June 1, 2021

Goat Good-Byes and Goat Hellos

Early summer is usually when the kids are sent to new homes. This year I had five kids—four girls and one boy—and he was the first to go.

Rivus, my sole buckling, on the left.

I like to wait until they are at least 12 weeks old before weaning them. They do so much better when they've been on mother's milk for as long as they can. By 12 weeks, the boys are usually getting pretty bucky and rambunctious, and even their moms are ready for them to go.

Rivus was a real sweetheart with a gentle personality.
He's gone to become herd sire for a new Kinder herd.

With the doelings, I have more time to let them grow and decide which to keep and which to sell. Our pasture is good, and I'll let their mothers wean them in their own time. I have two sets of twin girls. The oldest are four months old, and the youngest are two months old.

Echo, Ursa, and Luna are all curious about my camera.

So, I thought that was it for awhile. Then I got an email from someone I sold Kinders to several years ago. She is selling off her herd and asked if I would like any. Dan and I took a brief road trip and brought back Sky, a doe that was born here. You can see her baby pictures here.

This is Sky in the newcomers' pen,
getting to know the other girls.


Sky turned out really well, and her genetics compliment the rest of my herd. So she's a good addition. I wondered if she'd remember me, or anything about the place. But she left before the girls moved into the new barn, and nothing seems familiar to her. 

It takes time for new goats to fit in. There's a pecking order to sort out, whereby every goat knows their place. Ordinarily, that goes fairly smoothly, unless one has a goat like Miracle.

Sky on the left and Miracle on the right.

Miracle has made it her business to continually chase Sky away from the other goats, the hayfeeder, and the barn. That's because Miracle is a bully. As the newcomer, Sky is her new target. Before that it was Caroline, and before that it was Ellie. Before Miracle, Daisy was the bully. Whatever side of the hay feeder Daisy went to, all the others would rapidly flee to the other side. 

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon with goats. Also unfortunate, it isn't something that can be trained out of them. I know because I've tried. They may "behave" themselves in your presence, but turn your back and they press on with their goat agenda. 

The solution for now, is that Miracle spends the night in the pen! She doesn't realize it, but later this summer she will be the one to go. Every couple of years, I sell an adult doe or two, to keep herd size in balance with our land. Miracle's twins are promising, and will probably be weaned in about two months. Until then, I get Miracle's morning milk for making our annual supply of cheese. After that, I'll start looking for a new home for her. 

27 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

When we had Herefords, we'd eat the trouble-makers. ;-)

Leigh said...

Gorges, ha! We're more likely to do that with bucks and roosters. :)

daisy g said...

We have a bully in our flock of chooks. It makes me sad that they can't just get along with each other. A reflection of the world at large, I suppose. Sigh...

Boud said...

Interesting that bullies seem to exist in many species. I wonder if their bullying ensures their breeding and the continuing of their personality?

Ed said...

Animals! It was the same way in the pigs and chickens I have raised over the years. Even the fish tank I had as a kid has a bully fish. He tormented any newcomer for years until age got to him and then he was bullied until the day we came back and he was just a skeleton at the bottom of the tank. Karma can be mean sometimes.

Goatldi said...

In my current herd there are 6 does. The older girls are two ten year olds and one doe is 15 years not months. Two of the three would take no nonsense off off anyone. But they weren’t bully’s.

The younger three are generational Nutmeg at eight years, Trouble at six and lastly Willa at four.

Otherwise known as “The Goat Gang”. For whatever reason with livestock sometimes just breathing in another’s air space is reason enough .The GG began bullying the older three about last August. This herd has lived in the same barn area since Spring of 2019.

Then I had an revelation about late May as the behavior seemed to be decreasing. My girls had gone through a whole year without the presence of the bucks. So little or no obvious heat cycles. Boys came home in March of last year. So when the does started cycling in September the bucks came in rut and GG came out in force.

If nothing else goat behavior is entertaining 👍



wyomingheart said...

Seems like every species must have a pecking order, and one to establish that order. We have 5 deer that we catch on the cameras, and there is one particular doe who is simply a bully to the others...don’t know why, but she is ! Thanks for posting the awesome pics of your herd! Have a great week, Leigh!

Leigh said...

Daisy, it's interesting how much of a reflection it is. Since dealing daily with livestock, I'm observed numerous parallels to human motivation and behavior. Except I think humans have a choice, whereas animals are simply acting according to their nature.

Leigh said...

Boud, I've wondered if personality can be passed on genetically. I somewhat suspect it can, as it seems repeated behaviors are often seen in offspring. I'm including good personalities here too. Sky's mother was very sweet and everyone has loved her kids because of their personalities. I suspect there are exceptions to that, however!

Leigh said...

Ed, I've seen that kind of payback with goats. We had one bully, from whom I eventually separated all the younger kids because she was pretty mean to them. About a year later, I put them all back together and the kids she had bullied came after her as a mob. Things eventually settled down, but it was certainly pay-back.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, interesting! Yes, goats are extremely entertaining, which is one of the reasons I love them. :)

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, I agree with you about pecking orders. Even humans have them! Very fun that you could observe this with wild deer.

Retired Knitter said...

I think goats are the most interesting of creatures. That Miracle sure has an attitude!! :-)

Renee Nefe said...

Luna looks like a sheep. :D I don't envy the choices you have to make about who stays and who goes. Hoping the pecking order gets worked out soon and that no one takes over for Miracle when she leaves.

Annie in Ocala said...

Yes! I can relate! Having worked with horses all my life, a long time ago I visualized they had a definite pecking order and were also quite abject to having horses of a different breed among them if the primary herd was all of same breed. My goats currently have 2 'bosses' ... 6 or 7 yo Helen, who's oldest, an 3 yo Karen, who's biggest. A good 70-80# bigger an consequently there's not much challenge between them. An I like it. An in this case bigger one doesn't care to be aggravating. She gets what she wants. End of challenge. It hasn't always been this harmonious...

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

The reality is that the animal world is not nearly as bucolic as cartoons and nature shows would have the general public believe.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

What a great dose of goat cuteness! That's nice if there's a market and you guys can find what you want and sell what you don't. Reminded me of my hens and their pecking order, there's always one in charge and sometimes she has a sidekick that she doesn't bother but then she likes to peck at the others to remind them who's boss. She's the oldest so I guess that makes sense?

Leigh said...

RT, that last picture of Miracle glaring at Sky says it all to me. Thankfully, things are settling down a little bit!

Leigh said...

Renee, the who stays and who goes pretty much works itself out because I have certain things I'm looking for. We have a breed standard, so it's a game of sorts to see how close I can get to that standard. Also, I try to sell adults while they are still young enough to be productive. We really aren't set up to take care of a bunch of geriatric goats, so it's better for them to go to new homes while they still have age on their side.

Leigh said...

Annie, sounds like your bossy system pretty much worked itself out. I used to have two Nubian does and one wanted to be in charge while the other didn't care. Until it came to food. Then she got what she wanted, which made the wannabe so mad! She'd go stomping off until she realized she was running away from the food, so she'd go back to challenge Jasmine, who simply ignored her. It was hilarious.

Leigh said...

TB, that is so very true. Animals are actually not very nice to one another, even mean. Not so different from humans, except that animals seem to accept their place in the pecking order, whereas humans usually don't.

Leigh said...

Nancy, the oldest usually seems to be on top!

Michelle said...

Yep, I agree with that whole 'choice' thing.

Mark said...

Hi Leigh!! Growing up we had polled Herefords. One line of them had a red ring around the left eye, and a truly rebellious attitude. We put some in the freezer but, after being roughed up a number of times, sent the rest of them up the chute to the sale barn!

Leigh said...

Great to hear from you Mark! Seems bullying is a universal "problem" for all species!

Debby Riddle said...

I had what I called a "Roller Derby Queen" It took her 3 years to grow to size, perhaps that contributed to her attitude. She had some nice qualities too, but rudeness is hard to tolerate in any species:)

Leigh said...

Debby, great nickname. Did her attitude change when she finally grew?