Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Meggie and Gloria have kids

Gloria, the Glory Goat, was our milk goat last year. She may be too high strung for our home under the runway - the airplanes bother her, visiting children bug her, the hay isn't to her taste - she never seems satisfied. She may become someone else's milk goat soon. Or not. It's hard to say no to 1 1/2 gallons of sweet, cream milk a day when my son tells me that no other milk compares. Or when she licks your hair and tries to sit in your lap.

Meggie is Gloria's daughter, and in many ways her polar opposite. Meggie is the strong but silent type. Nothing bothers her. Nothing makes her happy, either. She does her thing, and that's that.

And here's the deal with goats. They are mammals. They make milk, but the primary consumer of the milk is meant to be their babies. So if you want them to give milk, you have to start by them having babies.

And that means a buck (male goat) has to get involved. And a buck goat is not an animal you can keep in a suburban backyard.

Bucks (male goats) smell heavenly to does (female goats), but to us they just smell to high heaven.

So Gloria and Meggie were loaded up in the back of the station wagon for a week's visit to a buck.

Once they got there, they had a great time...  ;)

Gloria kidded while we were at a little league game. She was a couple of days early. So there are no pictures of her kidding.  We were disappointed not to have seen the signs of kidding, but we got back in time to clean up after it and make sure their umbilical cords were clean.

Her babies were shy at first. The first time we ever had baby goats, we did not realize how long it took for them to accept and like people. We tried to socialize them, and when it didn't seem to work, we decided they were just not friendly. We gave up on them and let them be unsociable.

I have always regretted that decision. It meant they couldn't be pet goats. At best, brush eaters for someone with horses. At worst, one of them was dangerous to children and fought with the goats at the only good home we could find him, and had to be slaughtered. It was sad, and now I know we wrote them off too soon, and could have taught them to be more trusting.

 Meggie had her kids while I was at a conference. Luckily David and our little leaguer were waiting for it to happen, and helped her. A friend and her family stopped by too, and helped too. There was a lot of running inside for one more item.

It was Meggie's first time having babies, and she was not as confident as Gloria. So taking pictures was not in the cards. 

Each goat had one boy and one girl. As my son used to say when he was younger "twins, a boy and a girl, born on the same day" his notion of the perfect family unit.

Although I will always regret my mistakes with our first baby goats, it is more important that I learn from them. Now we make a point to socialize the goats every day, even when we don't think we have time. They have no one to depend on but us. If we don't give them the chance to be friendly, we are letting them down.
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