Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A darker side to my sweet Zuri

Yesterday was an enlightening day for me. My bucklings too. We all discovered that Zuri... my sweet, perfect, lovely Zuri... is a hussy. Perhaps if I were breeding goats willy nilly without regard to kidding times, I'd be perfectly happy with Zuri's amorous behavior. But when you're trying to maintain a schedule to keep things as orderly as possible in an amazingly chaotic choice of hobbies (raising goats and chickens)... a hussy goat with an uncanny knack for escape and an array of eager suitors does NOTHING to make a day orderly. It does however, give one more aerobic exercise than they counted on.

The day started out mundane enough. Doing chores, pulling weeds, tweaking fence here and there, though I've long since abandoned the notion of keeping Zuri and her cohort Daisy within the boundaries of something as restrictive as a PEN. (Silly me for even contemplating THAT ridiculous idea!) I did notice that Zuri didn't jump back in with her friends to enjoy a little breakfast, but since she doesn't typically eat much grain I wasn't concerned.

She's really a dream as far as a 'meat' goat is concerned. She gets all the browse she can stand while out meandering the pastures all day. She isn't remotely pushy when I give the girls their morning grain, which is surprising since goats are born being pushy and obnoxious. She'll eat a bit from my hand and generally stand back and watch the other 'normal' goats eat. She gets along with everyone and doesn't bully anyone. And it's really quite miraculous that she can gain enough elevation to get over my pasture fences even if it's not an elegant show. I don't carry on about Daisy clearing those fences since she's a dairy breed that is much lighter in build, much longer legged and looks like her daddy MUST be a deer. So it seems perfectly reasonable that she sails over fences like a bird and DOES do a lovely job of it.

As the day moved on and lunchtime came and went, I noticed that Zuri still hadn't come back to the pen to hang out with her friends and chew cud. Not even to lie in the sun with Daisy. In fact, I hadn't seen those two together one time all day. That's just not normal. I could see Zuri out at the horse barn where I'd locked Aiden, my only adult buck, in a stall to keep him from the girls. She was standing by the stall front making sweet faces and batting her lashes at him. Of course he reciprocated by grunting, wagging his tongue, peeing on himself... all those very sexy buck moves the girls go nuts for. But I'm a good chaperone and she has an arranged relationship waiting for her in October, so, like Romeo and Juliet, their love is forbidden.

She did at least have plenty of company to make her feel loved and appreciated. My four young bucklings from this spring were hanging out like a gang of hoodlums cat-calling at her. They were obnoxious enough (I think I mentioned that they're born that way) that she had to bash them periodically to keep them at a respectful distance. I'd say that was about four inches, give or take. Seeing how well she kept them in line left me no worries that they were all loose in the barn together. Their pipe dreams were as unattainable as hers without any intervention from me.

Or so I thought. I suppose after a few hours (or most of the day) a girl is bound to start considering her options. Maybe those young boys didn't look as small and immature as she originally thought. Would it really be so bad if she gave one of them a shot? The other girls probably wouldn't even notice from their pen. Even if they did, she'd already played hard to get... surely it couldn't be held against her, right?

I swear I could hear her thoughts and in that brief moment, the atmosphere changed abruptly. Apparently, the boys could hear her thoughts too. They became more than insistent. More than obnoxious. They became downright rude... and really, really fast!

I ran to the barn in my flip flop shoes shaking my little grain can praying I'd get any one of them to notice me. Silly human, we're talking about unrequited goat love here. Grain doesn't hold one ounce of importance when you're competing with passion! So I abandoned the grain plan grabbed a rope and figured I was just going to have to get my hands on anyone I could and drag them apart. Of the five goats in the frenzy, only one is actually tame, though you'd never have guessed it in the following moments. In hind sight, it wasn't a very good plan but it was the only plan I had.

Zuri was really the only one in the group who seemed to notice me at all. Apparently her goal was to avoid me at absolutely all costs. She ran all over the barnyard, went over fences that were effective at stopping me AND the boys, back into the barn, streaking through the field, running in circles... Funny thing though, when she began to run from me the boys went completely wild. I guess goats are into the thrill of the chase? The boys began literally THROWING themselves at her as she ran! I have to say, for all the calamity they had darn good aim. Good thing they're all so short.

We ran around the farm for what seemed like an hour with me tripping over my flip flops and hearing the Benny Hill theme song in my head until Zuri finally changed her course. She headed back to the girl pen and instead of jumping the fence to go in with them, she went into one of the little side doors to a goat stall. All but one of the boys beat me to the stall but I had her cornered at last! It seemed simple enough to throw a noose around her neck and drag her to her own stall. Ya right. The goat stall was only 6'x6' and packed with bodies, but it was still no easy feat to get her roped. When I finally had her, I had to wrestle her across the alleyway into her own stall... a.k.a. solitary confinement.

I wish I had some enlightening insights to share from this experience. All I got from it though was a stubbed toe, some sore muscles and a few pouty goats.
Zuri at 3 months old, still sweet and innocent

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In today's news...

Lot's of goatie goings on here... Patty had her kids. A tiny black buckling and a doeling that was almost identical to Patty's doeling from last year. The family that purchased them came to visit almost every other day until tragedy struck. For the first time here, we lost a kid to a predator. The babies were about two weeks old when during the night, the doeling disappeared. I'd gone out at 5:30 in the morning to check on Holly who had reached her due date, when I discovered we had one missing. Despite prolonged searching over a period of several days, we found no signs of what happened to her or what got her.

I was so worried that something would happen to the remaining buckling, that I asked the family to go ahead and bring him home along with Patty to keep them safe. I didn't want him living without a buddy, so I've asked them to keep Patty. They were very understanding and aren't holding me to giving Patty to them, but I think it's best. Patty is a Pygmy and I'm headed a different direction with the goats anyway. She'll be very happy with them and their grandchildren.

The following Sunday, April fools day... Holly had HER kids. Two beautiful spotted babies. They look like little dalmations and are male and female, so we named them Pongo and Perdita. Pongo has already been claimed by a family in Knob Noster who have their first little goats this year. Perdita will be staying here.

That's Perdita in the foreground. She came first and wasn't positioned quite right, so mamma needed a little help getting her situated. I'm not sure who was more unhappy about my 'helping out' me, or Holly! Pongo was breach and came about 15 minutes after his sister. Even though he was much larger, he practically fell out! LOL! Both kids were up and nursing in a matter of minutes and have been non stop jumping beans ever since.

They're three weeks old today and have integrated into the herd beautifully. These are my buck's first kids and he's SO gentle with them. He's been giving Pongo sparring lessons and the kids follow him around more than they do their mother.

Mom in the background

Pongo looking for a lesson

Aidan is very careful with him

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The kids are coming!

I spent the weekend preparing the maternity ward for my mamas-to-be. Patty is only about a week and a half from her due date and Holly should be right behind her in line. Besides cleaning, I had repairs to make. Before they went to their new home, my pygmy billies tore the shed up pretty good while they were occupying those stalls. The exterior wall of the two stalls became their target when only one of the two felt like sparring. Sigh... good thing I had some extra lap siding in the barn to replace the damaged wall. The goat shed was built (as a garden shed) by the previous owner and thankfully he was a "waste not, want not" minded person like myself. The extra siding has been in the barn since I moved here ten years ago. I'm SOOO glad I held on to it!

I had a visitor stop by to meet Patty goat the other day. He'd heard through a mutual friend that I had goats and he happens to be looking for a pair of kids to purchase for his grandchildren. He liked Patty and how tiny she is, and put his claim tag on her babies (or baby) before it's even arrived. It's a good feeling to know they have a home waiting for them that's as excited as I am about their arrival.

Patty goat

Do you think Holly wonders if she has to kid with this company?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Llama learning

I stumbled upon a fun website last night while surfing for llama grooming information. It's called 'Llama Journal' and it's a social networking site for Llama and Alpaca enthusiasts. It looks like it might be a lot of fun if other folks are using it regularly!

Visit Llamas And Alpacas

 My llama Fluffy, is extremely soft and well... fluffy. But whoever had him before me didn't take care of his lovely locks. He's a matted MESS and I've been aching to groom him. I've heard that llamas despise being groomed however, and I want to have a little education before I dive into the project. I'm afraid I'll end up having to shear most of his fiber off, but it would be nice if I could save it. It's soooo long. There was no history available when I bought Fluffy and llamas are something new for me, but I believe he's a Suri Llama. He's an intact male who's age has yet to be ascertained. He is mature though and is very well behaved. I believe he must have been someone's show animal at some point because he's very well trained and seems quite used to being handled.

I'll take photos as I go along and eventually I'll share a step by step account of taming Fluffy's hairdo! Whether it be picking and brushing, blowing, washing or shearing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just another day...

I got a text from Makarov's new family yesterday. They said he's settling in and they're all getting along. They put a saddle on him and he did really good. I was glad to hear it. It's been a long time since anyone played with him, he's probably loving the attention!

As for my remaining ponies/horses... they're having a slumber party tonight! My neighbor called this evening and said she was down the hill at one of our other neighbor's farms. One of their ponies was out on the road, a pony that they got from me. Naughty boy! Neither of us had current phone numbers for the folks who own the farm and no one was down there. The fence was damaged but we couldn't get the pony to go back in where he belonged... so I brought him up the hill with me and put him in one of my stalls. He's hanging out with my own little escape artist who's currently jailed in the neighboring stall.

I did finally get a hold of the owners and they'll be back tomorrow to fix the fence and bring their boy back home. Fun stuff... just another day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


One less pony.
Today was bittersweet. A pony I bred and raised who's lived here for ten years, went to a new home this morning. It's always sad to see one go even if it's to a good home. Makarov is the sweetest little horse and is off to a new life as a little girl's companion. I hope she has as much fun and as many memories with him as I had with my first horse. I do hope his new family will let me know how he's fitting in and how he's doing.

Mak (left) with his buddies Toby, Mesa and Melina.

Goat addiction begets goat additions!
 I love our new buck Aidan and am trying to find just the right ladies for him. I'm very excited about the prospect of adding some Kiko/Boer cross goats to my little herd and have been put on a waiting list for some new kids this spring. Kikos are supposed to be good mothers with excellent parasite resistance and the Boer blood adds bulk. Should be fun to see what we get!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Industrial Goat Herding

Heather's girls from last Spring turned out to be pretty little things. Mette is jet black and Titan is black but marked like an Alpine. We found a home for them last year but it fell through... and I'm SO glad. I just love these two girls. They're very sweet and both will be big enough to breed to the new buck, Aidan.

Industrial goat herding?