the secret life of goats

…because raising goats is not always as glamorous as it may seem, here are a few things I’ve learned since bringing my first two home nearly two years ago. It’s literally a farm at our house. Or a zoo. And some days are admittedly easier than others. So why am I sitting here still craving more? I guess you’ll just have to keep reading.

Here are the things you should know:

Goats can be dogs. (i.e. friendly + dependent) They can be cats. (snobby + independent) Or they can just completely, utterly wish you didn’t exist. It’s more fun when they love you, but everyone needs a challenge, right?

Goats are loud. They’re either making noise at each other, making noise at you, or making noise at some vast sense of solitude they’re feeling that’s made them decidedly uncomfortable. Goats are noisy when they want to be….not when you do.

Goats are stinky. Real stinky. Or at least, the boys are. And when the boys are the only ones who seem to like you or want to rub their faces all over you, well…that stink will stick.

And why do they stink? Well, male goats pee on their beards. They also drink straight from their little pencil-shaped appendage. But apparently, the real smell comes from these testosterone glands up on their head. So all this time I was avoiding the beard, when the sweet little head-butts into my knee were the thing causing all the problems.

Goats have attitude. i.e. they are dirty and rude. There ain’t no room for dressing like a chic little Joanna Gaines-style farm lady when you’re in the pasture. Someone will jump on you. They’ll have muddy hooves. And you’ll have to change again before you leave for work. It’s happened, trust me.

Please note, I only got a shot like this by trying VERY HARD. And still not hard enough to get anyone looking at the camera. What can I say? It was hot & I was tired. Point. Proved.

Goats have a lot of give-up. My OG, Chip, passed out when I clipped his hooves the last time. Like, he was laying in my lap and all of a sudden I thought he was dead. Turns out he was just being a big ole baby. And apparently he was actually kind of enjoying it. Spa dayyyy

Unless there’s food involved. Even the fickle ones will come close to you for it. But if they’re smart, they’ll run away as soon as you outstretch your hand for a pet.

This unnatural sight is a natural byproduct of a goat doing anything for food.

All I can taste in goat cheese is goat. No one else seems to get it. Maybe I’m just weird.

Goat yoga is not as entertaining of an idea as I once believed it would be. Again, the dirt. The hooves. Ouch.

When a goat wants to stand really close to you and you’re wearing sandals and they just put all of their body weight on your toes. Again, OUCH.

Goats are aggravating. They’re fickle. Sometimes you can chase them around for an hour and never catch them. At that point, you’ll just have to settle for being mad and walk away. Try again tomorrow.

Milking your goats may sound like a neat hobby, but it’s not for all of us. You’ve got to keep up with it every day. And then you’ve got to preserve it or do something with it fast. For us 9-to-5-ers, it’s anything but ideal. Especially if the mamas don’t like you very much.

Registration is “meh”. In fact, it’s really confusing. A lot of purists will likely tell you it’s a must, but it’s all about what YOU want out of this. Unless you’re really craving some bang for your buck and you’re worried about having papers ready/you plan on selling them, don’t worry about it. I tried to mess with it when I first got mine and it was an unnecessary headache. I’d rather sell to families who just want a goat to love on and care for. Or keep them for myself.

Taking care of goats is tough. When you have the space, it can feel easy. But you have to check them for ticks, trim their nails, watch out for pregnant bellies, and keep the horny males away from the females and babies. There can be a lot of wrangling.

p.s. Disbudding (horn removal) and castrating are ugly processes, but sometimes very necessary. If you’ve got a weak stomach, or you think you might cry because these goats feel like your children and you can’t explain to them that the pain will be over soon and it’s all for the best, then just let someone else handle it. Actually, you should probably always let a licensed veterinarian handle it, but you shouldn’t even watch. Or listen. Just speaking from experience, here.

But still, baby goats are worth ALL the hype.

I cried when he was born. Actually, I cry whenever a baby goat is born.

Goats can change. Slowly but surely, I’m watching some of my goats grow friendlier and more trusting. So I guess, don’t write them off. It might just take 2 1/2 years for them to realize you don’t mean them any harm.

But most importantly…

Goats are cute and funny and adorable and awesome, but they are also animals. Farm animals. And they’re not the kind of animal you can buy on a whim or keep an eye on in your house. I mean, they poop WHILE they walk. (That’s the only thing that’s prevented me from walking my friendliest one on a leash at the park.) They’ll chew on anything until they realize it’s not edible. And please, don’t scare a fainting goat just to make it faint. Because that’s kind of cruel.