Our First Goats!

by John Kane

We thought we'd put a capital N in "newbie", and share our story. We got our first two goats (nannies) back in November from a guy a friend knew a few towns over. He told us they were half Nubian/half Alpine, but he could have told us they were half Franciscan/half Republican and it would have meant the same to us. We got two more at a livestock auction in February. Between us being transplanted northerners, and the southern auctioneer talking at the speed of light... well, I thought he said they "would find gold", but I guess he said they "were fine goats" :). Anyway, we got two more nannies, one mature and one pretty young, but weaned. A lady at the auction thought the mature one might be pregnant. We're both in the medical field (ICU nurses), so we got out our stethoscopes and listened for fetal heart tones, and felt around. Nothing. She was just old and fat, but sweet as could be, put her head in your lap, laid down next to you, just wanted to be petted. After a little adjusting, the little herd got on just fine. They come for walks with us through our woods, never straying too far, munching as they go. Our 3 cats come too sometimes; one sort of thinks she's a goat, at least a little. The poor old fat one kept getting fatter, seemed to slow down; then her udder started to swell. Well, we thought maybe she is pregnant, so we listened a bit, felt a bit...nothing. We figure it's probably a tumor, likely estrogen-dependent to cause her udder to swell like that. One morning she wouldn't go with the rest of the herd for a walk with my wife. My wife figured she'd amble along behind with her fat old self, but she never did. When my wife got back, Emmy wouldn't even come out of her shelter. When my wife stuck her head in to see if she was bad off... there was newborn Sammy! Some goatherds we are:) Good thing we don't work in Maternity/Labor & Delivery either. "you'll be fine lady - just watch what you eat, do some abdominal crunches, you'll lose that gut in no time... You just need to tone up a bit. What? Pregnant? No Ma'am, my thorough exam has ruled that out." :). Emmy seems to have perked up quite a bit since she lost all that weight ! Little Sammy is just the most adorable little guy ! Needless to say, we won't be chiming in with too much advice on the goats list. We just like having them around; they're fine animals. So that's our story. Thanks again for your warm welcome. I tried milking Emmy a bit. What's the deal with that? Is there some trick I don't know ? It would take me most of the day to get much more than a mouthful, but I think my teeth were bugging her a bit. I was thinking of asking the list if there is a better way, like should I wear a helmet or something. :) Anyway, hope to hear of your adventures in goating.

John & Judy Kane.

P.S. I figured these goats would eat up a lot of the brush in the fields around our house. Turns out with my wife feeding them like fifty pounds of goat treats a week, they're not eating too much brush. "No thank you sir, we'll pass on the leafy greens. We're waiting for that lady with the molasses-covered oats". Then my wife read about feeding them vanilla cream cookies on the list. I can never find a darn cookie in the house - too fattening - but suddenly those goats have like a 5 pound bag for themselves. Turns out they don't like the actual cream stuff in the middle ( they'd eat a bite then furiously rub their faces in the dirt - like that tasted better), so I had to spend most of a Saturday scraping the middle out of about a thousand cookies.

Printed with permission from John Kane.
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