When we decided we wanted to add goats to our farm I did a lot of research (I am a planner) and decided that Nubian would be the best choice for us since we wanted them for milk, but we couldn’t find any less than $200 which my frugal mind just couldn’t comprehend.
We knew friends of ours were Kiko goat breeders. When we started discussing with them that we wanted to get a few goats for milk, we discovered that they had a little doe who was abandoned by her mother and she was blind. They said if we wanted her, we could have her. Kikos are meat goats, but I was wondering if they could be used for milk. There was no information to say yeah or nay on this subject. We went to visit their ranch to see what we could see.
I fell in love with the little goat almost instantly, she was so sweet and I just knew we were going to bring her home anyway. But what else I noticed was the momma goats in their herd. They had huge utters and what seemed to be large teats. (I have yet to milk a goat, so I have no reference on this.)
So we decided we were going to give it a shot. They offered us a stud too when the time came to breed. What more could a goat beginner ask for?
As Dixie (that’s what we named her) grew, I began to realize what a difficult task a blind goat was. When I called her she went in the opposite direction and I was so frustrated, I just wanted to help her and I couldn’t seem to get her to bond with me. All I seemed to get was bruises from her incredibly sharp horns.
Then she got an eye infection. When I took her to the vet, he said she was blind, I knew that. She had cataracts in both eyes and could only see light and dark, I more or less knew that. He also said she had an eye infection, I knew that too. What I didn’t know was that she was also deaf.
It all made sense at that point. Here I was talking away at this goat and was literally wasting my breath, but at least, I knew what was going on… I could work with this information.
From there I moved forward with the senses she had left, smell and touch. I let her smell me every time I went near her and had a lot of physical contact. We got her a collar and a leash and I kept her very near me while doing different tasks around the yard so she could get used to the movement of my body and the bruises began to be fewer and fewer. She learned on her own how to navigate the yard.
She still gets lost occasionally and runs in circles like a crazy goat, usually when there is a stranger in the yard. Maybe their scent throws her off, I don’t know. She is also very loud, she can’t hear herself so she yells everything she says. No gentle baaas from my girl. It reminds me of that line from Steel Magnolias. “I’m not talkin’ to loud, am I?” “No, you’re fine”. Which makes me smile. She also sneezes a lot, no idea why that is , but she is precious and loved.
When it comes time for milking, she and I will be figuring that out together as well, I think we’ll make it, we’ve become quite the team. I’ll let you know!