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.