Our dairy goats were, in an indirect way, about to bring another
horse into our menagerie.
To keep a dairy goat in milk, she has to get pregnant every
year. Sometimes she has one kid. More often it's two, three,
even four or five in her litter. Half of these are males. These
dismal statistics are what kept us local goat ladies from inquiring
too deeply into the activities of Christine McCoy. Yes, the woman
from whom Dorothy Stender, with my husband John's help, had finally
obtained Kiri, the champagne
OK, big deal. Half the offspring of dairy cattle are males.
They, and also most of the females of any dairy breed wind up
on dinner plates. Because goats have so many young ones, their
milk comes at the cost of creating many more offspring that need
to end up somewhere. Preferably, some of us believe, in good
We goat lady types are different from most dairy cattle farmers.
For starters, we must be half-crazy. Goats are as hard to pen
and order around as cats. They have prehensile tongues with which
they untie knots and work open gate latches. When they escape
their pens, they munch down rose bushes to the roots and kill
trees by stripping off their bark. They sneak into your home
and tap dance on your kitchen table and poop on your bed.
Pinto Bean and Chestnut. Their mother delivered them right into
Val's lap. These boys got jobs as pack goats with an outfitter
in the Gila Wilderness.
When a dairy goat goes into labor, she hollers at the top of
her lungs until you quit doing whatever you were doing and cuddle
her. She quiets down and delivers her babies right into your
lap. They come into this world with big appealing eyes. Within
hours they are frolicking and begging to be petted.
Goat ladies want to find good homes for these kids. We remove
their horns and castrate the bucks. This makes them smell OK
and behave in a civilized manner.
How many homes have pet goats? Cute pygmy goats sometimes
show up in suburbia. We used a pygmy to train our Border Collies
while living in Albuquerque, planning for our future country
home. Baby Doe was house broken and perfectly behaved as long
as you were looking her in the eye. Look away and she'd jump
on top of the kitchen table and dance.
Our Border Collies, Joe Kid and Choplicker, loved it when
she'd misbehave. I'd run to the back door and open it. They'd
rush to the table and snap at her heels until she'd leap off
in a great arc and hit the carpet running - away from the door.
Herding a pygmy goat must be 100 times harder than working
sheep. Joe Kid would head off Baby Doe while Choplicker would
thrust his shoulders under the goat's hindquarters. He'd lift
her hind legs off the ground so that she was running only on
her front legs. Then he'd steer her like a wheelbarrow right
though the door. Hah! Foiled again.