I feel somewhat guilty as I wander in the back yard and 2 baby goats follow my every move. They have no idea that this weird animal/Goat that I am is not their mom. They look to me for protection when the dogs run up to them. They refuse to fight for grain because they don’t want to get hurt, and let’s face it, mom doesn’t go over there and fight for food! But then I realize one day the grass will dry up, the bottle will go away, and they will be as big as everyone else and they will jump in and fight!
This whole goat thing didn’t start out this way. Sophia, my main goat, was purchased as a business investment. She is a milk goat, a La Mancha. I make goats milk soap and she provides all the milk for that soap. I wasn’t even going to milk her but shortly after she was purchased I didn’t have anyone to milk her! My daughter went out of town and someone had to step up to the plate. Before long I was the expert milker! I found milking to be difficult but it soon became very therapeutic. I bonded with Sophia and I knew what made her milking more productive and less stressful for her and me! Sophia provided 2 liters of milk a day and I stored so much of it that I soon bought an additional freezer to store it for my soap!
New Years day Sophia met her man Peter and they started their family, if you know what I mean 🙂 We had others who were bread at the same time but my focus was on Sophia. One of the ladies who became pregnant was Licorice, a fainting goat, who accidentally met up with a Nigerian Dwarf Goat. Goats have a gestation of 5 months so approximately 8 weeks ago Licorice gave birth to twins, a boy and girl!
I immediately noticed the girl wasn’t nursing. Not wanting my 18 yo daughter to see a baby die (yeah I’m a sucker) I worked all night making sure the girl nursed and got the colostrum she needed. The next day I decided I would just give her a bottle to get her going on her way. But in my heart I could tell that Licorice was pushing the girl away and head butting her so I knew I was making a commitment. In the week that followed I worked very hard teaching this little girl to eat. If you ever breast fed your own child you know that bottle feeding is very different than the breast! Over the course of than first week her brother, who was nursing from their mom, decided that he was missing out on something so every feeding he was climbing in my lap to share in the experience. I could only feed her 3 times a day because of my work schedule so that meant a lot of mornings I was out there at 0500 and not back till 1700 and then I would end of the night at 2200. But always I had 2 babies in my lap. One ate from the bottle and one just sat and loved being held. Licorice never “loved” on the boy but she always fed him. Soon the babies had names, Wiggles for the girl, Waggles for the boy. Of course once I named then I had broken the cardinal rule: Never get attached! I take pride in hearing Wiggles scream for me when I walk to the pasture. Its truly like having a baby all over again, without getting up for the 4 am feeding!
So here I am 8+ weeks later, running home to hang with the babies. My daughter calls me the goat whisperer. I tame all the babies. I hold and cuddle and I know that 2 little babies named Wiggles and Waggles will have a mom as long as they want. And I know that business is nothing without love. And who can’t love those little faces looking up at me and calling my name each night.