Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fun with goatlings!

Petunia is starting the “try everything and see if it tastes good” phase. Clothes, she’s discovered, are delicious!

Phil has decided that every cultured goat must learn to waltz.

Phil loves his goaties and his goaties love him too.

Nibbles and Nubbin share a quiet moment.

I brought the goatlings to play in the basement with me one day. Once they discovered the joys of bouncing on the couch, that was all they wanted to do!

What a cutie! Nubbin definitely retains more of the Nubian look than Petunia. I thought that with Nibbles’ dominant personality she would make sure her offspring looked just like her, or at least a little like her, but I was wrong. This one looks like Papa.

Hooked on tv at a young age

Phil had Petunia up in the office a few days ago and was watching YouTube videos with her. She was very enthralled by a dancing hot dog the first time, but lost interest at the next viewing. The Doritos goat commercial, however, held her interest for three watchings in a row. She baa-aa-ed every time. I got the third viewing on video, so she doesn’t baa quite as loud, but you can just hear her at the end. Also, I love how Petunia licks her lips when she hears the chips crunching.

Nibbles, Nubbin, and Lilly the “diva mom”

Well, I’m not sure if it’s official yet, but we’ve been calling the new little one “Nubbin”. Perhaps not so suited to such a big girl, but it sounds so well with “Nibbles”. I don’t have any new photos since mostly she’s spent the last few days sleeping in the shed. Today she was out a lot more and is starting to bounce around like a proper goatling, but I was too busy to play with her.

I got some Selenium/Vitamin E gel into her to help strengthen her and straighten her out. Her hind end is much stronger, and her feet are starting to look normal instead of knuckled under. She still wobbles a lot in the back end when she walks, and her feet splay out easily, but she’s hopping around and running, so I think she’s going to be just fine. I have to remember she came a couple days early and had some catching up to do.

It’s amazing how the goats’ personalities have all changed with the coming of babies. I never knew Lilly could be so aggressive and even downright mean, and I never knew Nibbles could ever be so subdued. At first Lilly was worried whenever Nubbin bawled and would come running even though it wasn’t her baby. A day later she had realized it wasn’t her baby and she started being mean to her whenever Nibbles wasn’t around. I’ve had to rescue poor Nubbin from Lilly’s head-butting and ear-biting on a couple of occasions when Nibbles has been in the stanchion. Nibbles, on the other hand, has taken a back seat to Lilly in the pecking order. Yesterday I was encouraging Nubbin to drink from the less popular side of the udder when Lilly came out of nowhere and savagely t-boned Nibbles and about knocked her off her feet. This is such an enormous change from just a month ago that it’s hard to believe they are the same goats.

Lilly is starting to get impatient with milking lately too. Once she’s finished her grain, that’s it. She’s done with milking and she spends the entire rest of the time kicking savagely. I’m pretty sure I’m not hurting her. I think she’s just bored and feeling dominant, and this is her way of asserting herself. She’s also run past me into the house twice in the last two days, which she has never ever done before. Cuzco hates Lilly more than ever. He’s been going out of his way to butt her, chase her, harass, and terrify her any time they have to share the same space (like during feeding time). Any time he doesn’t have to be near her, he stays as far away from her as he can and makes sure she doesn’t dare come near him. I think he’s as annoyed with Lilly’s recent “attitude” as much as I am. The weird thing is that Lilly is hanging around Cuzco more, like she’s trying to replace Nibbles as “Cuzco’s girl,” and Cuzco ain’t havin’ none of it!

But other than his general annoyance at Lilly, Cuzco has been real good around the babies. He doesn’t like them and avoids them as much as possible, but he has never offered to hurt them. He hasn’t once tried to go in his shed since Petunia first adopted it. I was leery at first of letting all the goats be in one pen, but after letting them out under supervision for a few days, I decided it would be safe to leave them together all the time. Cuzco has his space in the plastic shed and no one dares come near it. As long as he has that refuge, he’s content to let everyone else go where they please. Petunia learned quickly that Cuzco does not like to play and wisely leaves him alone. As long as she leaves him alone, he leaves her alone and everyone is happy. Now if Lilly would just settle down and stop playing the “diva mom,” I think we will all get along very nicely.

Oh, and Petunia has learned to jump on people. I can’t go outside any more without feeling little hooves pattering all over my legs. She loves to be picked up and held. She’s like a toddler reaching her hands towards the grown-ups’ knees and saying “Up! Up!” I thought jumping was just a bottle baby thing. I guess I was wrong. I figure she’ll grow out of it eventually like Nibbles did, but it’s cute in the meantime, as long as she hasn’t been stepping in mud or other things one finds in goat pens.


Well, Phil and I must know our goats pretty well. Just as we predicted, Lilly needed someone to hold her hand through kidding, giving us ample warning for several days beforehand, then going into mild labor for most of the afternoon until I sat down with her. Then as soon as she knew I was going to stay, she started hard labor within 15 minutes.

Nibbles, on the other hand, was just the opposite, exactly as we foresaw. She dropped an enormous doe-ling today, and she did it all by her lonesome, two days early, with no warning and no fuss. She’d been spending a lot of time under our front deck, and yesterday we heard her pawing and nesting and talking to herself down there. So I attempted to block the area off, but a rainstorm prevented me from finishing the job. I thought I still had time to do it today because Nibbles just didn’t look ready yet. Still, she was spending an awful lot of time under that porch and I heard her chuckling to herself again this afternoon. I couldn’t get her to come out, though, so I figured I’d wait and block the entrance after she came out for evening feed.

I left Nibbles alone and went out to mow grass, and when I went back to check on her a couple of hours later I saw something that wasn’t Nibbles squirming around in the gloom! I crawled back there and was met with what I thought was an enormous buckling already the size of week-old Petunia that was dried off, standing, and nursing vigorously. I grabbed a towel, wrapped him in it, and had to crawl almost forty feet through the dirt to get out of that cave, trying the whole time not to fall and crush baby, who was bawling and struggling furiously. I looked down at the chunky body with the heavy legs and broad forehead and hollered to Phil that we had a bouncing baby boy! Then I went to dunk that filthy, dust-covered navel in iodine, looked at the belly and under the tail and realized he was actually a she! (Sorry girl–my bad.)

Anyway, here she is! We haven’t named her yet. Boy is she a chunk!
Nibs_Baby4 Nibs_Baby1 Nibs_Baby2 Nibs_Baby3

I hope her hind legs straighten out. Right now she’s pretty weak in the hind end and her pasterns are knuckled over the front. Especially the left one, which, as you can see in the photos, she can’t properly walk on at all. But she’s strong enough to stand up and nurse in spite of the crooked legs. Do any of ya’ll have experience with crooked-legged kids? Do they usually straighten out ok? I know that foals can have ridiculously crooked legs that they can hardly walk on when born, but that straighten out beautifully within a few days. Are goats the same way? I sure hope so!

Bouncing baby goat and the basketball mama

Petunia just keeps getting cuter and cuter. And she’s bouncing all over the place and getting more fun to play with lately.

She also enjoys helping me milk.

Nibbles is a barge these days. If she only has one baby in there, she’s going on a diet immediately after she kids!

I’ve got the Linds on my mind a lot lately. Jennifer Lind of Rae’s Majestic Nubians is the girl who owns Petunia’s daddy, and she lives right in the middle of the evacuation zone in that Black Forest fire that’s raging right now. I hope she got all her animals out in time. With so many homes burned, it’s hard to imagine hers survived.

Ah… the end of a perfect “goat day”

I have spent the last week combing our property and pulling up those horrid little ankle-grabbers that Phil and I call “sock burrs”, and today the goats came with me–all four of them. They don’t generally think much of the sock burr plants, but when I’m picking them, they think they must be delicious. Nibbles and Lilly kept grabbing mouthfuls out of the trash can I was filling up, and I kept trying to shoo them away to eat the ones I hadn’t picked yet. That would have been far more helpful! Cuzco was certain there must be something tastier than burrs in the trash can because he started rooting down into it like a kid looking for the toy in the cereal box. Petunia learned about cactuses and I spent some time pulling spines out of her nose and legs.

And then there was Nibbles… Nibbles, Nibbles, Nibbles. That wily goat was the worst when it came to pillaging the weed bin. But my afternoon really took an interesting turn when I heard her rummaging behind my back, and just as I was about to turn around and reprimand her, she walked up behind me and dumped a whole load of burrs down the back of my pants. You should have heard me whoop! I spent the rest of the afternoon picking burrs out of my underwear. I never did succeed in removing all of them. It was an itchy day. I keep telling myself that I will never again let goats help me with any project! But then I can’t help myself and I allow the entertainment factor to outweigh all practical concerns.

After we got back to the house, I brought Petunia up on the porch with me where we enjoyed the swings.

Phil was gone for the evening, so I had a friend over to watch a movie. She brought a 10-day-old Nigerian Dwarf buckling with her, so I brought Petunia up and we both sat with baby goats on our laps watching “Artois the Goat.” It was a perfect “goat day.” 

Tearful thanks for God’s mercy

I’ve been very reflective these past few days and it’s been hard to hold back tears remembering pain and tears of joy and thankfulness at these moments. One year ago today I found Cuzco after two frantic days of searching and two miserable nights of wondering. He’d been chased off by coyotes during the night and I was hoping simply to find his carcass so I could have closure. But he was alive! He was far from home, battered, torn, and exhausted, but he was very much alive and soooo ready to come home. He’s never fully recovered from that incident and has been an “old goat” in many ways ever since. But he’s happy and whole and he still loves life (even if he has to take it at a somewhat slower pace these days). God is good. Cuzco_Volcano

Summer breeze

Yesterday we let Lilly and her baby out to play in the green grass and the sunshine.

We named the kid Petunia after Phil’s dearly departed Grandmother, whose name was Eunice and was fondly nicknamed “Petunia” or “Euni Petuni”. But I sappily call her “Pretty Pet” most of the time. 

The photos don’t do justice, but she’s got the most ridiculous long legs I’ve ever seen on a baby goat. She looks more like a baby horse! She’s still a bit wobbly on the back ones but she’s improving rapidly and was jumping around like a cricket this morning after I helped her get something to eat. Poor Lilly has so much milk for just one baby that she’s a bit too tight in the udder and sometimes doesn’t want to stand while little Pet nurses, and this morning she tried to kick her away (especially from the left side). Other than this slight nursing glitch (which is not really her fault), Lilly has been an excellent and attentive mother. I milked her down just a little bit yesterday morning and last night and that seemed to help. This morning was also the first time Petunia was able to nurse without inhaling half her breakfast. She was wheezing, sneezing, and coughing after every meal yesterday.


Lilly had a single, big, beautiful baby girl this evening. We haven’t named her yet, but she’s a real cutie. She’s got a very Nubian face but with a straighter profile, small airplane ears with Nubian spots, a very long body and super-long legs with perfect Alpine cou clair coloring.

Phil says Lilly was in labor most of the afternoon, but she didn’t really get down to work until I came in from the field. She started hard labor within 15 minutes of me going in to sit with her. I think she was waiting for help, just as I figured she’d do. Lilly is my needy child.

Phil had to be somewhere at 7:00, so he left at 6:45, wondering how long it would be until the baby came.

Well, the bubble came as Phil was literally backing out of the driveway. And there were two feet followed by an enormous head before he’d gotten to the end of it of the dirt road.

That big Nubian head was a pain to get out, but I was prepared for the purple tongue hanging out (that about panicked me the first time I delivered a foal!). I stuck a finger in its mouth and felt a tongue reflex, so I knew it was ok. Lilly stood up and gave a push while I grabbed those feet and gave a pull, and out she came! A beautiful baby girl!

And boy was she strong! She was up and nursing long before Lilly stood up. Lilly is a very attentive mother and she has a beautiful big udder with enough milk for five babies. It’s a happy night in the Hassey household.