We got four goats back in June: Saffron (our milker), Mysterious (Missy, a dry doe), Silhouette (Silly, a doeling), and Tuscan (a buckling, still on the bottle). We have kind of been making pets of them, especially since we got them for milking and for breeding, so it’s not like we were ever planning to eat them or anything. We did have an earnest chat with the breeder about sending the extra boys to the butcher, and I actually happen to like goat meat, so that makes sense to me, but these four are our base breeding stock, so we’ve gone ahead and gotten attached.
I have to admit, I am not always so fond of the babies – they jump up and are pushy, they try to escape every time I open the stall door, and they usually spill the milk / water / grain bucket in their eagerness to get at its contents. I much prefer dealing with my Ladies, the two older does, who are considerably calmer. I’m sure my sore back has something to do with it, but even if I were completely healthy, I would probably still like the big girls better. It’s jut how I am. Babies of any species are cute, but they are also a total pain. If I can’t avoid having a kid (or kitten or puppy), I just try to take deep breaths and wait for them to grow out of it.
Because of this, the babies have kind of been Hubby’s province, and I work with the adults. I feed the little ones their milk and grain over the stall wall, so as not to get mobbed, and Hubby fills their hay trough and water bucket while they’re distracted. When we take them outside to play, I will hang out with them in the yard, since they are usually so busy running and leaping that they don’t jump on me, and they really don’t venture out of the barn unless one of the Humans is in the yard with them.
Yesterday, we finally got around to trimming everybody’s hooves for the first time. One by one, the goats got coaxed up onto my milking stand, and Hubby held them there while I trimmed. It was actually less of a battle than I expected, and having them at a height that is comfortable for me to work at (standing) really helped. I am used to rolling around on the floor fighting a 120 pound dog for toenail trimming, and compared to that, goats are pretty easy.
While I had everyone up there, I brushed them with a soft grooming brush, and handled their ears and legs and udders. I want to make a habit of having each of them up on my stand and getting groomed periodically, so that if I ever need to examine a wound, or for that matter, milk a first-timer, things will be less twitchy. They were all quite good about it – the grain bucket probably had something to do with that.
While I was grooming Silly, I noticed her teats seemed…odd…like they were somehow split, with two nipples on each side (goats only normally have two teats altogether). We contacted the breeder right away, as we weren’t sure if this was disease, deformation, or some perfectly normal stage that young goats go through. The breeder got back to us right away, very apologetic, explaining that he checks his goats at birth, but that spur teats (that is what they are called apparently) can develop later on, and that it is a disqualification in milking goats, as it makes them impossible to milk. He made arrangements for another doe to be delivered in August, and told us we could keep Silly as a pet or a meat goat, as she was really no use to him. The breeder has been fantastic about it, but…poor Silly…
We haven’t made up our mind yet what we are going to do with her, as we really have made quite a pet of her. Hubby especially has gotten pretty attached, though I admit I have as well; we made no effort against it, as the goats were all to be breeders. Bleh. These are the bits of farm life that I would really rather avoid…