Welcoming the goats and Annie

Saturday evening Mitchell and I packed our pockets with cash and headed out to pick up the goats. That’s right! We brought the goats home.

A challenging and rewarding 24 hours, followed by 48 hours of pure ‘does this mean anything? is she/he sick? omg he is going to break the fence post!’

What I’ve learned about goats within the last 72 hours

  • It’s best to transport goats late afternoon to early evening. But you will have to check for your hearing the day after! It’s best to have the goats wake up in their new spot and learn about it slowly, at their own pace. We had the previous owner pack the buck and adult female goat in his truck and the two kids came with us in the back of our truck. oh.my.god the crying and screaming from the kids as they found themselves alone… for about 2-3 minutes until they settled and they were two little angels until we reached our house. To bring them from the driveway to their pen was another mission as all the dogs were hyper and insanely curious! (by this time it was already pitch black outside) Maya and Zeus were born among goats and I have a feeling that the goat smells just made all that resurface and they were so antsy and running the fence line… scaring the crap out of the poor goats. literally!

    The next morning everything was much better as they could see each other and smell each other through the fence line…
  • Always introduce the dogs to the herd, not the other way around. Just letting the goats loose in the dogs’ territory could call for some serious clean up… And so we let the goats out on the empty pasture for a couple of hours, to get familiar with the open space. Then we brought the dogs in on leashes. They looked at each other for some time, the dogs sniffed the ground and ate some goat pellets (yuck!). We let Zeus loose to see what he would do and it didn’t take long to realise all he wanted to do is divide and concur the kids and the buck would have nothing of it! We calmed him down and had him lie down as he watched Maya take her turn… It’s like they spoke to each other telepathically because she was trying to do the same. We calmed them both down, got them distracted and focused on other things; then we let both leashes from our hands (still attached to the dogs) and observed… and they were so in tune and driven to get to the kids! We, of course, did not let that happen and neither did the buck, and we rolled both dogs on their backs and lightly but firmly sat on them until they sighed (fun fact: dogs roll over other dogs to show unacceptance of behaviour, ie. mothers would do that to their young when they play too rough or bite too hard. We used this procedure many, many, many times to instil in their brain that it is absolutely unacceptable to chase and kill chickens. Tia, on the other hand, learned from one roll… )

  • Goats cry for attention too. Little miss nanny goat loves attention and she will give you an ear full if you do not give her enough cuddles. As the days passed, she got more familiar with me, my voice, and more importantly my little bucket of treats. I started milking her the morning after we brought her in, and she’s still a bit shy and holds on to her milk. Happy to announce that on Day 3 I milked a full sour cream container, much more than almost half! and tomorrow is another day.
  • Billy goats are frightening. But you have to stand your ground and show no fear!  tell that to the hairs on the back of my neck… and I am sure he senses that because he looks at me funny. Behind the fence, he is the sweetest guy and comes for kisses and pets, but get in the pen with him and I can see myself in a pen with the rodeo bull! But treats mellow him right down and I can move him out of the goats’ area while I get in there by myself to milk Valentine.
  • Billy goats smell when they go into rut. It’s their pee that makes them smell all goaty and oh my gosh do they ever pee everywhere! including their front legs and face. I had to look it up what’s wrong with my buck that he pees on his own face… Well, Valentine is already pregnant, so he’s running around with ‘blue balls’. Then he calms down, and they all graze peacefully; which brings me to my next point.
  • Goats are browsers, not grazers. I knew that from before, but I found out more how picky they are. Thank goodness we have a good variety of grasses and legumes on our pasture to keep them happy. We got a trial bale of hay to see how they like it – now we have to buy more because they took to it quite nicely. There’s a whole new world about hay and I need to learn about goats’ hay pretty fast!
  • Goats need a mineral block. The block needs to be available to them at all times to supplement the nutrition from the pasture and hay. As soon as I brought the block out, the billy goat was all of a sudden my best buddy. Fun fact: both goats and sheep need mineral blocks (and cows, but that’s for another post). Unlike sheep, goats need copper in their diet, so one has to be very careful about giving the right block to the right animal. The plain mineral block here comes in a blue colour and it is good for both sheep and goat. The mineral block good ONLY for goats comes in a rusty colour … you guessed it! because of the copper content. Copper is toxic to sheep.
  • Goats make helicopter motions with their heads. I got worried when I saw Valentine roll her head in a helicopter motion every time she put her front legs up on the post brace and ‘cried’ for our attention. I really thought something is wrong. And apparently, there could be! Goats get polio, but one other symptom for polio is walking funny and early paralyzation of limbs. In our case, she just wants to see the world upside down for a few seconds… she takes in 360° of her new environment.
  • My hands smelled like the dogs

    My hands smelled like the dogs

    Goats make funny faces! Our neighbour from down the road came by on Sunday to see the goats. She loves goats and her husband doesn’t so she came over to get her goat fix 🙂 They have cattle. After Bucky smelled her hand he did this laughing face with his lip turned up. Well, it turns out they do that to trap the smell inside their nose and use some extra gland in there to further analyse it! Bucky does this every time he catches Valentine peeing (gets pee all over his nose to further analyse if she is ready to breed or not… men everywhere, you have been doing it all wrong!)

  • Goats need a scratching post! enough said. else they will use the fence posts or the wheelbarrow or the side of their shed… and they don’t do it lightly either because they have an itch to scratch!
  • -- pretty crafty don't you think?

    — pretty crafty don’t you think?

    Nubian goat’s milk tastes ‘awfully’ close to cow’s milk. And I love that! That’s mostly what sold me on this herd… I read before that the Nigerian Dwarfs are the ones having the closest milk taste, but the joke‘s on me!

  • New muscles are awoken at milking time. I have some muscles and nerves in my forearm that I forgot they existed. And you need a little milk chair if you don’t have a milking stand (next on the list) else your back will be aching for days! Thanks to my step-dad I have a cool little chair to help in the morning.

There’s so much more to learn about behaviour, care and health, but this was just the first 72 hours and I don’t regret our decision one bit! We are looking to add a couple of meat goats too (Boer) and Mr Bucky will most likely be happy with the lady variety 🙂 He is half Alpine and half Lamancha (if the breed names say nothing to you, don’t worry a goat is a goat to me too lol)

Annie, the new Great Pyrenees puppy

I left the surprise for last! Hope you stuck around to read about it. On the same Saturday evening, we went to pick up little miss Annie too, before we went to get the goats.

I have to announce that little miss Annie became boss over all the other dogs. They like her in their own way, part ways for her to pass, and get out of the freshly dug hole to let her cool herself off.

And she’s a howler! oh boy if you do not pay attention to her quiet whine, she just full-on howls. Like in the middle of the night when her tummy is grumbling and she needs food right that second! She also wakes everyone up if she needs to go outside to pee, also in the middle of the night.

I have to count our blessings because we’ve been so lucky she spends all day outside with Maya and Zeus, mostly snoozing in the shade or howling for food, then when night falls and the big guys go out in the pasture to guard she whines and howls for attention… and so she comes inside and sleeps in an extra large storage bin, in the living room, with the door open to have breeze come over her, else… you guessed it! more howling!

We absolutely love her! She’s a bit underweight, her fur is a bit coarse for a puppy, and her front feet knee knuckles are gigantic, but we’ll correct all that with a proper diet including better food and goat’s milk 😉

 

— We all felt this way at the end of the day! —

 

 

16 Thoughts on “Welcoming the goats and Annie

  1. Pingback: Not one, nor three sheep were enough! - Caledon Acres

  2. Pingback: 3LineTales – 30 days and counting – Sand In The Bikini

  3. It sounds like you’re having so much fun! Thanks for the fascinating lesson about goats; I love the picture of Bucky with the laughing face! Your new puppy Annie is adorable. 🙂

  4. So much happening in your world. Great to be able to take peeks at it through your posts.

  5. those dogs are soooo cute!

  6. These are beautiful animals! 🙂

  7. You seem to be in goat and Annie heaven, Laura. I usually don’t read about animal husbandry but your post was quite interesting. Enjoy your journey! <3

  8. I’m so happy to read your post this evening. I had a bit of a trying day and reading about your goats and Annie just made me feel so much better. Bucky’s funny face had me laughing out loud!

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