Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2020 >Daily Dispatch #238

August 29, 2020: The Farming Life: Livestock vs. Pets

Defined, pets are animals you have around that do little besides bring you great joy or great sorrow. There is no in between state. Defined, livestock are animals that you are eventually going to consume or provide you with milk or egg products. Sometimes livestock cross the line and become pets. This occurs when you name them. The words butcher, slaughter, pluck, and process then go out the window.

Here, we have pets – four ponies and two dogs. And we have livestock – three goats (one’s a loaner) and two chickens. The livestock here have collectively taken one small step for man, and one giant step for mankind. To the moon Alys. The chickens


are named Thelma and Louise. And the goats are named Ranger, Stormy, and Buckwheat.

All live in the upper quadrant, or what I call the petting zoo. The living is easy, so they don’t feel they have to do their livestock thing. The chickens get feed and the goats get three squares of hay a day. The mice, who are rodents, get a little bit of everything. Every so often one of the chickens will give us an egg. (They don’t lay eggs; they give us eggs.) As for the goats, Stormy hasn’t given us any milk in the last few years. We borrowed Buckwheat, with the expectation that he would breed with Stormy, after, we’d then have milk.

Buckwheat has had pet status this summer. He has hung out with Ranger and Stormy and spent a better part of his day munching on the brush that surrounds our property. We do not know if he has mated with Stormy. Goats are not at all discrete when it comes to sex. They get it on whenever and however they please.

I think that Buckwheat did what he was born and bred to do, a few days ago. Stormy had marks on her shoulders and her tail looked messed up. No surprise. He came to us a somewhat small, slender fellow with a wonderful disposition. Over the past few months he’s gotten bigger, smellier, and a tad bit more aggressive. Do goats go into rut? I’m not sure. I’m going to have to look this up.

I liked having Buckwheat around. He was for the most part an okay pet. However, to keep him here would do him a disservice, no pun intended. His job in life is simply to have sex with as many goats as is humanly possible. This is not going to happen on our watch because we have just one female goat. Ranger, Stormy’s sidekick, is a neutered male. Neutered males are called whethers. If Stormy has a male and he is neutered, we’ll call him Stormy Whether.

So Buckwheat will be going home in the next few weeks. Will he miss us? I suspect not. Being livestock, his mind will be on other things. Will I miss him? Yes. I love the animals in the upper quadrant as much as I love the animals in the lower quadrant. Obviously, sometimes this is problematic.

Next: 239. 8/30/20: Taking the Dog and Pony Show on the Road

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles