Friday 18 August 2017

Everyone needs a friend

One of my favourite things is to wander into the goat shed and just watch all my lovely goatie girls.  I am always particularly interested to see who has a special friend, who cuddles up next to whom and who prefers to be alone.  It never fails to amuse and fascinate me .. why do certain goats become special friends?

Some team up when they are very small kids and continue to stay with their friends all through their lives.  Our current goatlings all tend to sit together in the same area of the barn:

Most sisters will always stay together, although our dear old Betty and Wilma never used to sit together.  But there was still a bond there which became very clear on the night Wilma died.  Having sat holding her for a few hours while she slipped peacefully away, I became aware of a goat standing behind me  - Betty.  And Betty spent the rest of the night lying right next to the gate where Wilma's body lay overnight before we moved her in the morning.

Girls who have joined our herd from outside generally stay together - safety in numbers I think!  Witness our beautiful big Nubians, Lara and Zenobia ..

Although it is interesting to note that when Zenobia has been feeling a bit under the weather, she does not want to be anywhere near Lara.  She takes up position on completely the opposite side of the barn and just stays alone until she feels better ... then she returns to her friend.

Incidentally, Zenobia is getting much braver at coming into the milking parlour on her own and happily leaves her friend behind.  Lara was being particularly lazy yesterday and didn't even bother to get out of bed for her dinner ..

The group of Mary goats generally all stay together in the same area ..

And of course, sisters Truffle and Mocha are totally inseparable .. the Chocolate Frogs!

Almost like they are joined by a piece of string .. Where one goes, so does the other!

You may remember that our lovely JoJo (our first Anglo-Nubian) used to settle down with her daughter Cleo.  Sadly, Cleo died earlier this year and JoJo has been a bit lost without her.  Even Mel who helps us with morning milking was heard to remark that JoJo looked sad and hadn't been the same since she lost Cleo.

And so I was overjoyed to come across this pair earlier this afternoon:

To the left is JoJo and the younger goat in front of her is Pakora, one of her triplet daughters born a couple of years ago.  Lovely to see!  Hopefully this means that JoJo won't be on her own any more.

Of course, there are always a few goaties who just prefer their own company.  The most notable is our oldest girl Tammy who is not really a people person at all.  Loves humans, hates other goats!  If you ever hear a grumpy growling noise in the goat shed, it is generally Tammy complaining that someone else is invading her personal space!  Although she did allow Betty to share her bucket at feeding time ..

I suppose you're allowed to be a bit grumpy if you're over 14 years old!

Saturday 12 August 2017

Big goats, little goats

You may remember the two beautiful Anglo-Nubian girls who joined us last year from an elderly goatkeeper who was suffering from dementia ... Lara and Zenobia

Well, they have really settled in and are truly part of the herd now.  They do like their own space though and, when it comes to feeding time, they won't let any goats with 'normal' ears eat out of the same trough.  Goats with long floppy ears are, apparently, fine to eat next to them!  Goat racism ..

They do actually come into the parlour for their food occasionally and we have discovered that they both enjoy a scratch on their shoulders.  Lara is particularly fond of it and goes all silly ... Allow me to demonstrate with a little video clip:

Always brings a smile to my face!

And, at the other end of the goatie spectrum, we have a little white chap who has been a bit poorly recently.  Poor Skippy had a terrible chest infection and, although we managed to sort that out, he was looking very thin and sorry for himself.  So, although all our babies are now weaned, I decided that he should be given a couple of bottles of milk every day to try and build him back up again.  All those lovely natural probiotics and enzymes had to be good for a poorly wee goatie ..

And it seems to be doing the trick!  Skippy is getting bigger and stronger every day but is still looking for his bottle of milk at feeding times ... And here he is:

Such a sweetie!