Meet Heather. She's practically Stepladder Ranch royalty!
Heather is a 7-year-old doe who was born on the ranch on March 27, 2017, and has gradually worked her way up the herd hierarchy ladder to become our Herd Queen.
Do you want to know what it means to be a herd queen and how Heather became ours? Read on!
A herd queen is, as you might expect, the most dominant doe in the very complex hierarchy that the herd lives by. Similar to human societies, being queen comes with a variety of responsibilities, privileges, and challenges that the queen confronts every day.
A herd queen’s main responsibility is to keep her herd safe and to lead them in their search of new acreage on which to forage. In the wild this means that the herd queen is constantly scanning for predators, toxic foliage, and other dangers to her herd so that she can alert and protect them from these dangers. In our domesticated and very well protected herd, this shows up as Heather’s compulsion to lead the herd when we go on walks into the hillside and to scare the pants off our Border Collie, Frank, whenever he dares to visit the goat herd in their pasture.
Luckily for Heather, being herd queen comes with many privileges. Heather is first to breakfast, first on the milk stand, and first to get the best access to all the herd’s favorite treats. She also gets all the best sunny spots in the pasture and cozy resting places in the barn.
Although Heather’s position in the herd comes with some perks, it doesn’t come for free and Heather has worked very hard to maintain her place as herd queen. In a goat herd, this means that she sometimes has to squabble with any doe who dares challenge her authority.
Luckily for Heather, these squabbles never last long as she has a significant size advantage on the other does in the herd; while many of the does in the herd weigh about 165 pounds, Heather weighs about 215 pounds and is about 4-5 inches taller than the other does in the herd. This means that she will likely keep her position as herd queen for many years to come!
Heather is going into her 7th milking season and is due to kid on March 19, 2024. Within the next year or so, she will likely retire out of the milking herd and become a beloved pet for the later stages of her life, where she will likely pass her herd queen mantle on to her daughters in the years to come!