I was in my office, trying to focus on work when her insistent voice broke into my consciousness. Estrella, one of the goat kids, was whining loudly and incessantly. I stepped outside to see what was wrong with the normally quiet girl.
She was standing in the middle of the paddock. Her head wasn’t caught in the fence. Her sister and her mum were nearby. She hadn’t injured herself in the three hours since I was last in the paddock.
Ariana came bounding to her rescue, and her little tail gave a vigorous wag.
Estrella is in season. She’s the last of the three kids to start cycling. The other two have had their days over the past few weeks. Each cycle is heralded by vociferous maaa-ing.
At eight months old, the kids are too young to breed—though they’d happily get in kid, their bodies still aren’t fully developed, and it would cause them trouble. My old girl, Artemis, is now retired from breeding, though to hear her talk, she’d gladly visit the buck, too. Only one of the five goats in the paddock is at breeding age. She’s just come back from three weeks with the neighbour’s bucks, so I’m hopeful she is in kid.
But with four unmated goats in the paddock, and a cycle of three weeks between seasons, there’s going to be a lot of whining in the paddock this winter.
With two children in the house on the cusp of puberty, the whining indoors is almost as bad. I am surrounded by hormonal animals, all wanting something they don’t quite understand and cannot have.
It’s enough to make me dream of olive trees. They would look nice in the paddock. I love olives. And they don’t whine.