Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Raising Goats

Penny and Clover eating foliage
I like goats. As far as our animals go, they're very productive and not very drama filled. You basically put them on pasture with enough  greenery, and they just eat, poop, give milk, and breed.

But there's more to it than that, of course. They get parasites. They need their hooves trimmed. They break their legs. Like every animal, they have issues. Compared to the smaller ones, though, they seem to have less. Maybe that's just because I have less of them than the smaller ones.

Also, we generally don't kill the goats. They are milk goats, not for meat. So, they have babies, and they eat grass, and that's about it.

Last weekend, our little goat Robert (that's him, orange on the back of the llama) broke his leg. He's what we call a Wether, a castrated male goat. As such, his job is basically to take care of the intact male goat, called a buck.* We have two other wethers, so he's sort of redundant as to his purpose. But he was cute, and when you yelled his name in the pasture, he'd generally yell back at you.

A broken leg for a wether goat is a death sentence. The only way to repair it is with surgery, and they generally don't do well. For a doe or a buck you might consider it. For a wether who will not produce anything, spending thousands of dollars on a surgery that will not work is...a bad calculation.

So we put him down.

I wasn't there. The goats are my daughter's love, and she was with him the whole time. She knows it was the right thing to do. She's put down horses before, and dogs. It's still a rough time for all of us.

Farming brings us a whole range of emotions that don't often get felt by folks a bit more removed from the food production process. Everything we need is provided by nature: food, clothing, soap. Everything has a price, and it's more than the money you pay at the grocery store.

*Ironically, we have a Wether named Bucky.


Suburban Mystic Mom said...

I love the goats and the blog! Passed on! :)

Soror A.M.Y said...

I think we as a society are removed from the means of production for a lot of things. We are removed, distant, and thus less honest. Less inclined to explore unless we feel the inner yearnings to know ourselves. Then we learn.