At Mazzeltov Farms, Nigerian Dwarf Goats Bond With Chickens

We speak to Mazzeltov Farms founder Bethany Riner about how she's created a sustainable environment at the California-based venture.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: Mazzeltov Farms

When Bethany Riner was 21-years-old, she moved in with her brother and became interested in learning how to live a self-sustainable lifestyle. She secured three Buff Orpington hens from a local feed store, started a vegetable garden and picked up some goats.

In 2016, she founded Mazzeltov Farms in Modesto, California, which she runs alongside her husband, Ryan Riner.

These days, Nigerian Dwarf goats have become the focus of the farm and the star of Riner’s Instagram account, which documents the daily goings on at Mazzeltov Farms.

We spoke to Riner about the appeal of Nigerian Dwarf goats and how they interact with the farm’s resident chickens. We also found out how goats are excellent escape artists.

Introducing Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Riner says that her interest in Nigerian Dwarf goats came about through a family friend named Bettyann Spenker who owns a winery and goat dairy in Lodi, California.

“I got my first goats from her in 2015,” recalls Riner. “I still have one of the first goats I got from her, Nova.”

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Living With Goats

On a day-to-day basis, Riner says that living around Nigerian Dwarf goats is “so much fun.” She adds that there’s nothing like enjoying a relaxing moment sitting out in the pen and watching the goats play and interact with each other.

“They are just like dogs—they loved to be loved!” Riner says. “They definitely each have their own personalities and things they like and dislike. It is really cool watching them all interact with each other.”

The Remarkable Escaping Goats

When asked about the most surprising thing she’s discovered about Nigerian Dwarf goats, Riner says, “I wish I would have known that they are escape artists! You have to have solid locks on every single gate, because if not, they’ll find a way out!”

When Goats Meet Chickens

On Mazzeltov Farms, the Nigerian Dwarf goats and the chickens have forged a strong bond. Riner says they both get along with each other well, with the chickens “loving to peck at the goats’ fur, jump on them and even steal their grain!”

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Great Goat Misconceptions

“The biggest misconception about goats is probably that they are too much work,” reveals Riner.

“To me, they aren’t any more work than other more common pets. They eat all of the scraps left over from the kitchen, all the weeds from the yard, and they are loving and can make great companions. They can even be trained to walk on leashes and are really good with kids.”

The Rewards Of Farm Life

When it comes to the joys of living a farming life, Riner says that the most rewarding part of the lifestyle is “getting to spoil every single animal that lives at Mazzeltov Farms.” In return, she adds, “They give me healthy food for my family.”

Follow Mazzeltov Farms at Instagram.

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