We’ve really enjoyed having our dairy goat Leila. She’s a sweet animal and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to milk. I’m not fond of getting up early to milk but once I’m up, I really enjoy the morning with the animals (the furry ones, not the kids even though I enjoy being with them too). We’ve been struggling with Lelia being sick, a cough, since we got her and if you follow her milking records she’s gone from a liter a day to maybe .3 liters a day. We’ve tried some natural herbs that are supposed to encourage milk production and tried feeding her more. All to no avail. With Amber not feeling too well lately, we decided to let her dry up. I’m a little bugged that we spent that time and money to have a milk goat that isn’t giving us any milk but we think in the long term it will be for the best. Not milking Leila will let her body focus and being healthy and getting ready to make a cute new baby goat. We’ll start milking again when the new baby shows up in May.
This is the story of picking up Leila from the fair on 9/13/2012. We had arranged with Bruce from Rusty Gates Ranch to pick up Leila from the fair at 9pm. I was not super excited to drive down to Salt Lake that late but I guess you have to follow their rules. I realized as I was getting off the freeway in Salt Lake that we didn’t have Bruce’s phone number so we could meet up and I didn’t even have his name. Amber had arranged to meet him on the thirteenth and had forgotten to get his information. So I tried to use Dex on my phone to look up his information. That was hard and obviously wouldn’t work because we didn’t have his name. We did remember the name of another lady that kknew Bruce and tried to find her number. I found a number with the same name but it wasn’t her but I ended up having a lovely conversation with that lady about goats. I decided that I would just try to meet Bruce in the goat barn, I kind of remembered what he looked like but I for sure remembered what Leila looked like.
I’m now at the front gate, telling one of the gate workers that I bought a goat and need to pick her up. I really didn’t want to pay for another fair ticket and I wasn’t sure what the process was for removing an animal from the fair. The gate worker was super nice but didn’t have any answers for me. He called his boss over and he didn’t know either. So the boss called his boss to find out where I was supposed to go and to do. The whole time I have a Bluetooth headset in my ear with Amber on the call. She’s making lovely comments to “help” figure things out. The gate workers finally decide that if I want to drive my truck “closer”, I’d have to go further down the road and take the goat over to the area next to the stadium. If I wanted to, I could walk Leila through the fair and just leave my truck where it was. It seemed pretty silly because to get my truck “closer” would actually require more walking from the goat barn to the truck than just leaving it, so I opted for leaving it. They let pass me through without having to buy another ticket, sweet. Ten bucks saved!
I finally make it to the goat barn and see our cute little Leila in a pen and was relieved that she was still there. I didn’t see Bruce anywhere around but I do see our friend Nita a little way away. I ask her if she’s seen Leila’s owner (remember that we still don’t remember his name) and she asks where their pens were. I point over to where Lelia was and she gets a weird look on her face. She tells me that the Petersons’ son had a bad accident early that day and they had left. Amber, who is still talking in my ear via Bluetooth, starts to freak out that she’s not going to be able to get her new baby. Nita has phone numbers for all the goat people at the fair so she gives me their number so I can figure out how we were going to get our goat. I try to call the Petersons but just get their voicemail so I leave a message saying sorry about their son and requested that they call me when they get a moment so that we can talk about Leila. Right when I hangup, another lady that was helping Nita says “Leila, I don’t think Leila was Petersons’ goat”. Long story a little less long, Nita had had a long day and didn’t really see where I was pointing and just assumed the worst and that Petersons were the ones I was supposed to meet. She felt bad. She tells me that Bruce was Leila’s owner and that he was around here somewhere. Probably just went to get something to eat. So I have to call the Petersons again and explain the misunderstanding, again via voicemail.
I decided to hang out by Leila’s pen to wait for Bruce. As I was giving Leila a scratch behind the ear and talking to Amber via Bluetooth, a lady came up to me and started drilling me on goat trivia. “Why did these ones not have ears”, “Why do those ones have really long ears”, “Why have so many different breeds?”, “Do you really milk goats?”, and on and on. I’m not sure why she thought that I would have answers for her. Two years ago I wouldn’t have. I must have gained some kind of goat aura in the last little bit. Her hubby was either in a hurry or embarrassed by her questions because he kept trying cut his wife off.
Bruce finally showed up with some dinner in hand. We exchanged money, Leila’s registration papers and contact information. We were all set and he said “Ok, just put your collar on her and you’re ready to go.” And I think “Collar, what collar?! No one said anything about bringing a collar!” When we saw Leila last week, she had a very nice collar on her but she didn’t have one now. I start to look around for something that I can use when I see a red scrunchy on the ground that some little girl probably dropped as she was looking at the goats. A little embarrassed, I grabbed the scrunchy and slipped it around Leila’s neck. I’m about to start out when Bruce says that he wants a moment with Leila. He tells her that he loves her, that he hopes she’s happy and to treat us right. It was very sweet. I hope to be that attached to our animals.
I then begin my trek through the fair with my 100 plus pound goat through the fair. I don’t think I’ve ever been so popular as I walked through the fair with Leila and her scrunchy. Everybody that I walked by was in awe that there was a goat at the fair and I’m sure that they were also impressed with the skill and awesomeness that I exhibited as I walked Leila. I heard so many whispers, “That’s a goat!!”, “Wow, look at that!”. I didn’t want to go anywhere without a goat in the future. It was pretty cool.
Unfortunately the walk came to an end and I had to get our Leila into the back of the truck. I hadn’t thought this far in advance but Leila was really heavy and long and I wasn’t sure how to get her in the back of the truck. I tried to give her a heave and it didn’t end so well. Luckily there was a good samaritan close by that saw my first attempt at goat lifting and offered to help. I let him take the head while I had to confront her nether regions. Up she went and right into the cage we borrowed from a neighbor (thanks Chad). She was not too pleased to be in there and she was less pleased as I drove down the road. She quieted down as I hit the freeway, or I just couldn’t hear her due to the freeway noise.
I got home about 11pm and let Leila check out her new home. She seemed pretty pleased with the place and Amber was super excited to have her new baby in the back.
As you can read on our Lamancha page, we got a very nice buck from a way nicer lady in our last neighborhood (thanks Nita). So now that we had a boy, apparently we needed a girl goat (doe) to let the birds and bees to do their thing. She recommended that we go to the state fair to find a good match for our little Puck. She promised that she’d be there to help figure out what the heck we were doing, because we didn’t have a clue. We set the morning of September 8th to be our meeting time. Come September 8th, we’re walking through the goat barn at the state fair and more than just a little overwhelmed with all the goats there. We were very glad to see Nita, we really needed her guidance.
Unfortunately for us and Nita, I guess there were some issues with helping someone judge the goats so she was asked to help. This meant that she was pretty much at the beckon call of the goat judge until the judge had a bathroom break. The judge must be part camel, because we didn’t see her take a break the whole time we were there. We were on our own to look at the goats. She did have the time to point out the three goat breeders that she’d go through if she were in the market for another goat.
We talked to the three recommended breeders and each had one goat that fit our criteria:
- Had to be currently milking
- Not the first year milking (we wanted an experienced milker while we were figuring out what we were doing)
- Price range of $300 to $500
We tried to talk to Nita again hoping that she could just look at the three and tell us the one to pick, but alas, it was not meant to be. She was just too busy being a gopher. She suggested that we wait for the goats that we picked out to be judged by the goat judge. If the goat judge likes one of the ones we pick then we could feel pretty comfortable with our choice. Well, that sounded like a good idea to us.
What we didn’t realize was that each goat was in a different group and we had to see five rounds of judging to see that all were judged. Watching a lady judge a bunch of Lamancha goats was a pretty novel experience. The judging arena was right in the middle of the goat barn. All the ol’timers and regular goat breeders had brought their own camp chairs, coolers, etc. and were camped out on one side of the judging arena. Those of us that did not realize how long these judging events last were relegated to the hard metal bleachers. The judge would have goats be brought into the arena led around by some 4H student. They’d make a couple rounds walking around the arena in a line and the judge would order the goats in order of their “advantage”. This is the part that I really felt quite uncomfortable and almost embarrassed for those poor goats. The judge started talking about the animal’s teat size, teat placement, mammary capacity and all sorts of other physical criteria. Made me think of the Miss USA contests, don’t know if I can ever look at those pageants the same ever again (mammary capacity and all).
The first goat we liked did the best in it’s group and got second over all. It was a beautiful animal but it was just black, not very exciting for my little wife. The next one we liked got second in her grouping and did not place super high overall. The third got dead last. We quickly eliminated the third one. I told Amber that maybe we should choose the black. Aliyah loved that one. She was super excited that we were considering her. Amber said that she liked that one but she absolutely loved the coloring of the second goat, white with orange spots. I knew that all hope was lost for me to give her the stats about the other black goat. Once my sweet wife likes a color (whether it’s a house, shirt or a goat), there’s no use in talking her out of it. So we picked Leila from Rusty Gates Ranch because she had cute spots. Poor Aliyah shed a few tears and was a little upset about not picking the goat she liked. A lot of the tears were due to her being tired and hungry We were told to come back and get her on September 13th at 9pm. I guess the fair has rules against all of their animals disappearing before the fair is over.
Stay tuned for the adventure of picking Leila up from the fair. 🙂
So we got our Leila goat from the fair. She unfortunately came home with a bit of a cough and a runny nose. After a couple of days, Amber went to the vet and got some antibiotics for Leila. The vet thought it was an upper resipiratory infection. So for four days Amber has been giving poor sick Leila shots. This means of course that we can’t drink the milk that we have to get up so early for to milk, ugh! I went out to milk this morning and was saying hello to Puck and the Pygmy Twins, sounds like a rock band but they’re just our other goats. If I hear of a rock group with that name, I’m suing. As I was greeting our little rocker goats, I noticed that they all had a cough and running noses too. I think we just learned our first lesson in biosecurity. Now we have to buy more medicine ($35 an animal) and be goat doctors for three more goats. In the future we’re going to have to be better about quarantining our little babies as they come into the flock or after they have visited somewhere new.