Monday, June 4, 2012
As you may know Venus and Spice are here as milkers because Strawberry and Katie didn't take this past fall or deliver the year before. Don't get me wrong, Venus and Spice are great and I adore them but that is how they came here. Two years ago I tried to breed Strawberry and Katie and feel that at least Strawberry took, but it was never confirmed, but feel that she did. Katie I'm not really sure at all, like most things with Katie it was an odd situation all around. Well a few months into gestation Blackberry started beating on the other goats especially Strawberry, the one whom he'd been with from two other farms!) and I mean beating on them so I took him out of that pen and put him by himself for a bit in an attempt to figure out what happened and re-group. I think the beating they took caused them to abort the pregnancies. I then put him in with the llama and alpacas figuring they are bigger and the llama is guardian of the alpaca herd so he wouldn't take crap from a 60 pound goat, that worked - for a while. After a while when that herd was fed he'd go lay down in the middle of the pile of hay and toss his horned head at the llama and alpacas and prevent them from eating. Not cool. So he was separated from them and with no other animals for him to be with I was out of options. Feeling badly for him because he is a herd animal but cannot be with a herd I decided to try putting him back together outside where there was room for the other goats to escape if need be. Venus was not out at that time, I was not going to jeopardize another pregnancy. It was a disaster. And back into solitude he went. It was then I knew what needed to be done. He could no longer stay here like this, it was a hard decision to make but one that needed to be made. It's not right for him to be by himself because he is a herd animal but it's not fair to the other animals to be beat on, running away from him in fear or starved because he won't let them eat. It's just not right. It's also not responsible of me to just ship him off to some unsuspecting farm so I have made arrangements for him to be sent to "freezer camp." It sucks, but it's the humane and right thing to do, he's never showed aggression to humans, but terrorizes other animals and it needs to stop. There is no place for that on our farm.
You may be wondering how the two little guys at the top have anything to do with Blackberry or hard decisions well, let me tell you. At the Fiber Frolic this weekend during the lull while it was pouring some of the vendors had a chance to get together and chat. My children had seen an older woman trying to bring in a couple goats and a sheep and had seen her struggling so they offered to help her. Then they stood there for a while and were asking about the animals, she chatted with them and answered questions and off they went. Sunday morning comes around and she and I were talking during a lull and she asked me to take these two boys. As it turns out her ailing mom with dementia lives with her and is requiring so much of her time she has to find new homes for her flock. With a quivering voice and teary eyes (this I understand) she said she just cannot do it all and only has her 6 year old grand-daughter to help so new homes must be found. She'd found homes for a couple animals and a few more were in the works but it takes a while sometimes to work out the details for others. It is a hard decision for her as well but one that must by made, so these two little boys with fleece as white as snow, shiny and lustrous as a pearl and as soft as cashmere joined our farm. They are pygora goats who are nearly full grown and are roughly 40 -50 pounds each, not at all like the large milking does. :-) They are a bit freaked out be all the changes right now but have started to relax and walked up to me tonight cautiously, but that's a start.