Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life Without Bella

Brett and I have both noticed a change in the goat pen since Bella left.  It's peaceful in there now, quiet, calm and happy.  I don't mean to imply that it was chaos before or sad but Bella was a force to be reckoned with.  She was definitely the queen of the herd and when she was in the pen, she was bossing the other goats around.  They didn't mind this, someone has to be the leader, but it is upsetting when your leader keeps leaving all the time.  Every time Bella jumped out, which was multiple times a day, the rest of the herd would call to her and run the fence line and worry.  Now, we only hear them at feeding time.

We give the goats a flake of hay in the morning and another one in the evening.  During the winter, when the grass is growing, they get less but right now all they have to munch on is brown grass and the sticks remaining from the shrubs. 


Cowboy, one of the African Pygmies, used to be very shy and skittish.  He has become very friendly since Bella's departure.  This morning he surprised me by jumping up on my legs for attention.  If I sit, he will climb in my lap and he is forever asking to be brushed and scratched.  Maybe he was afraid of Bella.  He is definitely a different goat with her gone.


Thistle, on the other hand, has become more independent.  He used to require reassurance and kisses on his nose before he would go to the hay feeder and eat.  Now, he hardly gives me the time of day. 


Little Bear, who is Bella's twin, seems to be doing just fine.  I can't tell that he misses his sister at all.  Bear has always been a pushy sort of a goat who requires you to lay down the boundaries firmly.  Otherwise, he'll eat the clothes off your back, your hat, your hair and your elbows (yes, elbows).  He hasn't changed at all -- other than no longer crying for Bella during the day when she was out roaming the neighborhood.



Whiskey has become more independent too.  He was a bottle fed kid, having lost his mother shortly after birth.  Whiskey has always been very quiet and polite.  When I sit on the goat porch or a boulder, he patiently stands next to me waiting to be noticed.  If that is taking too long, he will softly paw at me with his hoof.  He is still friendly, but he is braver now.  I've seen him start butting games with the others and he holds his own.


While the goats were all busy eating their breakfast, I picked a couple twigs off of the cottonwood trees.


I was immediately very popular. 




9 comments:

  1. i guess herd dynamics shift just like pack dynamics do. when my marigold died last fall (14 y.o. yellow lab) i noticed bb came out of her shell and became more my sidekick. marigold was always the diva - demanding my time, attention, treats, whatever. i guess the others stayed back in her shadow.

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  2. I love your goaties! Yes, things are lookin'very peaceful out at Aspen Meadows.

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  3. I didn't know you had so many goats. I love them, they are so much fun. I'm glad that Bella's absence has made for a calmer herd.

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  4. I think it has to do with the fact that Bella was the only female, and likely still in possession of her reproductive parts....what you have is a herd of wethers, and no sexual hormone's, :)
    Tara

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  5. Well, you know I loved this post : )
    I have a tree/bush growing in a place I don't want it, so I have been cutting branches off each day and feeding them to the goats. This is not good, should they ever escape they will eat all the trees. They do love them though don't they?

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  6. Herd dynamics are very interesting. I did not know that goats were so affectionate!

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  7. It is interesting to watch the herd dynamics and how each goat has "changed".

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.