Caprine adventures in suburbia: a goat-keeping novice's update
As promised, here’s an update on Poppy, the newest member of my family and an asset to any home, really. Where else can you find an alarm clock, security system, weed-killer and thermometer for the price of some hay and a bag of goat chow?
Her bell, securely attached to her nylon collar, wakes me up in the morning. It also wards off unsuspecting meter readers (he left a note saying he’d come back when the “dog” he could hear—but not see—was put away). She clears away anything even remotely green in her enclosure.
And here’s the best part: When it hit the fifties this week (cold for us Miamians) she conveniently let herself out of the pen, rapped on my sliding-glass doors with her horns and jumped onto my bed after flying past me into the bedroom. She was shivering.
Since that last caper, I’ve been careful to tie her gate with a bicycle lock at night. And I’ve added a thick layer of bedding to her new hutch, a luxuriously appointed, three-sided, steel-roofed structure (constructed no less than by someone who’s more adept at applying screws to bones—not to the two-by-fours that now keep her cozy).
Poppy’s gotten lots of attention these past couple or so weeks. She gets lots of fun varieties of forage, courtesy of the local feed store. I’m putting weight on her with the help of a fancy, kidding-doe vitamin formula. She’s been de-wormed with ivermectin. Her vaccines ore on order. I’m getting her used to my daily petting session at feeding time so I can trim her hooves soon. And she’s got a cool, tie-out line for free-range weeding.
As much as I’ve done for her, though, (not to mention my boyfriend’s carpentry efforts) her new best friend is none other than…the dog. Worried as I was after the first few days of ceaseless barking and head-butt rebuttals, it seems the puppy and Poppy have become fast friends…sort of.
I’m not 100% sure of this but it appears that Vincent (my seven-month old French bulldog) and Poppy enjoy their daily sparring. Dog behavior I get, so I know the pup is inviting her to play with his tail-up, head-down pounces. She returns the pounce, turns in a circle then stomps. Her tail flicks and she head-butts the fence, too, which elicits a high-speed circular romp, followed by another tilted-head-to-the-ground, happy growling thing. They do this for a while until she gets tired and ignores him. I imagine this is play but it could be my wishful thinking, too.
Either way, she seems unperturbed by him, despite her prey-species status. I guess it’s hard to be threatened by a Frenchie. But I’m sure some helpful goat person out there will disabuse me of my fantasy if indeed it’s needed.
Again, thanks for all your help on Poppy. I’ll continue to keep you posted.