Monday, August 27, 2012

Not Suitable for Children

No one adequately prepared me for what it would mean to "own a male goat."  By male - I mean the uncastrated, fully-hormoned variety.  I'm talking about a billy goat - you know- the kind you've seen in cartoons with exaggerated, wiry goatees (now I see where that derived from...), the bouffant top knot, the spiky mohawk down the ridge of the back. Except, it's not exaggerated.  It's the real deal.

To be fair to those gentle souls in my life who warned me; I was warned.  In fact, on my bedside table still sit the goat books I read for months before acquiring this little crew of four.  In varying degrees of severity each warned that, despite their angelic appearance at birth, intact (uncastrated) male goats would eventually become oily, smelly, hormone-driven forces to be reckoned with.  I understood all this - obviously!  So many experts agreed on this point that it must actually be fact.  We discussed the alternatives to keeping an intact male.  If you want goats then there's two camps into which you might fall: the goats-as-pets keeper or the goats-as-producer keeper.  Meaning: you either want them to have babies, or you could care less.  As we (Ok, me, just me) are determined to produce dairy products off this little parcel, then there was never any doubt that our goats must have babies since, you know, you don't get milk without kids (I only mention this because people so often ask, "You have baby goats??  That's so cute!  So how much milk are you getting out of those babies?"  It doesn't work that way for people - and it don't work that way for goats, neither - or any mammalian creature).  Therefore, we needed to somehow endeavor to make babies spring forth from the female goats.  Short of immaculate conception, which I now truly wish were possible, we would need to somehow have access to the boy kinds of goatlings.  Many goat owners just keep female goats and closely watch their estrus cycles* - an activity that sounded about as exciting to me as watching slugs being salted.  It requires inspecting the goat's vulva*  on a seasonal basis.  Doing things like watching for arousal* (Ready for me to stop yet?  Yes, me too).  After scientifically determining that the goat is in estrus* - should you have no billy at your immediate disposal - you must load your goat in the car and drive her to a billy at which point you must pay cash money to watch the goats breed* (*Note: these words make me uncomfortable).

Now that we've laid the facts bare, perhaps you'll understand why I chose to just go ahead and have a billy at my disposal.  Not only do these scientific inspections make me uncomfortable, but I'm lazy.  Let's be honest.  While I'll still have to be a scientist about my goats' cycles to make sure they breed at the appropriate time, it can be slightly more imprecise since my billy will be right there.  As in, on my property.  There's no embarrassment of kicking at rocks on a stranger's property, awkwardly waiting for nature to take its course while we make small talk, then shake hands and sign papers to prove that yes, in fact, the deed was done.

So here's the deal.  Despite all of the literature I read and warnings I received about the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-like transformation that would occur with my buckling and despite how difficult a buck can be when he is in rut (I believe "turned on" is the laymen's term) - despite all of these things - I bought Boss.  Because, and I can assure you without a shadow of doubt, when I met little baby Boss it was abundantly clear that he would not under any circumstance become odorous.  Magically, my little Boss would not sprout wiry goatee hairs, nor would he shoot pee all about his face and onto the back of his legs.  This precious little dude, denying all of the genetic inclinations coded into his DNA, would never accidentally spray pee onto me, rub against me amourously, stick his tongue out sideways and emit the most profane sounds that did ever come out of vocal chords.  He would never do that.

Except he just started doing it.

Lord help me.  Boss has turned from buckling into buck and is fast approaching full billy goat status.  He is more enthralled with his own special purpose than with food and water.  He now follows a strict personal hygiene regiment that begins with washing his face in his own urine and ends with - well - it's worse than that.  I invite you to google "goat in rut" and let the experts on wikipedia enlighten you in a way that I would just rather not, frankly.  The object of most of his affection has fallen to our poor little Willy Boots, the smallest of the bunch who is also male, but is castrated and is therefore spared from the torment of his own hormones.  Aside from having to withstand Boss's frequent and aggressive advances, Willy lives a rather carefree life jumping, spinning, and spitting out indigestible mesquite beans.

The lovely couple

For now, at least, Boss has no interest in other goats of the female variety.  But lately Willy has learned how to escape Boss's advances and so, sadly, his attention has turned to me, the only woman in his life who will come near him.  I now must make time for, not one, but two showers each day.  I must be careful not to touch him beyond a friendly pat on the neck lest I encourage his, er, attention.  Need I go on?  No, it's best I don't.  In fact, if you've even gotten this far without making a completely disgusted face (stop and check your expression right now), then I applaud your friendship and understanding.  Or, more likely, you own a billy too.  And you're probably one of the people who warned me.  Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever it is that you said or say in the future - I promise - I'll listen next time.     

Fool me once.


Kimberly said...

I didn't listen either...

Aunt Lisa said...

My face did get contorted; sad state of events. I may have to rethink coming out to sit on your porch very often (oh, did I tell you I'd planned on doing that?:-))

WeldrBrat said...

Wow. Ya' know... if it ever DOES become bad enough... there IS one other hole you can dig for yourself... and set up with hot coals... and... well, that end result can be pretty tasty. Just sayin'. lol Be careful!!