I spent a great deal of time trying to determine who I should write about when I picked these GotW stories back up. Due to the severity of the CV-19 situation in the world, I wanted to pick a goat that had a great story to tell, one that was full of humour. No goat comes to mind faster when I think of humour than our beloved SRM B'Elanna. Named after a Klingon from Star Trek, and the only goat to have ever left my farm as a bottle baby, B'Elanna has an interesting story to share, that I think most of you will really enjoy. "Beefcake", "Beef", or sometimes even just "B", for those who have visited the farm and taken in a goat walk, you are sure to have had the company of our dear Beef, who much prefers the company of humans over the smelly goats that I force her to live with. She may have even tried to go home with you when you left, especially if she smelled "city" on you. In order to explain who B'Elanna really is, I need to back up several years to the day that she was born and the events that helped to shape her unique and interesting life.
Prior to kidding season in 2014, I was contacted by someone who was looking to purchase a couple of bottle babies to raise in their home, for their own reason and purposes. I had not pulled any kids up to this point during my time raising goats, so did not feel I could help them, but kept their info just in case. I prefer to let my goats raise their own kids and I will support or assist them as needed. However, in 2014 we had 32 babies born! Wouldn't you know it, a first time mom, gave birth to triplets. This is one of the few situations where I feel justified in pulling a kid from their mom. It takes some of the pressure away by lessening the number of kids for them to raise. So, the decision was made to choose the strongest of the female kids to leave and move to the city. At two days old, right after this picture was taken, B'Elanna left our farm and lived for a couple years as a house goat, in the city. Fate it seems had other plans for this city goat however, and with changing circumstances, I was contacted to bring B'Elanna back to the farm. I knew this would be a challenge for me, as trying to integrate a "new" goat into an existing herd is tricky, as goats love to fight and nothing will stop them from establishing the herd hierarchy. Each new birth or addition to the herd causes a shift and a ripple effect. Outside animals can also bring in outside behaviours or habits, some of which I have worked hard to not have in my herd. B'Elanna was not happy returning to the farm initially, and it was quite an adjustment to say the least for her. I expected her to live in a BARN??? With filthy ANIMALS??? Life for B'Elanna had taken a very sudden shift and there were many challenges ahead for her as she adjusted to farm life.
The first thing that became apparent to me when I met adult Beef, was that this goat did not know she was a goat at all. This was a 4 legged person! Convincing her to live in the barn was very challenging and for the first several months you constantly had to watch behind you. B was a secret ninja that could slip out of any gate behind you without you noticing. She would then silently slink away to do her own thing and you'd eventually find her wandering around, leaving you scratching your head, wondering how she got out. Other times - and I am not exaggerating here, she would sneak into the house hot on your heels, silent and undetected....until she was found rooting through the cupboards, or eating the newspaper. Now don't get me wrong, I admire smart animals and how resourceful they can be, but those first few months with B were super challenging. This goat knew stuff that no goat should know and she used it to her advantage! At that point in time I was yet unaccustomed to having to outthink a ninja goat on a daily basis. Especially one that refused to accept that they were in fact a GOAT - just like the rest of the goats in the barn. Day after day, week after week, B'Elanna refused to socialize with the other goats. She seemed literally disgusted by their filthy habits and could not wait to get as far away from them as possible. So, what a challenge. A herd animal who refuses to be a part of her natural herd, but wants to change species and be a full time human? Umm...no. I can make a lot of concessions and bend the rules and even bring goats and baby cows into my house, but even I need to have some limits and discipline, so after a certain age they all have to live full time in the barn. Otherwise I'd have them ALL living in my house and I can't do that, there would be no room left for me lol. After about six months of fighting with B to accept her place in the herd, I decided to breed her. My plan was to allow her to have kids - that were goats - that she could focus on and hopefully through raising them, she would learn to be a goat too..... Well, it seemed like a well thought out plan at the time!!
In 2017 B'Elanna gave birth to twins, and the decision was made to keep them both so that she would no longer have to be by herself, but would always have the company of her kids. My hope was that as she became a mother, she would bond with the other goat moms and make some friends. NOPE. Not this goat. In 2018 I decided to breed her again thinking that surely this would help. She gave birth to triplets! All three are still in my herd... You see where this is going.... Last year in 2019, B'Elanna gave birth to quadruplets! She chose to reject one of those babies at 4 days old and VOILA! That is how I ended up with Yara as my bottle kid. Beefcake is the biological mom of Yara, and the grand daughter of my first therapy goat Maisie. Out of all of the genetic lines in my herd, for whatever reason, this gene pool is really easy to housetrain! Lucky me I guess :) As for B'Elanna's kids, out of the nine babies that she has given birth to since rejoining my herd, we have eight of them here. With the exception of Yara, who tends to sleep in the middle of the biggest pile of goats, the rest of Beef's seven children always sleep with their mom every night. One big pile of Beef kids lol. B'Elanna has an incredible ability to clone herself once each birthing. Her 2017 daughter SRM Earendil, is so much like her mom I actually nicknamed her Beef3 (Beef Squared). Her daughters Rowena (2018) and Yara (2019) are all very much like her in personality. Unlike their mother, her children all know they are goats.... well except for Yara maybe lol.
Beef hasn't changed a bit since returning to the farm. All of my attempts to "normalize" or "rehabilitate" her have failed. Thank goodness they did too, as she wouldn't be her authentic self if my misguided ideals at the time succeeded. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her. She is different from the others, but then so many of us in life are right? The Black Sheep maybe? An outcast, or an outlier of sorts. I myself am a Black Sheep in my family. In that same sense I guess B'Elanna and I are kindred. Two freaks in the world, just chilling and enjoying each others company. I have admired B'Elanna throughout the years since she has returned. She has taken everything in stride. All of the big changes and adjustments, she never let it get her down. She is proud of WHO SHE IS and will not let anyone tell her that she is not a person! She is confident and stands out for all to see how amazing she is. She has a wit and determination like I only wish I had! She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to risk espionage to ensure she gets it. She has no apparent plans to give this habit up either as she managed to sneak right into my kitchen behind me just the other day, while I popped in to set something down quickly while I walked to herd past the house. She is good! I am always grateful to discover her when she sneakily does that. I can only imagine the things she'd get up to, aside from the mess she'd leave for me if left in the house by herself for a time lol. She is also exceptionally quick to try to hide when I am putting the herd back in the barn after being out for a walk. She loves to "disappear" and blend into the background so she can stay out and eat whatever she wants - usually my flower bed. When doing a head count, regular checks to ensure B'Elanna is where she is supposed to be is on that check list. My volunteers learn about this girls ninja abilities pretty quickly. It is easy to see where Yara gets her mischievous ways, when you see Beef in action.
No doubt that B'Elanna has an important place in my therapeutic herd here at SRM. Most people connect with Beef as she is always curious about people, as each new visitor may be a potential new home opportunity or snack. It is a running joke here, as B'Elanna does tend to try to stow away in vehicles that are headed back to the city. When it comes to working with people, and making a connection during a goat walk, B'Elanna leaves an impression on almost everyone she meets. She is comical, chubby and loves to have her butt scratched and will happily continue to wag her tail as long as you continue to scratch. She also is not afraid to pilfer through your belongings, including purses, strollers and diaper bags, as she has learned over the years that these are good places to seek snacks. She may act deaf if you're trying to get her attention, but crinkle a wrapper of any kind and SURPRISE - B'Elanna also possesses the super power of bionic hearing apparently and will be upon you quicker than a blink in the hopes of a tasty treat. Highly food motivated but not starving by any means, she is still content to hang with humans - even if they don't have food to share. For the next few years, I am giving B'Elanna a break from breeding and raising kids and just letting her be a goat. The last year B'Elanna seems to have finally bonded with two other females in the herd and she is sometimes observed with them while browsing, so perhaps she'll become a goat one day yet. Until that day though, I hope she continues marching to her own drum and forging her own path, so she can continue to inspire me to do the same :) <3 Angee