Friday, September 3, 2010

Sue Weaver: Goat Lover’s Diary, part 1

Angel, the mis-named sheep

Late Friday afternoon the UPS man delivered a package from Storey—the first pages of my upcoming goat book, now titled The Backyard Goat—so I spent the weekend working on them. While checking some reference material on my goat-book flash drive, I discovered a diary that I had originally hoped would be part of the book. Somewhere along the line I abandoned that idea, as well as the diary, and forgot about it until now. Re-reading the entries makes me smile. I thought I’d share some with you.

Background: I purchased a newborn kid from Emily Dixon, my goat enabler-friend from Ozark Jewels in Mountain View, Missouri; I planned to chart his progress toward becoming a packgoat and carting wether as part of the goat book. I dubbed him Uzzi, a Biblical name meaning “my strength, my kid” and raised him in the house until he was old enough to move to the dairy goat barn. A few weeks later, I purchased a second kid who became Martok, of Mondays with Martok fame. Here is how my diary began:

Mr. Tumnus

Sunday, 24 February 2008

I glanced out the window today and Mr. Tumnus (adolescent Boer wether and former bottle baby) and old Angel the ewe were eyeballing each other over a section of hay. She’s elderly, and since she’s a Wiltshire Horn, she has impressive horns. And she was poorly named.

Tumnus clicked into karate-kid mode, rearing and swooping and pointing his little horns at her. Angel glared at him and s-l-o-w-l-y tucked her nose back in a deliberate horn threat. Tumnus kept the karate-kid thing going until Angel took two deliberate steps back with her head in ramming position ("NOW you are going to get it, kid!"), whereupon he stopped, casually glanced both directions ("Who's watching?"), and then studiously drifted away. A little smile played across Angel's face as she tucked back into the hay.

Uzzi rides home in the van

Sunday, 24 February 2008

A while ago I was sitting on the bed correcting some stuff I'd written earlier today. Baby Uzzi hasn’t learned to jump that high, so he was leaping against the end of the bed. *Jump* his little face would appear, ears flying, then he'd be gone. Then *jump* again. This went on for some time. Finally Hooligan, our geriatric giant Airedale (who was lying on the bed with me at the time), ponderously hove to his feet, padded to the foot of the bed, and licked Uzzi's face. Hooli has cared for lambs or kids before, but he's adored Uzzi since the day Uzzi arrived.

Me too!

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

Uzzi just turned on John's CD player all by himself; it was cranked up loud, and he was startled. He's lucky it's one of my cumbia CDs (I have eclectic tastes in music) instead of John's favorite Jimi Hendrix CD, which I removed so I could listen to my cumbia.

Uzzi wears a guy-diaper in the house

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I took Uzzi out to mingle with the other goats today. Until now I've waited until they're in for the evening before walking him.

Tumnus, being my previous bottle kid, was amazed and annoyed ("Where did THIS come from?”), but he behaved himself (I was watching pretty closely since Tumnus has horns). Several sheep were in the yard as well, including Louie (BaaBaaLouie), my bottle lamb from last summer. The lambs thought it was pretty cool to meet a goat smaller than themselves.

Everyone set out with us down the ridge, but the herd stopped when it came to the first bunch of oak shoots with leaves on them. Louie, Baart, and Wren (lambs born last June) made the whole round with Uzzi and me, which was unusual and fun.

Uzzi's first visit with the sheep

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Uzzi became a wether-in-progress on Thursday, and he took it very hard. I had to give him Banamine several times on Thursday and Friday, but today he's pretty much back to normal. I hate waiting so long to band these guys, especially since some vets say it doesn't really matter when they’re castrated. However, if there is a chance that delaying castration a few months can help prevent urinary calculi, then I'm going to do it.

He's so big now that I can hardly pick him up and carry him down the steps (he's perfectly capable of hopping down, but he insists I carry him, and I've been humoring him since the band went on).

As soon as he's feeling fully chipper, his training begins. He's worn a collar and walked on a lead but that's all I've done with him so far.

Next time: Martok, Bon Bon, Big Mama, and Tank join our caprine clan.

Sue Weaver sold her first freelance article in 1969. Since then her work has appeared in major horse periodicals, including The Western Horseman, Horse Illustrated, Chronicle of the Horse, Flying Changes, Horseman’s Market, Arabian Horse Times, The Appaloosa News, The Quarter Horse Journal, Horse’N Around, and The Brayer. She has written, among other books, Storey’s Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, The Donkey Companion, and The Backyard Goat (to be published in 2010). Sue is based in the southern Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.

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