Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The #1 Rule of Goats

You'd think the farmer would know better by now. She's only been raising goats for 10 years and yet she continues to act all surprised when we don't follow her carefully laid plans. I think someone needs to mention to her that our number one rule as goats is that every time you post something online about what your plans are for us, we will read it and do the opposite. You would think someone would have clued her in on that by now. She may not have internet access at the house and has to do all her online stuff in town and she may wonder how we always know what she has posted. Goats don't need iPads or smartphones to keep updated on the farmer's public blog and profiles. The farmer is quite good and muttering her plans to us as she does chores and we are quite good at interpreting the sparkle in her eyes as she gives one of us extra attention as a plan in the making.

Her latest failed attempt at planning came when she put me in with the buck for a few days a while back. The farmer didn't see me get bred but I knew something was up when she started examining my backside very carefully and taking pictures of my whoo-ha. I would have been okay with the visual exams but once she pulled the camera out I knew I had to do something. I knew the farmer was thinking that I was pregnant and that she was going to be posting my goaty-bits on Goatbook for all the world to see. I decided that it was time for a little shake up in the farmer's world. For maximum impact I waited until the farmer was muttering out loud about how I was pregnant and she could get rid of the buck because his job was done and blah, blah baby goats, blah. I came into a roaring heat the day the farmer started talking about future baby goat names.

I stood at the gate and carried on like a mad-goat. I ran to the buck pen and pawed at the gate. The farmer stood dumbly in the farmyard scratching her head and wondering why I was acting so funny. She checked me for a fever and examined my eyelids for anemia. She felt me up for tumors and looked for lice.

"Lucy, there must be a reason you're acting so strange this early in your pregnancy" she said.

"BAAAAAAAA!!" I wailed as I ran out of the barn and to the buck pen.

"I hope you don't have the start of bloat" the farmer wondered.

"BAAAA! BAAA! BAAAAAAA!!" I cried as I stood nose to nose with the buck.

"Well, if you want to be in the buck pen, I will put you in there. I don't think it will hurt for you to be in there since you are already pregnant" the farmer mused as she let me in with the buck.

"BAAAA!!!" I agreed as the buck bred me repeatedly.

About this time it must have dawned on the farmer that I was not pregnant because she just stood speechless watching me and the buck have a good time. "Speechless" is not a description often used in regards to the farmer which is why I think the message I was sending had hit loud and clear. She was also speechless because I think she had just realize that we had pulled the mohair over her eyes yet again and ruined another perfectly planned plan.

So next time you see the farmer please remind her that us goats don't appreciate planning and plans. And we really don't appreciate our whoo-has being posted on the interwebs!

Friday, November 2, 2012

And so it goes....

Well, you can probably guess what I have been up to. I have been doing the same thing I do every fall -- trying to avoid the bucks. The farmer has the crazy notion that I enjoy this sort of thing and that I should get pregnant every year. I have the crazy notion that I would rather not. At least, I have that notion on days 1 - 18. I can't really vouch for days 19 - 21 because I am not in my right mind with all the buck chasing I feel compelled to do. And so it goes, over and over, every year. I go into heat, I get knocked up, I squirt out a few kids (typically twin bucks), I get milked for 10 months, I get dried off, etc. Ah, the never ending joys of being a dairy goat...
Even though I was bred only 6 days ago, the farmer is already sure I might be pregnant. She has decided that she can smell when I am pregnant. Sounds totally cuckoo, right?! It might not be entirely nuts. My mom and I emit a very distinct, fruity smell when we are pregnant. The farmer has tried to narrow down why we smell like that. She has tested us for ketosis and other sorts of ailments that can cause a goat to smell weird when preggers. We aren't sick when we smell funny, we're just pregnant. I started smelling funny yesterday so uh-oh, I guess I am pregnant.

Daisy came into heat today and I saw the farmer looking longingly at her. Daisy is only 7 months old but she is built like a brick goat-house so you would assume she is much older. She's almost my height and is definitely much bigger than the petite Primrose (who is also 7 months old). Oh well, I guess that's what you get for being a Saanen. They are such over-achievers! The farmer is trying to decide whether or not to throw caution to the wind and breed Daisy this fall instead of waiting until next year. Normally the goats get to mature to 1 1/2 years old before breeding. This is because the farmer wants us to be fully mature before breeding. Daisy is huge-mongous so the farmer is toying with the idea of breeding her now.

This happens every year around here. The farmer says all summer that she is only going to breed one or two goats. She'll squawk to anyone who will listen the advantages of having less babies to deal with in the spring and less goats to milk each year. She'll tell you that next year will be the big year for traveling and vacations. That she is going to have the least amount of animals on the farm so she has more time to spend off the farm. That she is going to take it easy because it's not worth all the work. She'll extoll on the virtues of not flooding the market with unwanted kid goats and how it is pious and worthy to be a responsible breeder and not overproduce. Well, then fall comes along and all of us girls go into heat, and the farmer losses it and starts breeding every goat in sight! Last year she bred three goats after vowing to only breed two. The year before she bred four does just for fun because she couldn't stop. This year she has sworn up and down that I would be the only goat bred because Gloria is too old, and Prim and Daisy are too young. The plan would be to breed me this year and then breed only Prim and Daisy from then on because she wants to keep the CAE negative goats as the only breeders once they are old enough for breeding. But I have seen her eyeing up Daisy and wandering through Craigslist looking at all the breeding age does for sale. Fall is far from over and breeding season has a lot of time left to it. God help us all!