When you became a goat farmer, did you ever think you would also be into escort services? A goat farmer wears many hats on the farm. You have to wear a vet hat many times. If you think you can find a vet that will run out and give that shot or take that temperature or worm that goat for you every single time, think again. Most areas don’t have large animal vets and if you do have one that will do that, the vet bills will put you out of business.
Goat farmers have to wear a feed hat, selecting feed for your goats, eyeing the cost, nutritional value, etc. A hay hat is necessary if you buy your goat hay or make your own hay. You have to decide which hay works the best, the cost, when to get it, etc. You also wear a seed hat, not only if you make your own hay, but to keep up the quality of your pastures. Lee and I like to frost seed in February different seeds such as blue grass, clovers, anything else that will benefit the land and the goats. Don’t forget the farrier hat. You will be having to trim goat hooves sometime in your goat farming. Milk maid hats another one. Seems like there is always a does or does who produce beau coups amount of milk that her little ones can’t handle the first week, so she has to be milked. And, the different hats go on that you will be wearing in being a goat farmer.
It occurred to me last week that I was also in the escort business. The bucks are in with their does now for those Jan. kids. I happened to look out the window and saw in one pen where a young doe had left Esau’s herd of does and had walked around the hill and into a little dip and was up against the fence where she could look in the next pen at the neighboring buck. She thought he was cute and she stood there and was wagging her tail for all it was worth and making big blinky eyes at that buck.
Well, Esau didn’t have a clue what was going on. She was out of sight and he had all these other girls around him. It never occurred to him to peek over the hill and see if anyone was missing. I let out a big sigh and decided it was time to go for a walk.
I walked down the hill and went into his pen and walked into the middle of his girls and told Esau, “Esau, come on. I want to show you something. Come on, Esau.” I headed out around the hill. He studied me a moment and curiosity won out. None of those girls were in heat to keep him around and he just had to see what I was up to. Around the hill I went with Esau walking beside me and then he spotted his wayward doe, making goo-goo eyes at the buck in the other pen.
He took off at a trot, hollering to her, and I thought, now I’m an escort service. Wonder what type of hat you wear for this? Lee and I both escort goats all over the place. The beginning of this breeding season we put the does into the pastures and pens first and then had to go get the bucks. We learned a long time ago to never put the bucks in their separate breeding pen first. When you go get the does to go in with the buck already there, he is waiting at the gate breathing fire and brimstone, bellowing, “Come to me, Baby!” and the girls are going, “Help! Help! Get me out of here!” Digging their hooves in to keep from being pushed into that pen and almost putting hooves on either side of the gate and both Lee and I pushing for all we are worth to get them in. No, it’s far easier to put the girls in first and then go get the buck that is suppose to go into that pen.
If he has been bred before, he knows immediately what is going on when you start sorting the girls. All Lee had to do with Gideon is open his pasture gate up and tell Gideon to come on, that he knew what was going on. Gideon quite happily followed Lee to the girl’s pasture, Lee opened the gate and Gideon charged in. You don’t have to worry about girls trying to escape out the gate, because at first they don’t want anywhere near that buck, and you don’t have to worry about an experienced buck refusing to go into the does’ pen.
The oldest buck on the place was even easier. You open his gate and just take a step in the direction of the pen you want him in and he takes the lead and just goes there. One of the younger bucks is not use to the system yet and we knew he would be harder to take to his breeding pen and once we opened his gate. He would probably high tail it out of there to Timbuktu or wherever. He would be so excited to be free that he wouldn’t follow a feed bucket. So, we went and got an older doe that loves to follow a feed bucket and had her standing there munching grain when we threw his gate open.
He did pretty much said, “Whoooeeeeee, I’m free!” and took off. But, he just couldn’t leave that doe, even though we were standing there. I started walking with the feed bucket, the doe followed with her head in the bucket, still munching, and the buck couldn’t help himself and followed the doe. We got them both in the pen we wanted with the other does that were for him. He ran to greet them, spooked them away from our lead doe with the grain bucket and we took her out because she was already bred. He never even noticed that his first love was now missing.
Lee has opened up a new pasture for the main herd that is way back on the hill. I have to go find my Tour Guide hat now to take them to it and walk them around to see all the interesting sights. There’s a huge clump of multi-flora rose they will be very interested in visiting, also plenty of Iron weed and native grasses, and I’ve got to remember to point out a low hanging Maple and Locust tree that they can eat while walking on their hind legs. There’s nothing more satisfying to a Tour Guide than happy customers. Now, where did I put that hat?