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We Need A Cow
Third Times The Charm
Billy Bob
Guardian Donkey
Like Father Like Son

Peacock in Flight Peacock in Flight

Billy Bob Arrives

One year my husband and I decided we should raise pygmy goats. In retrospect, we had clearly taken leave of our senses. Looking back, I can’t imagine what we were thinking because the four goats we owned were always getting into trouble. For instance when I was in the garden and the gate was open, Danny would come up behind me and pull my pony tail or steal my hat. He clearly thought it was funny as he would dance a little jig and toss his head up in the air as I chased after him yelling. He, Emma Jean, Mandy and Samantha danced the same jig as they stole Thomas’s tools or gloves when he was working on a piece of equipment. Or, they would take tools out of the workshop if it was left unattended. Not to mention racing into the house when your hands were full and you were struggling with the door. Or, the ever constant battle of keeping them out of the feed. And forget having any living plant growth near the house – they destroyed it all. So what possessed us to embark on the pygmy goat breeding path I will never know. It was clearly insanity as the goat’s antics were infuriating. Regardless, we were off on a new adventure. And, since Danny had been neutered by a previous owner the hunt was on for an intact male.

After several months, we were able to locate one. Yes, you read that right; we had months to rethink the insanity but obviously did not. At any rate, he was a short, stocky, jet black model with a huge rack of horns. He was small, spunky and well a great looking buck.
The people that owned him were getting out of the business. Yes, this was another warning sign. This should have been a red flag. But, it didn’t register. How dense could we be? Apparently, very!

On with the story - these breeders had two goats left - the jet black male who they called “Bucky” and his much smaller sister. Both were registered which is usually an indication that someone has invested money and therefore they would naturally care for their investment. Unfortunately, this was not the case as both had been neglected. Not only were they marginally healthy but their hooves were so overgrown that they could hardly walk. And the female had a lump on her side that required surgery.

If you know anything about me you know that I can not stand for an animal to be mistreated. Needless to say we took them both.

Since the male looked like one of the three Billy goats gruff we named him “Billy Bob,” although, the name Bucky should have tipped us to some of his tendencies – but, that’s another story. Yes, I realize that this was another instance where we went fat, dumb, and blindly on our way. But there you have it.

Billy Bob took an immediate liking to Emma Jean and the other ladies. The ladies, however, were uncertain of his intentions and would need a good deal of convincing.

One evening while he was still trying to woo them my husband, Thomas was in the barn doing some evening chores. He was in the loft when he heard a noise which he assumed was me coming into the barn. And needing some help he began calling for me. The conversation apparently went on for some time with him getting more irritated by the minute because I was not giving him the needed help. Worse, he could not clearly hear what I was saying. Finally, exasperation filled him as he angrily tossed several bales of hay down the ladder.

I came into the barn just in time to see the hay bales bounce. I didn’t think anything of it. The goats were in the door way and being a soft touch I went into the feed room to get some grain. Thomas climbed down the ladder just in time to see me hand feeding the goats.

Boy was he mad as he stormed down the aisle! After all, I obviously had time to pamper the goats he ranted; what was I thinking! The goats scattered and I stood with my mouth gaping wide open. Finally, he stood in front of me and demanded an explanation as to why I did not help him.

Closing my mouth, I explained through my teeth that I had just come into the barn and I did not know he needed help. This was not an answer he was willing to accept as clearly I had been talking to him. Before I could throw back an angry retort a melodic voice came from the other side of the barn.

My breath stuck in my throat and a chill ran down my spine. I looked at Thomas and from the look on his face; he was having the same feeling. The talking continued as we both stood wondering if the barn was haunted. Finally, Thomas cleared his throat, found his voice and with some authority demanded to know who was there.

Emma Jean bounded through the doorway with Billy Bob on her heals. She passed us and jumped up on the ledge in her stall. Billy was unable to jump up beside her because his toes were overgrown and since he had only been on the farm a few days this condition was not yet corrected. So he stood in the center of the stall talking to her.

Unbelievable! He sounded human; you could almost understand the words as he pleaded with her to come down.

A nervous giggle left my lips and the hilarity of it did not set in until later. But yes, you guessed it; Thomas had been having a conversation with the goat!

As the days passed Billy Bob continued to talk and he refused to come to his name. One night it was abundantly clear to me that he was never going to come to Billy Bob. It was like a light bulb turning on in my brain as I turned and asked him if he wanted to be called William Robert. The answer was a clear, unmistakable, very human “yes.”

Today, everyone on the farm has to be mindful as to who they are having a conversation with because William and every one of his babies “talk.” It does not matter where you are on the property; if they hear your voice they have no problem answering you. After all it would be rude to let you talk to yourself. All of us, at one time or another has had conversations with William.

Oh, and as a side note, we never could part with any of the baby goats. After we hit sixteen, we had William neutered. Clearly, sixteen kids running around stealing tools and hats is beyond ludicrous. They drive us insane and keep us on our toes with everyday being a new challenge to outsmart their antics. But, as unbelievable as it sounds, we love them – what can you do? Kids will be kids and the insanity continues!


Rivers Critters Ranch, LLC

We own and operate Rivers Critters Ranch, LLC, which was founded in 1997.  As the name suggests the farm belongs to the animals we seem to be just the caretakers.

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This site is dedicated to those of us who have dream to farm.   Inside you will find information, stories, pictures and advice outlining the experiences of a city born family who acted upon the dream to move to the country and  live on a farm.  Join us as we share our adventures! 

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