We started the process of weaning Sabine the day before yesterday. This involves separating her from her mother, Mayday, who she has been nursing on for her entire 3 months of being. To make this work we need to keep Sabine in a place where her mom is inaccessible, basically, in a paddock far away from the rest of our goats for a bit. Goats are herd animals and having Sabine be by herself during weaning would make an already trying time even more stressful, so we chose Karmen, one of the more adventurous and spunky Nubian kids to keep her company. Karmen had been weaned when we brought her and three other Nubian doelings to our farm from their previous home at a dairy a few hours away. She and her floppy eared friends had adjusted quickly to life without mom and milk, and we hoped she'd pass that attitude on to Sabine as well as give her some comfort with her presence.
We may have chosen... unwisely. You see, to the unknowing observer, it would appear that Karmen is the baby being ripped from the breast. Actually, you wouldn't really need to observe - you could give me a call, have me stick my phone out the back door, and you'd come to the same conclusion. Karmen's blood curdling cry is pretty convincing! The poor thing has been screeching her little heart out for the past 48 hours. She even lost her voice for a little while, during which she made very sad little kitten noises and we half rejoiced (we did feel bad about it, but...) but then it came back starting with a pitiful horse-like whinny thing going on (which you can experience for yourself by watching the video below).
That last yelp is definitely goat for "Get me the hell out of here! NOW!". "Oh, but, she's so cute!". Well, imagine that last cry, 10x louder and 10x longer with lots of operatics thrown in. Actually, just imagine what you would sound like if someone was chasing you around with a chainsaw. Really. This afternoon the entire experience was enhanced by the fact that people owning a piece of land adjacent to ours (they don't live there and we haven't met them yet) decided that it would be a fine afternoon to come out and shoot big guns. Nubian goats are known for being very vocal, with a cry that can sound unnervingly similar to a human's (until I met Bridget, I was convinced that I didn't want any Nubians in our herd for this very reason). So Karmen's screeches and moans were accented by booming gunshots for hours, making the farm seem like the set of a horror film. To top things off, we just tried turning the A/C on in our house for the first time after the inspection and discovered, on this 97 degree day, that it isn't working. Scrapple was sitting up in his office, sweltering with the windows closed, so that none of his conference call colleagues would think he was calling in from a war zone...
We're comparing this entire experience to when we weaned The Buckling out of necessity a few weeks ago. He didn't have a buddy (lets just say, if you were breathing, The Buckling wanted to be more than just buddies) and all the same stopped his sad hollering for momma after about 24 hours. Sabine is basically on the same schedule. Now she only makes her little "baaa"s when Mayday leaves after coming in for milking and has settled down by the time I walk back from bringing Mayday, Bridget, and Springbock (the big girls) back to the rest of the herd in their paddock in the back pastures.
We thought Karmen would adjust too, but it just isn't happening. We're considering swapping her out with one of the other Nubian doelings tomorrow... Poor Karmen - "weaned" twice! Dearest fellow goat ladies (and gents) - any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated! Our sanity, and Karmen's singing career, may depend on you. In the meantime, I'm going to have a glass of wine and possibly put in some ear plugs.