The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Goat temper

Goat eating oats

Goat mineralsOh the yelling and the moaning! Taking Artemesia away to be bred seemed to flick a switch in our seven-month-old doeling. Previously quiet, little Aurora abruptly found not only her voice but also her temper, head butting her mother mercilessly when I took the two out to graze.

At first, I assumed the change in behavior was due to the buck scent, which hung on Artemesia's fur for several days after the event. But then, Saturday, I noticed Mama Goat's udder looked very different. I'd thought she was easing Aurora off the milk bar over the last couple of months, but her teats had remained full and taut with liquid. Now, though, they're beginning to shrivel up and one half of her udder is apparently quite dry.

Goat drying off

My new hypothesis is both simpler and more complex. I suspect that being impregnated changed Artemesia's hormone balance and she abruptly realized she needed to stop feeding Aurora and save all of her energy for the new buns in her oven. Cutting off the ever-flowing milk was a hard pill for little Aurora to swallow, so she acted out like many of us do when we don't get our way. With weaning nearly complete, though, our doeling's sunny disposition is returning.

If I'm right, the other half of Artemesia's udder should go dry in short order and we shouldn't see any sign of heat during the first full week of December. Fingers crossed the goat drama of the winter is behind us and I can now return to my favorite part of caprine management --- spoiling our girls.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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