Tag Archives: goats and acorns

My Nubian Goats Vanished

Since my Nubians are dairy goats, they get milked twice a day. They go out to pasture during the day and come in when it starts getting dark. At least they did until my goats vanished.

A lost kid happens. Each time means a frantic search until the kid or kids are found.

my Nubians start out to pasture

Milking is over. The herd is ready to go out to pasture. It was hard to get far enough in front to get a picture as, every time I sped up, so did they.

This time it was the entire herd.

Everything started out normally. Morning milking was done. The goats poured out of the gate, crossed the bridge and headed for the south pasture.

The point of decisions is here. The herd can go to the north and pasture with persimmon trees. The herd can cross the bridge and go up the left hill or go right down the creek bed and out to the south pasture hill and acorns. The last option was chosen for when the goats vanished.

Over the day the goats vanished into the hills. The acorns were falling and my Nubians love acorns.

Late afternoon arrived. I went out and started doing afternoon chores like gathering eggs and putting the bucks into their pens.

my does raced off then my goats vanished

Nubian does High Reaches Drucilla’s Rose and High Reaches Pixie’s Agate are racing by good grazing in their quest to get up the hill to eat acorns.

The herd was not in sight, but I wasn’t concerned. They had taken to waiting in the pastures for me to come out and call them. (My goats are not spoiled.)

After putting hay out, I opened the gate and walked out across the bridge and toward the south pasture. The walk is pleasant even though time is short. Dinner preparation takes time.

The goats weren’t in the hill pasture. The goats weren’t in the south pasture. I walked to the north pasture. No goats there either. My goats vanished and failed to reappear.

herd in pasture isn't where my goats vanished

Purposely striding across the south pasture my Nubian goats are still headed for the hills and acorns.

Sunset was streaking the sky. I raced back to the south pasture to check the ravine and the hills.

Getting a flashlight I clambered up the hills in the dark. This was not a smart thing to do as this hill was covered with loose gravel at a fifty degree or more slope.

There was nothing more I could do in the dark. I left the gate open and went to the house. My goats vanished. Maybe I could find them in the morning.

my goats vanished into the woods

Notice how the browns and blacks of my goats blend into the hillside. I’ve been twenty feet away from the herd and now seen them. Usually one moves or the leaves rustle. When my goats vanish, they are truly not there.

Before going to bed, I walked over to the barn one last time. I had left the lights on and needed to turn them off for the night.

The brats were laying around chewing their cuds. I closed the gate. I considered milking, but it was already eleven.

The next morning I considered keeping the goats in the small pasture for the day. The brats begged and I relented. The goats vanished again.

This time I saw them reappear and know where to hunt them up next time my goats vanish.

Spotted Nubian Bottle Baby Agate

My book Capri Capers about Harriet and her bottle baby goats Capri and Agate came out long before this year of the spotted kids. So many people like spotted goats, I imagined Harriet would too. So two of her goats had spots and that meant spotted kids.

Yet Capri is not spotted. She is patterned after High Reaches Topaz, a deep red doe, and High Reaches Juliette, my house brat of a kid. I have always liked red Nubians.

Capri Capers cover

Capri needed a friend. So Agate entered the picture. Mossy agate stones can be black with white spots giving her a name.

Raising goats is full of complications. One that came up this year was Spring. She had her kids early one morning with no problems.

I found Spring with a kid when I came out to milk. I moved the pair into the pen I’d set up the night before. Then I milked.

bottle baby Agate as a kid

As a baby kid, some of Agate’s spots were white, but most were brown. Most of Agate’s spots are small and all turned white. Even though Agate’s mother rejected her, she formed a close relationship with her sister.

After milking, I went out into the barn and found a second kid in the far corner of the barn. This kid had to belong to Spring even though she was at the other end of the barn from where I found Spring.

Agate was already showing her independence.

I picked this kid up and took her into the kid pen. I set her down by Spring and tried to get her nursing.

Goats can count a little. Mother goats bond with their kids and know how many there are. Spring had decided she had one kid, not two.

Agate became a bottle baby, my bottle baby.

bottle baby Agate checks on me

Usually the herd wanders out the gate and stands around for a time. Not during acorn season. The herd took off for the far end of the pasture then up into the woods, running away from me as though I were chasing them instead of trying to catch up. Once in the woods, the herd looked at me innocently, pretending not to laugh at having dragged me out a quarter of a mile in order to take a few pictures. Agate now stays with the herd but is glad when I am around. she keeps looking back to see if I am still there and calls for me to return, when I do leave.

Bottle kids bond with people. This is nice when bottle time arrives as the kids come over right away. They will answer you out in the pasture.

Bottle kids can be a problem to get out to pasture. They want to follow you, not the herd. Getting them out requires subterfuge.

I wander out with the herd until the bottle baby is busy playing with the other kids. Then I slip silently back to the barn.

Agate would be right behind me.

bottle baby Agate in the woods

Acorns are falling. The adult does are eagerly eating all they can find. Younger goats like Agate browse on leaves.

My Agate does go out with the herd now. She looks back and calls to me, often waiting until the herd is past her before catching up, still calling for me to come and join her.

When the herd comes in, Agate is beside me. She insists on being petted, pushing other goats away from me.

And Agate is still a bottle baby. She is more than old enough to wean. But she wants that time of bonding so I give her a partial bottle. As my milkers dry up for the winter and getting ready to have spring kids, I will have to wean Agate. But that is another couple of months from now.