To keep or not to keep… that is the question!

I’ve recently been replying to inquiries on various subjects…  kidding, worming, etc., and many of the folks I communicate with are dealing with goats that are totally not people friendly.  Not just shy goats but goats that you have to lasso to catch & tie down to administer meds or simply for routine hoof trimming.

When I started my little farm I didn’t have a clue what was out there & what was available to me.  I was so eager to start my “menagerie” that I just bought (or accepted), what I could quickly find.  My first goats were 3 little Pygmys that were so skittish & afraid of humans that we chased them for about 30 minutes before we caught them.  They were about 8 weeks old and with daily attention they became very friendly.  Not long after a neighbor traded 8 nannys with me & only one allowed me to touch her & that was because she was so sick she couldn’t run away.  I spent a lot of time, money & heartache on that goat who once healed, never let me near her!

Then I bought an expensive herd of registered Myotonic goats, 3 does & a buck.  The seller refused to let them go until they were 6 months old.  They arrived here wild & left a year later just as wild.  These goats are over 100 lbs of solid muscle.  Just trying to trim their hooves took so much energy out of you that it was a chore I would always put off!

At some point I guess I got smart and started to think of my herd in a more reasonable way & not with my heart and my emotions.  Over time I sold all the animals that I had that were not people friendly.  Some I sold for half of what I paid & others I simply gave away & cut my losses.

I love all animals but I’m not stupid nor do I have an unlimited supply of money!  Perfect example is with the Pot Belly Pigs I used to have.  Only one of the 3 allowed me to barely touch her.  The food bill alone for those 3 was about $18 per month.  Not to mention the time I’d spend cleaning their huts & making sure they were safe from predators.  Their little pasture was in an area that I really had no view to.  Only my neighbors actually saw them on a regular basis.  I’d see them daily when I’d bring feed to the trough.  I kept those pigs for about 2 1/2 years.  Do the math…  I cut my losses & gave them to a fellow who really wanted them, tame or not.  He just likes pigs.

During the course of the last few years, I bought several animals that I thought I could tame over time but after a few months if I didn’t see progress, I’d find homes for them.  I had a beautiful miniature mare that I couldn’t keep because she would kick at anything around her.  She just didn’t care for people or other horses.

In 2010 I thinned my herd because I couldn’t justify the expense vs the pleasure received from them.  I also found homes for animals simply because they deserved more time than I could offer them.  Life happens.  Things change.  You acquire an animal & a while later something happens where you no longer have the necessary time to spend with them & it’s just not fair to them.  Like my miniature donkeys.  I loved those two but even though they had food, shelter & care they needed more than an occasional scratch & that’s why I parted with them.  They are now with a wonderful couple who will give them all the attention they deserve.  This was a win/win situation & I try to make it like that for all the animals that I part with.

Although I have a “big” heart & love animals, I really don’t get it when people tell me, for instance, that they have a goat that they cannot get anywhere near but they persist on keeping them & fighting them simply to administer basic care.  Maybe I was there once – did I get wiser or did my heart harden?  That is the question!

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8 Responses to To keep or not to keep… that is the question!
  1. Melinda
    January 6, 2012 | 8:01 pm

    Hi I have a pregnant goat she is some kind of mix and stands about 2 ft tall. Tue she was walking real slow wed she bedded down and is still bedded down. She has no milk no real sign of labor she tries to get up but can’t. She is still eating n drinking she does have green gunk coming from her eyes. I called the vets but where we live there is no one really familure with live stock. They say she has toxemia and is pretty much done for. I’ve been searching on the net we gave her raisins grains Gatorade baking soda cranberry juice. It said it will help if it’s toxemia. Any suggestion will be helpful thanks.

    • Christine
      January 6, 2012 | 8:29 pm

      Melinda, it’s hard to diagnose… make sure she has plenty of water to drink & fresh/good hay. I’m not sure about the rest of the stuff you are giving to her. Please go to my FaceBook page & describe your situation.. you will get many answers there. Sorry that I can’t be more helpful!

  2. Nicole
    January 26, 2011 | 3:51 am

    This question isn’t on topic and may seem strange but I’m not really sure who else to ask. My sisters and mother swear that they saw a goat standing on a horse (who was also standing) and that the animals’ owner said this was a favorite behavior of the goat. Have you ever heard of this phenomenon? Thanks.

    • Christine
      January 26, 2011 | 8:18 am

      Hi Nicole,

      Yes, absolutely! Goats do it all the time! See it here… & if the horse was raised with them, he’ll tolerate it fine. My goats didn’t have a horse to do this but they had a pig… watch it here. Goats will climb on anything!

      • Nicole
        January 26, 2011 | 4:05 pm

        I love it! I really thought my family was exaggerating or joking with me. You little goats are adorable. Thanks for the videos and info!

  3. Jessica (MTJ)
    January 24, 2011 | 9:29 am

    Hey Christine!

    We know how you feel! We just sold quite a few that we could not handle. Cut our herd in half thats for sure! We now have more time to spend with others. In the spring after babies are born we plan on selling 6 more does that aren’t friendly. I like my goats coming up to me wanting scratches and loves! Not running away from me in terror. 😛

  4. Mike Henry
    January 22, 2011 | 9:54 pm

    I hear you loud and clear. I have 5 acres and many different animals so they can be enjoyed. On a regular basis we have tons of kids come visit at the Red Fence Farm. Our animal must be people friendly. We will not keep an unfriendly animal. I guess I shouldn’t say that I have kept unfriendly goats and roosters in the freezer until I could get around to eating ’em.

    • Christine
      January 23, 2011 | 7:20 am

      I’m glad you’re on my side!