Hail the Queen
Petunia's mom was Lilly, who was also Finn's mom. Lilly was a colorful polled Alpine/grade Saanen cross who was very sweet with people but had a deep mean streak toward our livestock guardian dog and the other goats. Luckily neither Petunia nor Finn inherited their mother's aggression issues.
You know, the way I see it a bit of aggression is good. It can signify personality. Too little aggression is the personality of a sheep, and sheep are famous for lack of individual personality.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
Well, when aggression crosses the line into outright sadistic meanness, it's too much. Petunia was not aggressive, but she was in charge. No one pushed her around and she made sure everybody got a place at the feeder. She especially looked out for babies and made sure the yearlings didn't pick on them. Lilly, on the other hand, was aggressive to the point where I worried she would attack other goats' babies or keep them from food and shelter. She had a nasty habit of trying to drive the dog and the other goats into the electric fence. I'm convinced Nubbin lost her first pregnancy because Lilly rammed her. Cuzco could have done it as well because Nubbin loved to hang out near him for some reason and he could suddenly turn cranky. But I rarely saw Cuzco slam other goats hard the way Lilly did. She was sneaky and dirty about it and would corner other goats, overrun them (she was by far the fastest goat in our herd), or slam them without warning. Cuzco usually warned other goats to move before hitting them, and he almost always pulled his punches. Lilly, on the other hand, followed through on every blow. I once watched Lilly run across the pen to slam a goat that was minding its own business 30 feet away from her. She would also chase after our lovely guard dog, Daisy, trample her, and pull her hair out. Lilly would then prance about the yard with the ball of hair in her mouth, waving it around like a trophy. Lilly's unprovoked aggression was one major reason we decided to cull her. As pretty, and funny, and athletic as she was, that kind of attitude was far too dangerous to the other goats. It was a pity because Lilly made beautiful babies and was an excellent mother. But boy was she a terror!
Sorry for your loss guys - it's so hard to lose them. I'm thankful you were there with her though as I feel it's a comfort to them with you being there.
Well I'm glad Lilly made Petunia. I remember the stories from back then. Character is everything when it comes to having some peace and fun in the barn yard, never mind safety. My 1st goat was almost 2 when I got him. He could be snotty and I had to learn to put the hammer down very quickly. He was beautiful, hardworking, and loyal with a challenging bossy take charge streak occasionally. Probably not the wisest choice for a 1st goat. Thank goodness for the guidance of Rex Summerfield at Northwest Packgoats. He taught me the theory of tough love and take 'em by surprise. As fast as he came up I'd flip him and used a fog horn if raise his eye brow. Ended being a great goat that taught me a lot about how to think like a goat.
Now that Petunia has been gone for a month, Tigerlily is finally stepping up to assume the vacant throne. TinCup took over managerial duties as best she could during the interim, but she is a gentle soul and exists somewhere near the bottom of the pecking order so it was only a matter of time before someone supplanted her. Tigerlily seemed reluctant to take charge until she was absolutely certain that Pet would not be back to put her in her place. In the last week she has taken to bossing and micromanaging the underlings. She's petty and mean right now, but I have a feeling she'll mellow out once she's sure everyone is properly acknowledging her crown. Skeeter (Petunia's 2018 daughter who just turned two) seems to be Tigerlily's main target. I get the feeling that Princess Skeeter thought she would be queen automatically on her mother's passing. She's finding out that it doesn't quite work that way (not unless you're a few years older at any rate!). Tigerlily is now leading the herd to pasture and then back to the pen at night like a true queen. I hope in time she'll follow Pet's excellent example. Those are some big boots to fill!

Cupcake (Petunia's last kid) has had an interesting journey. She was a noisy baby and would cry loudly and often, especially after her brother, Buster Brown, left. But ever since Pet died she has hardly made a peep. I think she was distressed because she knew her mom was sick but there was nothing she could do for her. On Pet's last night when I found her shivering in the shed despite the blanket and the warm night, Cupcake was curled up as close to her mother as she could possibly get. All the other goats were eating supper, but Cupcake skipped the meal to give her mom companionship and warmth. It was one of the sweetest things I've seen, and when I took Petunia into the house that night, I brought Cupcake in with her. We put Petunia down the next day but of course Cupcake didn't see any of that. She kept trying to get into the house because that was the last place she'd seen her mama. On about the third day, Cupcake bolted past me when I opened the door and she ran around the basement calling. When she saw that her mom wasn't there, she stopped looking and has not worried about her ever since.

I was afraid that Cupcake would get beat up once her mother died, but interestingly enough, Sputnik took her under his wing. I can't say he actively protects her, but he lets her eat next to him and share his shed which means no one dares bother her. I have two big hay feeders and Finn and Sputnik generally share one while most of the girls share the other. Pet used to share with the boys because she was the queen. Tigerlily has recently started sharing with the boys now that Pet is gone, but as often as not she gets chased off. Cupcake, on the other hand, rarely eats with the girls. There she is, cute little fluff ball, happily chowing down between towering Finn and Sputnik while everyone else keeps a cautious distance. It's adorable and I'm thrilled that our little orphan has a special place in the herd.
Your heard dynamic stories have alot of insight. I'll never have but few goats but love learning about how they work as a larger group.
Oh I'm fascinated by herd dynamics! It's one of the most interesting aspects of owning goats. It's something I keep thinking about in regards to bighorn sheep as well. Two pneumonia outbreaks occurred in two different isolated herds in 2018 after bighorns were removed to populate other herds. The ones that were removed were ok apparently, but the ones that remained got sick. I wondered if it had anything to do with the stress of having the herd dynamics change drastically in a short period of time. If bighorn herd structure is anything like goat herd structure, destroying several matriarchies could have devastating effects on the rest of the herd. If they get sick and more animals die, it would disrupt things even further and the herd may not recover. I asked around and apparently no wildlife biologists have considered this as a possible trigger for pneumonia outbreaks.
Herd dynamics are SO interesting!

I agree, they need to pay attention with it when dealing with BHS.
Goatberries Happen!
So a final follow-up to this story is that all of Petunia's tests came back unremarkable. She apparently had some blood clots in the liver but that didn't really tell us much because it's the sort of thing that can happen when a goat is sick and the blood is not circulating properly, so it's more of a symptom than a cause. There were some small lesions on the small intestine that didn't look like Johnes to the pathologist, but she also couldn't 100% rule Johnes out. That really worried me, so last week I collected fecal samples from all my goats over 2 years old and had them tested. The results came back today and they are negative for Johnes. (PHEW!!) I didn't think it could be Johnes, but any time the vet tells you there's a possibility of something like that, it sure preys on your mind! I've been trying very hard not to worry these last few weeks, but there was always that sneaking fear at the back of my mind that would catch me off-guard at odd moments and almost bring me to tears because of what a positive diagnosis might mean for our herd. I'm so relieved! I decided a while back that I'd far rather have Petunia's death remain a mystery than discover she died of something horrible and contagious. As long as I was concerned about Johnes I was almost dreading baby goat season and the prospect of pulling kids at birth, keeping them in a bio-secure area in my basement, and heat treating colostrum and milk until I could rush them off to new homes as quickly as possible. Now we can look forward to the joy of kidding season as usual!

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