There are at times, goats who pair up with an unrelated goat, appearing to become best friends. I have come to call these special pairings “close-companions” and can name several great ones, but one pair rightfully stands out in my mind – Minx and Mocha!
Most folks know who Minx is – the “face” of our farm and my favorite goat by far. Full of personality, she is descended from our first Nigerian doe and sired by our most influential buck. She was still a junior when we moved to the dairy, and it wasn’t long before she met Mocha.
Mocha is a doe close in age to Minx, exhibiting all the best quality of the dairy farm’s lines. I fell in love with her and it wasn’t long before she joined my personal herd. It took even less time for the pair of them to become joined at the hip.
Though Minx’s mother had rejoined my herd, I bottle raised Minx and so her closest friends were the other goats her own age, and suddenly she’d gone from a farm with just a couple of age-mates, to one with many! They formed the first ever “teenager gang” here at the dairy, with Minx at it’s head of course, backed up by Mocha. They broke fencing, unlatched gates, and made holes to wriggle through. The entire lot of junior does were bouncing atop cars and banging on the doors before we knew what had happened.
Thankfully, after several of their gangster friends moved to new farms, they settled down somewhat, and we turned to the thought of breeding them, along with a group of similarly aged La Mancha juniors. We wanted to try having the young does kid out a month before everyone else, to have a little extra milk in our down time. To accomplish this, we decided to use CIDRs.
CIDRs (Controlled Internal Drug Release) are an intravaginal progesterone insert used in ruminants to control the estrus of the animal, and when used with the proper protocols, can help you more carefully plan your time of breeding.
Inserting the devices was an exercise in hilarity between my employer and I. The lubrication we brought came as a powder and had to be mixed. It turns out, if you don’t add enough water, it turns into a disgusting clinging slime that set us off into peals of laughter. Then came the actual insertion of the T-shaped device into the vagina of the goats, who were displeased to say the least. It was a tight fit on most of them – until we got to Minx. Minx had more than enough wriggle room, leading my sweet unassuming employer to exclaim, “Minx! What have you been doing out there?”
The results of our adventure with CIDRs was less than successful – not one La Mancha settled after breeding.
Minx and Mocha however had quite an exciting day with our new very fine young buck Khan, and five months later they were round and ready to burst – a month earlier than the rest of the herd.
I locked them in the pen nearest my house, and kept a close eye on them. Minx started labor first in the evening, and went all night long before finally kidding around 7am with two very handsome bucklings. Mocha assisted her friend in cleaning them off and helping them to stand and nurse. Satisfied with their health, I went back inside – only to pop back out a few hours later as Mocha gave birth to a huge single doeling.
Just as Mocha was alongside Minx with all the help one could ask for, Minx was there for her friend. They cleaned off Mocha’s little girl, and had her up and nursing in no time. Even without anthropomorphising this type of herd bonding behavior, it was a touching and wonderful moment in time to be a part of.
For the several months up until the three kids left for their new homes, Minx and Mocha shared them, nursing all three without discrimination, cleaning their bottoms, answering their cries when they became separated. And all three of the kids were close, especially when they could gang up to bully the much smaller kids who began to arrive a month later.
Now, a few years and freshenings later, the two remain amicable friends, though they’re not quite as close as they were as youngsters. A parallel to our own world, really, where our relationships with others grow and change over time. Yet in my mind, they’ll always remain the best of friends – Minx and Mocha, the first of many terrible teenager gangs.