I’m going to own this title.
Seriously…own it. I’m one batch of oatmeal molasses cookies away from certifiable.
But I love it. Wow, do I ever love it.
If you would have told me four years ago that I would truly enjoy raising goats and immerse myself in every chore that came with it, including sticking them with needles, I would have laughed. Maybe. I might have been truly intrigued, cocked my head to the side and waved my hand, muttering a bewildered, “go on?”
I was very young when my parents raised sheep so I don’t think I would give myself any credit on assisting in that venture. And when they moved out to the farm when I was older, my interactions with their livestock was pretty minimal. Pets here, treats there, collecting eggs. But the majority of the day-to-day grind is what my parents would, and still do, take on.
With this, though…this is mine. Okay, ours. Mind and my husbands. He wanted goats and my input was, “Sure honey, some day.”
Today, as I was finishing up lunch for the girls, I walked outside to call for Sammy and saw her sitting happily in the goat pasture, our Pygmy Ned beside
her with his head resting in her lap and the others browsing the grass around her. Nearby, furry chin on his equally furry paws, Odin – our new Pyrenees pup, watched on.
I remember sitting in the barn with the sheep when I was younger, wishing I had that special touch that would have the ewes trusting me enough to walk up to me and just plop down. Or better yet, the horses. How amazing would that be?
It never happened. The closest I was able to manage to this desire was bottle lambs warming up to me enough to eat.
They’re like dogs…only…different, somehow. They really are keen, intelligent animals that are on a level all their own. Watching my daughter with them impresses me every time I see it. How they follow her, how they graze around her, how they sprawl in the sun beside her and lay their heads in her lap looking for ear scratches.
Even better is how they’re so unconcerned with our presence. We go into the goat pen and as soon as they get their initial greeting out of the way, they move on. They don’t run from you, they don’t demand attention if you’re not really there to give it. They accept your presence, welcome you into their fold and basically treat you like a goat. They say hi, they socialize a bit and then seem to say, “you’re welcome to hang out, make yourself at home.”
I can easily see how people get so swept up in goats and raising them. Their personalities are incredible. And maybe we just lucked out. I still have my reservations about my daughters being in with Abraham when he gets bigger. His sire was 200 lbs. and he’s already showing promise of being a pretty large buck himself. But so far, out of the five of them, he’s showing the most patience and is very sweet tempered.
Even with those reservations, however, I look forward to figuring this out as I go, adding to my strange knowledge – like knowing that goats are nocturnal, that females cycle every 21 days, that with treats, you can train a goat as easily as you would train a dog, and that they browse, not graze. This means they like to pick and choose what they eat – some grass here, hay there, leaves when they’re able to get to them. They don’t make good lawnmowers.
However, they do make exceptional additions to any working farmstead.