Ah, weaning season. Time to separate those babies from the mothers, an extremely loud but necessary part of goat farming. The kids are calling to their moms and the moms are calling to the kids and neither can understand why the other just can’t come to them. So, a whole lot of yelling goes on for a week to two weeks, depending on just how determined they are. If you are weaning only a couple of does and their kids, well, that’s loud enough, but increase that to thirty does or more and you think that hearing damage is going to be cause for concern for all involved.
That’s why I offer ear plugs to all customers who come at this time to look over the goats. Above the din of momma’s and babies yelling at full vocal capacity, you hear human voices. The neighbors know exactly what is going on at our place during this time of the year because everything is said at full shout in order to be heard through the ear plugs and over the goat yells.
“YOU SAY THIS GOAT HAS FOUR GOOD LEGS?” “NO, I SAID SHE HAS FOUR LEGS.” “OH, THAT’S GOOD, ISN’T IT?” “YES, FOUR LEGS CAN BE VERY HANDY.”
“LEE, IT’S TIME FOR LUNCH!” “YOU SAY YOU BET A BUNCH? ABOUT WHAT?” “NO, I SAID IT’S TIME FOR LUNCH!” “WELL, I’M NOT BETTING ON ANYTHING UNTIL I KNOW WHAT I’M BETTING ON!” “WHAT? YOU SAY YOU WANT BUTTER ON IT? BUT, WE’RE HAVING SALAD!”
So, you can see how the neighbors can learn a great deal about our farm life during weaning time, because everything is said at the top of our lungs. Whether it makes sense or not.
“YOU SAY IT’S TIME TO GO FEED?” “WHAT? WHO GOT TREED? THE DOGS ARE ALL WITH ME.”
People will drive up and as they step out of the truck they usually stagger backwards at the force of that full cry of mothers and kids yelling down at the barn. They just hadn’t realize what I meant over the phone that it was a bit noisy from weaning or maybe they just didn’t understand what I shouted to them over the phone. The phone does get a bit of static when you scream into it.
“SURE, COME ON OUT. WE’RE DOING A BIT OF WEANING NOW BUT THAT SHOULDN’T STOP YOU FROM LOOKING. I HAVE PLENTY OF EAR PLUGS.”
When they arrive I’ll quickly hand them the ear plugs, if they haven’t already hurriedly crawled back into their trucks and left at this point. Those brave enough to stay, quickly snatch the ear plugs with shaky hands and stuff them in their ears. I remind many of them to take them out of the little boxes first. Works better that way and less painful.
After that we go around the farm discussing the attributes of each of the for sale goats and the price. “HOW MUCH IS THIS ONE?” “SHE’S THREE HUNDRED.” “THREE THOUSAND?! WHY DON’T YOU JUST SAY YOU DON’T WANT TO SELL HER INSTEAD OF TRYING TO COMMIT HIGHWAY ROBBERY?!” “WHAT?! THERE’S SOMEONE ROBBING ON THE HIGHWAY? DID YOU CALL 911?” “NINE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS? THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!” “WHAT‘S THIS? WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME NINE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS?” “TAKE IT OR I WILL THINK YOU ARE A CROOK!”
So the weaning continues and, for a week or more, you will still hear me, Lee, the mommas and kids talking at the top of our lungs. “LEE, WHICH ONE WAS THAT YELLING?” “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHICH ONE WAS THAT? THEY’RE ALL YELLING! “NO, I’M PRETTY SURE IT WAS BIG BERTHA YELLING. I’D BETTER GO CHECK.”
Yes, it’s true. After a while you learn individual yells and who they belong to and if they are in trouble or just annoyed.
“I’D BETTER CHECK FANCY MYRTLE, LEE, SHE’S SOUNDING DIFFERENT TOO.” “GOOD GRIEF! WE’VE GOT A GOAT NAMED FERTILE MYRTLE?” “NO, NO, SHE’S FANCY MYRTLE!” “OH! WELL, FANCY TURTLE IS A MUCH BETTER NAME.”
Yes, life continues on the goat farm, going through all it’s seasons. Breeding season, taking care of pregnant does season, kidding season, caring for momma and kids season, weaning season, and so on. Life is never dull or quiet on a goat farm, particularly during weaning season.
“OH! I HEAR ONE OF THE WEANED BABIES, BIONIC BONNIE, YELLING DIFFERENTLY DOWN AT THE BARN. I’D BETTER GO CHECK. YOU ALL HAVE A GOOD DAY AND IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON AT OUR FARM, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS JUST LISTEN!”