Farm Tales | Billy and Betty the Pygmy Goats

It’s hard to imagine now, but when we moved here first we hadn’t any plans to be farmers. We wanted to live in the countryside and have a dog perhaps and there may have been a mention of some hens and some romantic notion of a River Cottage style smallholding.

At no stage in those wistful conversations did the idea of farming come up and back then I wouldn’t have known an alpaca if it had sat down along side me, but what an adventure it has been.

Along the way we have had some hilarious and disastrous additions to our farm, some were short lived, and some stay long in our memories.

I’ve documented some of our farming journey in The Reluctant Farmer posts (you can see them here) that I wrote for the Farmers Journal but there are some other stories that are worth a mention. Notably, the naughtiest goats I’ve ever encountered, Billy and Betty the Pygmy Goats.

Billy after taking the children captive😂

The word Pygmy conjures up an idea of something small, and cute and adorable. Well, this may have been my first impression, but it certainly wasn’t a lasting one.

From the moment this pair arrived, the were a whirlwind of naughtiness. They epitomised the phrase ‘as bold as brass’ and had energy and devilment to rival any toddler I’ve come across. Their specialties were many but their chief entertainment came from climbing and jumping any fence that was put in the way and their number one hobby was terrorising our pot bellied pig ( read all about her here 💞)

While Sumo was sleeping, one of the pair, usually Billy, would keep watch, while Betty would creep into Sumo’s house and repeatedly head butt her until she screamed in protest, a scream that was so childlike and loud that I would hear it through the baby monitor. I can’t begin to describe the scene of horror that I expected to find in the babies room the first few times I raced there, only to encounter a sleeping child but still could hear the sound echoing round the house. I soon began to leave the house with a sweeping brush, as soon as I heard the first cry,  to chase these brats away from Sumo, but ‘the lookout’ was always too quick and they were off before I could get near them, their getaway usually involved a quick look back at me and without wanting to sound like ‘ the crazy goat lady’ I’m convinced to this day that they were smirking at me.

Despite my protests, over their treatment of Sumo, their eating of all my herbs and our blueberry bushes, my husband was slow to give in and re-home them, but the final straw came when, after a long week planting hedging, we woke one morning to find large sections of it damaged…it was one trick too far and detention wasn’t going to cut it this time. So Billy and Betty were returned to the breeders that we had bought them from and I can honestly say the weren’t missed!

I felt sure at the time that some lessons had been learned, that perhaps my husband would consider carefully before embarking on another addition to the farm….the arrival of the Emus proved me COMPLETELY wrong ! If you didn’t know about the Emus, you can read all about them here. Never a dull moment of The Funny Farm.


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