Last spring we purchased 2 Nubian Does (goats for those who are not familiar) and were told they “might” be bred. With 150-day gestation, we should have been “goat poor” by August, but the girls were still as slender as runway models, so I went to work looking for a suitable buck, or ‘billygoat’. I don’t know ‘who’ Billy was, but it’s my guess he had less than impressive hygiene”.
Call after call failed to produce the desired ‘y’ chromosome goat. One lady suggested a few more places I could call, and both had large goat operations.
My first call was never returned, but the second number, I caught someone at home. I inquired about purchasing a buck and she said yes, she did have a few for $150. She asked how many does we had, and I told her…two.
Her response was
“well, that’s just silly to buy a buck for just two does.”
I explained we lived 2 hours from town and she said
“well, why don’t you just borrow one, and bring him back when you are done? What do you want? A meat goat, dairy? Oh, you can decide which one you want to take when you get here. We’ll be gone in the morning loading sheep, but we’ll be back by noon…sure, I can hold back a couple of ewes for you.”
We had yet to meet this woman!!
We found their ranch, introduced ourselves at the appointed time and she recommended an Oberhasli buck and had two nice ewes for us to buy. She and her husband loaded them in our trailer and we were on our way.
Upon arriving home, we put the sheep and goats in a stall next to Cletus, who was recovering from his 5-month birthday surprise…a neutering.
The 100-year old barn is divided into 3 sections. The center, which is about 2/3 of the space, contains the tack closets and feed bunks for the horses that are brought in for saddling. The right side of the barn has ‘sheep stalls’ and the left is storage.
Buck goats have an aroma that is powerful beyond description and only pleasant if you are a she-goat in heat. The next morning, Jakes perfume had permeated the entire barn. Cowboys were gagging and retching next door and asking
“What have you GOT in there? Something DEAD??”
Later that day, Jake, his harem, the sheep and the pups were relocated to the big pasture behind our place, with the milk cows.
I remained ever vigilant, as cougars, bobcats and coyotes previously wiped out 80% of the boss’ 200 lambs in one season, discouraging them from raising any more. That is the reason we got the Maremma pups, to protect them, but they are still just pups, and not ready to take on predators completely yet. In spite of the solid fencing on our side, and the size and scope of the pasture, I always knew where they all were, because we could smell Jake.
No bobcats, coyotes or cougars have showed up this year. Not sure if it was because of the pups, or if they are as disgusted by Jake’s aroma as we are.
After all the romancing had taken place, and we were relatively sure the goats were bred, we drove the 2 ½ hours back to the ladies ranch to return her goat.
I gave her a bar of homemade soap as a small token of our appreciation, and we had a great conversation about soap making. She mentioned they had to leave and haul a ram to Vale. I asked if she knew of anyone with a ram for sale, that I could breed to the two sheep we had purchased from her. Twenty minutes later, there was a beautiful ram in our trailer and she told us
“Be sure to keep him thru at least 2 cycles to make sure they are bred. Sometimes these sheep will fool you. And don’t bend over in front of him, keep your eyes on him, if he tries to ram you, you just take a club to him!! I don’t want him getting mean.”
Our relationship was now an accumulated 45 minutes, if you include the phone call.
As we pulled out, she said
“I’m sure sorry we have to rush off like this, but we have a 4 hour drive to pick up hay and drop off the other ram. Maybe when you bring him back, we can sit and have some coffee and visit!”
I just love country folk!