10/22/2014

Just Kidding

One of the perks of working at a rural school district is the rural part. A small herd of goats resides close to my office, just past the playground. Boer goats to be exact, who provide moments of entertainment throughout the day. You need that when you constantly stare at a computer screen, answering emails, and entering all manner of data. Thankfully, a window gives me an excellent view of the herd.

The reason for the goats is a hobby farm next door to the District Office where I work.  A retired couple can be seen tending their livestock, and working in the garden every morning. It's such a peaceful and pastoral scene. (Sigh.)

Springtime with Maisey on the log
 and Daisy on the ground.
Along with the goats, the couple keeps a flock of Rhode Island Red chickens. A magnificent rooster guards his harem. You definitely don't want to mess with him. He has no sense of humor and when he squawks, those girls come running to the safety of the hen house. These particular hens can be seen jumping in the air to catch bugs, scratching in the dirt, or dashing around the small pasture. The flock is definitely free range and seem delighted to be there. They have it pretty good.


Back to the goats. The goat herd started in February when one of the two resident does had twins. The kids were doelings; one is black-and-white (I've named her Maisey), and the other is brown-and-white (Daisy). The other doe produced another set of twins in early summer.  Mysteriously, that doe and one of twins are no longer part of the herd. The remaining kid is a buckling. His button horns appeared recently--he's growing up already. (Let's call him Maurice. It seems to fit for some reason.) He's a handsome boy, brown in color, with an edging of black on his coat.

Maurice
I began making friends with the doelings in the spring. Now they run to the fence when I call. Maisey is greedy for the handfuls of grass I offer. She's quick to jump, placing her hooves high on the fence to push her sister out of the way. I think she likes looking me in the eye too. Quite sassy and confident. Daisy, however, is reluctant to take any grass. She good-naturedly tolerates her sister and is resigned to second place. Mama sometimes appears and pushes both of her daughters to the side, taking the grass for herself. You have to let the offspring know that you're still in charge.

Maurice has recently warmed up to me and starts crying for attention when I appear for my lunchtime walk. Now I have to pet him before the girls, and he gets the first offering of grass. Boys! He complains rather loudly about the separate pasture he has from the girls from time to time.

My family had a milk goat on our farm long ago. I helped my mother milk the nanny everyday. I never cared for goat milk. A little too strong tasting for me, but my brother liked it. The point of this post? It's kind of nice to have that little piece of my childhood next to my office. And it's a bonus to find joy in the simple things, like feeding a handful of grass to a precocious goat. Who else gets to do that on their lunchtime?

Maisey and Mama

Maurice unhappy about his separate pasture.

Boer Goat Factoids


  • Developed in South Africa in the early 1900s
  • Boer means farmer
  • Bred for meat rather than milk production
  • Mature at five months
  • Adapt well to desert conditions
  • Has a high fertility rate - lots of twins
  • Scads of personality (my observation)





Mama

Daisy with Maurice on the left.

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Positively encouraging

10/22/2014

Just Kidding

One of the perks of working at a rural school district is the rural part. A small herd of goats resides close to my office, just past the playground. Boer goats to be exact, who provide moments of entertainment throughout the day. You need that when you constantly stare at a computer screen, answering emails, and entering all manner of data. Thankfully, a window gives me an excellent view of the herd.

The reason for the goats is a hobby farm next door to the District Office where I work.  A retired couple can be seen tending their livestock, and working in the garden every morning. It's such a peaceful and pastoral scene. (Sigh.)

Springtime with Maisey on the log
 and Daisy on the ground.
Along with the goats, the couple keeps a flock of Rhode Island Red chickens. A magnificent rooster guards his harem. You definitely don't want to mess with him. He has no sense of humor and when he squawks, those girls come running to the safety of the hen house. These particular hens can be seen jumping in the air to catch bugs, scratching in the dirt, or dashing around the small pasture. The flock is definitely free range and seem delighted to be there. They have it pretty good.


Back to the goats. The goat herd started in February when one of the two resident does had twins. The kids were doelings; one is black-and-white (I've named her Maisey), and the other is brown-and-white (Daisy). The other doe produced another set of twins in early summer.  Mysteriously, that doe and one of twins are no longer part of the herd. The remaining kid is a buckling. His button horns appeared recently--he's growing up already. (Let's call him Maurice. It seems to fit for some reason.) He's a handsome boy, brown in color, with an edging of black on his coat.

Maurice
I began making friends with the doelings in the spring. Now they run to the fence when I call. Maisey is greedy for the handfuls of grass I offer. She's quick to jump, placing her hooves high on the fence to push her sister out of the way. I think she likes looking me in the eye too. Quite sassy and confident. Daisy, however, is reluctant to take any grass. She good-naturedly tolerates her sister and is resigned to second place. Mama sometimes appears and pushes both of her daughters to the side, taking the grass for herself. You have to let the offspring know that you're still in charge.

Maurice has recently warmed up to me and starts crying for attention when I appear for my lunchtime walk. Now I have to pet him before the girls, and he gets the first offering of grass. Boys! He complains rather loudly about the separate pasture he has from the girls from time to time.

My family had a milk goat on our farm long ago. I helped my mother milk the nanny everyday. I never cared for goat milk. A little too strong tasting for me, but my brother liked it. The point of this post? It's kind of nice to have that little piece of my childhood next to my office. And it's a bonus to find joy in the simple things, like feeding a handful of grass to a precocious goat. Who else gets to do that on their lunchtime?

Maisey and Mama

Maurice unhappy about his separate pasture.

Boer Goat Factoids


  • Developed in South Africa in the early 1900s
  • Boer means farmer
  • Bred for meat rather than milk production
  • Mature at five months
  • Adapt well to desert conditions
  • Has a high fertility rate - lots of twins
  • Scads of personality (my observation)





Mama

Daisy with Maurice on the left.

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