Phil gave a great interview to Modern Farmer magazine the other day!
Finn’s teeth are growing and yesterday he was showing them off, the little monster! Did I mention that these sharp, scary little teeth are the first thing I felt when I reached inside Lilly to see what the delay was about? The first thing Finn did before he even entered the world was to bite my finger!
Later on I took Finn with me to a Saddle Club meeting where he distracted everyone with cuteness. No one seemed to mind.
I also took Daisy to the groomers today to get shaved.
I’m not sure I brought home the same dog! I took down a dirty mop and brought home what looks like a sleek labrador cross! The poor girl has been spending as much time as possible wallowing in water troughs, creeks, puddles, the cow pond, and anything else wet. She also had a few ticks hiding down in all that fur. She’s about half the size she was and I had to remove what used to be a snug chain collar because it was hanging down like a necklace, but I think she’ll be a lot more comfortable now.
Nubbin was much better today and only hung around crying by herself for a little while this morning before she went out and grazed with the other goats. Last night Nubbin slept outside by herself, curled up with her face away from everyone, and she was in the exact same place and in the same position this morning when I let the goats out. I don’t think she moved all night. But tonight she’s sharing a shed with Cuzco again, which is her usual resting place. I’m happy to see she’s socializing again instead of moping around by herself.
And we felt Petunias babies squirming today! Phil and I both felt them, and we felt them on both sides! So I’m pretty sure she’s got two. And they are lively ones! I swear they were doing the jitterbug in there! It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to feel babies move and it was so exciting. Nubbin was too deep and soft to feel anything, Nibbles was too fat, and Lilly is so tight and toned that I don’t think any baby could kick its way past those abs of hers! Petunia is just right, and she feels like she’s bulging with kids. I told her to stay out of trouble and keep them safely inside till they’re cooked properly!
Little Finn is doing great. He’s bouncing around like a jumping bean and discovering the joys of bumping his head, tumbling off heights, falling in holes, and all the other things little kids do when their courage is greater than their ability. I’m not sure yet, but I think this little guy might be polled like his mama. He has swirls, so I thought for sure he’d have horns, but they haven’t sprouted yet. Nubbin and Petunia’s were poking through within a 3-4 days if I recall correctly. So far Finn only has round nubs and he’s almost a week old. Pac-Man is enamored with Finn. He looks at him with all the pride of fatherhood, convinced that this is his progeny. I told him he’s mistaken, but Pac-Man won’t hear a word of it. The two boys like to stick their tongues out at each other. In fact, Finn doesn’t seem to know how to put his tongue back in. I told him it’s going to get sunburned the way he keeps poking it out all the time.
It’s been a sad morning. We have two less babies to welcome into 2014. Nubbin delivered during the night while we were in bed, three weeks before her time. One was very bloated and partly hairless–obviously dead for a while. The other looked perfect but was born too soon. Nubbin was a good mama and had dried her off, but it was no use. I don’t think we’d have been able to save her even if we’d been there to warm her and tube feed her. Three weeks is so early.
Both were does and were colored just like their mama–bay bodies, white belts, and white patches on their foreheads. I cry a little when I think we could’ve had three Nubbins jumping around. She may have been hit by one of the other goats, or perhaps the umbilical cord got wrapped around its neck–we’ll never know. The hardest part is listening to Nubbin cry for her little ones. She’s so sad right now and won’t stop looking and calling for them. All I can do is cry with her.
This little guy is so cute I can’t stop posting photos of him! These were taken yesterday afternoon as well. He spent a lot of time bouncing up and down the stairs behind this retaining wall and posed for the camera with his beautiful mama.
“Mom, look what I can do!”
Finn spent some time showing off his balancing skills on top of this wall, and even demonstrated his ability to stand on three legs and scratch his chin while perched on this height. Then suddenly without any warning he leaped off! Scared me and Lilly to death. The wall is six feet high and and he landed flat on his belly on the cement below with all four legs sprawled out. I think he got the wind knocked out of him because he didn’t cry. But he shakily got to his feet, limped off, and after discovering that he was ok, he raced around to the stairs and bounced straight up them again. Phew!
Lilly is a wonderful mama and always makes sure her new babies have a cozy, out-of-the-way spot to hide while she goes off to graze. I remember her hiding Petunia last year and sometimes we had trouble finding her.
Daisy sometimes gets worried when Lilly leaves Finn by himself. Lilly gets worried if Daisy messes with him. They’ve come to blows a few times over this baby. I’ve had to step in and protect our poor LGD a few times because Lilly keeps chasing her, butting her, biting her, and trapping her underneath trailers and vehicles. But I don’t know what Lilly is so worried about. All I’ve seen from Daisy is pure affection and tenderness when she’s with Finn. Daisy sneaks over whenever she can and licks him gently from nose to tail.
It’s official: Phil named this little guy “Huckleberry Finn.” I’m not sure yet whether “Huck” or “Finn” is going to be the name that sticks, but I’ve been leaning toward Finn. Phil calls him Huckleberry.
Last night we had some friends over for a movie night and Finn joined us and sat on Phil’s lap for most of it. And today I brought him into the kitchen to keep me company while I ate lunch. Do you think he might be a wee bit spoiled?
My horses escaped today and Lilly went into labor while I was out looking for them. I got home with them about 20 minutes after her water broke, and Phil was about to call in reinforcements (we have a “goat mentor” who helps us during these type of emergencies), but I arrived in time. When I got there, I saw a bubble but no feet, and since she’d been at it for 20 minutes with no progress I knew it was time to intervene.
Phil and I dragged Lilly to her feet and got her out of the shed and onto the grass in the sunshine where we had more room to work and more light to see. The first thing I felt was a mouth with sharp teeth. Right below it were the hooves. He was in the correct position, but he was trying to come out all at once. I pushed his head back a bit and grabbed a hoof. Apparently our little guy didn’t want to come out because as soon as I pulled his hoof he yanked it right back in.
By this time, poor Lilly was screaming her head off in pain while Phil held her head and braced shoulder and tried to comfort and encourage her. That head was huge and it didn’t want to come out even with the feet where they belonged. But with a lot of yelling and pushing from Lilly and a lot of pulling from me and bracing from Phil, we got that kid out, and all the pain of delivery was forgotten in a moment.
He was a lively little sucker! We had him cleaned off and nursing in no time, and he was walking before we knew what happened. He weighed in at a good 11 lbs.! I didn’t think our little Lilly-goat could deliver a baby that big. I told her she should have twins–they’re usually a bit smaller. But does she listen to me? No! Of course not!
Yesterday, Pac-Man accompanied Phil and I on his first-ever hike! He’s been on walks with us and the girls nearly every day since we got him, but not any bona-fide hikes on real live hiking trails! Cuzco came too, of course, to show the little squirt how a proper packgoat does things.
Pac-Man started off the first half-mile by continually trying to sneak past me. I couldn’t let my guard down for a moment. His persistence ended when Phil handed me his flannel shirt to carry and I whapped Pac-Man across the face with it as he tried to dart around my legs. That startled him and he kept a safe distance afterwards.
Unfortunately, keeping a safe distance made Pac-Man nervous (or perhaps he was crying because his feelings were hurt), so he started up a racket of mournful baa-aa-s. He kept stopping in the trail and looking back as well. Cuzco, who was in the rear, did not tolerate this behavior for long. He began shoving Pac-Man in the bottom every time he stopped, which kept the procession going, but it did nothing to shut the little goat up.
Once he was relegated to the back, Pac-Man settled down, stopped crying, quit turning around, and things went on very nicely until we got to our first water crossing. Cuzco hesitated only enough to decide the best path before showing Pac-Man how to properly negotiate a creek.
Phil and I thought that if we hiked off he would eventually muster up the courage to follow. We disappeared into the woods, closing our ears to Pac-Man’s frantic despairing cries, but unfortunately our plan didn’t work out. I peered back through the trees only to see Pac-Man running desperately up the trail in the wrong direction!
I quickly went back and called to him, and relief washed over his panicked face when he saw me, but it wasn’t enough to make him cross the water. Oh well… we encountered the same problem with Nibbles’ first water crossing when we took her with us to Utah two years ago, so I guess we can’t blame Pac-Man’s Nubian heritage. Not everyone is born a natural. It was time to break out the leash and force the issue.
I walked over the log bridge and I hauled on the leash until Pac-Man was forced to come after me. He did not make a very graceful first attempt, I’m afraid. Because he was pulling against me but trying to run across quickly at the same time, he lost his balance halfway and fell into the brush on the downstream side. He leaped out, a little wet and somewhat terrified, but otherwise fine.
The first crossing wasn’t up to spec, so I figured now was a good opportunity to practice a couple more times. This time I waded in to show Pac-Man that water is safe. Contrary to his suspicions, it does not burn skin off like acid. Pac-Man stood resolutely on the bank, all four feet planted firmly, while I waded into the water. When I reached the end of the lead, I turned around and hauled away, thinking I could drag him in. Instead, Pac-Man responded with an almighty LEAP. I got a panicked glimpse of a goat hurtling airborne right toward my body before I turned and scrambled desperately out of the way. He cleared the eight-foot gap between us at chest-level and landed with a splash almost on top of me before bolting up the bank. I avoided getting flattened or dunked, but I do have a nice bruise on my calf where one of his hooves got me in passing.
Thankfully that was the end of the water drama. Pac-Man figured out how to walk (well, run) across the log after that.
I get more impressed with this old goat every time we take him anywhere. He just loves getting out and going places, and I think he really enjoyed showing off his water and log crossing skills to Pac-Man. Pac-Man even learned some things about log crossing. Cuzco also set a good example of staying on the trail instead of cutting switchbacks. We were having problems with that when Pac-Man was in front, but once Cuzco took the lead, there was no more trail-cutting.
On the way home I was brave enough to let the boys stand loose in the truck bed. This is a skill that Cuzco has that I want Pac-Man to learn. They did great! Cuzco did not try to shove Pac-Man out of the truck. When Pac-Man was smaller I worried about this so I always tied everyone up.
We had a bit of brief excitement this morning. Lilly is due any day now, so I always peek out the window first thing in the morning to see if everything seems normal. All the goats were in their sheds so I didn’t bother them and went upstairs. An hour or so later I heard a horrible screaming cry. It sounded like a human toddler! I rushed downstairs to see what was happening. My only thought was, “Oh my gosh! Lilly kidded last night and a baby is tangled in the electric fence!”
But when I came outside, all seemed quiet. The goats were bunched in one corner of the pen staring wide-eyed at Daisy. Lilly had her hackles up, but no babies. When I went out to check on everyone, Daisy was beside herself and Lilly was on the warpath. Apparently Lilly has kicked into aggressive mode and I think she pushed Daisy into the electric fence. Lilly attacked Daisy a couple more times as I was letting everyone out. I wonder if I’ll have to put Daisy outside the pen for a while until Lilly settles down, or if Daisy will figure out how to stay out of Lilly’s way.
Those two have always had a very rough-and-tumble relationship with a lot of play-fighting and dirty tricks, but both of them always looked as though they were enjoying it. I regularly see Lilly sneak up behind Daisy and snatch a chunk of hair out of her tail. When Daisy yelps and jumps, Lilly struts off with head high and tail arched over her back, waiving the ball of fluff triumphantly. Sometimes Lilly bowls Daisy over. At other times Daisy ambushes Lilly out of nowhere and nips her ear or cheek then streaks away with a gleeful grin on her face. Neither of them has ever taken these hijinks seriously, and one will usually chase the other after a prank. But this morning’s encounter looked serious, and no one was laughing. I’ll have to keep a close watch and make sure Lilly doesn’t get too aggressive. Daisy is a great guard dog and I don’t want her losing her enthusiasm for her job.