Tag Archives: Nubians

Goats Love Walking Onions

Years ago a friend gave me some walking onion bulblets. I planted them knowing little about the plants or that goats love walking onions.

Another name for walking onions is Egyptian onions. They are expensive in the seed catalogs. I don’t know why as the plants are prolific producers of bulblets.

walking onion patch shows goats love walking onions
Early spring’s green onion style leaves on the walking onions has become a mass of blooming stalks, most now broken off and fed to the goats. A few regular leaves are beginning to grow again.

The plants come up in the early spring. The leaves resemble green onion leaves and can be used in the same ways. They are great in scrambled eggs or in stir fries.

When spring heats up, thick stalks with pale green tops come up. These produce the bulblets.

My first patch was a small row in an out of the way corner. My garlic patch was close by. I soon learned why these are called walking onions.

Those thick stalks grow tall, produce their bulblets and fall over. Wherever those bulblets touch the ground, new plants grow.

Nubian goats love walking onions
Nubian buck High Reaches Augustus thinks breeding season is on. However the lure of a walking onion snack is more important.

My row is now a patch.

The only way to control these plants and still have them to use is to remove the thick stalks. They could go out to the compost heap.

As I walked past the goat yard, the goats came over to find out what I had. I offered one stalk to them.

Surprise. Goats love walking onions.

Now I go out and gather enough stalks for each goat each evening. First I milk. Then I give them the onions.

Some of these stalks are over two feet long. At first I thought I would break these up as the goats couldn’t possibly eat them.

Not true. This is an opportunity to see those facile goat lips in action.

Nubian buck Augustus begging for more walking onions
Two walking onion stalks are not enough according to Nubian buck High Reaches Augustus who asks for more.

The goat grabs the end of the onion stalk and starts chewing. Those lips keep pulling the stalk in.

It reminds me of eating spaghetti noodles when I was young. Put one end in and suck. My mother was not impressed when the end flicked sauce off to wherever.

Feeding a few walking onions a night makes them last longer. Once the stalks are gone, the goats will eat the regular leaves too. After all, goats love walking onions.

Enjoy more goat antics in “For Love of Goats.”

Doe Kid, Buck Kid, Misidentification

Now, any goat owner will tell you it’s easy to tell a doe kid from a buck kid. There are several very obvious differences.

Buck kids have scrotums. They are smooth under the tail. They urinate from the middle of their bellies with their legs planted out in a rectangle.

Doe kids have a tiny vulva under their tails. They squat to urinate. They tend to have smaller, more streamlined heads than buck kids.

buck and doe kid

These two Nubian kids are so alike in size. I assumed both were bucks. Wrong. The black one is a buck. The gray one is a doe.

Telling a doe kid from a buck kid is much easier than figuring out whether or not a kid is polled. For that the hair is swirled over the horn buds and smooth over polled. Hair can stick up or otherwise distort this look.

Three does had kids. Agate was first in the morning. Violet was acting like kids all day but had them in the morning. Lydia had hers that evening.

There was enough time to leisurely take care of each kid set. I took a cursory check and decided Agate had two little bucks. She moved into the large pen with Matilda and Rose.

Nubian buck kid

This little kid is definitely a buck. I double checked. High Reaches Agate isn’t concerned about it. She loves her kids.

That was a mistake. Matilda started chasing Agate. Hay was a temporary distraction. The chase resumed.

Matilda and her week old buck moved into the barn. Peace reigned in the kidding pen. The kids piled up in their cubby hole and slept.

Nubian High Reaches Agate with her kids

The problem with an Houdini buck is keeping him away from yearlings. So High Reaches Agate had twins at just over a year old. She had little trouble kidding, but didn’t know what had happened. She stood looking at the kids, then at me, then at the kids. She sniffed them, but didn’t talk to them. Finally one of the kids started talking. Agate is now a devoted mother goat.

Kids have trouble staying warm for the first few days. They can be stepped on. I build cubby holes for them.

A kid cubby hole is a line of bales against an outside wall. Two bales are put in front spaced apart half the length of a bale.

Two bales are piled on top of the wall line behind the space. A bale is placed over the space leaving a cubby hole.

Kids move into the hole. The hay provides insulation. The small space stays warmer than the outer temperature and keeps drafts out. Does can sniff their kids but can’t step on them.

This year I’m short on hay. Two straw bales backed by thick flakes of straw with a two inch thick board over the top did the job.

Nubian doe kid

How could I ever think this lovely kid was a buckling? All I can think is that I was very careless. This is definitely a doeling belonging to High Reaches Agate.

Kids grow fast. They want to jump on things and run. Even a big kid pen is too small in a few days.

I moved the kids out into the barn while the rest of the herd was out to pasture. My barn is set up with kid cubby holes.

A sunny day invited pictures of these last six kids. I moved Agate and her kids out. That’s when I noticed. Agate doesn’t have two buck kids. She has one buck kid and one doe kid. Oops.

This is a buck year for me. There are six buck kids. With the addition of Agate’s doe kid, there are three doe kids.

And I’m reminding myself to be more careful in the future.

Goat kid antics play a part in the madcap adventures in Capri Capers. Check out the sample pages.

Doe Rejecting Her Kid

High Reaches Matilda is a good mother goat. She has raised triplets. This year she is rejecting her kid, the little doe from her twins.

The day started out like any other day. Morning chores went smoothly. The herd was lined up devouring morning hay.

Toward noon I opened the pasture goat. The herd rushed out. Hay is great, but new spring grass is much better.

kid Nubian doe kept

High Reaches Matilda’s little Nubian buckling is her pride and joy. He thinks he’s something important too. This is the kid Matilda decided to keep.

I watched the herd file off toward the north, closed the gate and went back to the barn to let the boys out. Matilda was still in the barn munching on hay.

This goat has been playing the ‘any time’ game for two or three weeks. She is one of the first out the pasture gate. Kids were due today.

Bucks can be nuisances. I let Gaius out and ran him out of the barn. He was upset as he wanted to scrounge for leftover hay. Instead I put a barrier across the door.

rejecting her kid doe

Why would High Reaches Matilda reject this lovely Nubian doe? She is lively, alert, active and pretty. Still, Matilda was very busy with her little buck and didn’t notice this one. When her attention was called to the doe, Matilda seemed to think this wasn’t hers.

Augustus hung over the barrier. Anything new needs investigation. He finally gave up and went out to eat fresh grass.

Matilda hung out in the barn all day. She was in labor. She had feet showing. She wanted to wait for the herd to come back, so she did – almost.

The first kid, a little frosted buck, was born about the time the herd was wandering back from pasture. A barn full of goats is not healthy for a newborn. I picked him up and led Matilda in to the kidding section.

Matilda was going to have a second kid, but I had to put the boys up and let the herd in. I left to do early evening chores. Matilda was happily taking care of her little buck.

When I got back, a second kid was on the straw. Matilda was still taking care of the little buck and ignoring the cries of this second kid.

Nubian doeling

Nubian doe High Reaches Rose is delighted with her little doe. This is Rose’s first kid, but she is a good mother.

Picking this second spotted kid up made Matilda stop to look her over. She gave her a couple of licks and turned back to her little buck. She was rejecting her kid.

Usually a doe rejecting her kid indicates something is wrong with the kid. One first freshner rejected her first kid and was a wonderful mother the second kidding. Why was Matilda rejecting her kid?

As far as I can tell, this kid is fine. She is active. She loves to eat. Evidently Matilda bonded to the first one and didn’t notice she had a second so assumes this one is being foisted off on her.

Whatever the reason, I now have a bottle baby.

New Kids Coming

This year’s new kids are due any day. Which day is never certain anymore as Augustus is a master of escape. Maybe I should change his name to Houdini.

Usually the arrival of new kids is anticipated enthusiastically. This year is different. I know I can keep none of the kids, no matter how cute or endearing or special.

Someone else will have those special kids. I get to see them for three months, then say good-bye.

Nubian High Reaches Matilda expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Matilda’s kids have settled. Still she is playing the ‘any day’ game making everyone wait to see her kids.

My herd is as big as I can care for now. It’s easier to sell the kids I’ve known for only a short while than does I’ve known for years. The kids will all leave.

Since only Augustus was in on when several of my does were bred, I am left watching and waiting. The does know this and do their best to look like today’s the day for weeks.

Matilda and Agate look like they will be first. Matilda’s kids have settled. She has sunk around her tail bone. Her udder is taking its time filling up.

Agate has discharge from time to time. She has a nice udder.

Nubian High Reaches Violet expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Violet is starting to waddle, but is not concerned. Her kids will arrive sometime in March.

Then there is Violet. Her udder is starting to fill out. Her kids haven’t settled yet. Her history is getting both done overnight.

In the meantime, I’ve put the barn in order. There is a large area for the new mothers and their new kids.

Pens are better, but are more difficult to set up. Two of my panels are in use and unavailable. A third could be used, if I have to. That leaves me two.

Agate expecting new kids

Nubian High Reaches Agate is getting ready to kid.

The two can become one pen or the front of a kidding area. The area was picked.

March is a waiting game now. I’m watching Matilda and Agate. However, Violet, Pixie, Lydia and Rose are getting ready too.

New kids are fun. Will they be does or bucks? Will they have spots? Will there be triplets? All of us are waiting to find out.

Ending the Year

Beginning and ending the year happens on an arbitrary date. The agreed upon date is fast approaching. For me this is a time to reflect on the year past, its hopes, its accomplishments, its disappointments, its gains and losses.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Precious Jewel lived a long life here. Old age caught up with her. Some of her daughters are still in the herd.

As a writer I am ending the year disappointed. Only Capri Capers came out this year. My plans called for the third in the Hazel Whitmore series tentatively called Mistaken Promises. A picture book called Waiting For Fairies was on that hoped for list too. Discouraging as they sometimes become, the botany project pages are finally taking shape from the hundreds of pictures I took this past growing season.

Clyde ending the year loss

Clyde arrived one day and adopted me. He was one of my wheelbarrow cats leaping in to ride whenever I had one out.

As a goatkeeper ending the year has its hellos and good-byes. I lost four old friends this year. Jewel and Silk were old and in poor health. Josephine and Bonnie got sick and I could not help them survive. But Rose is doing fine and growing fast.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Bubbles Silk was a big Nubian doe. She lived here a long time and left me with a junior herd sire, a daughter and granddaughter.

It’s so strange how a little goat seems to stay the same size for months. Suddenly the eyes look again and this has been an illusion. That little goat has gotten big even though it was not noticed.

Pretty Boy ending the year loss

My mother’s two cats came to live with me. Pretty Girl left me last year. Pretty Boy enjoyed being outside. He never stopped missing my mother.

Three cats left as well. My mother’s Pretty Boy is gone. Cat, Grey Cat and Clyde followed him. There are now six cats living here.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

Worms are a curse in the Ozarks. Poor High Reaches Josephine was fine one day and too anemic to save the next. She was an excellent milker and sorely missed.

My pantry has lots of potatoes and butternut squash in it. The freezer has enough chopped peppers to supply every meal for months. Tomato sauce is ready for spaghetti and pizza. The garden did well even though I never feel it has. The weeds seem to get the upper hand by the end of the season and leave me discouraged.

Grey Cat ending the year loss

I don’t know where Grey Cat came from. She arrived one day and decided to stay. She wanted only a place to live and food to eat. In all the years she lived here, she would never allow me to touch her. She let me civilize her kittens one of whom is still living with me.

However, fresh spinach beckons from the raised bed. The first Brussels sprouts are ready to pick in my temporary greenhouse. I have learned new things about them and hope to have better crops from them next year.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Bonnie came down with pneumonia as cold winter weather moved in. She was a favorite goat always glad to see me.

Did the year live up to the dreams and hopes I had? No. But the year was still a good one. I hope your year was a good one too.