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Notes on Goats February 21, 2008

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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We’ve been goat owners (though not very effective goatherders) for about a year now. In that time, we have accumulated a small amount of knowledge which I thought I would share with you.

Lesson learned: DON’T make a dog-like pet out of a buck.

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Here is a shot of 3 of the goats playing on a “toy” we got them, back when they were about 6-7 months old. They looks so young to me here. The black and white Alpine (? or Alpine cross?) is ‘Mator. He was always the friendliest one of the bunch and we spoiled him with extra attention, treats, and so on. He would run up, lean against us, sniff us for treats and wiggle his head up under our hands for scratching. He really liked to be brushed and would stand still as long as you’d keep brushing. He would playfully push against us when we weren’t paying attention to him to re-direct the loving his way. We thought it was kind of cute, especially the kids.

And then he grew. And grew. Into the strong stinky buck he is today.

Along about August, a pungent repelling odor began to emanate from him and we started to keep our distance. But he had no shortage of love for us still. You couldn’t fill the water troughs or drop the food fast enough to escape his affection. Then you went in to shower and change clothes.

And then he developed the ability to take the mega-zap from the fence charger and just come on through when it suited him. You’d best not hide any sweet feed on your person.

Last Sunday, ‘Mator was adopted by some friends who are hoping to have their does bred to allow them to milk year-round. ‘Mator proved to be an effective “mater” here, (and we’re tiring of being head-butted for attention), so we tearfully gleefully took him for a ride to his new home. I asked about how everyone was getting along on Monday night. The answer was “great, but if he gooses me one more time…”

It was (kinda) nice knowing you ‘Mator.

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Comments»

1. Tina - February 21, 2008

I used to think I wanted goats…until I visited the Mom of a friend and the first thing they did when you pulled in the driveway was jump on the hood of the car and peer directly at you through the windshield! (not too good for cheap metal) As soon as you exited the car, you got a few good sniffings to see if you were a ‘safe’ sort of person, and if they liked you -well, you got a head butt or two for attention, and a butt butt if you dared ignore them.
Goaty watchdogs – who knew!

2. Laura - February 21, 2008

Ours haven’t thought of jumping up on cars yet (shhhh…), but I’ve heard the same complaint from others.

I can’t say that ours have any “watchgoat” tendencies, either. They will usually come when called, but that is all about food. The GoatieGirls usually shy away from new people. It was pretty much just ‘Mator that would almost knock you down. But now I can see why our local zoo only allows you to brush the goats and not feed them. There may be too many flattened traumatized kids otherwise!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

3. Dreamer - February 21, 2008

Bye-bye Mator!

I used to work at a Zoo. We had goats in a petting zoo and children could get goat feed out of a 25-cent vending machine to feed them. Let me tell you more than a few kids were tramatized and I don’t mean the goats. I used to like working in the petting zoo but would come home bruised on the back of my knees, upper thighs and butt from all the head butts all day long.

I gotta get OKC cuz reading your blog because she thinks she wants goats to milk also. I’m not so sure. Will you milk your goats?

4. Laura - February 21, 2008

Yes, I have some horn-shaped bruises on the backs of my legs right now! ‘Mator and I disagreed about whether he was coming through the gate with me. In the end, he won both the gate war and a bucket of feed that I had been carrying.

No, we won’t be milking these goats, though I think they are at least half-dairy breeds. The kids are coming along well, so there must be plenty of milk.

Honestly, Joe can’t stand the goats and wants to get rid of them after we’ve used their brush clearing skills this summer. Benjamin and Rachel are up in arms, so we’ll see. Maybe the same folks who took ‘Mator will want these too. Then we’d still get to see them when we visit.

Probably there are lots of people out there who keep goats and don’t have the troubles we have. Goats do have some vexing traits, but I think if we had the time and facilities that were built with goats in mind (instead of cows), that we would have fewer problems. Live and learn.


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