Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goats.... to keep or not to keep...

I am the new mom of seven goats. Goats that may or may not be pregnant. Goats that have definitely NOT been raised around people. Goats that have horns. Big horns. Spiky horns. Horns that are also backscratchers and weapons useful in ramming everything and each other. Horns I'm afraid they will ram into me. Ouch! Cute, yes. Good pets... maybe not.

I did meet a very helpful lady at the Tractor Supply Store while in the Goat aisle ( I know...  you can't help but picture at the Tractor Supply Store chatting up other goat stop laughing and continue on with the goat dilemma). This pleasant Goatlady from Abbeville proceeded to try to sell me some additional goats as she has 14 about to be born. I graciously declined and assured her we were quite overwhelmed with the seven we already have. Mrs. Goatlady referred me to a wonderful Goat website for more information. Desperately trying not to stare at the vial of medicine she held in her hand for a Very Important injection that every goat must have in order to not run around in circles and stuff themselves to death (Huh? We have to give the goats shots?) , I thanked her for her time and escaped to join my husband on his Search for a mineral block.

Note to self: When in a feed store, remember that if you put Goat Feed in your cart, you will suddenly have lots of people who want to talk to you about goats, sell you goats, and ask about your goats. And if you ask how to tell a boy goat from a girl goat, they will politely laugh and think you are kidding. Which you are not but you will be too embarrassed to ask twice.

Off to the internet for a little research as the Goat Book I received for Christmas wasn't terribly helpful on what to do with aloof, potentially dangerous goats. Here are the guidelines on getting a goat from the recommended website:

Recommendations for Getting Your Goat:

1. If you are a first time goat buyer, DO NOT get a buck under any circumstances. You do not need a buck unless you already have does enough does to breed to warrant it and you can provide the buck with separate living quarters and a companion (wether or another buck- not a doe).   We mostly likely have bucks since we have pregnant goats. Strike one.

2. Because goats are herd animals you should not get just one goat, they need the companionship of their own kind. A single goat will be very unhappy so you should start with at least two. If you are a first time goat getter, please do not and go out and get a buck and a doe because "logic" tells you, like Noah, you should have one of each sex. You are asking for problems and you would really do quite well with a doe and a wether, two does or two wethers.   We definitely have more than one. On the right track!

3. Do not get a goat with horns under ANY circumstances.  Uh oh... Strike two.

4. Only buy what you need and/or can handle. More is not always better.  Pretty confident that this is strike three.

5. If you just want pets, consider wethers.  Google "wethers". Find out it's a castrated male. Don't know if we have any of these but I'm thinking it's a no. Strike four.

6. Get goats that are friendly and used to people. It is extremely difficult to "tame" a "wild" goat.  Sadly, this is strike five.

7. Try to buy from a reputable breeder with well bred, healthy stock. Try to visit the farm and see the herd that your goats are coming from.  I guess inheriting them from a man who doesn't even know if they are girls or boys or pregnant doesn't qualify. Strike six.

8. If you are buying a goat as a milker, make sure she has a good, well attached udder and comes from good milk stock.   I'm not even going there as I do not want to milk anything nor do I want to inspect any udders.

  ~ from the very informative website,
So out of eight guidelines, our goats failed six. As cute as they are, these goats will probably never be the goats we need and want. They will always have horns. They will be "wild". They will be dangerous to our family. Even the children want to "trade them in" for different goats that they can pet and feed. I wouldn't say we are ready to give our goat children up for adoption (or whatever you do with unwanted goats), but we are leaning that way. Anyone out there want a bunch of adorable goats? Anyone?

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