To her, goats are the G.O.A.T.

Amanda Dieringer fell in love with goats after showing them at the fair. Now, she breeds them, too.
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Amanda Dieringer has shown sheep, cows, rabbits and chickens at the Ozaukee County Fair, but for her one animal is the greatest of all time, and it matches its acronym.

Dieringer loves goats.

“They’re just fun,” Dieringer said.

Her oldest, a 10-year-old plump black and white creature named Oreo, acts more like a dog.

“He just follows me around everywhere. He’s pretty protective, too,” Dieringer said.

The 2021 Ozaukee High School graduate has shown goats since third grade, and her efforts have yielded a host of ribbons and trophies. But Dieringer wanted to grow her passion, which took some pleading.

“I had to beg my parents into letting me breed goats,” she said.

They found a pregnant goat for sale a few years ago and followed its progression, viewing photos of its kids.

Someone else, however, swooped in to buy the goat and its family before the Dieringers.

“She was pretty heartbroken when the pictures came across,” her mother Christie said.

The sale, however, fell through and the Dieringers quickly made the purchase. They just didn’t tell Amanda.

On a typical May day, she returned to the family’s five-acre Town of Saukville farm from school and walked right past the creatures to unload feed.

Before long, she saw Libby and her kids.

“It was like Christmas,” Dieringer said.

“Then it just trickled down from there. ‘Can I keep this one?’”

She has kept her fair share of Nigerian dwarfs over the years, topping out at nearly 50, while selling some too.

Last year, one went for $700 and another for $650 at the fair. They are only sold as pets.

“I try not to get too attached. I do fall in love with them,” Dieringer said. “I just love their personalities, and they’re so fun. I kind of always tell people they’re just dogs with hooves.”

Like many dogs, goats get the zoomies, eat everything  — including light nibbling on clothes and fingers — and can be escape artists.

Billy, a kid, is notorious for exiting his pen by crawling under the fence and roaming the yard in search of delicious vegetation. Burdock — the burrs and all — is one of goats’ favorite foods. He returns to the pen when the Dieringers chase him.

Each has its own attitude. While some of the females can be bullheaded, Oreo is sweet and has won the pet class at the fair.

Participants must walk away from their goats, then call them. Sometimes, Oreo returns to Dieringer; other times he heads to the judge for affectionate scratches.

While unfamiliar surroundings, noise and touches from hundreds of strangers stress out many animals, Oreo soaks it all up.

“He loves going to the fair,” Dieringer said. “He gets so excited. He loves seeing people and getting attention.” 

Goats also like to climb everything — they like the slide in their pen at the Dieringers’ farm — and provide more than unconditional love.

Dieringer can get up to one gallon of milk per day from her goats. Her mother makes lotions and soap with it — not enough to sell but good for the family and for gifts.

“It’s a lot more moisturizing” with goat milk, Dieringer said.

Goats, she said, are easier to raise than dogs.

Dieringer makes sure her beloved beasts have fresh, clean water — she breaks up the ice when it freezes in winter — and feeds them grain twice a day with help from her parents due to her work schedule.

The goats can hear the sound of the scoop for the grain and “they start bellowing,” Dieringer said.

She cleans their pens every couple of weeks and trims their hooves with help from her mother every three months, the equivalent of getting their nails clipped. The goats don’t mind it “as long as they have food” during the process.

In summer, Dieringer gives her pets haircuts to keep them cool.

She has one buck, a “goofy fella” named King that she uses for breeding. He’s a favorite of Lana, who jumps out of her pen and makes her way to his.

“She’s bred more than I’ve liked,” Dieringer said.

This year, four goats each had four kids — they usually have one or two — but one didn’t make it, the first time Dieringer lost a baby. The kids, Dieringer said, play just like puppies.

“They’ll jump off of each other. Sometimes, they’ll climb on top of their mom,” she said.

The Dieringers administer shots themselves to their goats. One is for a copper nutrient and other are for diseases, including overeating.

The goats get along with most other animals. Mother goats with kids will charge cats or chickens if they get near the cage.

Goats and other animals aren’t all Dieringer has done through 4-H. Fair entries in arts and crafts, photography and home environment filled her childhood. Her older brother Zach breeds sheep, and her sister Brooke, eight years older than Amanda, was already involved in 4-H before Christie had Amanda.

“I was kind of born into it,” she said.

Now, she is aging out of 4-H, which allows participants to be one year out of high school.

“It’s going to be bittersweet because it’s my last year,” she said.

Breeding goats could be a career for Dieringer, but she would have to do it on a much larger scale. She is also considering going to college to become an animal masseuse.

For now, she works at a dairy farm milking and tending to cows.

For those thinking about showing goats, she has one piece of advice.

“Just have fun with it. That’s really what it’s all about,” she said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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