Thursday, June 7, 2007

The family

We have goats, pygmy goats.

They're fairly old, as goats go, and now they're "out to pasture." But, when our girls were younger, the goats were 4-H projects and a small breeding herd, as well as their best friends. When you live in the country, your closest playmate probably eats grass.

Lining up for the family portrait, we have:
Sylvie, Naomi, Edie, Boy, Kibby, Maggie and Chloe.

Pygmy goats have a "barrel-chest" that can make them appear fat, even though it's actually a desired shape. Their legs are short and sturdy, unlike the miniature goats that are more fine-boned and smaller in scale.

We have just the 6 females now, and one wether (neutered male). At one time, we had a total of 13 in the herd.
Bo, was our breeding buck--a handsome, but smelly, black, registered pygmy. He'd begun to struggle to get around--a debilitating stiffness (arthritis?) in his back legs. But, the warmth of the summer sun and a deep green pasture made him very happy. Last fall, we wondered if we should have him put down before the cold of winter set in. We never had to make that decision. Bo died peacefully in his stall, just as the summer days were ending. It was his time.

Chloe has now developed the same hip trouble. Bo was her father--probably a hereditary fault he's passed on to her. Her mother, Aggie, highest ranking female, died shortly after her birth, and, with no one to stand up for her, Chloe dropped to the bottom of the herd. She ended up being bottle-raised, and, for a while, used a litter pan in the kitchen. There's nothing more endearing than a baby goat--and Chloe, little hooves skittering on the kitchen floor, was a classic!

Edie's her half sister, daughter of Aggie and Obie. Aggie was a very light caramel, and Obie a light gray agouti, explaining Edie's white appearance. Edie leads the herd. Edie also demands attention, as you can see.Edie

Sylvie's one of the oldest goats we have now. This summer, she'll be eleven. I always wanted a goat, for as long as I can remember. Sylvie's "my" goat.
Her daughter, Kibby, was also bottle-raised, because Sylvie didn't recognize her as her own. The birth was difficult, twins-- and Sylvie sat, looking sort of stunned, while I revived the one living kid, Kibby. I brought Kibby to work at the library with me for 2 weeks--keeping her in a straw-lined crate in the back of my van, and preparing a bottle for her on my break. The little gray goat, with the white blaze and the black stockings was loved by many.

Our barn, with 3 goat pastures behind it--and the phoebe on the fence.
The goats are old goats now, and we expect we'll lose the rest of them one by one over the next few years. Green pastures, blue skies, and scratches on the forehead until then.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Susan Gets Native said...

I can't wait to show these pics to my girls! They will fall in love instantly, just like I did.

possumlady said...

Oh, they are all adorable! I love the different colorations. Are the bottle-raised ones more affectionate than the others? What a wonderful life they seem to live. Growing up in the city I never thought about goats. What is it about them that made you "always want one"?

nina said...

Goats have individual personalities--from the boldness of Edie, to the tentative Chloe. And their intelligence (almost like a dog) makes them very curious and interactive. They love to play and make fairly "easy" pets, eating grass and water! (We feed sweet grain, too+ hay in bad weather)
There is nothing more therapeutic, than talking to a goat--those eyes are very understanding, and they'll nibble your shirttails!

nina said...

Oh--they're extremely affectionate--all of them, and were leash-trained when the girls showed them at the fairs!

KGMom said...

Most interesting post on goats. I love your line: "when you life in the country, your closest playmate probably eats grass."
The joys of living closer to the earth than many of us do now.
And I learned so much about goats from this.

Mary said...


Most people don't think of goats as being great pets, but they are! My sister-in-law had two goats on her mini-farmette who were part of the family. They greeted guests and took long walks with us. Other than shoe-string chewing and some butting, they were great.

I loved meeting your goats and I admire your life on the farm. I think our two Chloes resemble each other, in a way :o)

LauraHinNJ said...

Oh they are handsome!

My father-in-law kept a billy goat that loved peppermint lifesavers!