It’s now been just over two weeks since we brought the goats to the farm. Lotus and Minnie have settled into their new home, and we’ve all quickly adjusted to our new routines.
So far it’s mostly gone smoothly, with the exception of 24 hours where Minnie really wasn’t feeling well. We knew something was amiss when Minnie refused to eat.
Minnie had developed a bit of an upset stomach soon after she arrived. Suspecting she’d slightly overindulged, we withheld milk in favor of electrolytes for 12 hours, gave her some probiotics, a little extra TLC, and before we knew it, Minnie had her bounce back. Now she’s even bouncier than ever!
There’s no question though, the goats have completely taken over, and we’re all having a ridiculous amount of fun. They’re definitely the star attraction around here at the moment! The comments we hear the most when people meet them are “they’re soooo tiny, I had no idea they’d be that small”, or “I can’t believe how colorful they are”.
What visitors don’t get to experience so much is that multiple times a day, mostly at meal times, they become a little less cute. They suddenly turn from goats to gremlins, and greet us with a chorus of frantic screams. I should qualify that Minnie is the one that turns into the gremlin. Lotus, the self assured one, is generally nonplussed.
Minnie is the more demanding one, and usually quite worried about where her next meal is coming from. As such, the sight of me, or the bottle, or both, sends her into a complete tizzy.
Lotus occasionally chimes in, but there’s no question that Minnie is the vocal, and opinionated one.
Perhaps because of Minnie’s small size she’s worried about being overlooked? Not that anyone could overlook the ‘mighty Minnie’. I still haven’t fathomed how so much personality can be packed into such teeny tiny goats!
Regardless, mealtimes get a little frenzied, and yesterday I could hear Minnie’s hysterics inside the barn all the way up at the house! It’s going to be interesting to hear how much louder she’ll get over the coming weeks as she grows!
In fairness though, food is perhaps the most important thing to worry about if you’re a baby goat. For the first few days the girls mostly only consumed milk, and it’s still their favorite thing to eat, but it’s interesting to watch their development day to day as they discover new edibles to nibble on (in addition to the occasional inedible zipper, or camera lens).
They’re slowly branching out though, and discovering that their world is filled with lots of gastronomic delights. Lotus was the first to discover hay, and seems to constantly have a sprig of alfalfa hanging out of her mouth. A few days later Minnie caught on, and now they’re both a pair of chow hounds.
The chef’s special at the moment seems to be our native woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca). Fortunately, these are tough and prolific plants here, so a little goat browsing is unlikely to do the plants much long-term harm, and may even help to keep them in check.
This week the goats were introduced to blackberry vines too. They’re trickier to eat than strawberry leaves, stringy, chewy, and somewhat prickly, it takes a little effort to figure out how best to attack a blackberry vine, but they seem to be getting the hang of it. It just takes a little team effort.
Sometimes it helps to have a friend to hang on to one end while you attack the other…although you have to be careful, occasionally a vine decides to attack back.
Eventually they got the hang of it though, and this vine soon met its demise.
The few rogue sprigs of growth that are left in the goat yard after the pen was constructed stand little chance of growing into much. Lotus seems to enjoy this snowberry, even though it tickles her nose…
…while Minnie stalks anything grass-like.
We’ve been exploring around the farm most days, getting the goats used to walking on a leash. Sometimes they go in opposite directions, and other times they simply try to out-run us. Overall though, they’re doing quite well on leash considering they’re only a few weeks old.
Of course, it’s important to stop occasionally to sample the local flora.
Leash walking isn’t their only exercise though. Jumping, bouncing, running, and shoving your barn-mate are all essential for keeping in shape, and occupy large parts of their day in the goat yard, when it’s not raining. Typically there’s one in pursuit of the other, trying to out jump, out run, or outsmart the other.
Although it’s important to occasionally stop to satisfy an itch with a good scratch.
It’s difficult to capture their overall bounciness in photographs though, but the following video should help to convey just how much fun it is to be a baby goat, and should help to put a spring in your step just in time for the weekend.
Did you see around the 45 second mark where mischievous Minnie manages to harness the power of gravity to make Lotus completely disappear from the top of the bench? Poof! There one minute, vanished the next. I think Minnie pushed her, don’t you?
As you may have noticed, baby goats are so bouncy it’s quite difficult keeping them in frame, and in focus!
There’s no question that Lotus and Minnie are both growing. They’re certainly getting a lot heavier, although I probably don’t appreciate just how much bigger they look as I see them almost all day, every day. As Minnie likes to stand underneath the stanchion though, I’m going to use this as a height chart of sorts, and see just how long it takes for her to get too tall to fit under there.
Even though they’re dwarf goats, we know they won’t stay this small for long!
We’ll post more about these two very soon, in the meantime, Lotus and Minnie hope you have a very bouncy weekend!