Two baby goats, just one week and three weeks old and abandoned behind a construction site, have found a new home at Siegel's Cottonwood Farm.
Manager Kaity Siegel said the tiny animals were brought to her Tuesday afternoon after someone saw a van dropping them off behind the new Crest Hill Public Library, being built on Weber Road almost directly across from Siegel's, and called the police.
"If they didn't pick them up that day, they would have been coyote snacks that night," she said.
The animals are far too young to be weaned from their mother, she said, and while the older one -- whom they've named Oreo from suggestions made by their Facebook page fans -- seems to be adapting well, Pepper is proving more difficult.
"You have to actually bottle feed it, and she's a very stubborn little goat," Siegel said. "She doesn't want to take the bottle very often. And if she does, she just sucks on it for two seconds and doesn't want to do it anymore. ... (But) she's taking a little bit more every day. We hope it continues."
Both are being cared for in a protected part of the farm, but she said she hopes that when they get older, they'll join the herd of 20 she has in a fenced-in area along Weber Road (Larkin Avenue in Joliet) that occasionally go up on a rooftop stand to eat grass.
The farm also has sheep, llamas, alpacas and chickens, which make up their fall petting zoo and can be viewed by school children who take field trips to the farm in the spring.
Siegel said she thinks the people who ditched the goats may have hoped they'd end up at Siegel's, but they took a maddening and unnecessary risk.
"I just don't understand why they would abandon them back there in a deserted area where many people aren't driving," said Siegel, who guessed the animals were taken from their mother given how clean they were when she received them. She would have been feeding them so their care would have been fairly minimal for the owners at this point.
Beyond that, though, is how endearingly cute they are, which makes it hard to understand how someone could be as cold-hearted as to leave them fend for themselves at such a young age, she said.
"They're very sweet goats," Siegel said. "They're like dogs. Pepper, when I go to see her, she'll come up and jump on your leg. So will Oreo. They'll rub up against you. When you hold them, they'll cuddle up against your shoulder. They're very friendly."
These aren't the first abandoned animals Siegel has taken, and while she's not advertising that she'll provide a home for all strays, neither will she turn them away, she said.
"We've had baby chicks dropped off at our mailbox," she said. "I actually have a produce stand in the summertime in Shorewood and people bring me chickens and turkeys, because obviously I'm a farmer and they give them to me because I'll be able to take care of them. I'll be sitting there all day with a little friend with me until I go home."