I can’t help it. As hard as I try to be a hopeless romantic, I just cannot divorce myself from the years of my life spent in the pursuit of scientific reasoning.

I’m much more comfortable observing and thinking than (gasp!) feeling.

This is part of the reason I like to watch

….the goats giving birth, that is.

Watching the process surely provides evidence that “survival of the fittest” is at play.

Why does an expectant mother move to a solitary corner of the barn? To keep her new babies from being trampled by the herd.

Why do most goats give births to multiples? To ensure preservation of the genetic line given the tenuous nature of giving birth “in the wild”.

Why do new mothers hungrily eat their own afterbirth? It’s a readily available source of good protein that will help them recover from the delivery and maintain strength for nursing their offspring.

It is amazing how “mechanical” each birth seems to be, no matter the age or the experience of the mother. Nearly identical each time.

But as clinical and as matter-of-fact each of these deliveries tend to be, there’s an inexplicable sense of awe, wonder, mystery and miracle that cannot suppress the romantic notion that we are all lucky to be alive.

Even though I can “explain” the millions of baby goat kisses bestowed on me as just a natural rooting reflex, a quest to find the closest source of nourishment, I choose not to.

At this time each year, I enter another stage of evolution, too.

Learn more about the birthing season at Beekman 1802.  Click here.

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

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Linda Oates

My new favorite pic! I choose to believe that these beautiful baby goats are kissing not just as a rooting instinct but in response to feeling love, security, and nurturing. Brent, when you are having a difficult day, you should take a breath and remember that beautiful moment and how you felt! What a wonderful experience” Zen billy goats!

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Heather

Just came across this blog and my now favorite photo of Brent. As a scientist (medical field) raised by a physicist, I long ago stopped separating poetry, science, art, spirit… isn’t it simply different language used to describe the same phenomena? At once time, lightning could not yet be described scientifically and was understood mystically. That I now know the science behind lightning need not steal its magic from me. The different paths toward understanding complement one another for me, each with their own value and perspective. Human kisses originate with a primal rooting reflex, too… yet I know that’s not all there is to it.

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Dan

Dr. Brent,

That is one of the best photos that I have seen in a long time. I think you should enter it into a photo contest. And how nice to see your softer side! Thanks for sharing.

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Cathe

You write beautifully. I was a nurse and having the knowledge does sometimes take away the romance of seeing things for just their beauty. I used to think I was all practical with no creative side, but have found that I can write poetry, crate art, and make films! You are softening. I see it in your words and in your actions on the show, which I love very much.

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Another Robin

I watch the goat-cam some days and I just marvel at the absolute beauty, order and justice of the goat community I watch. The babies are separated from the frisky goats by their mothers, the does who aren't giving birth seem to mind their own business and Polkie seems to butt into everyone's business as the town mayor/busybody. I find it so remarkable that the whole goat system works so beautifully. It's only interrupted by Farmer John's occasional assistance with the difficult goat births and his kisses and hugs to the babies and their mothers as he passes through the herd. I always feel a kind of longing for the genuineness and beauty of that community in the human world. Most of the goats just ask (in one way or another) for what they need from one another or they mind their own business and do precisely what their natures predict for them. Goat herks are pretty efficiently handled by the other goats, the shy goats are sheltered, the talkative goats are listened to, the quiet goats seem to be respected. It's one of the few communities I have ever observed where justice seems to prevail. It's a great lesson whenever I spend a few minutes observing them. Your barn is a pretty wonderful place.

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Cee Cee

Brent…Josh…at some point in our life, we have to sit back and just appreciate the love that God puts in our world. Don't question it…or try to reason it out…those babies love you…and love is love!!!

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Sue Young

Our maremma sheep guardian dogs fight over the sheep afterbirth. Grosses me out every time, but hey, I don't have to clean it up. Baby lambs and goats are the best! We've had 78 lambs with one week to go. Happy kidding season to you all!

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Tamara Zilar

Brent,

You are in love with the goats and the babies. After reading Josh's book, all I can say is "aren't you glad Josh didn't listen to you regarding the goats???".

I'm glad he didn't!!!!!

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teri tighe

Dr. Brent even likes rolling in the cedar chips with the babies. You are becoming a softie in your old age and we love you more for it but the babies are so adorable how could you not.

Teri

PS the only part of this that makes me ill is the mother eating the afterbirth, etc. I can't stomach it even though I know it's a part of nature.

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betsy h.

Hi guys- as I sit in my nursery pen with the new moms chewing the cuds and babies jumping everywhere, I remember what my older daughter said some years ago- 'goats are evolving'.

The babies chew my hair and try to jump on my shoulders as they stand on old Chicago's back, while my two bottle babies push each other out of the way just to get my attention. Everyone pushes to get the kelp meal and minerals I put in their little feeders as they wait for evening crunchies.

If you all ever come south, go to the Carl Sandburg historic site in Flatrock, NC- go when the babies are out and about. Paula Sandburg was a very big influence on dairy goats in her day- she once said 'It is utterly impossible to be blue in the kid yard.' And she was right.

Be sure to check out the interview I did with Farmer John in the March/April issue of the Dairy Goat Journal.

Love y'all, betsy h.

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Robin

This is so sweet Brent. You really are a softie at heart. Like your mom said, your heart is in there, you just have to dig to find it…ha ha! I love your little bit of NC accent I hear from time to time. I'm a proud North Carolina girl myself and I know that accent anywhere. So excited about the new season starting in a couple of weeks and it's on my birthday! Can't wait to celebrate my birthday with the Beekman Boys!

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Donna Oliver

The love that comes from the Beekman just is sometimes so overwheming. It's almost tangible. This city girl rejoices in your bounty! I'm heading to Bacchus and Endymion Mardi Gras parades and it sure is nice to go with this warm fuzzy feeling for all of the animal kingdom. Let's hope some crazy librarian from Minnesota doesn't barf all over my new boots!I may need some Beekman boots for next Mardi Gras.

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Jo Beerman

I thought they ate the afterbirth so predators wouldn't find the baby? Is that sorta right? Loved the blog!

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Andre Jones

Yes. My parents would take me to the Museum of Natural History all the time. How can anyone not believe in evolution? That is more amazing than natural design. or whatever they call it. Science is tested, scrutinized, and retested, and then tested again when there is more evidence.

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Carolyn

Hi Brent & Josh! Love your show! I'm hoping that Josh will be able to give up the "city" and join you full time on the farm very soon! With your hard work and success, you should be making "a million a year" by now so have him join you now!

Couldn't find another blog to share my story with you so I'm posting on "Evolution" along with the goat stories.

The show that aired with the slaughter of the pigs (can't remember their names) made me cry! I don't see how you both could eat the bacon after raising them from piglets! When I was a little girl (I will be 52 on 12/30), my dad purchased a little pig to raise in order to slaughter for meat. We named her Cindy! We would get home from school each day, eat dinner that evening, and would run outside to bring the leftovers to Cindy which she gobbled up ever so quickly!

One day, we got home to find Cindy gone and my parents said they had "SOLD" Cindy. We were devastated! A few weeks later, we were sitting down to breakfast and my mother served these big, beautiful slices of bacon and immediately we realized it was……..Cinnnddddyyyyyy!!! and we burst into tears. I don't think my mom and dad could eat the meat (pork chops, ham, etc.) either! We also raised catfish, cows, etc. but were not able to eat them!

I know it's different when you're an adult, but to this day, I still would not be able to eat something I hand raised.

Looking forward to your new season and keep up the good work!

Carolyn in Louisiana

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Debbie

I love the goats and I believe they are kissing you, because you love them….come on, they are full of love, and the adult goats kiss Farmer John. I have two goats myself. However, I do remember you said "kiss" to the pigs before you had them shot and slaughtered. At least that is how it was edited for TV.

I have not had any pork since watching that episode. The pigs are cute too.

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john

i have just found your show, love it!! I will tell all my clients here in ft. lauderdale. hope that all will enjoy it like I do! just watched the b-day then the goats birthing episoides. Love the farmer John and what love he has for his goats! he should have a blog too!! If you guys need any help I am a hair dresser from ft. lauderdale and will do all I can do to help…..John

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Patti

What a sweet picture of you and the"kids". I am so impressed by the way the animals are treated and truly cared for. It's great to see in the days of mass farming. Can't wait for the new season. Best of luck with the store and the continued success of the farm and show.

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Pat Fielding

Where can I find the story about Polka Spot and how she came to be at the Beekman?

Love the goat cam and am spending too much time checking in on them. They are so adorable and so is Farmer John and his love for them.

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Jo Spears

I'm rewatching your opening the Roseboro and I've taped all your shows. I just love both of you guys. My husband and I raise Pygmy goats, chickens and our own vegetable garden. We are both physicians but have always delighted in canning, drying and preserving our own vegetables. After watching the goat birthing one before this, I admit I got teary eyed because I delivered a large part of our herd. Brought back great memories. Again Love your show, Dr.JoMomma

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Jen

I am so happy that I have found your TV show and blog. What you guys are doing is an absolute inspiration! I want to start an urban working farm here in the SF Bay Area, and watching your trials and errors is entertaining, educational and heartening. Thank you!

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Lisa Buchhold

Thanks for sharing moments of such loving and wonderment at the Beekman. The love and compassion of animal kind has an inspiration when embraced it manifolds many times over which is truly healing.

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Toni

Hey Guys,

Sorry, but that was supposed to be "It will bring….. NOT I….

Maybe adopt an inner-city class that could follow along with the farm's progress and then come out for a visit to see the real thing.

Happy 4th!

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Toni Chapman

Hey Brent and Josh,

I'm a 2nd grade teacher on Galveston Island, TX. My grandparents were farmaers and cattle ranchers here on the island. I counldn't have enjoyed my time with them and all the animals any more…how I miss it! We took our students to a so called farm this passed school year. Although I thought it so lacking (from personal experiences) the kids had a marvelous time. Have you ever had a school field trip come to the farm. Kids would love it!! I would bring in money and delight!

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Trase

We have five doelings that we will be breeding this fall/winter. We are really looking forward to the babies in the spring (and the first milk from our girls). Reading this just makes me more excited for the event! I expect that my response will be an equal mix of logical, scientific thought, as well as a passionate expression of emotion. (In Star Trek terms, I'd be the forbidden lovechild of a Vulcan and a Klingon.)

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Kathy

We raise goats also. I too feel in awe of the entire delivery. It's such a treat to watch those little wonders stand up on those shaky legs and go right for their first meal!

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brettcajun

This is such a sweet picture and nice observation. Awwhhh… don't you just love living on a farm? I live on a horse farm and I walking out and hanging with the horses… such majestic beings!

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Linda

That feeling, when an animal accepts you…it's magical! A wonderful picture, too. I live with a scientist, and I have a hard time getting them out of the "real" world…..

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nadia

oh my goodness! i must confess to watching the horses and cows i love observing the dynamics of the hurd and love when mike mistakes me for the hurd leader. we have three cows that are do anytime-the anticipation is killing me, yet i can not help be frightened of mother natures way if things go array.

i have friends who have invited us to vermont during the lamb birthing season and i remember camping out all night and yes the kisses!!!

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Kenn

You can't fool me… *wags finger at Brent* under all that clinical thinking is a pretty soft hearted guy.

Goat kisses… I feel a t-shirt idea coming on!

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Andrew

Oh, kissies from the goaties! (Naturally I’m a ‘feelings’ sort of person…) But I loved your clinical observations, Brent! Fascinating.

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