One definition of a good mother goat, I suppose, is one who takes good care of her kids. Most does would qualify under that definition. Matilda is special.
I keep new kids like Matilda’s inside a special pen for up to a week. By this time the kids are up and playing, ready to be in the barn with the herd.
The second week kids and mothers stay in the barn lot putting up with Gaius and Augustus all day. The bucks mostly ignore the kids as they don’t like being the mountain in king of the mountain play.
When the grass is tall and seeding like now, I let the mothers out the third week but keep the kids in. Lydia and Matilda who have the youngest kids are not happy with this arrangement even though I try to take the kids out in the afternoon.
Kids get tired, lay down and go to sleep. The herd moves on. The grass hides them. Finding them is arduous work.
Lydia and Matilda’s kids are tall and lively. They want out so badly. I relented.
Lydia is a first time mother. She is a good mother goat. Her little buck kid is her pride and joy.
Matilda is an older goat. She knows about kids and is very watchful over hers.
Lydia and Matilda were overjoyed. The kids were ecstatic. The three were with the herd that evening.
So the kids went out again in the morning. This time Matilda’s kids were missing that night. Sometime in the two hours since I had checked on them, they had disappeared.
Some kids will answer me when I call. These might. They would definitely answer Matilda. I put a lead rope on Matilda and we went out.
Some mother goats I must drag away from the barn and herd. Matilda was eager to go. She wanted her kids.
An hour and two pastures plus a creek later, I let Matilda go in. The sun was setting. I went back out checking the creek banks, zigzagging across the pastures, calling.
Flashlights don’t work for kid hunting. Rain was due that night. Darkness was closing in.
An answer! There, at the edge of the woods on the hill beside the hill pasture, two pairs of white ears shone in the darkness.
I was some monster so the kids ran. My voice was familiar so they followed distantly as I went in for Matilda. Then the kids came in.
Of course none of us learned anything from this. The kids went out again the next day. Now all three were missing.
The search area was much smaller so I didn’t bother to get Matilda, just walked out the gate. Good mother goat she is, Matilda was right behind me. We were going searching for her kids.
We backtracked from where the goats were when I went out to open the gate to where they were when I was last out checking on the kids. Matilda called.
A squeak answered. One of the sleepy heads had answered. The three were tucked into the base of a black walnut tree.
The next morning the herd went out. The kids stayed in. I’m glad because this morning the herd went across the creek and down toward the big south pasture and ravine.