Goatless in Goodhue County

Today I almost stole a goat kid. Here’s why:

We’ve had goats for over ten years, and they give birth to kids in March. I cuddle and play with the kids; they entertain me all year long. Goats are just like dogs, only with four stomachs and horizontal pupils.

This winter our goat Wendy started wasting away. The vet determined it was a fatal disease that lies dormant until a goat turns two (the disease is either genetic or caught somewhere, and I can’t ask Melissa because she’s at a friend’s, and my mind doesn’t retain medical stuff.) We didn’t know how she’d gotten sick. We had no choice but to put Wendy down.

Her kid and Grace’s kid were perfectly healthy, but could develop the same disease when they turned two, so we had no choice but to sell them for meat. This would be more responsible than selling them to some unsuspecting farmer and possibly introducing the disease onto his farm as well.

That left pregnant Grace. We had her tested…she was fine, but without Wendy and the kids, she was alone and unhappy, and it’s a lot of work to just take care of one goat. We sold Gracie to a woman wanting to increase her herd.

March came, and because we were goatless, no goat kids romped through the barn. We missed them. But since the disease can remain in the soil for two entire years, we agreed to remain goatless for two years.

Today a woman called frantically looking for goat milk. She’d just agreed to raise a one-day goat kid, orphaned when its mother died. “Yes, yes,” I said. “Come, come. We have frozen goat milk.” She said the kid didn’t like the nipple she bought at the farm supply store. “No, that’s the wrong kind. You need the Pritchard teat. Come quickly. I have an extra one.”

Thirty minutes later the woman was on my front step, receiving instructions on how to feed the baby. I was worried she wouldn’t do it right. Maybe I should offer to take the baby. “Would you like to see her?” the woman asked. “She’s in the car.”

I almost knocked the woman over as I raced for her car. On the front seat sat a cat carrier. Inside was an absolutely adorable one-day old Boer goat kid. Boers are all white, except for their heads, which are a soft caramel brown. I peered in at the baby, who was fast asleep. The goat kid looked something like these two babies, which I found on Google Images:


My fingers twitched. Without asking permission, I reached for the latch on the carrier door. “I need to touch her,” I said. Baby goats are amazingly soft and silky, and this little one was even softer and silkier. She slept on as I petted her.

I wanted this baby. Crazed, I turned and considered the woman next to me. I had five inches on her, and a good thirty pounds. I could take her, easy.

Then reason prevailed. Sighing heavily, I closed the carrier door, wished the woman luck, and went back inside. I marched to the calendar and counted down: 18 months until we are no longer goatless in Goodhue County.

8 thoughts on “

  1. You guys must come for some wine and cheese and kid cuddling – we have two young Boer/Alpine kids – and an Oberhasli doeling arriving this weekend – in addition to our small herd of spoiled adult goatie-pets. We’re only a couple of hours away, near Eau Claire, and you’re welcome any time… Now that I have goats, I could never be without them, so I totally understand. 🙂

  2. I grew up in Eau Claire (Wisconsin, for you non-Midwesterners.) I don’t have plans to visit for a few more months (sorry, Mom!), but I’ll email you before I do if I need a goat kid fix….Thanks!

  3. Just finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it! I think it might have even helped get me unstuck on a writing project that’s been as stuck as Melissa and your sheep between the hay bails.

    Looking forward to being a regular here.

  4. Karen,

    That my book could help get you unstuck with a writing project is VERY cool. Writers tend to be isolated sometimes, so it’s so important to help and support one another.

    Thanks for letting me know, and keep going!

  5. UPDATE on goat kid….

    Yesterday I stopped by the vet clinic where the woman who adopted the baby goat works. “Can I see the baby?” I asked. She hopped up and took me out back where the little cutie was inside a plastic fence.

    I picked up the bleating baby and she shushed up immediately. She was SO ADORABLE. The woman said the kid’s becoming a spoiled goat, for unless she can see a human, she cries and cries….

    Hmmm, sounds like I made the right decision to let her raise the baby… !!

  6. A house goat? What a nightmare! Although, perhaps with a few pair of Huggies, it might just work. 🙂

    Right now we’re dealing with baby ducks and baby kittens, so we have our hands full as it is…

  7. As the owner of three goats (rescued by a friend from a trip to the slaughterhouse but given to us) I know how easy it is to succumb to the goatiness. Too sweet.

    I stumbled upon your blog when another one I read linked to your sun-dyed roving post. I read through several posts before realizing you are the author of Hit by a Farm, a book I really enjoyed.

    My husband and I are finding out that we are being hit by a farm of a sort as well; having bought an old house with lots of land last year, people keep giving us their extra or unwanted animals (and, yes, we seek out a few, also). Two sheep arrive next week. Three angora goats to follow. Plus peacocks, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, and it goes on.

    As for the real farming aspect, we don’t even attempt to turn a profit. And we have nothing really productive other than the chickens and 3 pigs, two of whom will be slaughtered in the fall. I won’t be home that day…

    Sorry to go on. I’ll be subbing to your blog, though. Glad I found it. I’m blogging at http://whathousework.typepad.com and writing at http://www.jessieraymond.com .

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