June 21, 2018
Insch Tells Us About the Baby Goats
Learn all about our newest baby goats from the perspective of Insch the alpaca…
It’s baby goat mayhem here – what with one in that hideous jumper and two bouncing baby girls in the field!
No More Goats
In January, we had a big barn meeting with the pigs and petitioned a ‘No More Goats’ policy but were overruled. I did, however, get my special hairdryer for my perm, so our humans do listen sometimes.
Despite our petition, we very much like this year’s Mummy-Goat. She is a gorgeous brown and white goat who the humans adopted whilst pregnant. Everyone nicknamed her Sugar because she is an extra sweet and loving girl – even if she has a bit of a temper! Sugar loves her bread and to be scratched in a very particular spot on her neck. In fact, even during her labour, Sugar enjoyed this spot being scratched between pushes! Us alpacas had important business in the far end of the field to take care of, so we skipped the birth and the panicking. Mungo was most disappointed. He loves babies.
The birth went pretty smoothly except for a minor drama with the second twin Coco. She was born with her head fully enclosed in a huge fistful of birthing sac. The humans had seen this before, (Bitzer had to have his mouth and nose wiped clear) but never so much before. If Coco tried to take a first breath, she could inhale the fluids or more likely drown/suffocate in the sac. The humans raced to wipe it clean from her – the sac was very thick, like a cross between jelly and honey, and was clinging to her tiny head. The whole farm felt little electric waves of panic emanating from the human’s thudding hearts, sweaty hands and worried heads. But eventually Coco was wiped clean, and with three pairs of worried eyes, she gasped a feeble but safe first breath. Then Mummy Sugar, sensing the drama was over, softly bleated and started to lick clean her second little darling.
Sugar is an excellent, if not quite strict, mother who is incredibly loving. When her babies were first born, she adoringly licked and nuzzled them. She even has her own special language that she chatters to them with. Alpacas have their own secret language too – our mummies softly talked to us all the time. Sugar is getting lots of bread and sometimes biscuits for an extra treat. Moomin brought her a flower from the paddock but she just ate it. Bit rude.
So who are these babies? And who is the tiny goat in the hideous jumper? Let us introduce you, though why you’d want to read about them is beyond me. Yes, yes, they’re sweet, but as an alpaca, I don’t see what the fuss is about. So what if the baby girls are described as ‘simply stunning’ with ‘beautiful markings’? So what if Ty is very small but big on ‘cuteness’? Alpacas are naturally stunning and cute, obviously. The goats have littleness in their favour. This makes humans squeal happily and snuggle them close. I have no idea why.
Well, here they are, the tiny-hooved menaces – I mean – darlings. Read all about them and tell me what is just so cute!?
Bubbles, the first twin, was up on her beautifully long legs quickly. She has grey and white markings and was the bigger of the two babies. She had no bother finding and feeding off Mum and immediately enjoyed exploring her pen using those beautiful legs. Bubbles is full of, well, bubbly energy and is very curious about everything. (Including my eyelashes and two-toed feet.) Her favourite hat-trick (literally) is to tug a hat off your head. Hats with pom-poms are by far her favourites. Bubbles also delights in nibbling. She tastes all items of clothing and can often been seen tugging on someone’s coat or pulling shoelaces undone. Bubbles is much more confident inside the barn than out in the nursery field. For a little goat, the great, big sky, the bright, green grass, the gulls squawking overhead, or the pigs squealing next door can be a bit daunting. Fortunately, in her field, Bubbles has found a breeze-block to stand on. We think it makes her proud and feel extraordinarily tall. It’s one of the only non-natural items in her field, (apart from some cable reels to play on), and Bubbles will often turn her nose up at flowers to rub against it or jump upon her block. We think – us alpacas who are masters of psychology – that Bubbles might be more of an urban goat than a country girl. (If such a thing as an ‘urban goat’ exists?) Bubbles is also very close to Mum and often tries to climb on her. Mummy Sugar is not impressed and says the humans are a bad influence. Which of course they are – Bubbles is always bouncing on their backs! For a little goat, she has quite a big voice. She yells when she sees her humans, or when she loses sight of her sister, or when Gus stands too close. Sometimes she yells and bleats for no reason at all. Mostly, she talks to her Mum. I love you, Mummy! This grass is delicious, Mummy! Will those bunny rabbits eat me, Mum? Why is that fawn alpaca so drop-dead-gorgeous, Mum? Yes, she chats on and on and on…
Coco is smaller than her older sister Bubbles and a bit daintier. She’s a trio of colours: white, chestnut brown, with a long, jet black stripe running down her back. To begin with, she was very shy. Coco kept to the corners and edges of the barn while Bubbles was busy jumping on people’s backs. She did however, and still does, love a cuddle. She will happily be stroked, petted and cooed over. Since then, Coco has grown in confidence. She is thriving in the outdoor nursery, and loves to leap and bound about. She does quite spectacular jumps, where she twists her body mid-air. Coco is also very good at goat-bashing. Once, she would let her older sister boss her about, but now Coco uses those tiny horns of hers to answer back. She is nimble on her little back hooves, dancing backwards and forwards, before bashing her head on her playmates. Her aim is spot on. Coco has a jealous streak. She is very possessive of her three humans who helped birthed her. She loves to sink into their laps, her legs dangling over their knees, her body heavy and comfy. She will often fidget, and yank their hair, and nibble on the strange, bald skin of their fingers, but mostly she will lounge on their laps. Bubbles too likes the odd cuddle – or more often, nibble – but Coco will use those sharp little horns to ward her off. And tiny Ty (who we will introduce in a moment) is often chased away, even though the humans tell Coco off for doing it. Even Mummy Sugar is shrugged off, or blocked by her daughter, from human cuddle time. Coco has confided in me, Insch, that she would like to borrow my mascara when she is older. She wants her eyelashes to match that beautiful black streak that runs down her back.
The Baby Goat in Jumper
A few weeks after Bubbles and Coco were born, our humans got a message about a little goat needing a home. Ty was premature and tiny. Because of this, his fur was fine, which is why he needed a jumper and blankets. Ty was not with his mother, so needed constant care. Ty’s previous owner, Catherine, loved this baby goat but needed to go to work, often taking Ty in the car with her. Babies are time-consuming, need regular feeding, and lots of attention. They’re also quite bossy and demand a lot of stuff. Fortunately, our humans work from home (with us amazing alpacas) so our farm had the perfect set up. Except there was a catch. Ty lived in the house.
Oh, the laughs the Skate Rumple animals had at our humans expense! They go indoors with their fancy touch screen technology and cups of tea and paperwork and along comes a little goat who eats and pees on everything! The mayhem was sublime. Sure, some of the animals were a bit jealous (those sofas just look so comfy to pigs and sheep) but mostly it was hilarious.
As fun as baby Ty was in the house, our humans realised he was missing out on goat behaviours and friendship from his own kind. Slowly, and with a few goat and human tears along the way, they integrated Ty into the barn where Sugar and her babies lived. Sugar, it has to be said, despised Ty from the moment she saw him. This is a natural behaviour to make sure her babies are top priority and to ensure Ty couldn’t sneak any milk from her. But Bubbles and Coco soon became fast friends with this miniature version of themselves. (Despite being a month older, Ty is much smaller than the twins.) Now Ty lives with the lambs when outdoors, and sometimes plays with Bubbles and Coco in the nursery field. But who is this little orphan goat in the gansey*…?
Ty is a very small chap but is big on personality. He has fine fur, and feels the cold, which is why he wears his famous wee jumper. When Ty lived in the house, he loved nothing more than stand by his spot by the radiator. He was incredibly naughty, as baby goats are supposed to be, but also very loving. He was a cuddly boy, who loved to snuggle
in his humans’ arms. Ty was a little slow to start bouncing, so the humans trained him with a creepie, cardboard boxes, and an upside down washing basket to encourage him to jump and play. A favourite game was to race down the corridor, sometimes jumping and twisting in the air along the way. Ty can run quite fast, despite his little legs, and can still loves to chase and be chased by humans and lambs alike. Ty also is the creator of the ‘bash-cuddle’ which he does when he feels a little grumpy with his human but still wants a love. This involves gently pressing his head into his human’s leg or stomach (in a slow-motion kind of bash) and then standing in this position, until they pick him up. Bash-cuddles happen after a bout a sulking, if he’s outside and it’s raining, or if he’s tired and wants to go back in the barn to bed.
Ty isn’t overly keen on the great outdoors or really being an animal at all. He humours the lambs and twins, but really inside he’s a human toddler who wants to snuggle up with a blanket and watch TV. Ty has got a little grumpy side; even though he’s small, he likes to be the boss, and doesn’t understand the need to share when he’s just so cute. All this falls apart, however, when it comes to Coco. She bashes right back and sometimes Ty needs to be picked up by a human when he’s been put in his place. Ty enjoys lots of goat games with Bubbles and Coco, that involve butting heads, scraping horns, and standing on their hind legs. When Ty bashes, he often twirls in-between strikes. Ty also has a sorrowful side, and plays the orphaned goat perfectly. Even now, his owners still melt when he stands small in the field, sorrowfully bleating at them. Ty has got excellent vision, and can spot one of his humans passing a window within seconds. His voice may be small but it carries and the humans can hear him anywhere on the farm as well as in the house. When he thinks the humans aren’t watching, Ty is busy bossing lambs about, munching hay, jumping on cable reels, lounging on his bench, or having secret conversations with Bubbles and Coco through the fence. Ty also quite often says hello to us alpacas through the fence, and has touched noses with Gus Gus. (Though Gus will never admit it.) I personally dislike his taste in knitwear, but we are all quite taken with him. Even if he is addicted to digestive biscuits. Seriously, he goes nuts for them.
Best of Friends
It’s wonderful to watch the friendship between the three babies. Ty was very scared at first, Coco was shy, and Bubbles was too busy eating hats but they’ve all grown into friends. Ty doesn’t really think himself as a goat but the twins are teaching him. His humans will always be there – big softies. But humans just can’t burp and regurgitate and compare horn growth the same. Neither can alpacas, come to think of it.
The farm has also welcomed this year’s caddy lambs from a few friends farms in Deerness. They are adorable and very sweet with big, bleating voices. I wish I could go on holiday to sunny Peru for a bit. Too much bottle feeding (really tricky with two-toes) and cuddling and bouncing. But then I’d miss our lovely visitors…
It’s wonderful that my adoring public are taking photos of my fabulousness once more. Sure, the babies are cute and all that, but it’s really me they’ve come to see!
So now you’ve been properly introduced to the newest little bleaters, you can probably see, there isn’t much to get excited about. Still, if you want to come and visit, be sure to book well in advance as our humans say we are very busy. And if you’re brave enough, you can have a baby goat (or three) jump on your back. Ty’s current record is bouncing over 12 kids knelt down in a row!
Come say hello – I’ll put on my mascara specially!
Gansey – jumper/sweater
Creepie – small stool unique to Orkney