‘It’s therapy for me’

Hanceville woman finds purpose raising goats

Lil Cookies Goat Farm Owner Christal Cook poses with Whiskey, the Junior Grand Champion and Best in Show of all breeds at the 2020 Marshall County Fair. (Lil Cookies Goat Farm/Facebook)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Lil Cookies Goat Farm, in the making for the last 10 years, is located in Hanceville and home to 133 goats. Owner Christal Cook operates the farm on her own. She said her journey began when she and her  ex-husband decided to start a family.

“I wanted so bad to start a family with my husband at the time. After many miscarriages and losing both of my fallopian tubes, I knew God was calling me in a different direction,” she shared. “My husband thought it would be a wonderful idea to start a farm and concentrate less on children. I myself felt like giving up on everything, but after my first goats arrived, I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

Cook said she began by researching different breeds and learning the differences between registered and non-registered breeds. After a few months, she made the decision to adopt registered Nigerian Dwarf goats because they were small, and she felt she could handle them easier on her own. Her farm’s unique name was based on her own name and the fact that her goats were her family.

“My girls were dwarfs, and my last name was Cook, so Lil Cookies was perfect!” Cook said.

In 2018, she went through open heart surgery and divorce in the same year.

She said, “Here I was devastated again and didn’t know where myself or my goats would end up. I didn’t give up on them because I have so much love for them. Lucky for me, my best friend took me and about 30 of my goats in and helped me get on feet after my divorce.”

Cook soon began making products from the goats’ milk, including soaps, lotions and bath soaks to help make some extra income.

“I knew I had to find another source of income because I was falling short in every direction to make ends meet and care for the goats!” she said. “I made a promise to them that I wouldn’t give up on them ever! This definitely helped me get the things they needed and myself.”

Cook’s very first registered Nigerian Dwarf goats came from Double Durango Farm in Georgia. In 2020, she decided to get a pair of larger goats and added two Nubians and some Lamanchas.  In 2021, she found her current piece of 11-acre property in Hanceville where she felt she and the goats would have plenty of room to grow.

On the benefits of owning and caring for goats, Cook shared, “I know I benefit from goats because it’s therapy for me. It’s a lot of hard work, but I enjoy every second I get with them! As of right now I have 133 total goats! I know each by name and they are all spoiled rotten. I always tell folks when they buy one of mine that they have a friend for life, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart because each and every one of my goats are my children. Raising goats can be hard at times because there’s just so much about them, and I always advise to research before you decide on a breed! They all have needs!”

Cook said that many people come to her looking for advice about their goats. She continued, “My mission is to help people understand the care and work it takes to care for goats properly and to show them even when times get tough, don’t give up on your dreams.”

Visit Lil Cookies Goat Farm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lilcookiesgoatfarm or call 256-636-3313.

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