Eric and I have occasionally talked about keeping some animals, maybe goats, in our backyard. Not very seriously, just enough to read some websites about it, pick the spot where we'd do it, and talk idly about how nice it would be to have fresh food right there in the yard.
So all it took was the promise of first-hand experience and some raw goat milk to convince us to accompany our friend to the house where she is goat sitting this week. (Also dog, cat, fish, turtle, mouse, and chicken sitting. Our friend is a very nice neighbor.)
The goats are friendly and interesting, and their milk is delicious, but damn if an hour in that backyard didn't annihilate any urban livestock fantasies we'd been harboring.
They really are so cool looking.
We fed the goats raw fruits and veggies, which was charming, except the part when one of them jumped square into Eric's crotch.
Who's a nice goat? NOT YOU.
Then we helped milk them.
The combination milking/feeding bench seemed a little medieval, although I don't know how else you'd do it.
We didn't help very much, though, because we were slow and bad at it. We were told to think of it as gently squeezing a pastry bag, advice that wasn't as helpful as I thought; by the end of the afternoon I had squeezed more goat teats in my life than I have pastry bags. I guess I'm not the cake decorating type.
Nothing like tugging on hairy goat nipples in the Texas sun!
You have to do this every single day. And you have to breed them to get the milk to come in, but apparently you have to house the stud out in the country until it's time to mate because male goats stink, so bad you can actually smell them halfway down the block.
Also we learned the males urinate on their own faces and use that to rub their scent on everything, and it's not uncommon for them to actually ejaculate on their faces and, as our friend put it, "spread the, uh, love, all over everything."
I like goat milk and I love goat cheese. I think goats are cute, and I'm not particularly squeamish. But no, this is not for me.
No to chickens, too; for a long time we thought it would be fun to keep them for entertainment and fresh eggs, but honestly, the dogs would just kill them all, or at least worry them into nervous breakdowns, and eat their eggs besides. Our dogs are jerks, and they are enough animals for us to take care of for now, and possibly forever.