Kids in the Stall

Kids in the stall

Triple Trouble

Beware of networking! I’m still coming to terms with the fact that a couple of tentative inquiries into acquiring a milking goat or two somehow escalated into me keeping a dairy herd of eight goats, including three pregnant does who’ve increased the numbers by another seven. I kid you not!

I’ll spare you the details…suffice it to say that someone had eight goats needing a home, and I apparently had a home needing eight goats!

There is a notable discrepancy between goat fantasizing and actual goatkeeping. While still in the grip of some Alpine-meadow-induced trance, I envisioned a quaint herd that would greet me every morning with goatly decorum and follow me devotedly to a designated grazing spot where I would sit on a rock (preferably Alpine) and sip my morning Swiss chocolate while they obligingly mowed my lawn. What I got was an unmannerly herd of caprine gangstas that crash gates, mob me when I carry in the grain and bleat deprecating commentaries when some imaginary contaminant fouls their drinking water.

After couple of days of crushed toes, one bloody nose (mine, not the goat’s), and multiple gate upgrades my head was out of the thin Alpine air and my trampled feet were firmly back on the ground. We hammered out a cross-species entente: they would train me in the ways of the goat and I would become their willing servant.

If I had secretly entertained thoughts about backing out on the deal, Cookies and Cream, a brown and white Nubian, vetoed that option by presenting me with  three little doelings the morning after she arrived. ‘Here’ she said, ‘I can’t possibly feed three kids. Check the undercarriage…only two nozzles. Why don’t you supplement them with a bottle, bond irrevocably with them,  and  then we’ll revisit your idea of returning us.’  After that bit of staged coersion, I succumbed. Now every farm chore includes a detour to the barn to “check on” the kids. Two sets of twins followed, providing further distraction, since kid cavorting trumps weeding every time!

We now have a workable routine: I let them out to graze in the morning and sprint after them through raspberry canes and logging stumps with my coffee sloshing down the front of me. After the mosquitoes have extracted a pint of blood, or  a half an hour (whichever comes first), I slink stealthily back to the paddock, locking the gate quietly behind me to shut the goats out. I then set out the grain and open the gate, simultaneously leaping backwards as they stampede in and take up positions at the trough.

Next I dump out three buckets of perfectly good water, refill them and leave the herd to make beds from all the clean hay in the feed crib so they can  bask in the sun.

At this point they agree that I can begin my day of gardening (this IS still an organic market garden after all) and that they’ll call me if they need me.

So far it’s working.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Dryer on June 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Goat love — I got it first sight seeing a black kid up on a picnic table to nozzle us.
    I am from the same area your goats have come and they have allowed me to take some pictures and produce a Get Your Goat for Sustainability card for Centre Vie, Haiti orphanage. an All Occasion card with tax receipt. They were the only goats to stand still adoringly into the camera so I could produce such a card! Usually goat photos are all movement. Hence these lovies have allowed enough fundraising for a piece of land for goat business (1/2 paid), goats and now we are working on fencing /equipment — hopefully selling some Classic Theatre play tickets down here around Perth — to this year I hope will be the year of the Goat for my dear Almonte Haitian Canadian Dieudonne Batraville and all of her 31 charges (5 years after earthquake)–to feed them with milk, cheese, goat meat as well as provide cash through sales of same as well as bred goats! led613mail@gmail.com Linda Dryer Beautiful story and wonderful adventure! Up with Goats — see also www. Impact Nations gift section for Centre Vie. Come down for our Benefit for the project — a play on Sat. July 18th – music and professional play –613-257-7617 in Perth if buy from us. Join us and Goooo (t) with us! A few churches and individuals have done amazing work to get a school there with hired teachers just this year, solar panels, water etc etc. Goats are the biggest help in a lot of countries. Such noble gooo (fies)! Have to laugh at ourselves for sure.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Renata on June 21, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Pure love!! 🙂

    Reply

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