"Yupnecks & Goatherds"
We moved to an old green farmhouse on 12.5 beautiful acres from the suburbs (we're yupnecks=yuppies + rednecks) 2 years ago this April. Our first order of business was to fill up the little animal pen next to the house, so the day after we moved in, we went to get our first goats. Gracie (mom), Bobby & Joey (twins) came home with us (you can't just buy one!). We figured that since we didn't know what we were doing, it was better to not know what we were doing 3 times over. Fortunately we had very helpful neighbors who showed us all about neutering the boys and other yucky farmer things we didn't think we'd have to do. These first goats were Tenessee Wooden legs or Fainting goats. They're really great at parties and family gatherings!
Then we fell in love with Jester (a flop eared...dog bitten ...Oberhasli weather) at the 4H fair. Jester, who thinks he's a puppy dog and likes us better than all the other goats, taught our first spoiled brat goats how to earn their keep and eat something besides the pounds of grain we were feeding them.
Next came two castoff Alpines who were acquired to eat the back 40 so we could build a new house. They are doing a fine job and are also very friendly, though their former owners (and their azaleas and rhododendrons) don't seem to miss them a bit...go figure.
Then came Lydia & Ophelia, 2 little pygmies from down the road who were quickly joined by "Stinky," a pygmy billy, bought from a neighbor who smelled almost as bad as the goat. Stinky thought he had died and gone to stinky goat heaven since he was rescued from a life of being tied up on a chain. (Editor's note: buck goats have scent glands and when they are in rut, emit oil from these glands to attract female goats, in the same manner as deer... female goats or does, don't have have the smell of a buck in rut.)
In between came a few orphaned neutered male sheep (our neighbors laugh at us because we paid real money for them and haven't eaten them yet), a couple of decent Suffolk ewes thrown over the fence from next door, and an extra dog (grand total: 3 too many, especially on rainy days).
Now it's lambing and kidding time. No one at work could quite believe it when I called in the other day to say I had to stay home with a goat in distress (huge breach kid, c-section on a pygmy goat--what a mess! Who knew there was so much "stuff" inside a little goat!).
I never thought we'd be assisting with small animal surgery, jabbing goat butts with penicillin, worming, treating hoof rot, getting up at night to check on kids and lambs....
What a great life!
Becky and Joe
Printed with permission
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