As a way for everyone to get to know the herd here at Sky River Meadows, my team have decided that a new weekly feature "Goat of the Week" would be a great way to introduce the individual herd members. Each Monday we will feature a different goat, sharing some of their story and pictures. I did not post this feature yesterday, out of respect to our Veterans on Remembrance Day. As this is the very first Goat of the Week post, I decided to feature our beautiful herd Queen Bonnie. I hope you all enjoy these weekly additions, and learning about our wonderful herd of goats.
Imperial K Bonnie was the very first Nigerian Dwarf doe that I added to my herd. I purchased Bonnie from a woman in southern Ontario who had owned Bonnie for several years. This woman is now a friend of mine and I know she is smiling reading this as she has a particular "love" for Bonnie ;) Bonnie was 5 years old when I brought her home. She was not friendly and really hard to catch. She was not even close to being considered tame at the time, and even though she has been with me for 9+ years she is still the exact same - unfriendly and hard to catch. She is the boss here and she knows it. I am grateful to her for keeping everyone in line though. As Bonnie has the distinction of being the only horned goat in my therapy herd, she is easy to spot. The remainder of my herd has been disbudded - meaning they don't have horns. We do this for safety reasons. Goats love to headbutt and fight with each other, and often they can injure themselves or people with their horns. So by not allowing them to grow horns, we can minimalize injuries when they fight each other, and ensure that no one loses an eye. Bonnie's horns have gotten to an impressive height at almost 15 years of age. I often find myself admiring them. If not for the safety of people and the herd I would love for all my goats to have horns. The rings on goats horns are similar to that on a tree, they grow with age. I have to admit I am fascinated by horns.
Bonnie is incredibly intelligent and stubborn. For the most part we humour Bonnie and just bend to her will and accept her rule around here. Once a month or so though, Bonnie has no choice but to get caught to have her hooves trimmed, get weighed and have an overall check up. We have to plan ahead in order to accomplish capturing her. I joke with my team that it is a three day process as I swear Bonnie can read my mind. Fortunately for Bonnie, she is still in great health so we don't have to bother her too often. She is the only goat in our herd that gets away with being this way. The one with the biggest horns wins! Although Bonnie has been retired as a Mom for several years now, I will always fondly remember her three pregnancies she had with me. How she would lovingly *whack* me with her horns in between her contractions if I wasn't rubbing her belly just the way she needed. Bonnie was an amazing mother to all of her kids. She only ever had two daughters - Black Jack's Ophelia, and Sky River Meadows Cassiopeia. Bonnie also had four sons. When we had to downsize our herd after Geordon's death, Ophelia was one that we sold. I still own Cassiopeia though and it is wonderful to watch how close mother and daughter remain all these years, and how many children they shared in raising. Bonnie has always been the type of doe that would try to steal other mother's babies. She was so adamant about collecting ALL of the babies each year she gave birth, that she would nurse any and all babies.
An interesting observation I have noticed over my years as a goat herder, is the familial ties that exist in the herd. When goats go about doing goat business each day, they tend to do it in family groups. This is especially apparent when they sleep, in one big family puddle of goats.
The average life expectancy for goats is 15-17 years for females and fixed males. Bonnie is almost 15 years old and so far going strong. I hope for all of our sakes at Sky River Meadows that Bonnie continues to thrive and rule over my herd for many years to come yet. I have a hilarious story about the summer of 2018 when Bonnie went on strike as Queen for almost 2 months... but I will save that story for another time and place. For now I will leave you with a few more images of Bonnie, living the good life, without a care in the world. She really does have the best life going for her here. She is surrounded by her family and is the center of her universe. Although she can be a Royal pain in the butt, I am so grateful for Bonnie and all that she has brought to my herd and breeding program. Her icy blue eyes continue to dominate her genetic line in my herd. Even after she passes over the rainbow bridge, when her time does comes, those beautiful eyes of hers will still be admired here by many. Until then LONG LIVE THE QUEEN! ~ Angee