This week on Goat of the Week, I introduce Honeynut to everyone. Honey (as she is most commonly known as) was not born on my farm, but at another farm in the Muskoka area. She is the daughter of our beloved Jose who recently passed away. From what I was told by her breeder, Honeynut's birth was a tough one. She had her umbilical cord wrapped a few times around her neck and was unable to come out without assistance to untangle her. I remember seeing her for the first time when she was just a couple of hours old. The hair on her neck showed the evidence of how long that cord had been wrapped around her neck while she grew in utero. The hair around her neck stood out funny for a long time showing those marks. She is lucky to be alive, and I know I am lucky and blessed to have her. I acquired Honey on an exchange deal with a fellow Nigerian Dwarf Goat breeder. A baby of hers, in exchange for a baby of mine. (saves money * and enables goat friends into getting more goats * without costing actual money * so hubby's can't complain * ;D ) I bonded with Honey very quickly after her birth, which is not common for me with animals not born on my farm. I actually have to work to stop myself from falling in love with other peoples animals in order to spare myself the inevitable heartbreak if and when they say "no, you can't take my *blank* home with you". LOL I get it. With Honeynut I bonded quite quickly though. It was likely due to her traumatic entry into the world. Either way, I am not afraid to admit that I held my breathe until I was told that I could have Honey in exchange for one of my Jose doelings at home. I continued to hold my breathe until her registration paperwork arrived, proving to me that she was mine. That was a very happy day for me :)
Life with Honey was great from the moment she arrived home. As she was dam raised I had to wait until Honeynut was old enough to come home with me. I visited with her as often as I could until that point, so she was bonding with me as well. I was concerned that she would have a tough time fitting into the herd here as she was an outsider coming in, but she did really well making fast friends amongst the babies of that season. I was still competing in goat shows that year, so all of my babies were properly weaned from thier mothers - unlike now, where I just let the moms decide when it is time to wean. Honey came to me at the end of my time competing with the goats, so I only put her into a handful of shows the summer of 2016, and she did come and compete at the Royal Winter Fair as well that year, however I can't remember exactly where she placed. I remember it was one placing behind her twin sister Willow, near the back of the lineup though. She did not place well. She was very gangly and leggy as a baby, a late bloomer you could say. She did have that beautiful golden colour that I loved so much on Jose. She also carried his silver moonspots and his very sweet and loving temperament. Also like her dad, she doesn't have a ton of smarts about her. She is beautiful, loving and sweet though, … and MILK!!! Holy moly can this girl milk!! Last year as a first time mom, Honey blessed us with quadruplet doelings! An amazing blessing indeed! Due to how busy we were with moving the farm, I never bothered to train her to the milk stand last year and I allowed her to wean her kids when she chose. This past season Honey blessed us once again with quadruplets! 2 girls and 2 boys. So at the age of 3, Honeynut has given me 8 healthy babies! This year I did decide to train her to the milk stand. Honey took to milking like a pro. She never kicked or fussed, not even once. She has always been so trusting of me, I guess that was also something she was just cool with me doing. Besides, I was much gentler than her brood of hard bunting babies, and even offered soothing massages with being milked which she enjoyed greatly. :)
As this was the first year of milking Honey, I really can't say how much milk she produces yet. As she was still nursing two of her babies, I only ever took a small amount from her each morning for a couple of months this fall. One thing is for certain, Honeynut is an incredible mother. In 2018, with her first kidding, she gave birth while I ran to the store. She literally dropped the fourth kid as I came back to her. I've only ever owned one other "sneaky birther" before, and that was Ash Donna. She was notorious at popping out triplets while your back was turned for a few moments. This year Honeynut once again did us proud by giving birth to quadruplets again, with ease. Both years I have not needed to intervene or supplement the babies along side her. She does need to consume a large amount of grain while she is in milk, but I have no issues with giving her anything she needs. Honeynut does have the type of body that can eat endlessly and never gain an ounce. Like a racehorse, she requires extra nutrition, especially at certain stages, especially during lactation. Honey has no health issues and has always had strong feet and legs.
Honey is kind of a goofy, playful soul. She plays and runs often while we are out walking with the herd. When we go hiking in the deep bush, or adventuring as I like to say, Honeynut is quite brave and adventurous. She enjoys climbing and often scares me by hanging out WAY too close to the edges. My mantra while adventuring with adventurous goats is to "trust the goat". I am always grateful for the health of my herd and ability to do the things that we get to do together. It keeps us all healthy to stay active. Being able to explore and connect in nature everyday is essential to all of our well being. I see the evidence and positive effects every single day not only in the people that come to visit us, but in the goats and in ourselves. As we are now in the snowy months, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the goats outside. The sunshine will always draw me out though, and therefore I drag the goats out as well. In the winter months the herd runs up and down the length of the driveway a couple of times before eventually they run back into the barn to their thick warm bed and abundant hay feeders.
Honeynut doesn't have a very "In your face" personality like so many others do. She is very friendly and sweet though, and often comes forward to spend time with people. She LOVES to be groomed and will stand for a long time for someone who is brushing her. She also appreciates a good bum scratch and has the most adorable tail wag whenever she gets one. I think that Honey has one of the most expressive faces in the herd. To me is seems she makes a face in reaction to things, rather in a human way. I've been lucky a few times in capturing some of her faces in photos, and share some of them below. As she is still so young, I am sure much of Honey's story is yet to be written. As she matures I am certain she will continue to do incredible things here. For now I will continue to be dazzled by her willingness to take part in all of the activities we do here, and her seeming absolute trust in me. I am grateful to her for being here, and for already contributing so much to the herd. She's pretty special, my Honeynunny <3