I donít know about you, but I learned to count at an early age. My first experience with numbers was with my mom. I remember her saying something like, "If you donít stop what you are doing by the time I count to 5, youíll wish you had!" I learned very quickly to count with her and make sure I had stopped whatever I was doing by the number 5. Most mothers would have given you until the number 10, but mom firmly believed her children could learn faster then that, and she was right. Personally, I think if she really wanted us to be good in math, she should have counted to 50 or 100. We would have learned all our numbers much faster. But, I guess she had other things to do then standing there counting to 100.
So, what has this got to do with goats? Why, youíve got to count them at some time and if you havenít learned your numbers at your motherís knee (in my case, over my motherís knee) or in school, you are in serious trouble when you get goats. People will ask you how many kids did one of your does have and you will be totally bamboozled how to respond. The best you can do is hold up two fingers or three fingers or possibly more. Itís embarrassing for an adult to do this.
So, by the time we buy our goat herd, we all can basically count them. Or, can we? I have a friend whose got a sharp wit to her. Sheís so sharp, I bet she goes around counting her goats all the time. But, she likes to give me a good ribbing when she asks me to count mine.
I have found that counting goats is not a definite science. She really needs to understand this. Sure, itís definite when you are selling goats. Someone who calls up and wanting 4 goats, doesnít want to show up and have you standing there with one goat or 20 goats, they want 4 exactly. So, in selling you do have to be a little definite, but not necessarily definite the rest of the time.
For instance, what if you have a spouse that has put a limited number on how many goats you are allowed to have. You can have either a definite count to hand over to that spouse or you can have a vague count.
For example, one year Lee said I really shouldnít have over 30 goats to take care of. At the end of that year, as he was helping me feed, he asked if we had 30 goats. Because he noticed I had a herd in one field, a herd in another field, a herd on the hill. I said, yep, I had thirty goats, but he didnít hear me say under my breath, "at least."
Now, my friend complains and kids me all at the same time. She says that when she comes to our farm to buy some goats, here I have this huge number of goats behind me and I point out two or three that she can buy, if she wants. She says I say, "You can have those two, but all of these are mine." She wants more and I wonít sell them! She wants a big herd of Boers. But, she is one of the unfortunate ones who has a spouse that actually goes out and counts her goats and he wants a definite count. He has put a limit on their goat herd, a definite limit. One year she actually went over that limit by two and she told me that she was going to tell him that Connie had taught her how to count goats, thus getting out of hot water.
She also had some comments about my website. "Just as I thought, I went to your sale page and you didnít have one goat for sale!" The best I could do was cackle, "Their mine, they are all mine."
When she did drop by this spring to pick up a big purebred doe and had brought a friend along to help, they both asked how many goats I had now. I had sold a lot of kids and adult goats that spring and I honestly told them I had sixty left. When I mentioned this to Lee, he went out and counted them and came in to announce that I had exactly 82. It seems I had forgot about the full blood girls in with the buck to be bred and a couple of mothers and kids to the back of the barn.
I suppose I must think of the goats like a bakerís dozen, only I have a goat farmerís dozen. The bakerís dozen is thirteen, not twelve. My goat farmerís dozen is like twenty or so. And, I am trying to figure out some way I can blame my mom who would only count to five, which is what I learned as a definite count real fast, instead of the 100 I wanted her to count. If she had definitely counted to one hundred, then I could definitely count my goats up to a hundred. No, I guess that wonít work, particularly if she reads this article.
So, now you know when I say I have 70-100 goats, itís more like 70 (well, where did those others come from?!) to 100 ish, give or take a goat farmerís dozen.