Done and Done
Kidding season is officially over for The Smiling Goat Soap Company. I must admit, it is a bit of a relief to have everyone safely delivered, up and eating, and doing well. Tiger Lily, our two-year-old, who we refer to as a "hammerhead," delivered two healthy doelings. The doelings are quite possibly the most beautiful born this year. One little girl is reddish-brown with black, white, and dark brown spots. She has a dark little face and is lovely. The second little girl is a strawberry roan color. I have never seen her color in our herd before. She is equally stunning and very unique. I have a feeling The Bibbed Wonder will want to keep these two little beauties, but I could be wrong.
Deciding to keep or sell our babies is one of the hardest things about being a farmer. If it were up to me, we would keep everyone. However, there is a lot of work and maintenance that goes into our goat herd. My bib overall wearing buddy does most of the care, so I feel like I have very little input on how many goats we have. There are times when I feel as though going back to our original five is a good idea. I love all the girls and boys, but there is something extraordinary about our original five girls. However, when I think about each individual, I know that they are here for life if they are here. Each and everyone has a distinct personality and brings something special to our farm family. Not all of the distinctions in their character are desirable, but they are indeed unique.
For example, Dot, our three-year-old doeling who is one of the first black and white spotted triplets and her brothers Wacko and Yacko (I am a fan of the 90's cartoon Animaniacs), is a criminal mastermind about getting extra food. This goat can fit her head into places her head should not fit for a few extra bites of sweet feed. Cindy Crawford, a long, leggy, beautiful black goat with a brown beauty mark on her upper lip, is loud, obnoxious, and attention-seeking. Tiger Lily is deemed "the hammerhead" because no matter how many times we follow the same routine, she inevitably messes it up. Big Red, one of my favorite goats, is nicknamed Hell Goat by The Bibbed Wonder. Big Red has very tiny milk holes and produces a lot of milk. Not only does it take more effort to milk her, but she is impatient. When Red decides she is done on the milk stand, she thinks nothing of turning around and walking off mid-milking. Thus the nickname Hell Goat. Not all of the unique traits are bad.
My Sweet Baboo or Boo is brilliant, patient, and the herd leader. She can open gates using her lips, thus creating the necessity for locked latches to be installed. Not only is she capable of doing, but she is also a capable teacher. She has taught Little Black her trick as well. During milking, we are constantly locking and unlocking gates. Also, Mama Boo, the mother of Boo, is the sweetest, kindest, most patient creature on the planet. She is best friends with Big Red. The two of them act as the herd matriarchs, stepping in and helping out the new mamas with their little ones. It is truly a wonder to watch the herd interaction. Another interesting behavior I have noted is that the last nanny to have given birth goes head to head with the nanny who delivered before her. They butt heads, rear up, and knockabout for most of the day once the new mama is up on her feet after delivery. I have tried to research this behavior but have come up short. I feel it has something to do with the herd pecking order, but I am not sure.
We had a few losses this year, and sadly that is to be expected. We also faced several new challenges. Again, each year presents a unique and interesting issue. Once we feel we have something figured out, a new problem presents itself. I suppose that is just part of the learning process. It does keep one on their toes. Now, we will decide who we will retain and who will go to a good home. We try to vet our buyers to ensure our little ones go to good, loving homes. I feel like all our hard work is for naught if we sell them to just anyone. The sad truth is not everyone sees animals as valued, intelligent, and caring creatures. Often, they are viewed as a commodity. We try to find like-minded buyers and provide quality homes for our kids. To date, I feel confident all our rehomed babies have good quality homes.
We have breathed a sigh of relief and can now focus on our soap making and new products. We could not do this without our girls. We certainly appreciate all they do for us and the enrichment they bring to our lives. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, enjoy the closing of a chapter, and keep washing your hands.