Two goat babies … two boys. And at six-weeks-old, its almost time to castrate them (stay tuned for next week's post). Then it will be time to find them loving homes — or sell them (plus or minus the "neuter"). But they’re so cute and so much fun, sending ‘em packing is perhaps the last thing I want to do.
Here’s a recap for those who might not have caught the earlier posts on my goat babies:
The kids were born at the very end of March. They arrived on their own on the one afternoon I was forced to leave home to attend a downtown meeting (Murphy’s Law). But it apparently went off without a hitch because when I arrived the babes were on the ground and perfectly dry (their mom, Tulip, did a great job). At least I was there in time to catch the last placenta and get the two umbilicuses (or "umbilici," your choice) all neat and clean.
Everything was under control in short order. But a problem remained: two boys instead of two girls. It’s hard enough finding great homes for girls (in my case, I would’ve kept them for next year’s breeding season), but boys?
Here’s the deal: Baby boy goats typically end up in one of the four following categories:
1. Breeders: If they’re really well built and beautiful, boy goats may be raised for breeding. But this takes serious gorgeousness and great breeding lines. Problem is, I’m not the best at determining this.
2. Pets: They almost uniformly make great pets when neutered, as they do NOT smell (contrary to popular opinion).
3. Horse tranquilizers: Forget the drugs. Goats seem to relax nervous horses. Don't know why, they just do. Why that is remains one of the great mysteries of our complex universe.
4. Meat: Goat meat (chevon) is the most widely consumed meats on the planet. In case you’ve never tried it, it’s delicious. And here in Miami it goes for a decent price, given that West Indians (my Cuban-American self included) adore a well-prepared goat.
In my kids’ case I am gunning for the house pet and equine companion approach. I thought I had a home with a horse for one baby, but that fell through (I’m still working this angle, but I definitely need to look elsewhere if I’m to place these babes ASAP). It’s still possible that I’ll find a 4-H home for one of my two beauties, especially someone who’s looking for a breeding buck (they have gorgeous markings!) … but this is highly unlikely.
Still, I’m working on it. Not that it’s easy while trying to milk a doe, make little movies, write eight articles a week, and prep two books. Oh, and there’s a full-time vet job somewhere in there too. And did I mention the 12-year-old? No wonder lots of goat breeders I know end up craving a good stew right around weaning time …
Dr. Patty Khuly
P.S. - Here are some pics in case you happen to know anyone who's willing to give a beautiful and super-sweet goat baby a loving home.
Here's Fleabane ("Flea") romping on the stanchion (his other side's even prettier — lots of white).
Here he is with his brother, Buttonwood ("Button").
"Button" and "Flea."
And another, with Button in the foreground.
And Button, all by himself.