March 09, 2009

No Problem Penny

After receiving several comments on the picture of the pretty newborn goat kid yesterday I thought I would share some pictures of that kid today as a three year old goat. This is a picture of Penny resting in the sun while her mother Dym takes a nap with her head on Penny's shoulder.
Oops, we woke Dym up! She must have been pretty tired because she went right back to napping after this picture was taken. Dym is a much happier goat these days thanks to her daughter Penny. About four years ago or so I wanted a dairy goat to add to our herd of meat goats so we would have the extra goat milk for making goat milk soap, cheese and for extra real goat milk for any Boer kids that might have to be raised on a bottle for one reason or another.

I would find that dairy goat in a purebred Nubian named Dymphna, we call her Dym for short. The problem was Dym did not fit into our rather cliquish herd of Boer goats very well. She was much more passive and way more sensitive than the Boers were. The Boers would say she was a drama queen. I would have to feed her hay separately from the rest of the herd just to make sure she got her share without somebody constantly chasing her away. I did everything I could to make sure Dym was happy, but being the bottom goat on the totem pole is never an ideal place to be.

After a date with the Boer buck one fall day our Nubian girl Dym went on to have triplets in the Spring of 2006, two doelings and a buckling. The buckling grew so fast and so big he impressed one fellow enough to take him home as a commercial herd sire. I knew right away I was going to keep both of her doelings. One was a beautiful deep mahogany red with striking black points on her lower legs, face and a black stripe down her back; I named her Red Rose. The other was a little, mousy tan doeling that I thought was as pretty and sweet as could be, even if it was in a sort of plain Jane way according to my husband. We often do have differing opinions on some goats. I named this doeling Penny. Plain or not, I knew she was special, but I did not know she would grow up to be such an important goat for her little family and for herd compatibility.

Dym was a wonderful mother and she doted on her two girls. She raised them well, all three have always been inseparable. They eat and sleep together always. It did not take long to see Rose had grown into Dym's shadow, she had her mother's sensitive, too passive nature and was going to have the same problems in the herd. They were both destined to be bossed around and chased off the best sleeping spots by the top Boer girls on the farm. Little Penny was growing too, the mousy little doeling was getting big and her horns were getting even bigger.

Penny was not too old when I noticed she started standing up to even the top of the Boer ranks and most of them started backing down from her. One by one they stopped challenging Penny. She has not become the herd Queen yet, as that title is now held by Emma, but nobody messes with Penny either and she lives quite comfortably in the top half of the herd pecking order. Penny didn't forget where she came from though and remarkably she brought her mother and her sister up with her. The herd dynamic has changed because now that Penny is around acting as her family's protector, nobody picks on Dym or Rose anymore. I have seen Penny stand up for her mother many times to other goats, eventually the other goats quit picking on Dym and Rose all together. Dym and Rose are happier and more confident these days, they have even started to stand up for themselves now. The whole herd gets along better now thanks to Penny. Not bad for a mousy, little plain Jane of a goat.

This is a picture of our Nubian family. Mother Dym is the black goat in the middle with daughters Penny and Rose on each side. (Penny and Rose are actually Boer/Nubian crosses.)

Penny and her sister Rose. I really like the Boer / Nubian crosses. Penny is a great dual purpose goat. Her offspring are fast growing and she produced a quite fair amount of milk last year. She took to the milk stand and to being milked just as quick and easy as could be, no fuss, no drama. In fact she did so well the first time she was milked the hardest part was just getting her big horns through the head piece of the stand. She also learned to lead in one very short lesson. I call her "No Problem Penny" because she is good at everything and she took care of the problems.

19 comments:

Amy said...

I liked reading about Penny, she's a pretty girl so is her sister and her Dam!

Christy said...

I think I'm in love! I want a Penny. She sounds so sweet.

Claire said...

What a great story - I loved it! All the more special to me because Penny is my mother's name too. Your Penny is a beautiful goat - she doesn't look at all plain Jane to me, especially with those lovely horns and her pretty face markings. It's fascinating to read about how she changed the herd dynamic. What a gem she is!

Twisted Fencepost said...

Way to go Penny!!

Lanny said...

I loved your story of your dairy girls. Sure do miss mine. The sheep have very similar dynamics but not as pronounced and obvious as the goats. The pictures are great.

Oz Girl said...

What a sweet story, thanks for sharing! I am glad that Dym is no longer picked on and has a protector in Penny! ;)

KathyB. said...

Oh, I so love this story. Anyone who keeps herds of goats, packs of dogs, or flocks of chickens and sheep, cannot but help to observe the dynamics of their flocks and herds and packs. This observation is , well, enlightening. My goats and now my sheep, would form family groups that would support and protect them and also give them a place in the herd , a place that offered all the benefits a lone sheep, goat, dog, or ..? does not have. I find that a very graphic illustration of us ( please know I do not believe we're animals)and our need for that connection, or human group of support, in whatever way we find it. Family, church, similar minded people...I love this ongoing story of Penny and the picture of her mother with her head resting on Penny is heart touching.

Jennifer said...

Amy - Thank you!

Christy - Thank you. All three of the Nubians in the herd are very sweet and affectionate goats.

Claire- Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Twisted Fencepost & Lanny - Thank you.

Oz Girl - No, Dym is no longer picked on. She has even started standing up for herself now.

KathyB - What a great comment and so true! Thank you!

Mom L said...

From the first time I saw the photos on your blog I've been in awe of Dym's looks - she's beautiful. Now I'm just as much in love with Penny and Red Rose, especially Penny. An amazing goat! I'm not sure that I'm ready to have her beat out Emma as the queen, though - my calico cat is named Emma!!

Nancy in Atlanta

Patrice Farmer said...

Isn't it amazing how they protect and recognize and love their own family members. Its amazing.

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

I love the boer/nubian crosses as well! I think they make the best of both worlds. They have the sensitivity of a nubian, the great milking ability, and they are normally fast growing kids.

Jennifer said...

Mom L - Thank you! Emma must be the cat in your profile picture, she is one of the prettiest calicos I have seen.

Patrice - It is amazing. My goats will sleep and hang around in family groups and those groups grow as the family does. Now besides Dym & her two daughters Penny and Rose all eating & sleeping together, Penny's daughter from last year is part of the Nubian family group too.

Mary- I am not sure whether to call them Nuboers or Boebians but I do like the Boer / Nubian cross goats. :)

barefootchef said...

What a wonderful story about a daughter that takes care of her mother and sister. Family is what it is all about! Big hugs to Penny!!!

--Cathy

barefootchef said...

What a great story about family. Penny has taken in and taken care of her mother and sister. Way to go Penny!!!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

nice story Jennifer. How is Trouble doing?

Jennifer said...

barefootchef - Thank you!

Joanna - Trouble is doing well. I am keeping a close eye on her though because with still 3 weeks to go before she is due, she looks awful big this year. I always worry about the ones that I think may be carrying more than twins.

Country Girl said...

What a great post. We are fairly new goat owners so it was interesting to read about their interactions. I see that your goats have horns. The first doe I got dehorned and that was an expereince I'd like to forget. The second doe I bought had horns already started. They get along great but I had heard you could not put a dehorned goat in with a horned one. I do not think I would dehorn to do again.

Alix said...

So sweet, and such pretty pretty pictures of all your goats. Keep us informed about Trouble.

Jennifer said...

Country Girl - I have kept horned and dehorned goats together for years with no real problems. Sometimes the ones without horns such as Dym and another Boer I have seem to be lower on the pecking order. Of course "Hope" one of the most dominate Boers I have doesn't have any horns so a lot of it depends on the goat.

Alix - Thank you! I will do that.