Let me introduce you to our Nubian milk goat. The goat was a birthday gift from my friends at The Montana Chocolate Company! We happily welcomed her aboard the B&B team, as she will produce a dreamy high fat milk that is perfect for making butter and cream. The homemade butter will go great with our White chocolate Huckleberry Muffins!
Her name? Officially, her name is “Tinkerbell” a.k.a “Crack Baby”. Choosing her name was difficult. We went through a few names on a trial bais: (in chronological order) Pumpkin, Java, Mocha, Cinnamon (that one almost stuck), Twinkle Toes, Boo (for the white ghost shape on her side), Cry Baby (another almost), Bella, and finally, (this one stuck) Crack Baby. Yes, “Crack Baby”. She screams like one of those babies we used to hear about who were born to mothers who were addicted. If she is not screaming, then the baby is as ‘high as a kite’. She flips, kicks, and puts on quite an acrobatic show! The guest LOVE her! Her silly antics and love for people win the heart of every one she meets. I can’t count how many ‘selfies’ were taken with “Tink” the last few weeks. Several guest have enjoyed feeding her bottle to her at breakfast time!
Tinkerbell has been an adventure since day 1. We adopted her from a sweet family in the Bitterroot Valley. We thought, ‘This is great. The little goat has had a lot of human contact. She is well socialized, she will be friendly to our guest.” Boy were we WRONG-O!
Translate: This is one spoiled goat. She thinks she belongs with humans and screams until you hold her in your lap, feed her a bottle, and rock her to sleep in a rocking chair!”
You can imagine the antics we have gone through to keep the baby quiet when guest are here! The first night, someone, I am not naming names, made a pallet in floor in the garage to sleep next to her! Then there were the 4 a.m. feedings. At night, we put her in the garage (it’s further away from guest). Like a baby, she didn’t want to go to sleep, especially alone. So we watched intently for the moment the guest would to go out to dinner. Real quick like, we would feed her the bottle and put her to bed, with the covers over her head. Like clockwork, she would scream, and I mean SCREAM, for 15 minutes. We just crossed our fingers she would not awaken until morning. Luckily, she slept ‘like a baby’ each night.
Kevin, the farm boy, decided she was lonely and needed friends. “Once she has friends outside, she will settle down”, he said. Wrong-O! Again.
“Sunshine” enters the picture. Sunshine, a young Saanen milk goat, belonged to my friends. However, their flock just didn’t seem to accept her as one of their own. Only 2 months old and newly weaned from her mom, Sunshine found herself ostracized from the herd! Lonely, hungry, and so small, we were concerned. We invited Sunshine to stay with us, to keep Tinkerbell company, while we waited for her to find her forever home. It turned out, Tinkerbell was too high strung for Sunshine! Sunshine, gentle and calm, has “zen” and wanted no part of Crack Baby’s antics. So… instead of playing with her new friend, Tinkerbell continued to stare at the windows of the B&B and cry for ME!
A guest, who works in psychology, diagnosed Tinkerbell with separation anxiety and recommended ‘in house’ therapy. We all laughed, it was true, Tink had separation anxiety all right! However, in house therapy was definitely NOT going to happen! At least, not in this house!
Tinkerbell is quite intelligent and very determined to be with us. She learned to climb the stairs. She learned to wiggle through the gate. She learned to jump up on the picnic table, to look into the kitchen window, to look at me! Tinkerbell explored the chicken coop, hoping I was in there! Finally, she learned how to use the doggie door and found her way into the house! All the while, screaming her head off, with her ears flapping in the breeze, and her tongue waggling with each yell! Some of the neighbors thought they heard a real child screaming at our house. We thought we were going to go insane while trying to not to disturb the guest! “OH MY! What have we gotten ourselves into?” We asked ourselves day and night! What a birthday gift!!!
Some where along the way, Mama Sheep arrived with her newborn lambs. Mama Sheep did not like Crack Baby’s yelling or jumping around. Tinkerbell still found herself without a pasture buddy.
Then there was the whole problem with the fence. First, she got her head stuck in the fence once a day. This produced screaming, beyond screaming! After a few days, she started getting herself stuck in the fence about once an hour. More screaming. Each time she got stuck, the whole herd would send out a distress call for me to come save Tinkerbell again (meaning all five animals yelled for me, instead of just one yelling!) Then she started getting herself stuck in the fence about once every five minutes!!! That made for a few LONG days!
Hence, the temporary device to protect her head. This distracted her for a few hours, but was never really going to prevent her head from fitting through the fence holes, alas, again she was stuck within the same afternoon.
Then we borrowed a dog surgical collar for her to wear. She could not get her head through the fence anymore, but the collar was too big, and she could not eat grass. Thank goodness, Dr. Kauffman came to the rescue with a collar that was just the right size. That was the best $8 I have ever spent! Tinkerbell wore the dog cone for 2 weeks and only got her head stuck once while wearing the “Cone of Shame”.
We were exhausted! We contemplated giving Crack Baby away, but week by week, the guest adored her more! We adored her more. We could not do a thing outside, without her constant companionship. As much as she drove us nuts, she quickly became the star of the B&B. Afraid her crying would irritate the neighbors as much as she irritated us, or worse, call the predators in, we kept trying many tactics to quiet the baby. We have been through several training collars. She would get used to one, we’d switch to another. We tried food, she couldn’t be bribed. It was so bad, we would even peek out the window to see if she was looking toward the house, before we crossed a room with a window. She was ALWAYS looking!
If she thought it was time for her bottle, she screamed! If she was lonely, she screamed. If she was bored, she screamed. If the sun was shining, she screamed. At sunset, she had a special ritual. She would stand on her table and face the house, to the east, and scream. Then she would pivot south and scream. Pivot to the west, scream. Pivot to the north, scream. Then she would give up, go to the barn, and sleep like a baby all night. At least she was quiet at night!
She has been weaned from her bottle for a couple of weeks now. You can imagine how she protested!
Tinkerbell just turned three months old. She finally made friends with Sunshine and the lambs. Tinkerbell plays on her jungle gym and grazes peacefully. She still talks to me when she sees me outside, but there is no more screaming. Just like a baby, I still have to visit her through out the day, to let her know we are still around. I tuck her in at night and give her morning greetings.
On mornings we must awaken early, I now hang a curtain on her barn door, to block her view of the kitchen. If I don’t, as soon as she sees the kitchen light on, she cries for me to come visit her. A rub on the chin is all it takes to calm her down and assure her, we all survived the night safely. Now that she is better behaved and extremely friendly, everybody loves Tinkerbell. As one tough guy, (retired military) said last week, “That Tinkerbell has got me wrapped around her little finger, or hoof”!
And that is the way it is. Everyone who meets her loves her. Thankfully, she is slowly outgrowing her nickname of Crack Baby. She is learning a few tricks and performs for treats! Tinkerbell is one special little Nubian! If you don’t know her, you can meet her for yourself at the B&B! Follow Tinkerbell on Instagram and Facebook!