National Geographic : 1954 May
628 National Geographic Photographer Willard 1. Culver An Arkansas Farm Girl Milks a Toggenburg, One of the Most Popular Milkers White boots, brown coat, and white stripes on the face mark the Toggenburg, a Swiss native. Wattles beneath the ears are stylish with this breed. Ancient Romans believed such appendages signified a prolific nature. and though its hide, hair, meat, and milk are indispensable to the people of the Near East, it nevertheless has become a symbol there of erosion and ruin. If the ration doesn't suit the goats on our farm, they tip over the feed pan. If there's the slightest film of dust on their water, they turn away from it with disdain. They all hate to get wet. And they have a strong tendency to consider fencing as a challenge, and to be astonished that their human com panions expect them to regard it as a barrier. Strays Are Hard on Shrubbery At least once a week during our first sum mer every goat got under, over, or through our fences. Goats are sufficiently nimble to present no hazard to traffic, and they always know enough to come home at the end of the day. But while they are at large, they will denude the shrubbery, strip the flowers of their buds, and leap onto the cars of visiting dignitaries. Goats will respect the bite of an electric fence if they are individually introduced to it at the start of every season, but at the be ginning of our farming experience we did not know this. Electric fences looked frail to us, and Bobby built serviceable-but much more expensive-fences from 5-foot woven wire. The arrangement of the buildings was, like the fencing, a result of live and learn. Bobby, remembering the original cow stanchions she had helped to tear out of the barn, built similar ones in goat size. They were neatly done, very stylish looking, and won admiring exclamations from visitors. The goats, how ever, took a dimmer view of the situation. Goats are active creatures, suffering from confinement, and being held by the neck in a rigid wooden yoke put them in a deplorable state of mind. We replaced the yokes at some expense with metal swing stanchions. These were better, allowing more freedom; but al though most of the goats were sufficiently agile to twist about and sit in their feed trough, they claimed one and all that they could not twist back again. We were forever rushing to the barn in response to wails for help from half-strangled goats.