ANZ's Farms

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sounds Goats Make

Over the year we have had our goats, I have learned alot about goat behavior. One of the most facinating aspects is the distinct sounds they make. (This is a picture of Charly stretching on a snowy day.)

First, there was the "I have been separated from the herd" distress call that sounded constantly the first two weeks we had our does. This tore at my heart and worried me that the neighbors would turn us in to the powers-that-be for violating the municipal noise ordinance. Fortunately, as they became accustomed to life on our homestead and realized there are advantages to being two-among-two rather than two-among-sixty, distress cries subsided.

The next sound that became familiar to my ears was the "I'm hungry, come feed me" baaaa. It sounds alot like the distress call but without that mournful edge. A clue to recognizing this sound is that erupts about an hour before grain feeding time.

Once we got Charly and he came of age, mating sounds began. The buck snorts loudly in machine-gun fire bursts, followed by a crowing wail, all the while wooing her with swats from a stiff forearm and rubs from his smelly head. A doe not ready to receive his attention will run away, baaa-ing an irritated rebuff. The doe that is ready for his attention utters a series of love sick grunts.

The goat sounds most sweet are those made by a doe talking to her little ones. She stays in constant communication with newborns by soft, gentle cooing noises. If the little one wanders off, the noise gets louder until the wayward kid is back by her side.

The high pitched sounds kids make are more eeeeehhh than baaa. Either they are always hungry, as is probably the case since they constantly mistake my earlobes or fingertips as places to get milk, or the one noise they make means everything -- I'm hungry! I'm cold! Where's my mamma? Pick me, pick me!

One of the best sounds is silence ... because that means all is well. They are neither hungry, alone, afraid nor anything that needs attention. They are content and most likely chewing their cuds or asleep in the sun.

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