Baby Simon is just precious. A perfect example of everything wonderful, a sweet little soul who lifted my spirits through a lot of bad days.
Simon came to us as part of a trade. Our Alpine/Nubian doe, Georgia, was just too aggressive with our smaller goats- especially tiny Rosie. Rosie got so tired of being butted into the pen wall at dinner time that she stopped approaching the feed troughs altogether, hanging back and watching with resignation as the other goats ate. After a second disasterous kidding that ended in one baby abandoned and one baby killed by overlay, we knew Georgia needed to find a new home. We ended up placing her at a hobby farm as a family milker, and Simon came to our farm.
Born May 24th in a pair of Nigerian Dwarf twin bucklings, he was 4 weeks old when he arrived. Mourning the sudden loss of his mother, he often climbed into my lap and buried his little face in my armpit. The other goats stared at him through the kidding pen gate, then looked at each other as if asking “whose baby is this?!” We took turns sitting with him, hoping to ease his sadness in those early days.
We supervised his early forays into the pasture. The other goats sniffed him and butted him aside; this little outsider had no place eating their clover. He ran to his humans and cried until we picked him up. With no mother to secure his place in the pecking order it fell to us to protect him. Each day he stayed out for a little longer, and the herd grew accustomed to him.
In the morning he would call for us, crying to be scooped out of his pen and set out in the pasture. He would run around the tree, searching for his mama. He learned his name surprisingly fast and wouldn’t have anything to do with the bottle. Straight to grain and hay instead with a healthy round of grazing added in. I often came out to the doe pasture and lay on my stomach in the grass to watch him. Sometimes he’d scoot in beside me or nibble my hair, always staying within arm’s reach.
One morning, he didn’t call for us. Heavy-hearted and afraid tragedy had struck, I went out to the barn to check on him. His pen was empty, the gate ajar. The other goats were surprised to see me so early. They stayed in the bedding boxes and regarded me curiously, checking my hands for the grain scoop. When I opened the door to the doe pasture and the girls started jumping up to run outside, I noticed a familiar little shape tagging along beside Daisy.
Daisy had taken it upon herself to chew off the twine holding Simon’s door closed and brought him to bed with her. From that moment on, the two were a fixture. She called for him and he answered. She became his protector and nurturer, licking his face and nosing him towards the barn at dusk. He followed her through the pasture, leaping and dancing with joy. He no longer cried for his humans in the morning, but was always so happy to see us. He still laid in my lap and pressed his little nose to my forehead until Mama Daisy called him back to her side.
I knew we couldn’t keep him. We have 3 breeding bucks already, all of whom are able to provide service for years to come. I didn’t want to get too attached to him but those efforts proved just as futile as they always have. As my father said recently, everything that walks, crawls, hops or flies on our property ends up being named and cherished. I was determined to love Simon every day he spent with us and find him the best home possible.
The lucky little booger ended up going home with a wonderful couple as their very first goat. He snuggled in their arms and endeared himself just as quickly as he’d snared our hearts after he arrived. I miss sitting with him in the afternoon, singing him to sleep in my lap until his foster mom noticed he wasn’t at her flank anymore. He was a much-needed distraction and a vessel to pour myself into during a tough journey, and I’m grateful for the time we had. His brief stay here was a blessing to all of us. I’m glad I let myself get attached to him, even though he would be leaving in not too long. We taught each other some important lessons- I helped him find his trust, and he helped me find my hope.