Saturday, April 10, 2010



Los Chivos are a massive part of life in Mexico, as in many countries. They are extremely valuable to the rural/ranch lifestyle not only as a source of income (through milk and meat) but because when they head out to graze, they do the work of an army of men with machetes. Particularly during the rainy season when plant growth is unbelievably rapid, the goats help keep things trimmed back and trails navigable.
In December, Dan purchased 14 goats as a holiday gift for Holly. Since then, the herd has ballooned to 24. Clearly, Chewy the billy goat is doing his job... We’ve had multiple sets of twins, though we’re still awaiting our first triplets. It’s impossible to capture the hilarity of goats with words, pictures, or even videos (believe me, we’ve tried). Only by spending time with them day in and day out can you truly appreciate their personalities. Some are pushy ‘chowhounds’, others looking for affection and companionship.


In the morning the recent mothers are pulled into a small corral to be milked while the rest wait to head out to graze. Once set loose, they spend the morning combing the 40+ hectares (about 100 acres) for food. They come back around mid-day to have some water and see what’s happening around the house. Afternoon grazing often takes place on the hill next to the house, then around sunset they come wandering back towards the corral. With some coaxing on our part and the help of Maya they are funneled into the corral. When we start clapping loudly they know that’s the signal to head in. Likewise, Maya knows that’s the signal to run behind them, barking and herding them towards the corral.


Kids are separated from the herd for the evening so they don’t drink all their mothers’ milk during the night; that way we get more milk the following morning. Newborns, for the first couple of weeks hang out in the “kids corral” while the rest of the herd heads out for the day. The newborns are too small to be out on their own, so they stay in their special spot with plenty of things to climb on and play in. Our goats aren’t sold for meat (they have names, after all) although we’ve had many inquiries about purchasing them for pets as well. For all of their tomfoolery and occasional stinkiness, they really are beautiful animals.


Can I name them all you ask? Lets see... Chewy, Carlito, Gwenyth, Nancy-boy, Drew, Beavis, Butthead, Paco, Leche, Latte, Pat, Emily, SeƱor Dos, Britney Spears, Kate Moss, Mrs. Toggle-boggle, Crystal, Luna, Guadifoo (named by our two year-old friend Luis) and uhh... five others. Ranch rules clearly state that if you’re here for the delivery of new kids, you can name them so come see us!

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