Goat love part deux: On the pimping out of Tulip
I promised I would keep you updated on the reproductive antics of my goats and I don’t intend to disappoint. With this post, I offer you yet another voyeuristic glimpse into the sex life of our common agriculture species.
But this time it’s not all about speculums, pipettes, cold storage tanks and frozen sperm. Nope. This time, ladies and gentlemen, it’s about the birds and the bees and the kind of porn you’ll never see in the sleazy section of a magazine rack.
That’s because I proved a disaster with respect to my artificial insemination gambit. In the absence of a buck (a male goat), I was unable to time the cycle of my doe adequately. Because to me, Tulip looks like she’s in heat all the time: playful, rambunctious, solicitous and tail perpetually a-twitter like a windshield wiper on overdrive. So what was I supposed to do? Inseminate her daily?
Newbie goat person that I am, I decided to pull out the big guns and go a-searching for a boy. I posted a decidedly humble message on the NubianTalk forum (Tulip is a Nubian goat) and researched goat keepers in my half of the state.
What I sought: Someone who shows goats and milks ‘em. A farm that seemed as if goat health and happiness was more important than any caprine’s pretty perfection. A buck with basically good genetics and high “dairyness” scores. (Goats get rated on all kinds of issues, their ability to produce copious quantities of high quality, wholesome milk being only one of them.)
But basically, I was looking for a goat person with whom I “clicked.”
After only a couple of email back-and-forths (and, I confess, after adoring her website), it was clear that Jojo’s setup fit the bill. Because it wasn’t so much about the buck at this point, you see. It was more about who would be caring for my Tulip over the next 7 to 21 days.
So I submitted Tulip’s blood sample for disease testing (CAE) and waited a week for its return. (CAE-free status is essential to ensure a healthy herd devoid of this devastating, arthritic-encephalitic disease.) In the meantime, I bought a doggie-divider rack for my small SUV and set up the back for maximum caprine comfort.
Yesterday was the big day. We traveled 2 hours to West Palm Beach with Tulip in the back. The boyfriend drove (what a good guy, he even missed the Dolphin game for the event), I sat in the back seat and Tulip protested quietly in the cargo space. (Poor thing.)
When we finally arrived, Jojo must have thought we were lost city folk, what with the 2004 Lexus RX 300 and the look of bemused, too-clean-for-goat-folk curiosity about us.
Camera dangling from my wrist and Tulip (complete with Coach collar) putting on the brakes, Jojo took her firmly in hand and led her inside the gate to her property. (I swear, I must have seemed the worst kind of caprine dilettante.)
That’s when I was informed of my does prettiness...and excess of condition. Translation: too fat. Ouch! You should have seen my face fall.
For all I do to promote leanness and trimness in our dogs and cats, this direct declaration hit home. Worst of all, I’d been following directions for what others thought I was supposed to be doing: fattening her up in advance of a load of babies. Too bad, as Jojo explained in merciless tones, that would mean more babies and more risk.
Properly chastised at the outset, we trundled on over to the goat enclosure. A pair of male turkeys (inexplicably inseparable)...
...a cluster of Peking ducks, chicken strewn about, a pony, a horse and a pot-bellied pig complemented the near double-handful of Nubian goats. All immaculately maintained and properly socialized.
That’s when Tulip first laid dewy, frightened eyes on Noble, her impressive intended.
Feigning disinterest at first, she eventually warmed up to him, turning her tail in his direction with a decidedly flirtatious flick while demurely looking her shoulder to gauge his reaction. That’s when she squatted and urinated for him. It was goat love. Or goat sex, rather, so as not to put too anthropomorphic a spin on the rutty-slash-estric behavior in evidence.
As receptive as she seemed across the fence line, she wouldn’t stand for him when they were finally penned in together. He has no finesse explained Jojo. No matter, considering her attraction for his smelly, bullying, thoroughly unpolished presence. A few days should do it.
Usually, does stand for mating on the third day of heat and, fortunately, today looked like the first to me. But then, what do I know, needing to drive two hours as I did to make sure someone far more experienced than myself took on the gritty, goat sex detail.
Next up, the trip back and more stories on the ultrasound, burgeoning belly and all that scary, pregnancy jazz. The nanny-cam will be set up for your amusement and to soothe what I expect will be my fractured nerves during the impending kidding. But who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be doing this myself with my own buck. Or maybe I’ll get better at timing heat cycles so I can get the artificial insemination down. It all remains to be seen...so stay tuned.