Monthly Archives: August 2012

They’ve learned how to play

Our home’s previous owner had a favorite spot to dump ashes from the wood stove. After years of use, it got buried in pine needles. Cuzco and Nibbles found it. They dug it out. They now have a six-inch deep soot pit to lounge in, roll in, paw up clouds of black dust in, and tussle over. Nibbles likes to bury her head in it, which means I’ve had to take a wet washcloth to her face a few times, but she has to wait until Cuzco is done napping there because he takes up the whole thing.
Tonight I had the rare treat of watching Cuzco and Nibbles genuinely playing. I wish I’d had the camera! Nibbles had her head tucked in behind Cuzco’s horn while they wrestled and it was so cute! Cuzco was incredibly gentle with her. Nibbles would put her whole weight into trying to push him, and to my great astonishment, Cuzco actually took steps backward to let her “win” for a few minutes until he retook the ground he’d given. I’ve only seen him boss her (especially over dinner), and I’ve never seen him pretend to give her the upper hand, even for a second. They conked heads a few times, Cuzco being careful not to hit her too hard.

Then, it happened. Cuzco gave Nibbles an uppercut just as she came down from standing on her hind legs. His horn slipped right through her collar. Poor Nibbles! As the collar twisted around, her eyes bugged out and she started choking as she was lifted off her feet. Of course, I instantly dropped what I was doing and began to hustle, thinking “Cuzco, please don’t break her neck!” and “Drat, Nibbles can never wear a collar again!”

But then the most incredible thing happened. Cuzco very gently and very carefully lowered Nibbles back to the ground, staying perfectly calm, then deftly executed a tricky little maneuver involving a complicated head twist. The horn slid right out of the collar and Nibbles was free. All I could think is how lucky I am to have such a wise old goat.

Family photos

Phil and I went back to western NY a few years ago and visited the farm where we’d bought Cuzco. It was amazing how much the herd had grown in a few years! There were a lot more dairy goats, most of them crosses. The lady had also added a few Boers, and these were some of the few obviously purebred animals and also the only horned ones except for Cuzco’s twin sister, who had been retained as part of the dairy string. It’s easy to see the family resemblance. She was easily the biggest doe in the herd.

I don’t know if Cuzco’s mother was still alive, but this doe looked just like her minus the horns. But when I remember back, I believe Cuzco’s mother along with all the other goats in that herd had bands on their horns at the time we bought Cuzco. I’m going to pretend that this is Cuzco’s mother anyway. 

Then there was this Nubian doe who I swear had to have the same father as Cuzco. There was an uncanny resemblance in the balance of the markings, the roaning, and something about the head and neck and the rangy body type. She was quite pretty and reminded me too much of Cuzco not to be related somehow.


I haven’t gotten any new photos of my goats since Nationals, mostly because they haven’t been looking their best. Nibbles brought home a cold and gave it to Cuzco. He got it bad, probably because he’s never been exposed to goat germs in his life and had no resistance. I’ve watched carefully for any rise in temperature or sign of pneumonia, but it seems to be staying in his nose. It sure is lingering though. He’s a lot better than he was, but two weeks later he’s still blowing white snot (just not as copiously as at first).

Nibbles recovered quickly from the cold, but then she started with diarrhea for over a week. I’m not sure what caused it, but she seemed fine otherwise, so I dosed her with Pepto-Bismol for a few days until she got over it. Then just as Nibbles recovered, Cuzco got diarrhea and I was very nervous that his would last for a week too. It’s easy to force medicine into Nibbles, but Cuzco is another matter altogether. I gave him Pepto-Bismol for two days and there was pink stuff everywhere–on me, on the goat, all over the back patio, the basement door and window. I was beginning to think that the cure was worse than the disease and we would all be happier to just let the problem run it’s course when it ended as quickly as it began. Phew!

On the sadder side of things, Cuzco has been diagnosed with arthritis. He came up very lame about a month ago after he’d followed me on a horse ride the day before. His left foot was hot and ouchy between his toes. I took him to the vet for x-rays, and he has a bone spur growing between the toes. I was told to make sure he took it easy for a few weeks, give him Bute on the bad days, and start him on Cosequin. Well, it’s been about a month and he’s only had to have Bute a few times, and the Cosequin seems to be helping. But then the other day when the weather was changing he came up lame again. I guess we’ll have to be careful how far he’s allowed to hike from now on because it might cause a flare-up.

Even with all these ailments, though, Cuzco hasn’t lost one bit of his feistiness. He’s in excellent weight, eager for his food (a little too eager most days), wants to go for walks, and won’t stand for any nonsense from Nibbles. He’s such a goofy goatie, it’s hard to watch him growing older and having to slow down. I think the coyote attack took a lot out of him. He still starts coughing if he runs even a little bit. The vet checked his lungs and said they sound great, but I know there’s got to be damage there somewhere if he still can’t trot without coughing. Of course, lately his cold has been exacerbating the problem, so it’ll be easier to see how he’s really doing once he kicks the virus.

Here’s a goofy photo of Cuzco from last spring, before he was troubled with coyote attacks, arthritis, colds, or pesky young goatlings named Nibbles. It’s all out of proportion… his ears look small and his nose looks huge, but the goat grin is unmistakeable.  Goat_Nose