February 11, 2018

Kidding Season

Why can't I have a baby goat?

That was my lament this weekend when I returned to Angeles Crest Creamery in the Antelope Valley to meet the new kids on the ranch.

But I didn't mean, "Why can't I have a baby goat as a pet?"

I was more bemoaning the fact that I couldn't be a mother to a baby goat. If I were to ever become a mother, thanks to my anatomy, genetics, and evolutionary legacy, I'd be stuck giving birth to a human.

It's always so interesting when there's a new herd of kids—and how, even at their tiny size, they're OK being away from their mothers, as long as they're together.

The mothers, however, are not.

The does are beside themselves if they can't see their babies in the herd, and they're relentless in calling out to them.

But all it takes is getting them within view ever so briefly, and all is calm again.

There's some Darwinian adaptation that certain animals (like humans) have that make them attracted to babies—to want to have them, take care of them, and ensure their survival.

I seem to only have that with kids of the cloven hoof—not kids of the sucking thumb variety.

I don't know why, really—because they're not all that different.

One of the baby goats at Angeles Crest this weekend took to sucking my thumb, since it didn't have one of its own.

It pressed my finger against the hard palate of the roof of its mouth and worked its tongue against the underside, while its lips puckered around it.

All goats—regardless of age—can be a bit nibbly (as evidenced by the chewed-up hem of one of my shirts), a behavior you don't want to necessarily encourage in them...

...but I was so happy to be a human pacifier for that kid.

Goats just naturally look like they're smiling...

...but I think at Angeles Crest Creamery, they truly are happy.

And that's more than I can say for most babies who eventually learn to stand upright and walk on two legs.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Hiking with Baby Goats
A Mother-Not-to-Be

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