Silence of the Kids

 


The kids shipped out on Saturday, to Easter Auction. This is the dark side of dairying, and most people usually don’t make the connection. For every dairy animal that gives milk, she has given birth to at least one offspring. It’s an even chance it’s a male, which makes it useless as a future milker. These unwanted males have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually an auction, sooner or later. I don’t make any money on it. I never get back the value of the milk it has taken to raise these kids. It’s just one solution to the issue. I would rather have them take a short trip to the butcher and end their life in a useful fashion on someone’s Easter table, than the longer trip as a possibly abused pet tied to a tree or chased by dogs.
In any case, it’s much quieter and calmer in the barn, and I’m getting lots more milk to make into cheese. I don’t miss them — I still have my bottle babies that will be next year’s milkers. The moms don’t even miss them. Fiona just surprised me by saying that when the kids ship out, it’s like Jody Foster’s character’s experience in Silence of the Lambs, and that made me sad.

Special Needs Kids


Every year we have a kid or two that needs special attention. This year is no different. One little twin, born to a first freshener, was abandoned shortly after birth, so I’m bottle feeding him. Of course, he has now bonded to humans, so whenever I go out into the goat barn, he glues himself to my feet and follows me around. But lest I get too attached to him, he’ll do this for any set of legs walking into the barn. The other day he followed Brad down into the woods when he was checking the fence. He got stuck in the snow so many times, Brad had to carry him out. Somebody stopped to take pictures of the goats the other day, and the next time I went up by the gate, there was a polaroid photo of him left for us.

These kids always get goofy names. This guy has been dubbed “Teeny little super guy” after the long-ago Sesame Street character. A couple of years ago, we had Peggy Eileen, who had a broken leg, and stumped around on her peg leg, with a definite tilt… Last year’s was Moaning Myrtle, who would try eating anything once, and managed to rip a piece of rubber off Laura’s rain pants.