I am delighted and excited to write today's Goat of the Week post. This week will feature one of the youngest herd members, and one with a bit of a different story and upbringing. For anyone who has met her, they can all see how much she loves her "mommy", and it is also very apparent that she is loved and spoiled rotten by that "mommy". For anyone who works or volunteers here, she is very much thought of as a spoiled brat who listens to no one. Today's GotW is a goat that I candidly call my "daughter", my bottle baby Yara. She has big attitude, thinks no rules apply to her and instead makes up her own rules as she goes. Oh, and in case you didn't know before, Yara is the CENTER of the universe, and we are all here to serve her. You've all been informed...lol ;-) At only seven months of age, Yara is already beginning the training steps into becoming a full working member of our "house goat" gang that work with me during the winter months as part of my mobile therapeutic practice.
Yara was born as a quadruplet (set of 4 girls!) on June 8th, 2019 to Sky River Meadows B'elanna. At four days of age, B'elanna decided that 4 babies were too much for her to manage and she rejected Yara from her litter. As much as I tried to work with B'elanna, she would have nothing to do with Yara any longer. It was at this point that I made the decision to transition Yara to a bottle and move her into my home. If you think that this sounds like a fun idea - let me STRONGLY caution you! Having a goat living in your house is no joke. Goats are in fact incredibly intelligent and easy to house train. However, they have more energy than you can imagine - almost boundless. Pair that with their desire to climb, insatiable curiosity, and mischievous nature = potential recipe for disaster. Yara was only 4 days old when she first made it onto my kitchen table. Soon she could make it from there onto the counters.... you get the idea. Houses also have a lot of something goats love to eat: PAPER! All the tastiest kinds of paper! Newspaper, receipts, bills, lists, paper towels, etc., and Yara's personal favourite - toilet paper. She would bite holes in the roll so that you would roll out swiss cheese toilet paper, rendering it completely useless. Thanks Yara. Also, if you choose to have a goat live in your house, you had best be prepared to take it with you everywhere. Goats are herd animals and need to be with their herd - even if two legged. In order to raise Yara as balanced as possible, I had her spend 50% of her time during the day with the herd, and the other 50% (which included overnight) indoors with me. This was for her own safety, as without a mom to protect her in the herd she was vulnerable to bullying from herd mates and could become injured, or even killed. Yara often had to go to town with me if her feeding times coincided with something I had to do. As I am ALWAYS busy, Yara went with me pretty much everywhere for the first 4 weeks of her life. Raising a bottle baby goat is just like raising any other baby. Seriously - everything will be in their mouths! Goats explore the world with their mouths, and this is why popular belief is that goats eat everything. That is actually incorrect though. Goats do eat a great deal, and often things they shouldn't, BUT the majority of the time they are only trying to discover what something is and if it is edible.
Baby goats also do not like to sleep alone. Apparently my stuffed goat Hank that I gave Yara to sleep with was no substitute for me. It literally only took Yara two weeks to work her way into sleeping with me in my bed. Let's just say she has a way of manipulating me into giving her anything she wants lol. But, Oh my goodness! The sounds of her little snores! My heart, seriously melted each and every time she would nuzzle up to my ear to fall asleep. How could I refuse her? I was helpless against her. Those soft, warm, brown eyes. I am not ashamed to admit that Yara did sleep with me - in my bed - until she was 10 weeks old. Likely not a healthy practice, and not one I recommend either. I am happy to say that although a difficult separation for us both, Yara now lives full time in the barn with the herd and has consistently since she was 12 weeks old. She does still come indoors though. That is actually essential as she is in training to replace her great grandmother Maisie in a few years. Yara actually comes from an interesting line of house goats. Starting with Maisie, down to Yara's mother (Maisie's grand-daughter) was also a house goat with an interesting back story that I will save for her own GotW post in future weeks. So Yara is the third in her line to have been raised indoors and be housebroken, which is kind of cool in my opinion. The goats I have that work indoors are usually good indoors for an hour before needing a potty break. Accidents do happen, but they are rare and actually are surprisingly easy to clean up and deal with. Small risk for the amazing gain people get having the goats come visit them in their homes or elsewhere. Yara has been doing very well and in recent weeks has been going along with me to my visits to Community Living in Parry Sound. She seems to love the work we do as much as I do. Yara's future in therapeutic work looks very promising making her extra special.
Sky River Meadows is just finally opening it's doors to the public in a big way this year. We will be launching new and exciting animal programs and so much more. Yara will have a very special role through all of that. As she matures and grows her personality will continue to change for a while yet. Until a goat reaches full maturity, they change their mind a lot. Yara some days is rather obstinate to anyone but myself. I call it her "you're not my mommy" mood. She is terrible when she in this mode and makes it challenging for my team to get chores or other routine work done. She is often out of the pen and just roaming around. Why? Well because she wants to, so I let her lol. I know, it doesn't help, but I seriously can't help myself. I love this little goat so very much! She has a nickname that is pretty pathetic actually. It started out as just my "Fuzzybum". It has evolved into "Fuzzybumbumbum" Don't ask me why. Some things just can't be explained and that is also true for people who spend ALL of their time with goats. Some of my goats have some pretty funny nicknames. One thing is for certain. Yara has it GOOD. She gets everything she could ever want. She also gets regular pampering - including scratching between her toes and under her dewclaws daily - all of them! She also expects daily armpit and face scratches to go with them. *sigh* Can I come back as one of my goats in my next life? Better yet, I want to come back as Yara. She is the center of the Universe after all ;-) Yara is one of the best gifts 2019 blessed me with. I can't wait to see how far her and I can grow my dream into reality, this year and every year.