Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kids — Again!

Last month John and I decided we wouldn't breed a milk goat to kid next year. Goats are very family oriented, and they love their offspring, so I'm too softhearted (some could rightfully say softheaded) to break up their families. It's nice to make them happy, but we have more goats than we need.

Bon Bon loves her babies. These are Jadzia and Curzon,
the first kids she had after moving to our farm.

Last Friday I was working on the computer when I heard the distinct sound of buck blubbering right outside the door.

Bon Bon, our brown Nubian doe, hadn’t gone out in the field with the other goats and the sheep because she was in heat and busy making goo-goo eyes at our young buck, Kerla, through the fence. Old Angel, the Wiltshire Horn cross ewe who was raised by goats, was in heat as well, and she was goo-goo eyeing Kerla, too.

Next Bon Bon had The Clones: triplets, a boy and two girls.
Two years later they're all grown up but still the three musketeers.

Hearing blubbering, I raced outside. Kerla had gotten over the fence and was making overtures toward Bon Bon. He’s never bred anything before, so he knew what he wanted but not quite how to go about it.

I rushed back to the house, snagged a lead rope, and tried to catch Bon Bon before the deed was done. Bon Bon was running and whacking Kerla with her head, all the while egging him on (she has always had a Klingon approach to sex), so the two of them stayed just out of my reach long enough for him to figure out what goes where. After he'd connected three times, I figured what's the use and left them to their own devices.

Kerla joined us in early 2010 and
became our first house-trained goat.

So it looks as though we're having kids in late March. Stay tuned: I'll keep you posted.

I eventually grabbed Bon Bon by the ears and asked her to please have only one kid or at the very most two. It worries me that she gave birth to triplets (“The Clones”) the last time she kidded two years ago and that a daughter owned by my Nubian breeder friend, Emily Dixon, had quads this past year.

Now that Kerla is a big guy (and
a buck at that), he lives outdoors.

I penned the lovebirds together overnight while Angel moped sadly outside the gate. Bon Bon’s enthusiasm had flown by the following morning, so Kerla returned to his paddock and his buddy Mopple but with a new development: a strand of electric stretched above the woven wire. He touched his nose to it once, shrieked, and dashed up the ramp to the top of his Port-a-Hut, snorting. Mopple, being a sheep and unable to touch the hot wire, was amused.

None of the does hangs out by our older buck Martok anymore. In fact, most of them abandoned Martok in favor of Kerla while Kerla was just a kid. Even some of the ewes prefer him. We have seven adult rams in paddocks on either side of Kerla’s, and the ewes stand by Kerla’s paddock wagging their tails. I have no idea what that boy has, but if we could bottle it, we'd make a fortune!

Kerla smiles. He's going to be a dad!

Sue Weaver sold her first freelance article in 1969. Since then her work has appeared in major horse periodicals, including the Western Horseman, Horse Illustrated, Chronicle of the Horse, Flying Changes, Horseman’s Market, Arabian Horse Times, the Appaloosa News, the Quarter Horse Journal, Horse’N Around, and the Brayer. She has written, among other books, Storey’s Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, The Donkey Companion, and The Backyard Goat. Sue is based in the southern Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.

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