Two of our little bucklings left our farm this morning to move to another home. That always makes us feel a bit sad, but we just can't keep them all. My hope is that they go to good homes where they have lots of room outdoors to run, roam, and graze...and that there will be lots of female goats to keep them company. Most of the time, we have been very pleased with the new owners of our livestock, but there was a time a few years ago when we sold a little buckling to a college boy, and that is the story I'm telling today.
In the spring a few years past, we had a surplus of goat kids, so I posted an ad on Craigslist. Our Nigerian Dwarf goats are small and so cute, especially when they're little. Sometimes people buy them for pets. A few days after I posted Romano (all our goat kids are named after cheeses) on the web, I got a call from a nearby college student who wanted to stop by that evening to buy him. I asked if he'd like some more information or would like to take a look at him and then think about it first. He said he was sure he wanted to make the purchase and would pick him up before dinner. By the way, this was a Friday. Because we are fairly secluded out here, and I had a house full of little ones, I made sure I set the pickup time for after my husband returned from work. No sooner did my husband come home when a car pulled up, and three college students hopped out. The one who had made the call was very friendly and eager to put Romano in the back seat of his car and head out. We tried explaining to him how this buckling should be cared for. We asked him where he would be staying. He said he'd be at the "house" for the night, and then he'd go home to a farm the next morning with one of the "little sisters." We asked him if he had food for him, and he said no. So we stocked him with some hay and goat feed for the night. The other two young people seemed bored and disinterested, and said nothing, and made no eye contact with us. We had serious misgivings about this sale, but we did eventually take the money and say goodbye to Romano and pray for the best.
My husband was very concerned about this little goat, and I felt rather sick about the transaction myself. We had only been selling goats for a couple of years, and this was the first time red flags went off when we met with prospective buyers. I told myself that we can't control what happens to our livestock after we sell them, and this was still probably preferable to taking them to an auction. We went about our evening routine and said a bedtime prayer with our children for the goat that night. And we went to bed.
Around 2 AM, someone was ringing our doorbell and pounding on our door. My husband threw on some clothes, found a hunting rifle, and flew down the stairs to the front door. I hid out on the stairs in my nightgown to listen. At the door stood the frightened and nervous college fraternity brother who had come to our house earlier. In his arms was Romano. The young man apologized profusely, and asked if we would take our goat back; we could even keep the money. It turned out that Romano was purchased to be the entertainment at a frat party that Friday night. Someone reported the college students to campus police because farm animals are not allowed in the borough. When the police showed up at the Greek house, they were told to return the goat to his rightful home immediately. And that is why they were on our front porch at 2 in the morning. We kept Romano in our house for awhile to make sure no harm had come to him. He seemed perfectly fine as he trotted around the living areas and then tried to come hopping up the stairs. We finally took him back out to the barn to join the rest of his goat family.
Romano continued to live with us for another month or two until a lovely family with a small farm bought him to breed with their Nigerian Dwarf does that would be shown in 4H in the future. This woman was sympathetic and said she had been in a sorority in college and knew what some of the Greek parties had been like that she attended. We were all grateful that our goat was OK and appeared to have had nothing more than a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that night. My husband and I vowed to never again go against our gut instincts when selling our animals and to be very wary of high interest from college-aged buyers.