It's all about the goats, right? Well, it's not ALL about the goats, but they are pretty central to what goes on here. (don't tell the cats) Ellie (Eleanor) and Amelia are twins born in 2012. They weigh about 110 pounds, and give us between 5 and 8 pounds of fiber, each, at the twice-yearly shearings. The fiber they produce is called Mohair. "Angora" is the fiber that comes from certain breeds of rabbits. Both Angora rabbits and goats, as well as Angora cats, come from Ankara, Turkey. The word Angora is a westernization of the word Ankara.
Angora goats are not the same as the various breeds of dairy goats (which we jokingly call "yard goats.") All their energy goes into growing fiber, so they don't produce milk in the quantity that the dairy breeds do. They can have a hard time producing enough milk for their kids if they have more than 2. Just like people, the health of the goat can be seen in the state of their hair/fiber. The better the diet, the healthier the goat, the nicer the fiber, to a certain extent. Of course genetics plays a part, and the quality of fiber does deteriorate as the goat ages. We are really focused on giving our goats the very best food, hay and forage so they can grow great mohair.
Like most animals, Ellie and Amelia have their own personalities. Ellie is a dreamer. She can be seen 'sky gazing' often, and will take a big mouthful of forage and chew it while looking around the yard, grass falling out of her face. She would rather get 'butt rubbies' than eat, and will insert herself between Amelia and me when Amelia is in the mood to play chase. I'm not sure yet if Ellie is jealous or if she's trying to protect me. Either way, it's cute and endearing. She and Nemo have a special relationship, and she's the one more likely to hang out with the chickens.
Amelia has what our friend Marcia calls "a big self." She isn't too keen on being handled, and we worked on that a lot this summer. She's wicked smart, and we joke that she'd be ruling the world if she had opposable thumbs. When the weather is cool, she gets frisky and wants to run and play with me. She signals this by doing this totally goofy sideways gallop at me, then waits to see if I get it. I start saying "I'm gonna get your fluffy butt!" and this makes her silly. We run and chase around the yard, while Ellie tries to get between us and lean on me. Inevitably, Amelia butts her out of the way and a little posturing occurs. Ellie, being a lover and not a fighter, just moves out of the way for a little bit, but can't help herself, and comes back between us once again.
We bought 'the peanut-butter boys' at the end of October. They'll be coming to live with us in mid-December. It was an unexpected development, and there is a bit of apprehension along with the excitement. We had no intention of buying more goats, but I had an immediate connection with one of them, and that was it. They've been wethered (neutered, in goat vocabulary) so we won't have to worry about having kids. I'm a little worried that Amelia will be mean to them, and that one of the boys will be mean back to her. The other little guy is the sweetest boy EVER in the history of ANY boys of ANY species. He told me he loved me at first sight and wanted to come live with us.
The boys are darker than the girls, and I'll have an interesting variety of color to use with their fiber mixed with the girls' white.