Check out this festive and OMG ADORABLE Christmas goat video from GiggleWithTheGoats.com.Read on...
Faithful followers of Pasqualina may remember that by this time last year, she was already pregnant with (who we now know as) Pinta.
This year Pasqualina is decidedly without kid — by our choice. And it really has more to do with Pinta than Pasqualina.
I like to call the general rule for mating a female goat as “8 and 80.” That is, when she reaches eight months old and 80 pounds, she can be safely bred.
Pinta turned eight months old toward the end of November, which technically is still heat season, but I really don’t think she was up to 80 pounds. We didn’t weigh her, so I could be wrong, but she just *seems* quite a bit smaller than Pasqualina was when we bred her (Pasqualina was around nine months old). In any event, we just feel more comfortable waiting to breed her, so that’s what we’re going to do.
We could have just bred Pasqualina, but that would have meant putting a (borrowed) buck in with Pasqualina and locking Pinta in another pen by herself to avoid any “accidents” with the buck. Yes, the pens are only separated by a see-through gate, but we figured not only would that be sad for Pinta, it would also be a little easier on us to have them both bred at the same time rather than staggered.
So the next breeding season will come early next summer, and the kids should arrive in November if, as we hope, all goes well. I’m already a little nervous about the weather being chilly for their delivery, although truth be told, daytime temps around here in November are usually still in the 70s – but there’s nothing like being a worrywart goat maaaa, right?
Anyway, for now, we just have our two girls, and they seem OK with that, don’t you think?
This country mouse headed to the big city last week as I flew to Milan to meet up with some long-time virtual friends I hadn’t yet met in person. One of those lovely ladies is Diana Baur of Piemontescapes, a certain simplicity*, and the Baur Bed & Breakfast, where I spent two wonderfully cozy (one snowy!) nights (P.S. highly, highly recommended).
I also got a chance to check out the small city of Acqui Terme, home of famous hot sulphur springs that spout up right in the town square. I’ll be writing more about my trip up north over at Bleeding Espresso, but there was one particular aspect that I had to tell my goat people about . . .
While wandering through Acqui Terme after a rather amazingly random and beautiful Italian experience, we found ourselves on a particularly adorable street, so I had to stop and snap a photo:
It did not surprise me one bit when I looked up at the end of the street and saw its name:
Yes, that’s Goat Street in Italian, or as I like to say, The Way of the Goat.
See, my girls are never too far away from me no matter where I roam.
This counts as a GoatSpotting, right?
OK, *need* is a strong word, but remember when we talked about goat bridges, and how you shouldn’t show your goats that bridge if you weren’t willing to follow through?
Well check this out:
And there are lots more goat towers at Goat Towers Around the World.
Anyone else kind of jealous of those goats? How fun would it be to have your very own tower?
Imagine the amazing views!
People who aren’t familiar with goats are sometimes afraid they’re going to bite them, which is a rather baseless fear not only because goats are generally some of the least aggressive animals around (headbutting aside) but also because they have no top front teeth.
See those gorgeous gums? That’s all they have up there — just a dental pad.
They do have bottom teeth in the front, however.
When a goat is full grown, he or she will have eight incisors (biting or cutting teeth), all permanent teeth. Just like humans, though, they start out with baby teeth, so to speak. A kid has all small, sharp teeth for about a year. When the kid is about a year old, the center two teeth go bye-bye and are replaced by two permanent teeth. Then about every year or so after that, two teeth moving away from the center teeth on either side are replaced with permanent teeth until the goat has all eight permanent incisors by about four or five years old.
At that point, the teeth start to space apart, and you can begin to tell the age of the goat by the wear and tear on the teeth as opposed to the number of permanent versus baby teeth.
So does all this mean you can’t really be harmed by a goat’s teeth? Not exactly.
They *do* have 24 molars for chewing their cud in the back of their mouths — six on each side, upper and lower. And they are sharp as all get out, so you don’t want to be sticking your fingers toward the back of a goat’s mouth.
In other words, although it’s quite cute to see and feel the lil’ baby goats gnawing on the tip of your finger between their incisors and dental pad, once they start shifting that head to get your finger to the back of their mouth, you *must* get out of there, lest you become the cud.
Just trust me on that one, mkay?
Friend and faithful reader Salena, the beautiful, glamorous truck driver behind one of my favorite reads The Daily Rant, recently sent me an email entitled “Goat Crazy.” She explained how she can’t even look through magazines anymore without checking out things that mention goats.
Pasqualina and Pinta take that as a huge compliment!
Salena sent along this page from the October 2010 edition of Country Living:
A reader had asked what the best goat breed for milk is, and the answer is, of course, the lovely Saanen (pictured above). You know, like Millie over at Eden Hills?
Toggenburgs are also mentioned as great, but to be honest, I’ve never heard of them, so how great can they be? Just kidding. Hah! Get it? Kidding! Ahem. They’re actually one of the oldest, most reliable dairy breeds around, but I don’t hear of many people who actually have them.
La Manchas are good for milk too, according to the article, especially to double as pets because they have such “sweet dispositions,” and Nubians are excellent cheese producers because their milk has lots of butterfat; La Manchas also have high butterfat content, whereas Saanens tend to have low butterfat — but again, Saanens produce lots and lots of milk, so if you’re not particularly keen on cheesemaking, you might not care about butterfat.
Regarding size, Saanens and Nubians are large while La Manchas are medium-sized; and remember you can also consider a small dairy goat breed like the Nigerian Dwarf — adorable, great milk producers, and queens of the butterfat competition to boot.
So, if you’re looking for a dairy goat (well, at least two because you know the goaties don’t like to be alone), it really depends on your specific needs. Some things to consider include but are not limited to the following:
- What you intend to do with the milk;
- Whether you want the goats for companionship as well as for production;
- How big you want your goats;
- How much time, space, and money you have to care for the goats.
Of course, you can keep a dairy goat as a pet and never breed her for milk at all — in which case your list of considerations will be shorter.
If you just want a pet goat as a companion, though, you might consider getting a wether, a castrated male. Well, two! Not only are they friendly, fun, and not smelly like uncastrated males (sorry, bucks, it’s the truth), but you also may be saving them from being butchered, the fate of many male kids.
What else should potential dairy goat caretakers think about?
If you have dairy goats, what breed do you have and why?