Sunday, June 7, 2015

Misadventures in Goat Transport

I should know by now that things with goats never go as planned. Earlier this spring, I decided that I could use another buck to be Bubba's buddy. Then I figured, if I'm going to feed two bucks, I might as well feed two really nice bucks. 

I just love shopping for goats (seriously, no sarcasm there. I browse goats like some women window shop) so I set to work and found a boy who looked like he'd work just right for us. The problem? He was in New Jersey.

Fortunately, the breeder, Jane, said we could fly him right into Hartsfield. Perfect. Only $250 and he's 90 minute from home. But wait, she suggested, before we fly him, let's look into ground transportation. It may save us some money.

She put a request out on "Goat Transport" on Facebook and within the hour, we had someone willing to deliver for less than the amount to fly. Cha ching. Door-to-door service and we save money.

I shared the good news with my husband who, bulk shopper that he is, suggested I look at a doeling too to keep the buckling company on the way down. If you're shipping a goat from NJ, might as well ship two. So I picked out Posy.

As I was communicating (or not) with the transporter, I began to get a worried feeling. He seemed to have overlapping trips planned, though he assured me that they would pick up my goats on June 1. 

I returned his contract and sent a deposit check. He wrote back that he could not cash my check since it was made out to his farm name. I'd made it out to the only name I had. So I asked for a picture of my voided check and said I'd send another when I received it. 

As of the last week in May, no picture was forthcoming and we were nearing our June 1 date. Jane had the vet out for health certificates on the kids. I decided just to send another check up to the transporter so I wasn't the one holding things up. 

The day after I dropped the second check in the mail, I received a call from Rhode Island. Yes! Finally, the transporter confirming things! No! Actually, it was the transporter's father-in-law informing me (after rambling for 20 minutes) that all trips were off. As least he DID text a picture of my voided first check. I put a $36 stop payment on the second check.

I was crestfallen. Now I didn't have just one goat to get to Georgia, I had two- two goats who were now too big to fly. Jeff and I started making plans how we were going to drive to New Jersey. Ugh!

After a few days, I saw a post on "Goat Transport" from someone hauling a horse from Maryland to Northeast Georgia with room for two goats. Hardly ideal, but Jane and I jumped at the opportunity and were bound and determined to make this work. 

This is where things get really fun.....

Jane drove them two hours on Tuesday to meet the transporter, Michelle, in Maryland. She planned to layover with my goats at her home in Virginia and drive them to Georgia on Thursday. I don't get out much, so decided to make it a road trip. Jeff used his points to reserve two rooms Wednesday night for me, the boys, and my parents in Cornelia, Georgia. A friend came in to milk for me. 

We had a great time sightseeing Tallulah Gorge. Wow, there are a lot of steps!

Then we had an unbelievably wonderful farm-to table meal at Fortify in Clayton, GA. We learned once we got there that they were rated one of the 100 best restaurants in the country.

Meanwhile, the transporter had the horse transport cancel on her and only had my two goats. She could not make any money driving her truck and trailer down, so she borrowed a friend's car and decided to drive them down overnight Wednesday night so she could get back home to VA on Thursday.

I went to bed that night with my phone on so I would hear her text when she was getting close.

At 5:11 am, I received a text from a friend (a friend with goats) saying "Call me when you get up." My mom was asleep in the next bed, so I couldn't call back.

An hour later, Michelle texted to say that, "The bigger of the two decided to make a mess all over the back of the car and she would be a couple hours late". Ut oh. All I could thing was scours. And I was right!

Poor Michelle finally arrived about 9:00 and pulled Whiskey out of his crate in back. What a mess! No sooner did his hooves hit the pavement than he started pouring huge puddles of poo from his back end all over the Hampton Inn parking lot. At least Posy, the doeling, was just fine.

I realized at that moment, that our transportation arrangements were not going to work. My plan was 5 people in the Acadia and the two goats in the extra large wire dog crate next to my son in the 60/40 split on the third row. Somehow a wire dog crate, a crowded SUV,  and explosive diarrhea did not seem like a good idea.

Cole, Posy, and I ran to Walmart and Tractor Supply, which by some stroke of good luck were across the street from the hotel, while my mom and dad walked poor, sick Whiskey around the parking lot.

The hotel staff provided them with a hose, rubber gloves, paper towels, and clorox wipes. I picked up a plastic dog crate, puppy pads, towels, a tarp, Kaopectin, Gatorade, Probios, and anything else I could think of to manage this situation.

By the time we got back, they had Whiskey cleaned up. Both crates would not fit in the car, so we collapsed the wire crate, stuck Posy in the far back on a tarp, and Whiskey in the plastic crate. All our bags rode under our feet.

It was a day for goat emergencies. On the way home, another friend called with problems with Coccidiosis. I got back in touch with my 5:11am friend. Her doe had kidded twins and rejected them. Long story short, after a trip to my house for colostrum, they ended up at Auburn that afternoon for the vets to tube the babies. Mama and kids are doing fine now.

All this was going on as I was fighting Atlanta traffic, Whiskey fumigating the car at 20 minute intervals, and Posy trying to hop over the seat into Chase's lap.

All's well that ends well. Posy and Whiskey are settled in now. 

Both are healthy and doing great.

I'm still having dreams of that amazing dinner at Fortify. 

And I'm looking forward to this boy's kids next spring.

I am taking a break from transporting goats (at least until the buck I ordered from Washington State is born next year!).


  1. Kristin, you are a hoot! I cannot imagine dealing with so many obstacles to get a pair of goats to my house. Bless your dear parents for for being such troopers along with the rest of your crew.

  2. Yes, Maridonna, our daughter is a hoot! but there is never a dull moment when she calls for a road trip!! I think the staff at the Hampton Inn deserve medals. :)