Daily life,  Our journey

A tale of two goats

As you probably know if you’ve been following our French countryside antics, the purchase of Maison Barbe came with thirteen chickens and three goats. About a month ago, we lost one of them, Mika, to a ghost pregnancy that turned toxic. Her departure left the remaining two goats, Tilly and Poppy, genuinely bereft and not even breakfast gave them any more pleasure. It was during their grieving period when Buddy came into their lives.

Tilly and Poppy

Buddy is a on-year old boy goat that belongs to our friends Echo and Darren from Chambres-du-Pont-de-la-Legende.  Despite being a beloved member of their family, they asked us if we could take him in, as he lived alone and, as they live in the medieval village of Sauveterre de Bearn, they struggled to offer him the vast open space he needed. We were very happy to welcome Buddy into our family, especially as we hoped he would provide a welcome distraction to our grieving girls.

The formidable trio

After a little bullying, as it is the custom amongst goats, Buddy soon passed the test and took Mika’s place with flying colours in the goats house. He has now been with us for almost one month and brought genuine joy into our hearts. We’ve never seen Tilly and Poppy jumping around and standing on their hind legs as we’ve seen them recently prompted by the ever energetic Buddy.

But Alistair and I had a surprise for our formidable trio. Having been promised two baby goats by our neighbour Jeff, we went over on Tuesday morning to collect them, now that they had been weaned.

At Jeff’s menagerie we were welcomed by Jenna (the crazy dog) and Panda (the gourmet sheep who likes to eat everything from hay to shoes and from grains to trousers).


After a bit of struggle to catch them, we placed Onyx and Opal in the back of the car and made our way home, wondering how the resident three would react.

Alistair is holding on firmly to Onyx
First car ride ever

We drove the car through the gate and into the goat’s enclosure and opened the door. None of the girls fancied escaping. Guess the back of the car that you know is a much safer place than a field you don’t know. So I had to open both doors and push them out gently. Opal wouldn’t move and I didn’t want to force her as she was born with a bad knee, but I pushed Onyx and she started running like crazy towards the river. Opal jumped out too and hid under the car like a cat. She bleated and bleated and it didn’t look like she would get out of there anytime soon so I used a stick to nudge her out. Eventually she broke out and made her way straight towards the other goats. Buddy immediately assumed the welcoming committee president role and diligently sniffed her up and down.

She seemed to be doing well with the introductions so we went in search of the lost goat. After some intense searching on Alistair and my part, we found her up the hill stuck in brambles, but she eventually managed to get out. A few minutes later the sisters were reunited and properly introduced to the rest of the gang by the ever affable Buddy.

Now, there was only the issue of the car stuck in mud… After a few failed attempts of putting gravel under its wheels and realising by the amount of mud still sputtered that the car wasn’t going anywhere, we realised we needed plan B.

Thankfully, our neighbour Murray is not only the most entertaining, funny  wise and helpful neighbour we could have ever wished for, he also has a Range Rover! 🙂

Alas, all is well when it ends well.

Tilly and Poppy seemed to have been gentler to the girls than they’ve been with Buddy in the beginning but, thankfully, we still have Buddy to give them a little pushing around once in a while when they get too close to food or shelter for good measure. But Opal, the little lame goat, appears to have smartness on her side and always wiggles her way to the next available bowl of food, unlike her sister who, despite being bigger and able-bodied, follows Opal’s lead and runs away terrified at the very sight of humans. But we’re getting there.

Good luck, little girls, and welcome to the family!

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