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.