This is something I try never to do, raise smart goats. Iím not saying Iím trying to raise really really dumb
goats. Just sort of dumb goats. And, it hasnít worked yet, but Iím still trying.
I want a goat that will forget you were the one who drenched them with medication or wormer. I want a
goat that will forget you are the one that gives shots. I want a goat that takes several seconds to realize
what a feed bucket is so you can get a head start to the feeders and get the grain in, or, at least be able to
escape out of the field with an empty feed bucket. I want a goat who doesnít notice holes in the fence or
even notices that we have neighbors with gardens.
I want a goat who doesnít even think about sticking itís head through the smallest opening possible and
getting stuck. Or, possibly, this is a physical thing. The goat sticks itís head through a super tiny opening, a
chemical reaction starts, and the goatís head just triples in size so that there is no way on earth you can get
the same head back through the opening that the goat had originally stuck its head through.
I want a goat that accepts things as being there without having to investigate it. Like seeing a poisonous
snake. I want a dumb goat that does not feel the need to stick its face down to get a closer look at the
snake. I want a goat that does not feel the need to cross a fallen tree that is hanging out over a small cliff in
mid air. Or, feel the need to stick its face in the viciously growling dogís food bowl. Thatís the dog
growling, not the food bowl.
I have this fear that if goats keep getting smart that they will be the ones getting you down to worm you
because they think you look a little off. Or, give you shots to protect you against diseases, or get you down
and trim up your toe nails. Or, pick out your boyfriend or girlfriend. So, itís very important that goats canít
figure out what is going on so everything will be a surprise and you can still sneak up on them and catch
them and do their doctoring.
I guess I am trying to breed for selective dumbness. I want them smart enough to get in out of the rain, to
remember where the barn is, to come when I call, to remember the electric fence is hot, and to remember
that I am boss doe in the herd. But, so far my project Dumb Breeding Program hasnít worked.
I donít like it when the goats can figure things out. Iím keeping my eye on two young girls in particular.
Usually when any of our kids get diarrhea, itís like they donít notice their green behind or remember what
happens when you get diarrhea. They donít remember you get doctored. Except for one little girl. The herd
of weaned girls ran up to meet us at the fence one morning to say Hello, except for one girl who stayed
way in the background. She didnít act sick; she just stood there watching us intently.
Lee stepped into the field; she turned, running screaming back to the barn. Thatís when we saw her
departing green behind. She knew she had diarrhea, she knew you got doctored when you got diarrhea, and
she knew she didnít like the doctoring. She had all the steps figured out with diarrhea. Just her even
noticing she had diarrhea was pretty amazing, but remembering all the steps that went with the diarrhea.
Well, the hair rose up on the back of my neck. I knew I would have to keep an eye on that one.
Another doe Iíve got marked for a closer watch is a solid white purebred. Thank goodness sheís solid
white or Iíd never remember which one to watch. I was telling Lee one day, while standing in the weaned
does field, that this year we would downsize the young herd by selling the wild kids. I hadnít had time to
tame everyone down and dealing with a bunch of wild kids is just too time consuming and hard on the
knees chasing them down.
This particular white purebred doe was standing nearby while I was saying this. She had always been a
wild kid from day one of her birth. And Iím not joking; she turned and walked to me to get petted. This is
one of the smart ones, I thought with a shiver.
In the past weíve had many other smart one from different breeds of goats. I remember one small herd of
weaned Angora wethers. To give the little guys a treat, I let them in our large backyard to play and do the
trimming around the fence. They also liked to take running leaps off our back porch and chase each other.
Our screened patio door is a simple door with a magnet that keeps it closed when the door is slid shut. Lee
and I went down to the barn to clean out stalls and a couple of hours later we came up to hear something
like thunder rumbling through our house. Standing outside the house listening intently, we couldnít figure it
out until the rumbling sound started sounding like small hooves.
Oh no! Yes, the little guys had figured out almost immediately how to get inside the house using the sliding
patio screen door and they had been in there almost the whole time we were down at the barn. And, you
think cats are bad for getting on furniture and counter tops. Letís just say it took quite a bit of carpet
cleaning and vacuuming to get barn smell out of the house. Needless to say, I was glad those boys were
wethered so they couldnít pass their smarts onto their offspring.
So, what if you are really trying to raise smart goats, what do you do? Well, you simply decide that you are
brave and not afraid of a mutiny on your farm where the goats take over and tell you that to do, what your
schedule is, when you can take your vacations, how to build their fence, what kind of barn they need, what
kind of food is best for them to eat, what to do to keep them healthy and happy ... Hmmmmm I
think they have already done it, folks. Theyíve outsmarted us.