"Cia's special babysitter..."

Hi!

I just wanted to share with you the story of my goat Cia (See-ah, Persian for black), and her first set of kids.

We acquired Cia first. She was rather small and with a jet-black, shiny coat. We had no idea what breed she was, only that she was pure pet and very sweet. She had been raised along with the household dog by friends of ours. It seemed to us that she must have been born with deformed ears, or maybe someone had cut them off when she was just a kid out of meanness - anyway, she had little nubs for ears, which only served to make her even more special to us.

She came and went in the house as an honored guest, receiving morsels of whatever happened to be the snack at the moment (although cookies were her very favorite!) and then leaving whenever she felt it was time to go, always too polite to leave anything unpleasant in her wake or to overstay her welcome.

My daughter liked Cia very much, but wanted to raise a goat herself, so we purchased a ten-day old African Pygmy Goat male. Shae named him Spritz (from the animated Heidi) and bottle raised him. Few things are cuter than a goat kid at play!

Time marches on, and some months later we found that male goats quickly start getting other ideas - and they have such an odor! Needless to say, we gave Spritz over to his nature and before we knew it Cia was, shall we say - "with child".

We didn't know what to expect. We knew almost nothing about goats, except what we were learning along the way. I had no idea that they normally give birth to two kids at a time. Along about January Cia was getting almost as wide as she was tall, and was not motivating too well. For some reason Spritz began chasing her around the pen and butting her mercilessly. I didn't know what was going on, but I did know that if I didn't get Cia out of there she might get hurt or lose her baby. We removed her from the pen post-haste and just allowed her to be free in the yard with our female doberman. The got along fabulously together - best of buddies!

One frosty morning in February we found that Cia had given birth to two beautiful kids, one was a black male very much like his father, the other was a dunn-colored female with little nubs for ears! Those ears! They must be genetic. After calling the local extension agent I found that our Cia is a Spanish La Mancha dairy goat. Wonderful! Even better to know that she hadn't been mistreated and that her "ear deformity" was perfectly natural.

Cia was a wonderful mother, but must have found that she needed a break. Imagine our surprise to find her nibbling contendedly in the yard and that the kids were in the dog house with our doberman dutifully watching over them! We weren't even sure that we would be allowed near them - such a good babysitter was our Shir (Sheer - Persian for lion). As the kids grew we would often find them hopping and playing around near the dog. Sometimes, when Shir didn't feel like babysitting, we would even see Cia threatening her with a head-butt if she didn't stay put with the kids...

Three more generations have come along and the established pattern has become written in stone. Cia has instructed each set of kids on household etiquette, and they all love to visit and play with their "Aunt Shir".

(We are in the process of moving from our current home in the country, and I am having a very hard time finding an acceptable home for our little family of goats. I'm so afraid to sell them thinking that someone might see them more in the category of animals, rather than "people". Is there anyone out there as nuts as I am, who would take them and care for them as the sweet pets they are. We live near the San Antonio-Austin corridor in Texas. I would be willing to give them freely to someone under such circumstances.)

Judy Saur, Jsaur@centuryinter.net

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