Newcomer to the Farm

We were not looking for a new goat so soon after Nora died but we were forced to change the whole dynamic of our small herd with her loss. When we took a few of our remaining kids to a local sheep and goat sale we started chatting with a nice couple that were also selling a few of their goats. They have a large goat dairy a few hours south from where we live. While we were there they told us about a doe they were going to sell privately. We were interested so we got their information.

We decided it would be good for our herd to get another goat that is in full milk. Also Fauna is 8 years old and we haven’t decided if we are going to keep her much longer because of her lack of interest in her kids. Anyway we had a small family get together south of where we live and we picked the new doe up right afterwards. The owners of the dairy gave us a little tour of their farm and showed us their milking parlor. We shared a few goat stories before we loaded her up and headed home. The whole way home my daughter called her Elsa and the entire time we worked to convince her we were not deciding on a name before we knew more about her.

Once we got her home we discovered a few set backs.

  1. She is used to being in a barn all the time.
  2. She has never been out on pasture so grazing and browsing are new to her.
  3. Leading with a collar is a new skill.
  4. She does not like the feed we have and refuses to eat it.
  5. Hand milking is new to her and will take a little getting used to.
  6. She does NOT like dogs. There were no dogs at her previous home and she does not like them around.
  7. So far she has not bonded well with the other goats. They don’t pick on her but she doesn’t seem to be part of the herd either.

Basically she did not have enough stimuli as a kid and does not know how to be a real goat. Simple things such as going outside to eat grass and weeds are hard for her. She spends most of the time maaaaing at the gate because she wants to be let back into the barn. She is watching the other goats though and picking up on their behavior. Just yesterday she followed Brittney up onto the wooden spools in their pen and was jumping around on them like a normal goat. I’m hoping that she will modify her behavior to fit into the rest of the herd.

Over the past few weeks many of these issues have resolved themselves with the exception of numbers 6 & 7. She does not like dogs one little bit. We usually use the dogs to herd the goats into certain pastures and to bring them in at the end of the day if they are out on stakes. Rather than staying with the rest of the goats and heading to the barn she will stop and try to fight the dogs. This is bad. My dogs are working dogs and it is their job to bring the goats in at night. They aren’t aggressive with the goats unless they aren’t going where they are supposed to. Usually the goats and the dogs know what their jobs are so this is not an issue. The new goat is not working well with the dogs. When she doesn’t go with the rest of the herd the dogs snap at her which makes her try to chase after the dogs which in turn has the dogs trying to herd her more aggressively. Not good things. We have been trying to lead her in while the dogs bring in the rest of the herd. This is not necessarily the best solution because we want her to become integrated with the herd but we do not want anymore soured feelings to develop between her and the dogs.

My daughter has settled on Lazy Daisy as her name which fits her better than Elsa but time will tell how her personality will fit into our small hobby farm. Right now we are having a few difficulties but it has been quite a while since we brought a new goat to our small hobby farm. It will be interesting to see how she settles in over next few months.