I’m a logophile (lover of words) and a goat ‘person’–someone who finds goats charming, funny, interesting to study and watch, and very beneficial on my farm. Are you a goat person? This is someone who ‘suffers from’ (technically, there is no suffering; they make me happy) an addiction to goats or what I have decided to coin as tragosphilia from the Greek word ‘tragos’ for goat and ‘philia’ for love, admiration, or a fondness for something. Cat lovers have a word (ailurophilia: a fondness or love of cats or other felines; from Ancient Greek αἴλουρος (ailouros, “cat”) + English -philia (from Ancient Greekφίλος (philos, “dear”, “beloved”)). Why shouldn’t goat people have a word, too?!
Many of us are tragosphiliacs (thank goodness! It’s no fun being alone!). We’ve formed groups on Facebook, have our own pages, create our own blogs, write books and share fun stories. Having goat ‘friends’ is lots of fun. We can talk about anything with these people from teats to fore udders to extension to hunching to orifices to escutcheons to placentas, gloves, artificial insemination, cud stealing, and more! We can talk for endless hours about everything goat. We can also go into great detail about all of these things, and yes, we have photos– lots of them! Photos we enjoy… photos that log our barn activities, our ‘research’ of our stock, and photos that record the often funny antics of our beloved animals… photos some people think are crude, rude, and lewd (Psssssssh! Really???). And we will share those photos even when people are around that don’t want to see them (so sorry, people). And herein lies the reasons for this post. Unfortunately, some of those around us may still be in a state of denial over whether or not they have contracted ‘the disease’ yet. They may show slight fondness, but when faced with photos or discussions, they pull back (and sometimes even run away!). Because of that, I’ve come up with a list of trigger words that ‘non-tragosphiliacs’ should be aware of and steps they can take to avoid problems.
- use any word from the following list of words when in the presence of a tragosphiliac unless you are prepared to goat-speak (*please note that this is not an exhaustive list; think before you speak)
- use any of the words if you and your fellow tragosphiliac/s is/are in a crowd of people (bus, train, plane, anywhere), at a public venue (restaurants, grocery stores, plays, movie theaters, school functions), in the presence of older family members (who can sometimes be… well… ‘put off’ by goat-speak), or in the presence of young family members (who will be very interested and want to know more; their parents MAY not be so happy about where the conversations may lead. TAKE CAUTION).
- use specific words from the lists, especially if you have a weak stomach (some photos we share can be rather… icky, to say the least, but to us, they are educational!)
Are you ready? Here’s the list in order of ‘danger probability’ for a goat-speak threat (not in ABC order… of course)!
HIGHLY dangerous TRIGGER WORDS, (especially for the dairy goat Tragosphiliac); these always result in a goat-speak conversation:
- Cheese : (YES, this includes when you are taking family photos… psshhh! Be careful, please!) Discussion of any kind of cheese can send the ‘brain train’ on the ‘track’ to Goatville. It doesn’t matter if it is soft or hard, sweet or sour, fake or real cheese, from any kind of goat/sheep/cow. Regardless of whether you are a turophile (cheese lover) or not, AVOID CHEESE AT ALL COSTS.
- Milk, cream, butter, and any other complementary dairy product: Any of these can spur a conversation.
- Raw, natural, or organic foods: Don’t even think about mentioning GMO foods.
- Pasteurization, homogenization, A1 and A2 type milk: This will always lead to a conversation about goat vs cow milk.
- Black Market foods: ummmm… yes, we discuss this. It’s not a crime to talk about it, is it?
- Fermented foods: The brain train goes whoowhoo! (brain track: fermented food –>kefir –>milk –>goat)
- *Weather and whether: Both can be misinterpreted for wether; this leads to a discussion on castration, calculi, stones, proper treatment, supplements, pizzle rot (no, no, no; if you do not know already, then please don’t ask what a pizzle is), vet talk, and even more.
- *weather can also be a problem, spurring a discussion on barn safety, weatherproofing, illness, and more
- cost in bucks: (self explanatory, but I will explain it as $20 as in 20 bucks). Brain train response–>What? Where? After all, who wouldn’t want 20 stinky bucks? If I had room, I sure would. I can’t even imagine what I could do with 20 bucks. Obviously I would need more does, but you know, your bucks are the cornerstone of your herd, and as long as everyone blends well… however, you have to look back at the mom’s udder and the grandmother’s udder, and if those look great, then grab that buck! Of course, if production isn’t good then… hmmmmm. See how that works? I could go on for days.
- Kids: Volatile topic; not only do we discuss our goat kids, but we discuss our own kids and how they interact with the goat kids and so forth and so on. Yes, you will see pictures. LOTS of pictures.
- Teats: (husbands– be particularly careful with this one. We talk so much about these that I actually dreamed I had a judge evaluating mine once; unfortunately, I needed further breeding to get rid of some ‘issues’ that could affect my progeny’s milk production down the line. Sigh! )
- Utter: Even though this means ‘to speak,’ it is dangerously close to the word ‘udder,’ and in some dialects, sounds just like it! You mention udders and boom! No way of redirecting that conversation.
- Stand: –> Milk stand –> milk –> uhoh!
- Boss: –> This can lead to a food discussion about supplements, right or wrong.
- Herbs: This can lead to a discussion of Western medicine vs. traditional medicines in animals and in humans.
- Due Date: I don’t care if you want to discuss the electric bill or not; if you mention due dates, I’m going to start counting 145 days from a hunch and trying to predict the exact date and time of delivery. I will also want to discuss how many I can expect, genders, colors, probability of dairy type, and more!
- Hey: Leads to –>hay, leads to mold in hay, endophytes, deep piling hay, protein content, availability and type; need I say more?
Dangerous trigger words and phrases, for all goat owners; watch out for these.
- Fencing or *posts: Any type of fencing mentioned can lead to a discussion of adding on to the pasture or more stalls in the barn. Posts can remind of fencing and of being ‘posty,’ which can lead to a discussion of kidding season.
- Predator: This includes, but is not limited to: dogs, bears, coyotes, wolves, humans, cougar, mountain lion, wild dogs, bobcat, neighbors, and thieves. All can bring kidnapped/dead/dying/maimed goats to mind and inspire discussion on improved fencing and security measures, including adding livestock guardians to the farm. This one can cost you money.
- Bottle: Come on now. A bottle of anything can call to mind those cute little bottle babies! Oh how we love them (and their demanding screams)!
- Browse: Again, this can lead to wanting to add on to the pasture, so a discussion about the possibilities of that or even of buying/leasing more land is quite possible.
- Test: Do you really want to go there? There are so many tests that can be done for so many reasons! I could write an entire blog (and talk for hours) about them.
- Attachment: I don’t care what kind of attachment you are talking about. If you mention the word, an udder appears in my mind, and I try to judge how well that udder will stand up over time! I always want to discuss how I could improve it.
- Width and depth: ARGH! So many images spring to mind of does capable of hiding twins and triplets, perfectly shaped escutcheons, and lots of milk!
- Barrel: No. This is not something you put something in. Well, it could be, but in this case,
- Poll: Even if you only want to take a poll on something, someone out there will hear this and think about polled vs non-polled, defects, etc, and if you haven’t ran away quickly enough, you might even be stuck in the conversation long enough to discuss disbudding pros and cons.
Small, not so dangerous trigger words you might want think about. In combination, these can be very dangerous, so watch out. These can often hint that there might be some interest in a goat-speak conversation :
- Body Parts: There are so many that can trigger the image of a goat. These include, but are not limited to legs, feet, head, chest, eyes, back, thigh, rump, hip, ear, forehead, nose, jaw, neck, shoulder, knee, toe, heel, ligaments, hands, and tendons
- Birth Words: Words like placenta, amniotic sac, twins, triplets, single, delivery, K-Y, iodine, diving, head first, labor, contractions, discharge, bubble, hooves, breech, dry, towels, help, crown, transverse, cesarean, and more, can all call happy thoughts or nightmares to mind. Be prepared to hear about them– all of them!
- Clothing: Sweaters, jackets, knitting, crochet, booties–any of these items or activities can make a goat person think about their new kids, which could be chilly and in need of a sweater, or their lovely Angoras, Nigora, Pygora, or Cashmere goats, which provide such lovely fleece with a low micron count and… yes, a conversation ensues!
WARNING: Most important item of all!
Whatever you do, if you do not wish to speak goat-speak, do not say the word GOAT to a tragosphiliac. Are you begging for it, or what?
In summary, I wish all of my fellow tragosphiliacs a goaty day. May all of your goats be warm this winter, and may all of your browse be green soon. As for the rest of you… GIVE UP. There’s really no way to avoid talking to a goat-person. Tragosphilia is infectious, and we’re just the ones to spread it everywhere! HeeHeeHee…
Written by A. E. Lilly-Vasquez