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Goats in the Beartooths

Nanny and Twins
by Dan Hartman

Aug. 24, 2019

     I've spent the summer wandering the high slopes of the Beartooths searching for stories.  Earlier I wrote of a great horned owl family.  Their story raising chicks through the daily rain and snow.
     Well, in early June, I came cross a mountain goat nanny with twins.  Of the 18 or so nannies I've seen, this was the only one with twins.  Right away, I noticed the twins made the nanny behave differently.  She always hung around the perimeter of the herd, probably because her kids, being twins, were noticably smaller than the other kids.  When the herd, which numbered 30, moves up to their mineral licks, she hangs back until the others have finished before she moves in with her twins for their turn.
     Several times I witnessed the nanny drive away other goats that ventured too close to her family.
     One nice thing about twins is they have built in playmates.  In the first six weeks they did just that.  Play.  Long lazy days of summer going round and round on open slopes until you'd think they would surely get dizzy and fall over.  Every boulder was a chance to play king of the mountain.
     As the season moved into August, I've noticed the kids play less and less and spend most of their time browsing grasses and feeding at the mineral licks.  It seemed the daily playing ended when the nanny weaned her kids.
     So that seems to be the story.  How this nanny navigates the Beartooths with her twins.  Staying near the safety of the herd, but out of the center where her kids can be bullied.
     Hopefully, I'll see how they look going in to winter.

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Nanny & Twins

Mountain Goat

At The Mineral Lick