Sunday, August 26, 2012

Goats

We have been dreaming of getting a goat or two for a long time now. They are cute, they provide a natural weeding solution, and they could be a source for fresh, organic milk and cheese. However, there were always some other considerations - what if it's too much work? Where are we going to keep them? What if we want to get away for a weekend and there's no one to feed them? And on and on. Until finally my husband, finding two goats at a real bargain price, just went along and bought them (I don't recommend doing something like this, but that's how we started with chickens, too. Apparently we are motivated enough to build sheds, coops and pens only when we already have animals on our hands). 

For a couple of days, we kept them tethered around the yard. Then we asked our neighbour, who also keeps goats, to provide shelter for them in his pen until we figure out the housing issue. He obligingly agreed, but the goats managed to find their way out and return to us. We were flattered by such a display of loyalty, but still brought them back to the pen, because we figured it would be better for them than to be kept on a leash all the time. 

They escaped again - and went off into the valley below our house. I just saw two white spots vanishing in the distance, and desperately called my husband. Down in the valley, there's an Arab outpost and they were going right at it. I was sure that they will be caught, and then odds are we will never see them again. Still, my husband and several of his friends descended into the valley two days later and parleyed with the Arabs, who denied ever seeing any unknown goats in their vicinity. My husband surveyed their herd of goats, and ours definitely weren't there. He came home, defeated.

A day or two later, as he was driving through a larger Arab village not far from here, he spotted one of our goats. Upon a closer look, he was sure it was her - they didn't even bother taking off the leash. That village wasn't within goat walking distance, so the conclusion was that our goats were stolen and sold right away, to remove evidence. Naturally we were incensed, but there was little we could do - if someone already paid money for a goat, we could hardly come up to them and ask to give it back, especially considering the very insufficient knowledge of Hebrew on their part, and Arabic on ours, would make parleying exceedingly difficult. 

I was very downcast. In the short time they were with us, I had so fallen in love with the goats. And then, my husband figured that a couple of shameless thieves in the valley below aren't supposed to hinder us from following our dream, and got two more goats. Both does presumably have been bred, but it's difficult to know yet if they are pregnant (if anyone knows fail-proof pregnancy signs in goats, I'm all ears!). 

We are moving on... hoping all will work out this time. 

8 comments:

Magnolia Tea said...

We have kept goats in the past when our daughter was homeschooled as part of her participation in 4-h class and for years afterwards. We loved those goats, and spent many evening hours just watching the kids romp and skip across tree stumps and rocks we put in their large pen for that purpose. We used the milk for cheese, soap, etc.

I enjoyed reading your story, I hope your new goats stay home. You really can be sure they are bred only by a vet's sonogram. However, a fellow goat farmer told us to rub an old rag on a smelly buck then let the does sniff it each day for a month. If not bred and in heat a does tail will twitch very noticeably when she smells the buck scented rag. We used this method each fall to determine which doe need to be taken to the breeder and when they needed to go.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your poor goats who ran off this way!
I can imagine, under the circumstances, the Arabs feel little motivation to have been as generous about this situation as you might have wished.
Better luck to you next time! I just love nice goats.

Rose said...

I hope so too Anna and Mr T.

THE Princess Bombshell* said...

:( That's too bad.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Magnolia Tea, thanks for a great tip! Now we only need to find a buck somewhere around here. :o))

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about the goats! But from my own experience as a dog owner i can say if you want drama in your life, just surround yourself with pets :-)

When I was a teen I did an internship at a vets practice just to discover that the drama and life and death situations were too much for my psychological makeup and that discovery eventually lead me to a different vocation.

Miriam said...

Shalom Anna,

I found this and thought it could be helpful?

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/goat-101

Mrs. Anna T said...

Miriam, thanks for the helpful link! It will sure be helpful, once we're close to kidding. Now we're still trying to figure out whether the does are pregnant. :)