I wrote a post two years ago called “Letting Your Kids Cry It Out,” about crying goats in general. At that time, my only personal point of reference was Pasqualina’s crying as a wee kid when she was left alone–and by alone, I mean she was completely alone because we hadn’t yet found her a buddy.
But once we found her a friend, Margherita, she was fine. Crying stopped.
Well, here I am revisiting the crying goat issue because of a little crybaby named Gemma.
Mamma mia does this one cry!
(Video at the Goat Berries Facebook page.)
That video shows her more rational, lower-volumed crying as I approach, but when I’m at the house, a bit of a ways from where she stays, she WAILS several times a day for what seems like hours at a time. OK, it’s not really hours at a time; more like three minutes, but it *feels* like a lifetime when you’re in the midst of it.
When it first started happening, when she was about six weeks old, if it lasted for more than a few minutes and sounded urgent, I would go over to make sure she was OK. Always fresh water available and an all-you-can-eat-goatie-buffet, so it wasn’t like she needed anything in particular. Back then, I blamed teething. Right now I’m blaming weaning.
Truth be told, though, I think she just likes to have a human (ahem, me) around; whenever I show up *and* pay attention to her, she’s fine. If I just show up and don’t pay attention to her, as we say in Calabria, “GUAI!” Trouble, basically.
I’ve come to the conclusion that she has realized that wailing like she means it = maaaaa coming for petties and/or with treats.
So it has become necessary to just let the kid cry it out.
Hey, if it works for human babies, why not baby goats?
Now, to be clear, sometimes a goat’s crying can be a symptom of illness and/or discomfort, so you do want to rule out anything like that. But sooner or later the goat has to grow up, and that’s only going to happen if you let them figure out how to soothe themselves in times of stress or boredom or whatever it is that’s making them cry.
We’re in the first week of really, truly letting her cry it out. It’s been hard on maaaa, but it is definitely helping. I’ve also been making a point of going over and showing her love when she is *not* crying so she associates being calm with attention.
She is still crying out, but it’s only a couple times a day, pretty much when someone passes by or at feed-time, and she’ll give it maybe three good cries then stop.
That’s progress, right?
Just ask my neighbors!
Have you ever had a crybaby goat? What did you do?
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