Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guys and Dolls

Here is the spring line-up for who was bred to whom:

Cookie was bred to


Gloria was bred to


Lucy was bred to Abel and...

Oberhasli buck #2

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Dating Game!

It's that time of year again. The leaves have fallen off the trees, there's a hint of snow in the air, and I am looking for love! The farmer was very nice and brought home a lovely Oberhasli buck named "Abel" last month. He came from the farmer's friend who has many lovely bucks to choose from. When Abel got here I was quite smitten with him. Let's just say that I was willing and Abel was able! Then my mom, Gloria, got all goo goo eyes over Abel and he started to hang out with her more often. I decided that even though I liked Abel at first, I was not a goat who wanted her family tree to look like a wreath. If I let myself have kids with Abel and my mom had kids with him, my kids would also be my half-siblings! I couldn't let that happen. I decided that I would not have kids with Abel.
This month I came back into heat and the farmer decided to take me to her friend's farm so I could choose my own date. At first the farmer's friend brought out a large Saanen buck. He was very nice but didn't seem to interested in getting the job done. After a while the farmer's friend brought out different Oberhasli buck. He was pretty like Abel. I decided that this Oberhasli would be all mine and I wouldn't share him with my mom.
I think I will have kids now. The farmer is hoping I am pregnant. We won't know until the spring if I was bred by the Saanen or the Oberhasli. If I have white kids, then the Saanen did it. If I have chestnut kids with black trim, then the Oberhasli did it. If I have a white kid and a chestnut kid then I will be the first goat to appear on Maury Povich!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who you calling a "wild animal"?

It never ceases to amaze me when people wonder why their domestic livestock need so much human intervention to stay healthy. They ask, "What do wild animals do? Why do my goats need all this stuff when wild animals don't?". Let me tell you as a member of the domestic livestock family, the differences are many.

One reason domestic livestock need more interventions than wild animals is that humans expect livestock to live in confinement. Whether confined to pastures, paddocks, pens or stalls, these are all artificial means of containment. A wild animal is not contained. They are free to roam as they please and as they need. Wild goats roam miles every day in search of the food they need that day. They satisfy their food requirements by nibbling constantly on just about every plant they pass by. The satisfy their mineral needs by nibbling on a very diverse set of plants. They satisfy their shelter needs by bedding down in softer spots and on the not windy sides of rocks. All this is done following the rhythm of the goat and their needs at this time.

Livestock are confined to small spaces and not allowed to roam freely. The pastures and paddocks are filled with monocultures of grasses that aren't the same as the variety of browse found on the free range. Goats are fed in short bursts, usually twice a day. This does not allow them to keep their stomachs' full continuously as they would if allowed to free range all the time. The feed is concentrated hay or grains that provide fiber and calories but not the full complement of nutrition a goat would seek out if left on its own to roam for food. Mineral supplementation becomes a must and farmers are turned into chemists and nutritionists as they try to simulate a diet that mimics a goat's natural diet while still working within the principles of agriculture.

Another reason domestic livestock are different than their wild counterparts is that humans have bred livestock for thousands of years to artificially produce more meat or milk than a wild animal would. In the wild, extra meat or extra milk is a detriment to the animal. It is a waste of precious calories that could be spent on survival and passing on of their genetics through breeding. A prodigious milker in the wild is prone to mastitis due to improper emptying of the udder. They are prone to malnutrition due to needing more calories to produce the extra milk and not being able to eat enough to produce the milk and keep their weight up. They are also prone to parasite overload due to being stressed from the extra energy spent on unneeded milk. This leads them to be poor producers of kids and lag behind. And yet, dairy goats are continually bred to produce more and more milk. Farmers should not wonder why their star milker needs extra grain or more medications or more delicate care.

Domestic livestock are not allowed to express their wild ways. We expect goats to get along with each other and act surprised when there is a fight in the herd. In the wild, goats would be living in a full herd consisting of a dominant buck, a herd queen, several junior does, kids, and younger males. The dominant buck would be in charge of keeping the herd safe and fighting off predators. The herd queen rules the social aspect of the herd. She keeps the younger does in line and makes sure the kids are watched over. The queen decides where and when the herd will eat. She's learned through her years what plants are the best and where is the nicest place to bed down. She teaches this to the younger animals as they watch her. The junior does are always waiting for a crack in the queen's rule to allow them a chance to fight for the top spot. Much fighting is observed amongst the younger does as they are constantly trying to push for a better herd position. The younger bucks are at the periphery of the herd. They aren't totally out on their own yet but they are kept at a distance by the dominant buck in charge. The kids are cared for by all the does.

On farms, goats are not allowed to live in a true herd. The bucks are usually kept separate from the does. The does do create a social hierarchy but the herd queen is not allowed to make the decisions as to when and where the herd will eat. The farmer makes those decisions. Kids are pulled at birth and kept separate from their dams to prevent diseases. They are bottle fed to induce tameness. Fighting and pushiness are bred out by the farmer selecting animals for breeding based on their tameness and domestication. Their abilities to fight for survival and live on their own are disregarded as duller and duller animals are bred together to create the farmer's dream of a domestic animal.

In conclusion, please don't compare me to a wild animal. I am a sophisticated, domesticated, dairy goat!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CAE and Me

The farmer says I have CAE. She says it's a virus that I carry in my body and will never go away. She says it can cause arthritis, encephalitis, paralysis, hard udders, wasting, and death. She's very upset that I have it. The blood test told her so.

What's up with that? I don't feel sick. I don't look sick. I look good this summer... I mean, REALLY good. My coat is nice and shiny. My goatish figure is trim and sleek. My udder is more full of milk than a Dairy Queen. I don't feel sick at all. The farmer says that probably 80% of the goats in the USA have it and don't even know it. Due to CAE being largely asymptomatic or causing symptoms that can be blamed on other goat ailments, people don't realize their goats have it. The only way to know is a blood test.

The farmer says that there are two groups of people with opinions on CAE. One group of people recommend shooting all the goats that are positive and burning down the barn. The farmer says they sound a little alarmist and somewhat crazy. They say that CAE is a dangerous disease that will eventually spread to all goats and then there will never ever be any healthy goats alive in the world ever again. Any positive goats must be shot and butchered or else.

The other group of people doesn't believe that CAE exists. They think it is a conspiracy made up to scare goat people into paying crazy prices for normal old goats just because they were raised on "CAE prevention" and got tested a bunch of times. They think that a disease that is largely asymptomatic is bogus and shouldn't be worried about at all. If it causes no symptoms, does it really exist? The farmer thinks they sound a little paranoid and also somewhat crazy.

The farmer is currently trying to process this all and formulate a plan. She doesn't want to shoot us goats (thank God!) nor does she want to completely ignore the problem. She hopes she can figure out a way for our kids to be CAE negative and for us to continue to live long and healthy lives, even if we are CAE positive.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Goats in the Morning

As the dew burns off the pasture in the morning sunshine, we, goats, are out and contemplating the plans for the day in a goat round table (or round paddock) discussion about where the best grasses are today.

Rosco P. Coltrane (the buck for the year) is contemplating the shiny thing in the farmer's hand that shines a bright light in his eyes and makes a "click" sound.

I spend my morning minutes meditating over my dish of grain. Perhaps I will eat all the sunflower seeds first, then the oats, then the alfalfa pellets. Or maybe the other way around. Ohm...

Figaro is looking very ethereal this morning in the fog. Perhaps he is but a mirage of a mythical being transported here to spend his eternity on Earth. Perhaps he is the ghost-of-all-goats-past and here to remind us of our momentary lifespans. Or perhaps I have been meditating too long and he's just an Angora goat with curly hair. Ohm.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm still here!

I am still here, believe it or not! The farmer is a little busy right now with summer coming on and I have been a little busy with all the fresh grass coming on, so we apologize for not writing sooner. I am doing well. My milk is coming steadily and I am shedding for the summer. Perhaps the farmer will help me out and trim my coat. She usually gives me a pretty bad haircut but it makes me feel lighter and cooler, so I don't mind. A bath might even be nice if it would stop raining and warm up long enough to get a bath and then dry off. I have had plenty of "showers" this spring with the constant yet unpredictable rain. For a while I was afraid I needed a snorkel to get out to the pasture! Argh...

The kids are getting big. I think the farmer is getting ready to let them go to their new homes, according to all the grunts and grumbling I hear coming from the kid pen when the farmer is in there trying to feed them. She always seems to come out of the pen with hoof marks on her butt. I have to smile a little at that. Thank goodness it's her and not me that has to deal with those little troublemakers! I have the good sense to enjoy being milked by a nice steady milk machine and not a pushy-shovey kid. Thank you very much!

Well, time to get back to that fresh grass.

PS: If you see the farmer, tell her it's time to move the fence to a new patch of grass. We goats don't appreciate picking over the same piece for a week. Thanks!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goodbye and Hello!

Pepper Ann left the farm this weekend. The farmer tells me that she went to a very nice group of ladies in Vermont to live on their sheep farm. Although Pepper was a Nubian (patooey!), she was a wonderful friend and a nice pasture mate. Pepper didn't go alone to her new home. The ladies also took Pepper Ann's daughter, Silver Dollar.

Pepper Ann and Silver Dollar got to ride in the farmer's Jeep to Vermont. They got to take a ferry ride in the Jeep across Lake Champlain (can Nubians float?). And they got to get in the new ladies' truck to go the final 1/2 hour to the sheep farm. Goodbye Pepper Ann and Silver Dollar! Have fun with the sheepies!!!

Then the farmer and her assistant (baby Emily) went further down the highway in Vermont to another sheep farm where the farmer picked up a new pet. No one in the barn is quite sure what this new pet is exactly. It's not a sheep... it's not a dog.... I don't think it is a goat... The farmer says it is a goat, but I have never seen such a goat with long hair like that. While I can get a little fuzzy in the winter, I have nothing on this little thing!

Here is a picture of the new barn thing. What do you think it is???

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pictures! Finally!

The farmer finally brought her camera out to the barn. She took pictures of all us goats to share. Here's me. I am pretty!

Here are all the kids from this year. It's a goat color wheel! Black, brown, white, spots, silver! Every color!

The one in the middle is my son. He looks like a Toggenburg with all the gray and white. I am not sure where that came from. Neither me nor his dad were Toggs.

The one in the middle is my other son. He is a very handsome Alpine looking kid.

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Baby Goat Pictures!

Go to the farmer's blog to see pictures of some of the baby goats -- I do have to warn you, there are only pictures of the Nubian (patooey!) kids on the blog so far. For some unknown reason, the farmer has not put pictures of my kids up yet. I think this is an injustice! The farmer should take time out of feeding the kids and cleaning the barn and moving the pasture fence and taking care of her baby and husband to take pictures of my kids and publicize them! Of course, she must not take any time out of what is involved in feeding and milking myself and the other production does. After all, we are the only reason she makes us have these kids in the first place, right?!

UPDATE: The farmer says she will get pictures of ALL of the kids up soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cookie Crumbled!

Cookie finally gave up her kids on Sunday. She had two nice does. Even though they are 3/4 Nubian (patooey!), the 1/4 that is Alpine is pretty darn cute. Here's pictures!

This is Oreo. We also call her "Double-Stuffed" because she is a lot bigger than her sister.

This is Snickerdoodle. She has lots of white flecks mixed in her black coat.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let's Get This Over With!!

Ugh, I am huge and getting huge-r... I can barely see my hooves (except when I look down). I am not due until April 12th the farmer says. I hope these babies come sooner!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


All this winter I had been enjoying living in the big pen with Cookie. I was pretty happy that I had the big pen to run around in and two hay mangers to chose from. Granted, I was not happy that I had to share this with Cookie. Other than giving Cookie a few shoves when she got too close to my food, I never shared my dislike for her as a roommate. Well, the farmer decided that Cookie was special since she is due to have kids first so the farmer put Cookie in the kidding pen. This meant that Gloria had to share my pen! Gloria is the herd leader and can be quite bossy sometimes. I tried to show the farmer that this wasn't going to work by running and crying whenever the farmer was around. She didn't listen to me until the next day. I thought the farmer would be nice and let me stay in the big pen because I was there first, but no, she let Gloria get the big pen!! I am stuck in the little pen!! No fair!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Bump!

The jig is up! The farmer knows that I am pregnant for sure! Last night she was feeling around on my stomach, on the right side just above my udder, when my little baby made a move for it. The farmer jumped and said "Oooohh!" excitedly. I cursed the baby for giving away the secret so soon. It was supposed to be just between us. Only me and the kids would know what was really going on.

Oh well, at least this means the farmer will continue to give me extra cookies while I am pregnant.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seeds of Doubt

The farmer is debating whether or not I am actually pregnant. Other than my wild new mood swings, there isn't much evidence to tell if I am pregnant or not. I have kept my girlish figure all winter and only gained a few pounds in the stomach area. The other goats haven't gained much weight either (this excludes Pepper Ann, who always gains weight no matter what), so that makes the pregnancy determination all the more harder. I have two more months to go until I will let the world know if I am going to have kids this year. Until then, the farmer will just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am in a bad mood!

I have been in a bad mood for a few weeks. I have decided that I don't want to share my stall with Cookie, the Nubian (patooey!). She is getting in my way when I want to walk around and she won't let me eat both bowls of grain (like she needs her own bowl, gimme a break!). All this has put me in a very grumpy mood. Now whenever I see Cookie I push her out of the way and head-butt her. If I have a problem with where she is napping, I go over and step on her until she lets me lay down where she was sleeping.

My bad mood is not only focused on Cookie. I have been grumpy to the other goats when we are in the pasture. I have tried to push Pepper out of the way of the hay bale but pushing her is a little like trying to push a 55 gallon drum up a hill. She usually just stands there until I give up. I have tried pushing Gloria out of the way but Gloria gets more grumpy than I am and she pushes me back. We have a little tussle and I usually end up having to go back to my hay bale and push Cookie off of it.

The farmer says that whenever a goat who is 3 months pregnant starts getting grumpy for no reason, it means that the goat is going to have only male babies. The extra testosterone in my body from the growing male babies is causing me to be "hormonally imbalanced" and grumpy. I don't know if the farmer is right because my last two pregnancies both resulted in twin boys and I was not grumpy during them. Maybe I am pregnant with twin girls and I can't handle the added estrogen? Well, we will see who's theory is right in 2 more months. Until then, watch out Cookie!