Goat comfort: On the merits of same-species society as evidenced in my own 'herd'
“Conspecifics” they call them; members of the same species. Though goats will easily accept company from humans and horses, for example, they do best with those of their own kind.
After all, goats are herd animals. They’re social. They have a pecking order to some extent and seem to follow the leader (generally the smartest, most adventurous troublemaker). But they warm up to each other quickly and rarely get too annoyed with one another (unless we’re talking about bucks dueling for a herd’s reproductive attentions).
In my case I seem to have two “queen does” on my hand. They’re both wicked smart, overtly curious in the extreme and ridiculously troublesome when they care to be.
It’s a match made in heaven. Ever since Tulip arrived (my now ten week-old Nubian doeling), Poppy (my approximately three year-old doe) has chilled out.
Poppy was a stray found tied to a trailered boat, surrounded by barking dogs and freaked out beyond belief when she arrived. She settled down in my company, but in mine alone. Except for my mother’s Cuban housekeeper who cares for her when I’m away (a self-described country girl with a special connection to all manner of livestock), Poppy has eyes for no one but me.
That is, until Tulip came along.
Tulip has gone where no creature dared go before. She engages Poppy successfully in play. She runs circles around her begging for her company—which Poppy immediately grants. She steals her food and gets away with it. She’s toned down her previously incessant be-with-me bleating. And she’s made her more lovable to all those around her.
It’s an obviously total transformation to anyone who knows Poppy well enough to remark on her moods. The neighbors are stunned by the quiet, the calm, the jovial new Poppy.
A few months ago some of you voted I get a second goat. Now that you’ve gotten your way, I only wish I’d granted it sooner.