Friday, August 7, 2009

Unhappy campers (with loud voices)

It’s still very hot and humid but there’s a nice, stiff breeze blowing, so I decided to put Mopple and Edmund together today. It’s working fairly well, though Edmund is a very unhappy camper.

For those who aren’t familiar with goats, Nubians are arguably the most vocal goats on earth and some have astoundingly loud and strident voices. When Edmund was small he sounded like a demented jungle bird (with great lungs). His voice has improved but the boy certainly has volume and he’s in full voice today.

Since moving outdoors, he’s been bunking with two slightly older Nubian wethers named Meegosh and Hutch, collectively known as The Red Brothers. They aren’t biological twins (Hutch’s mom graciously adopted Meegosh and raised him with Hutch) but naturally they are very close. So while they’ve been tolerating Edmund, they tend to treat him as an outsider and I didn’t think they’d mind him leaving.

Not so! Meegosh is shrieking almost as loudly as Edmund, so it’s pretty noisy here today. The up side is that Edmund is so focused on getting back with The Red Brothers that he’s largely ignoring Mopple. Mopple seems to think that's fine.

An odd twist is that when I took Mopple his bottle, Edmund demanded one too. Usually, once bottle kids are weaned they won’t take a bottle again. So, I put a few ounces of milk in a bottle, added ten ounces of water, and gave that to Edmund to keep him occupied while Mopple eats. It’s not an ideal situation but for now it will have to do. I upended a water container in the pen to sit on while I feed these guys, to make certain Edmund doesn’t mob Mopple for his milk. He stopped a few times and eyeballed the milky water with suspicion but he drank it. We’ll see what happens next time…


  1. Poor Edmund :)
    I like your comparison to a jungle bird scream and can imagine how loud that is as I have jungle parrots of my own - the volume of a cockatoo in full scream is UNREAL - can be heard over city noises at least 2 full blocks away .. luckily for me the cockatoo was a foster bird who got healthy enough to find himself a loving a home.

    I think you've convinced me that Nubians aren't for me :)

  2. I'm very honestly NOT making that up! I should've recorded Edmund his first night here when he shrieked for almost 24 hours--from his new home in the baby crate in the living room. Even the dogs padded about with the same pained faces they assume when I play bagpipe music.

    Meegosh is almost as loud but has a far more melodious voice.

    Some Boers sound exactly the same. A visitor once commented, "It sounds like someone is torturing babies!"

    These are definitely not urban goat breeds.

    That said, we love to hear our goats talk. When not mindlessly shrieking (and really, most of them don't), Nubians and Boers have a wide vocabulary and aren't afraid to use it. My humongous Boer-Nubian wethers, for instance, have a specific, low vocalization they use to say, "It's 5 PM--put us in, we're starving!"