Posted Feb 15, 2015
Australian Feral Goats are often the bane of a pastoralists life. Voracious breeders and eaters, they can quickly ruin a paddock and destroy valuable land and water supplies. During periods of drought though feral goat herds are often a financial life saver for many properties as goat meat can fetch a good price, much more than drought affected sheep.
During such musters the odd orphaned kid will capture the heart of a bush girl and end up as a homestead pet. One such kid was a little black and white goat we called Lawnmower. He quickly settled in to the homestead and within days we weren't required to tether him. A highly intelligent young man, my parents were bemused to find him playing hide and seek with my brother and I. He would stand with his little face butted up against the wall while we counted and called "ready", at which time he would bolt around the homestead until he found us. When it was his turn to hide, he would stay in the hidey hole one of us put him in until he was found. Clever little fella.
Known to strip the entire veggie patch or orchard in a single overnight escapade, he wasn't always the most popular member of the household, to his eventual demise. Just before the grapevines ripened, he stripped the lot and we woke to find him passed away from bloat. Devastated we were, he received the unusual honor of having his own grave.
I found goats to be great pets. On the proviso that there was secure housing and early acquisition that is. We didn't have much success with goats who were a few months older than Lawnmower, we got him when he was two months old, and to this day he remains one of my favorite childhood memories.