Tough decision, once again

It is really difficult to decide which babies to keep and which to sell to a new home. I’ve seen each one enter this world, watched them grow and worried over them so it is more than “just selling livestock.”

Summer’s litter this year was relatively easy since I had not yet made the decision that I had to be responsible enough to find Capri a pet home. When someone contacted me in July and wanted to buy kids from me that were siblings to the ones their friends bought last year, that decision was pre-destined providing I felt comfortable with the potential buyers. Even though the oldest doeling looked like she might be a great milker, I let her go since I had last year’s doe from her mom; I hope I made a good decision there. The buyers were eager to take all three girls and had already been highly recommended to me; it’s easier, or rather less difficult, to let them go if you are assured their new owners will love them.

This time, the decision was far more difficult, perhaps partly because these were the last babies of the year and the only ones left. However, I really, really wanted to keep Tiny Baby (Flurry) because I felt so very close to her and feel like I saved her life by supplementing her and certainly helped her thrive. She was such a tiny little thing, fitting in the palm of my hand, a little ball of soft white fluff. She is also the friendliest little thing on the planet and cute as she can be. No one ever told her she was little so she doesn’t know it and owns the world. Worse, if you sit down on the chair in the pen, she will be in your lap before you are fully settled on the seat, seriously! How can you not want to keep a little girl like that?!!

Hard facts had to be faced. Capri, partly because of her small teats and my less-than-perfect milking skills, has not produced as much milk as her first daughter, Summer, who is a dream to milk. Capri has kidded three times here with ten babies and only half surviving – a single the first year, one of quads the second year and three of quints the third. Though the problems could likely be overcome, I had to look at reality and question whether she should be bred again especially since she turned five in August and likely should not be bred more than twice more, remembering my goal is milk. She needs a pet home and will live to be a ripe old age since she has always been very healthy.

I had serious concerns about finding a mature animal a pet home since everyone loves to have the kid phase and “grow up” with them – most important, I wanted to be certain she would be loved and babied. If I sold her, it would need to be with at least one of her kids – I just could not send her, a very gentle girl, out alone to a strange herd. Next, if I sell mom, is the decision of which kid to keep – Tiny Baby is the one I want to keep. However, I also want another doe out of this wonderful mom who produced such a fabulous milker as Summer and cannot know if this little sweetie will ever be large enough to safely kid. Because of my limit, three must go to new homes which leaves me with three adults and one baby regardless of which three I sell.

Were it not for that limit because I live in town, I would keep Capri the rest of her life because I love her so much – it is easy to get very close to a doe who you milk every day and watch her babies born, and I am a pushover. She introduced me to the world of goat motherhood and showed me what incredible mothers these sweet girls can be. That does even consider how extremely delicious her milk is! When the buyers first visited, they fell in love with Tiny Baby (Flurry) and really wanted her. I told them I probably would not sell her since I wanted to keep her and my youngest granddaughter loved her so much. They wanted three so that left them with mom and the two younger, and bigger, doelings. They set a date to come back with their daughters to get the girls which gave me time to think more about this. Before the pickup date, I told them they could have any three for the price we discussed. I knew they would take Tiny Baby for certain. Whoever they picked, I would have either Capri or one of her girls left.

When they arrived, they had decided on Capri and Tiny Baby and, while here, picked the middle child. I was glad they picked her because my goat person told me the youngest one looked like she would be a good dairy goat but either of the youngest would be, but that would be her pick. Interestingly, of all the goats I have had, that and the oldest from this year’s first litter are the only ones she has liked in regard to being dairy goats. I found that a bit puzzling knowing what an outstanding milker Summer is, but I know nothing about dairy conformation – I just love my little girls.

So, my buyers, a wonderful couple with two daughters, took home with them a wonderfully sweet doe with gold eyes, her oldest (and littlest) child who will win the heart of every person who sees her, and the middle child who will make a great doe to breed if their daughter wants to use her in 4-H or if they just want kids and/or milk. Though I know I will miss Capri for a long time, I know she will have a good life on a small farm with her two daughters and a great family to love them all. That is the best a goat momma can hope for when she parts with her babies.

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Postscript: It is January, they have been gone for over two months and I still miss them, especially Capri. I had milked Capri the morning before she left and had her milk tested. While I knew it was high in butterfat, the results were a surprise. It tested at 10.8 percent butterfat at Day 172 of her lactation – that is extremely good for any dairy animal. I will delighted if her daughter I kept from this litter does that well and am glad I didn’t test it before she left as it would have made the decision to let her go even more difficult.

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