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Goat Short Stories
by Molly Bunton


Margie & Larry
Margie as a kid
with Larry as an adult

Margie is smart as a whip, which is good because she certainly did not have conformation (a show quality body) going for her.  

She grew up on the "mean streets".  Her father was an "unknown", we rescued Belle (Margie's mother) and Lucy (Belle's half sister) when they were pregnant.  Their feet were in horrible shape and we were shocked when the owner would grab them by their ears and drag them around.   The owner (notice I don't call him a "breeder") just let his, who knows what kind of, buck run with his herd.  Because of this he really had no idea when the does were bred and when they would have their kids.  Poor Belle and Lucy, both Purebred Nubians, were now beings treated like scrubs. We had to get them out of there.

We brought them home and nursed them to health and one month later they surprised us and both gave birth to triplets within 24 hours of each other.  Belle had one boy and two girls, but one of the girls had a leg problem.  It bent backwards and she had trouble standing. Belle decided she had two healthy babies and wanted nothing to do with the "sickly" one.  She would not nurse little "Margie" (named after my grandmother) so we decided to bottle raise her.

My oh my, did Belle have a lovely udder. And so did Lucy. Weren't we lucky.

Larry did physical therapy on Margie and her leg got better in a few days; she has never had a problem with it since. (Now we know that Bo-Se shots 5 weeks and 2 weeks before birth can prevent this problem).  We registered Margie 50% Grade Nubian, since we did know her mother but did not know her father.  Belle never really liked Margie. So Margie grew up with no mother (but us).  To this day she still carries a scar on her ear where Belle picked her up by it. 

"When's your flight, Margie?"
And don't point that thing at me!

As Margie grew she really didn't look like Belle at all.  Her conformation was nothing like her "show quality" mother, but we loved her just the same.  We bred her when she was ready and 5 months later she gave birth to a buck and a doe.  We had high hopes for Margie, but as her udder filled out, our hopes sank (as did her udder).  She had no "attachments" (what holds the udder onto to the body) and, though, quite large, her udder left a lot to be desired.  It hung very low, not up close to the body the way her mother's did. But we loved Margie anyway and she was wonderful in the milkstand so we kept her as a supplier of milk for my cheesemaking.

Interestingly enough, Margie's half sister, Snow Pea (same unknown father) had an even worse udder than Margie (hard to believe).  The moral of this is, no matter how good the mother, if you breed to a bad father you will pay for it for years and years to come.  As a side note, when we bred Belle to a very good buck, we got beautiful does, with lovely "show quality" udders. Margie's daughter was an improvement on her but it will still take a few more years of careful breeding to get rid of those bad udder attachment genes.

So... back to my story...

Margie's second year of being bred we (I think we went insane here) decided to breed her to a Kinder buck (A miniature breed made by crossing Nubians and Pygmies).  We leased an 8 months old buck and kept him here (he was soooo cute).

Spanky- This is a buck?

When Margie went into heat we put her in with "Spanky".  She was not happy about that at all!  And though she was in raging heat (believe me, I know) she would have nothing to do with little Spanky.  I held her by some cider blocks (so Spanky could reach) and he managed to do his deed.  We always like to see three "good ones" but no matter how hard we tried and how tightly we held (Larry and I together) Margie would not let Spanky breed her again.

Now, believe me when I say she was in raging heat and when we let her out, Smily, our Sanaan wether, rode her around for the rest of the day. She liked Smily and wanted to be bred, but she just did not want to be bred by that "little guy".

Sabrina as a kid

The next day Margie's daughter Sabrina went into heat and we were going to breed her to Spanky (remember, I plead insanity on this).  Sabrina was a virgin but very up for the idea.  We put her in with Spanky and he started courting her. She was warming up to the idea quite well.  Well, before anything could happen, Margie walked over to the stall to see what was going on.  She saw her daughter in with Spanky and then said something in goat. Not just "maaa", but a whole goat sentence, and the moment she said whatever she said to Sabrina, Sabrina would have nothing to do with Spanky.  She turned on him and slammed him and after awhile we decided we'd better get her out of there before she killed him.

Han & Dash
Han & Dash
Margie & Spanky's sons


We never did get Sabrina bred that year and later were very, very glad we did not breed her to Spanky because we decide it was much wiser for us to "breed-up", using does and high quality bucks of the same breed.  Margie ended up having two little boys whom we wethered (neutered).  Margie and the wethers (the cutest guys you've ever seen) went to live at a new home, as much loved pets.

The moral here is that the doe does have a mind of her own mind and may not always like the "boyfriend" you picked out for her.


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