as our children grow up to be better kambings. Do you know if I marry a Jawarandu, my children (known as Nurandus), give more milk and have better bone structure than I do? As a grown-up kambing, I can give about 1.5–2 litres of milk a day. My children will give at least 2-3 litres of milk and will be healthier and stronger too.
Likewise, my friends the meat kambings. When kambings from the Boer and Peranakan Etawa families marry, their children (known as Borawa) will have better bones and more meat. At five months old, their children will weigh 25-30kg. When they grow up to be adults, they can weigh 100-130kg!
Farmers also need to know what to feed us. This is tricky as our food cannot be the same all the time. This is to make sure our stomachs get used to different types of food. We are given green feeds such as beans and green sprouts during the rainy season when these plants grow in abundance. But when the dry season comes, we get to eat fermented feeds and corn sprouts which are grown in Care Channels’ green houses.
Sometimes we are given soya skin in tofu waste and coffee berries skin to give us a protein. This will help us give more milk.
Fermented foods may not taste so nice but they are easier to digest in our stomachs and give us the nutrition we need. Fermented foods are usually dry hay or corn stalk which have been added microorganism and kept for two weeks.
So, if we don’t have a balance of foods during both the rainy and dry seasons, we may get weak and produce less milk.
Yummy green sprouts grown in the farm for us
Remember I said how the farmer has to learn how to convert our poop in fertilizer? They learn how to build our pens so that it is easy for them to collect our poop and urine. After that they will add microorganisms which will work to turn our urine and poop into fertilizer to fertilize the organic farm such as organic paddy fields and organic fisheries.
See, we kambings may not be clever or are scolded for being stubborn, but we are certainly not useless creatures.
The next time you see a kambing, remember us as helpers to the farmers to earn an honest living and to help our plants grow healthy without harming the environment.
Story by Susu Anglonubian