Just a warning for all the new goat farmers out there, expect to be gnawed or chewed on by baby goats who love you. Or, by the less friendly ones who are merely curious as to how you taste. This all comes with goat farming and itís not a new thing. Itís just like human toddlers who go through a period where they have to stick everything in their mouths.
For example, as a toddler mom once found me sitting on the sidewalk happily chewing. Greatly disturbed by this, she stuck her finger in my mouth and got out part of a bug that had the misfortune to cross my path. Needless to say, I was banned from the sidewalk for a while. But, I found a true friend in my grandfather who would sometimes baby sit me. He would sit down and I would crawl over to his feet and sit down and when he took out his chewing tobacco, he always gave me a little chaw too. This kept me quiet and happy and we both had a peaceful time when he baby sat. Once again, mom got concerned with the brown stuff flowing from my mouth and down my front, and cleaned my mouth out, giving granddad dark looks. I donít think he got to baby sit me much after mom found out how he was willing to share his chewing tobacco.
So does the baby goat like to gnaw and chew on things, including you. Youíll see them chewing on any hay rope hanging around, or anything else that might fit into their little mouths, such as electrical wiring on the barn, lawn mower, tractor or farm truck. Theyíll have this happy dreamy look to their eyes as they blissfully chew. Well, no one has invented a baby goat pacifier for them yet, so they have to come up with one of their own.
Last week a nice young couple dropped by our place to pick out a buck for their herd. I noticed something odd about the wifeís hair style when she got out of the car, and it quickly came to me what it looked like. She confirmed my theory later when she said she had been sitting with her baby goats the night before and felt them nibbling on her hair. She said she didnít think anything of it until she got into the shower later and a lot of hair fell out.
And, thatís what her hair looked like, unevenly layered gnawed on hair. But, it didnít phase her. She was a goat farmer and thatís just what happens when you let baby goats gnaw on your hair. Well, I was impressed that they gnawed. Mine like to get a mouth full and then pull with all their might. No gnawing there, itís straight to be being scalped by method of chunks being pulled directly out. But, thatís another story.
All of my barn shirts have either gnawed holes all around the bottom or hoof prints from kids jumping on me after running through mud and poo. The prints have not responded well to any cleaning liquids and stay there wash after wash and the chewed up bottoms, what can you say? No way of sewing up those holes with the thorough way babies can gnaw right through any material. Iíve just made it a point to have a couple of going-to-town shirts saved back to wear and to make sure they are never worn near the kids.
I donít know how many times Iíve stood down at the barn, talking to customers, not really noticing the baby goats standing all around us. Iíd look down and find three or four with the bottom of my shirt waded up in their mouths, happily chewing away, with that wonderful dreamy look to their eyes. How can you get mad at anything as cute as that? Iíd carefully get my shirt out of their mouths, pat them on the head, and walk out of the barnyard with a soggy bottomed holey shirt, but some very happy babies that were glad Iíd come to visit.
Iím not sure how the customers felt finding their own shirt tails in such a mess, but no one ever complained. I do try to protect the customersí clothing as much as possible. Iíve accepted my fate as a goat farmer who loves friendly goats, theyíve just got to decide if thatís what they wanted in their goat farming lives.
Yesterday I was in the weanlingís pen opening up the side door to their run-in shed so sunlight and air flow could get into the corners of their large shed. While rolling the large post away from the double doors to open them, several babies leapt on the large pole, thinking what fun and they could also reach my shirt tail better. One lost her balance, fell off on her back and very awkwardly was trying to roll over to get up.
Unfortunately, ten more babies were trying to get on the rolling post, standing over her so she couldnít get off her back. I saw her predicament and there was no fear in her innocent little eyes. But, I hurriedly bent down, scooping babies out of the way to help her back on her feet. She wasnít even crying for help because she knew I was there and being an ex-bottle baby, totally trusted Iíd know what to do.
Such a sweet little thing, as I was bent down, helping her to her feet, five more kids saw me with my head down and forgot all about chewing on the shirt tail. They had discovered a new game, Letís All Jump on Connieís Head game. Several more joyfully joined in to play. Well, at least they forgot about my shirt for a while. This fascination now of my head when it is bent down to work on something, to fly through the air and land on it, Iím not sure if that is a permanent kid game as gnawing on the shirt tail is, but time will tell. At least mud and poo can be washed out of hair a lot easier than out of a shirt.
Well, time to go out and do chores. The weanlings call it play time with the goat farmer, but we serious goat farmers with our gnawed on stained shirts and hair, call it chores to get more respect from other people who work regular jobs.