We got some calls concerning the goats and chickens at South Chicago being cold. Here is some information to help clarify some of the issues.
Goats and chickens have a hoop-house at South Chicago farm. It serves like a barn (but is actually warmer than a barn because the plastic traps the heat of the sun). As you may know, virtually all livestock are housed in barns or barn like structures to shield them from wind and keep them dry. The hoop house serves the same purpose and has two layers of thick plastic so acts a wind guard for the goats and chickens.
Our goats get fresh straw bedding and water daily, are fed twice a day (hay, sweet-feed and left over vegetables from our Fresh Moves program). Starting this week, we will shut them all up at night (they have had the option of going back and forth between their shelter — they typically self regulate and are not going to freeze. When they get cold, they go inside).
Type of Goat
All of our goats are Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf (except for our one larger goat – she is a boar goat). Genetically they are all just tiny goats and will remain small through their lifetime. One goat is pregnant — she is 7 years-old and has given birth 5 times (once per year the last 5 years). We have a much bigger goat who has extended teets (which apparently was also a concern). She is 6-years old and has had multiple births.
A resident expressed concerns about upper-respitory infections because a goat sneezed. None of our staff has noticed any extended coughing or sneezing from any of the goats. Our male (alpha) goat grunts a lot but that is very typical of him (he is also 7-years old and has always done this). If we see any repository infections, staff will let me know and we will call a vet.
We have staffing 7 days a week at the farm. Typically our production manager, Malcolm Evans, who has worked with the goats for the last 7 years is there or our site manager, Allison Branham.
Allison our site supervisor will be there on Saturday. If folks want to come by tomorrow they are welcome. I have called back and left messages for the folks who have called our office expressing concerns.
During the Spring, Summer and Fall we are open to the public every Saturday, and welcome anyone from the community to come by. During the growing season, we hire 30 teens from the community to work at the farm over the summer, have a community garden for folks living near the farm, and we sell fresh produce at Claretian Association every Thursday morning from 11am-1pm.
We have limited hours over the winter, but are there if folks would like to come meet us. They can call the office at 773-376-8882 to schedule a time with Allison and Malcolm.