Funny Goat Stories
While growing up on a small farm, I raised a few dairy goats. It was a very small operation, and the milk was only for family use. It would be boiled in the kitchen and thereafter saved in canning jars till it disappeared on cereal or in fudge recipes. It was high in fat content, and didn't naturally separate like cow's milk.
Surprisingly, goats are very intelligent animals. Their placid eyes and peaceful gaze are enough to capture the heart of any animal enthusiast. They are spirited, and like to frolic. They make great leaps in the air like deer, yet utter a sound similar to the call of a sheep. They are great for clearing brush, and some people purchase and keep them solely for controlling weed overgrowth.
Goats are also extremely stubborn animals. If they don't want to do something, it will be easier to move heaven and earth than to change their minds about it. If they want to do something, no fence is too high and no wall is too strong to stop them. With time on their side they will batter any enclosure till it weakens. They escape their pens more often than cattle, horses, and pigs because of their clever minds and lithe bodies.
This being said, they have lent themselves to some anecdotes which I shall now relate.
Holly Go Lightly
Holly was broad shouldered and muscular, a fine doe descended from a two hundred pound purebred Nubian. She was an unusual color: deep black with white spots. And on this particular day, she did not want to accept her dose of deworming paste.
With the other goats I had found a simple solution: I would swing my leg over their backs like they were ponies, and with my weight upon their shoulders and my arm around their necks they simply couldn't refuse their meds. But wasn't I surprised when, instead of finding this made her easy to medicate, I found I was the proud owner of a rather swift steed! She took off trotting, and took me along with her like I was no more than the weight of a feather! Being used to horses, I held on, and when she decided to stop I slid off and finished my pursuit of the goal of having a healthy herd.
A wether is a neutered male. Our wether was unusually large, and I took it in mind that he could be trained to pull a cart. He had other ideas, however. He would stop when I said go, and he would go when I said stop. He would go after the rosebushes instead of turning left, and try to rejoin his friends in the field when I asked him to go right. In short, he made a terrible cart goat. The final straw was the day I was standing in front of him, trying to lead him, when he proceeded to run me down. I held the cart back from running me over by pressing my boot against it with all my strength, while I made a few futile attempts at yelling, "Help!" Realizing no one could hear me, I slowly inched my way forward in a sort of army crawl and rolled out from under his hooves, none the worse except for a few scuffs and bruises, but now thoroughly convinced that what I read in books about cart goats was not for me. This goat hadn't read the book.
Goats Will Eat Anything?
The tall tales and legends that suggest goats will eat anything simply aren't true. Out of all the goats I kept, raised, bought, and sold, one and only one would eat ragweed, even though it's highly nutritious and not in the least bit poisonous. They did eat some things people would consider inedible, however. When I brought home a few scraggly kids to fatten up and raise into milk does, they were so hungry they ate all the cobwebs off the barn walls upon being let loose. Some people where we bought another goat were in the habit of feeding their goats cigarettes as treats, claiming it kept them free of parasites. One of those goats thought someone's finger was a cigarette, and without warning chomped down on it with her rear molars. Since goats lack top incisors, their molars are the only teeth that can really do you much harm. (Although if you bottle feed an older kid, they can make you bleed if they "punch" the bottle and miss it, hitting you instead with their sharp lower jawful of pearly whites.) Goats will eat thorny plants without care, sometimes even actually savoring the thorns themselves. A few times I pulled my shirt sleeve out of a goat's mouth, and a few times I also rescued my coat buttons. I made the mistake of leaving a wooden walking stick, hand made, leaning against the barn wall for a second. A goat walked up to it and took a bite out the wood in one effortless chomp.
No, they won't eat everything, but they do have unusual tastes.
As I was seen along the interstate walking a little black and tan goat kid on a leash in a patch of green grass, I wondered what those who were going in and out of Chicago were thinking.
Heidi was an orphan. Her mom had triplets. Her brother and sister looked very different from her, and as happens sometimes, her mom rejected her and only accepted the other two. When this happens you must bottle raise the kid or it will perish. You can sometimes get another doe to take the kid, but usually they will not.
Bottle fed kids must have feedings four times a day. When Heidi was a couple days old a family emergency arose, and I was faced with the dilemma of how to go where I needed to go and still keep this doe alive. So, along the interestate she took periodic rest stops to relieve herself. Until then I never realized a goat could be housebroken. This little critter did everything she was supposed to do outside with no accidents. It was incredible. When she was old enough to wean she went out to live in the barn with the others, but I will never forget having a housebroken goat along the highway, and I will certainly not forget the amazed stares of all the travelers!
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