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Name That Livestock

Any number of animals graze on the ranch behind us. Lilly enjoys sassing these large animals who regularly walk the fence-line route. For fear of her getting kicked in the head by horses, mules, and/or cattle, I try to divert her attention and often reward her for looking at the animals without rushing the fence or barking at them. Recently, however, it’s been harder to call her off. She ignores my faint LEAVE IT, followed by COME as if I did not exist. And, now we know why. A new critter has joined the grazing pack, and (it seems) Lilly believes the beast to be a big dog.

Do you see that white thing with a brown head? It’s standing next to the horse on the left.

{sorry for the missing photo. It got lost in a blog meltdown.}

That, dear readers, is a wayward goat. It’s pretty darn tubby too. I haven’t gotten close enough to determine its gender, but I’m guessing it’s pregnant. Tom says it’s totally the wrong time of year for that, but I found this handy Goat Gestation Calculator, and it says goats can kid 145-155 days after breeding. So … the baby goat might come in early spring?

A neighbor called me before the holidays asking if I knew if anyone had lost a goat because she could see it grazing with the horses near her pond. But, none of our goat-owning friends sent out an emergency email, so I had no clue.

I assumed the matter had been resolved, until Lilly flipped out at the fence, and we realized there was someone smaller than a horse but bigger than a dog making rounds.

We’d recently heard a rumor that a dairy goat operator over the ridge got evicted and had abandoned the flock. I tend not to believe such things, but seeing this critter makes me wonder. Then, again, it was a pretty big herd … and where are the rest of them? So, either the story is a fabrication, OR the predators around here had happy, happy holidays … since I’ll be generous and assume the goat family took their Great Pyreness (who guarded the goats) with them.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Elayne - January 8, 2009

I have no idea if there are mini-sheep. I had no idea about the goats either. I’m afraid I’ve been a city/suburban girl most of my life, miniature livestock is well out of my area of expertise.

I’m trying not to encourage my husband’s penchant for livestock. He’s already making noises about moving out east to a piece of land somewhere and I’m sorry but I’d go crazy. Though I have been trying to talk him into chickens so I can have nice eggs and for some reason the mere suggestion makes him twitch.

Rox - January 8, 2009

Very cute! I can see the appeal, but still … you have to protect them from predators, and that would make me stressed. I’d love to have chickens and maybe even ducks on the pond, but neighbors who have tried (even with good pens) end up with a massacre.

Since they breed mini-Everything now, do you think there are tiny sheep? See … I’d be tempted to get Lilly a couple tiny sheep to herd at home.

Don’t forget, we have mules next door … and a llama ranch up the road … if Senior Hubby needs a fix.

Here are photos of Molly and Junior next door:

Elayne - January 8, 2009

How about a miniature baby goat?
and his story:
My husband would love to have a goat (and a donkey and a llama and…) but thankfully our yard is too small.

Rox - January 8, 2009

Dog-Geek is so smart. Thanks for the info. I just gloated (a tiny bit) to darling hubby that I might just be right about the goat’s reproductive status. If we see a baby tagging along next month, I’ll try to get photos.

I almost caved into baby goat wishes years ago, when I first met the dairy goat lady at pancake breakfast at the Grange. She had a bunch of babies in a pen out on the porch. She literally had just met me, but she handed me a day-old baby and asked me to bottle feed it. Probably CLEVER marketing strategy because baby goats are VERY cute, but common sense won over.

You can’t just have one goat, which means two. Then, you probably need something big to guard them … like a mule. And, suddenly your pal Rox is frickin Old MacDonald. :O)

Dog-geek - January 8, 2009

From your picture, that looks like a Boer goat to me. Boer goats are a meat goat breed, not a dairy goat breed – so I doubt it came from a dairy farm. Our property borders a large boer goat farm, and they usually start dropping kids in February, so you might be right that it is a pregnant female. The pregnant goats next door get HUGE – especially after they go out and graze all day, they have an almost unreal, horribly uncomfortable bulge in the middle.

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