Saturday, April 6, 2013

Changes in the Goat Herd

I don't always like it when things change. I get comfortable with how things are, and the last thing I want is for someone, or something, to rock my little boat and upset things. But change is inevitable. It's simply our job to roll with the punches and adapt. My ability to do that largely depends on each situation. Some changes are easier to handle than others.

And then being the hater-of-change that I am, it's fairly eyebrow raising to others when *I* decide to make some big change in life. And friends, as of three weeks ago, I decided that I needed a big change. And that is that I'm switching breeds with my goats. 

This little bit of news has been a bit of a bombshell for some folks, for others not so much... But I needed a change with the goats. So I'm selling off all my Nubians except three of them (Summer, Lyric, and my buck Tamarack), and the rest of those flop-eared girls are being replaced by - believe it or not - Saanens. Yeah, I know; talk about a change. I don't want to completely lose my line of Nubians, so I'll keep my three best ones around and keep a small herd of them going. But after almost six years of raising this proud breed, I'm worn out... And ready for a calmer, gentler breed. When I first came to the realization that I needed/wanted to switch breeds, I wanted the exact opposite of the Nubians. And Saanens seemed to be just that. Big, white, quiet, gentle goats.

This whole idea came about when I guiltily had to admit to a friend that cows had replaced the goats as my favorite animal. If I had to choose between a cow or a goat, I would honestly choose a cow. We have Mattie to thank for that. After telling my friend this shocking news, I later found myself trying to do some soul searching, and trying to figure out WHY I was suddenly finding myself liking cows more than goats. I've had goats for almost six years. The bovines hadn't even been here for one year. My thoughts were doing confusing circles that largely got me nowhere, but in the end I kept on coming back to one thing: Calmness. If there was one thing I loved about Mattie, it was her placid nature, and the trust I felt with that big cow since she was so calm. When all the other animals around me were noisy and chaotic, such as the squealing pigs, cackling chickens, screaming goats (gotta' love Nubians... Loudest breed of all), and baaing sheep, there was Mattie... Quiet. Calm. She became an anchor for me. When the goats were rushing the gate trying to all get out at the same time, there was the cow with a look on her face that said, "I'll wait for you." When the pigs escaped for the millionth time, Mattie was always solidly where she was supposed to be. 

Three weeks ago was the deciding factor in that something needed to change with the goats. I was trying to get ONE goat out, but instead the whole herd rushed the gate and I ended up with 6 goats running amok in the barn. The ones that I had managed to keep in the pen were wailing about the unfairness of the situation, since they didn't get freedom and everyone else did. The ones that were loose were cunningly avoiding my grasp. Not even grain would bring them to me. I finally got everyone where they belonged, and it was right then that I realized I didn't want to do this anymore. Everything in me was screaming, "Enough!" and all I could think about was Mattie and her look of, "I'll wait for you." I need calm animals in my life right now. Sure, a bit of spice in life is good, but that's the key: You only want a little bit of spice, or else you'll ruin things with too much.

So as I did my heavy thinking that day, I decided that I wouldn't completely give up the goats. I'm not ready for that. But I needed a change. My affection for these animals has diminished, and I want to bring it back to what it was. I want and need a calmer breed that won't leave me feeling like I just experienced a hurricane, every time I visit the barn. I also want to be back to having a herd of goats that I like. For truth be told, out of all the goats I have right now, I only like Summer (and Lyric; but I like all goat kids, so I don't know if she counts.). All the others are what I call "genetic material". Bad way to put it and think of them, but it's true.I bought them not for their temperaments, but for their pedigrees. I bought them for their genetics and what they could add to my herd. I bought them, thinking of what their daughters would be like. I don't actually "like" those goats. And five years of raising goats like this has taken its toll on me. I'm ready to go back to the beginning. And have a herd of animals that I enjoy for who they are. 

So things are changing around here. Metty is gone, Jupiter will be leaving on the 14th, and Lily and Trigun are posted for sale. It will be a slow process in getting the Saanens, and will most likely take a few months before I have them, since the kids are expensive, and there is a waiting list for them. But I feel good about this decision. Change can be good, and I know I needed this. It will be fun to have a new breed around, and I'm excited for this new turn of events. 

My life is never dull. And that's the truth.


Anonymous said...

You never cease to amaze...wrong word. You never cease to make me think, "What On Earth?!?!?!?!?!" Then I read the rest of your post and I think I understand.
Though, in my life, it's the opposite. My goats are the sweet ones and I want to shoot all the pushy, demanding, greedy bovines.

This is going to an interesting Next Episode, Season 6ish in The Life Of Caitlyn The Goatherdess.

We wait with bated breath for your next bombshell. ;)
You are as unpredictable as Chicago weather.


Goat Song said...

Hahahaha!! "Unpredictable as Chicago weather." I like that! ;) Yes, I know how to drop bombshells. If there's one reason why I will probably never get married, this is it. I would probably drive the poor guy crazy with my crazy ideas. LOL.

And I do actually have another bombshell to drop on you unsuspecting readers. ^_^ Hopefully I can pop that news tomorrow or Monday... *evil laugh*

Anonymous said...

You'll have to find someone who is more of a bombshell than you. lol

What is it? What is it?
Let me maybe, bought Tank?


Goat Song said...

Now THAT could be scary... Finding someone who's more of a bombshell than me!? LOL. ;) Either that, or I'd have to find someone who's really laid back and doesn't mind my occasional unpredictability.

And nope! Your guess is incorrect! ^_^

Nicole said...

Thanks for your comment of "Wanting a calmer, gentler breed" giving me a good laugh. We have two nubians in our main herd of about 30 saanen/alpine crosses and I couldn't imagine dealing with any more than that. Not that I don't love our two Nubian girls, but man they characters to say the least. Although that said, I've learned that saanens are prone to their own brand of tomfoolery. Sometimes they'll do their best to remind you that they are big strong goats, but they're sweethearts. Best of luck with your herd changes though! :)