So we got Nibbles bred the other day to a Nubian buck. Yeah, yeah, I know. We have this wonderful little Alpine doe with a beautiful pedigree and what do we do? We breed her to a Nubian even though practically everyone says Nubians and Nubian crosses are loud and lazy and stupid. Well, Cuzco says differently! And since he’s getting old and we want a replacement, we’re going to try our hand at making more Alpine/Nubian crosses and see if we can get more outstanding goats like Cuzco, who is quiet, hard-working, intelligent, and drop-dead gorgeous.
But Nibbles’ encounter with the buck left her very pungent indeed. It being December, we gave her a bath in our upstairs tub (I’ll post some video footage of that sometime for anyone who wants a good laugh), and then I let her hang out with me in the basement next to the wood stove (and on the couch!) for about an hour while she dried off.
Oh, and I got a wild ride on Cuzco yesterday. I was doling out treats and Cuzco was standing in front of me eating some fallen tidbits when he suddenly charged after Lilly, who was behind me. He ran right between my legs, lifted me straight off the ground, and then panicked when he realized I was on his back. He ran about 30 feet to his shed with me lying on my belly, arms wrapped around him like some huge backwards mutton buster! I thought he was going to scrape me off on shed door, but in his mad dash he missed the turn and ran head first into a concrete retaining wall where I fell off in a hysterically laughing heap.
Cuzco almost never chases the other goats when Phil or I are present because he knows he’ll get in big trouble, but I guess he forgot his manners yesterday. He sometimes gets very cranky when Nibbles is in heat, and this time she came home smelling like buck, so Cuzco was particularly on edge for those two odiferous days. I was stupid and forgot he was in a mood, and he was stupid and forgot he’s supposed to suppress his urges when there are people present. Thankfully no harm was done and I’ve got one more funny story under my belt. I just wish there had been a video camera present!
We’ve been having some riotous times with these little goats lately. So many of our treat-feeding sessions end up with one goat on top of the other as they both scramble reach the peanuts.
The other day, Cuzco caught Lilly in his shed and tried to pummel her into pulp. He wouldn’t let her out, but pinned her to the wall and tried to flatten her. Good thing for her he’s so tall! She ducked down and darted right between his front legs, causing Cuzco to lose his balance and fall right on top of her. Lilly never skipped a beat and kept right on running, spinning Cuzco around with her as she exited the door. The look of absolute shock on Cuzco’s face as he rode that tiny goat halfway across the patio with his knees dragging behind him was priceless!
Nibbles is too fat and gets only a handful of grain while Lilly needs a bit of feeding up. So of course Nibbles tries to help Lilly finish her portion. But despite the fact that Nibbles is dominant, this feat is not easily accomplished with a goat as greedy and determined as Lilly. Last night was the best. Lilly’s head was glued to the bottom of her bucket as usual, so Nibbles rammed her with all the determination in her sturdy little body. But instead of just lifting Lilly’s hind end and shoving it over as she usually does, Nibbles kept going. Since Lilly’s head was glued to the bucket, it worked like a pivot and Lilly’s feet never touched the ground as she got helicoptered around a full 360 degrees. But Lilly also didn’t lose a single precious grain, and Nibbles was foiled again!
Cuzco is finally old enough to start growing a beard! If you look carefully you can just see the whiskers fluttering under his jaw. At nearly eleven years old, it’s about time he started getting some facial hair! He’s probably been feeling embarrassed because Nibbles and Lilly are starting to grow beards and he’s never had one. It’s shameful when the man of the house has less facial hair than the ladies!
Love the shadow on the floor. The deck is blocked off most of the time nowadays, but sometimes I leave the little goats in their pen a little longer in the mornings so Cuzco can still have his porch time.
Finally, Phil made a music video yesterday for a contest. The track is one he made with my brother back in 2006, so they were way ahead of their time with the whole “Celtic fiddle techno” genre (which is just now starting to get popular). Anyway, the video features goats listening to Phil play the viola. Whenever Phil plays his fiddle at the campfire, Cuzco always drops whatever he’s doing and comes over to stand in the front row and watch and listen. In over ten years that goat has never gotten bored of Phil’s fiddling. I love how he tracks Phil’s bow hand with his nose.
Goats beat out the classic internet meme “kittens” by 1 point! And yep, that’s Nibbles in the voting photos, and Cuzco’s classic mugshot is the in the bonus point symbol. I think Phil is determined to make goats the next big internet craze.
We finally had good weather for Christmas-treeing! I mean, you can’t very well go and cut down a Christmas tree in shorts and sandals, which is what I was wearing last week.
Nibbles picked it out.
She really got involved in the whole tree-picking process.
All the goats helped bring it out of the woods.
And Jet hauled it up to the house.
We thought about having Cuzco pull the tree home, but this was a really heavy tree (two trees coming out of one stump), and it’s a pretty steep climb to the house. Phil and I together were having a hard time hauling it. At his age and with him still coughing during heavy exercise ever since the coyote incident, we decided it would be best to give Cuzco a break. Jet is always eager to do something… anything that involves people.
I love these photos of Lilly and I snuggling on the porch. She’s the sweetest little thing ever. Cuzco has never liked close contact–he’s much too noble to be fawned upon by the unwashed masses. We must worship from a respectful distance. Nibbles is always on the go and won’t let me hold her for more than about ten seconds before she starts squirming and pulling away. There’s always something more interesting (or more tasty)over there. But Lilly climbs into my lap and will lay there until my legs fall asleep. She is in love with people and can’t think of a better way to spend her time than in someone’s embrace.
This is what happens when Lilly tries to pilfer Cuzco’s dinner.
She’s got nerve, that little goat. She’ll actually dive her head into Cuzco’s bucket and swipe a few mouthfuls before he can get her out. Often the grain goes flying in the process. She even challenges my mean gelding, Skokie, for his grain. Even Cuzco doesn’t mess with Skokie!
I made a video called “Mayhem at the Hassey Goat Farm”. I hope you enjoy it.
I can’t get over how sweet Lilly is. I never felt this bad for Nibbles when Cuzco was mean to her because Nibbles is a scrappy, rough-n-tumble little thing who seems to enjoy a bit of fisticuffs, even if she loses. And let’s face it–Nibbles regularly asked for a beating. Lilly tries to stay out of everyone’s way and still gets pummeled. Nibbles is starting to be a teensy bit nicer to her, but Cuzco pounds Lilly (and I mean HARD) at every opportunity. I’m sure the poor goat is black and blue under all the fur. At least she’s faster and more nimble than Cuzco, so most of the time she can get out of his way before he reaches her.
As for me, I’m learning the art of managing three goats on walks. Cuzco knows he’s not to pound anyone if there are people nearby, and he’s really very good about it. If he starts to turn and give Lilly the ol’ stinkeye, all I have to do is say his name in a menacing fashion and he immediately backs off. Nibbles is still learning. She’ll usually be good, but every now and then if Nibbles and Lilly have been walking side-by-side for too long, Nibbles can’t resist the urge to suddenly haul off and pound Lilly (usually right into my legs) for no apparent reason. That’s when Nibbles gets a spanking. But those spankings are happening less often now, and usually I just have to say Nibbles’ name gruffly when I see that head start to tilt.
We haven’t even had Lilly one week and already we’re teaching her all of Nibbles’ bad habits… er… tricks. Yesterday I got them to do some synchronized dancing.
Lilly loves to help out around the house. Today I was vacuuming windowsills and washing windows. I’m amazed at how calm she is. I turned on the vacuum while she was hanging her head in the window and she didn’t even flinch.
Lilly spent the afternoon with me on the front porch while I washed windows. She is always mildly interested in whatever I’m doing, but unlike Nibbles and Cuzco, she stays out of the way and out of trouble. I thought for sure I’d have to guard the water bucket, the rags in my back pockets, the squeegees. But no, she was content just to follow me around and not interfere.
Lilly is a very talkative little thing. She’s quiet when she’s by herself or with the other goats, but she keeps up a running commentary whenever there are people around. She’s not loud or fussy, just conversational. She’s the caprine equivalent of Anne of Green Gables.
Allow me to introduce you to “Lilly”, a six-month old Alpine/Sable Saanen cross. She’s an absolute love. We brought her home on Friday. Poor little thing doesn’t have a friend in our herd right now. Nibbles uses her for a punching bag, and Cuzco won’t let her anywhere near him. They ditched her and went out to browse this morning, so I let her come up on the porch with me. She made friends with the tin goats. They don’t hit her when she comes up to say hi and they even let her sample their pumpkin!
Lilly is much less stocky than Nibbles but will certainly end up taller. She’s got a fine, soft, silky coat that is amazing to run my fingers through. It’s not nearly as thick as Nibbles’ but is a bit longer. Lilly is a lot more “chill” than my other two goats. She was fine with hoof trimming, worming, bathing, and even blow drying. She was just happy to bask in the glow of human attention. She’s nowhere near as feisty as Nibbles and will probably always get pushed around, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Apparently she was at the bottom of the pecking order at the much larger herd she came from, so she’s used to getting beat up. In fact, it’s given her a very high pain tolerance. She didn’t seem to mind getting zapped by my electric fence. Repeatedly. She doesn’t like it, but I watched her stand there and take it for about four zaps until she finally decided to mosey on.
The only time when Lilly is NOT chill is during feeding time! She knows if she doesn’t eat fast, she won’t eat at all. She figured out the secret of diving her head into the bucket and keeping it there no matter what the other goats do. She got her head into Nibbles’ bucket, and Nibbles lifted her off her feet a few times trying to dislodge her. Lilly simply picked up the bucket with her head and ran off with it, which worked great except she couldn’t see! She ran into the side of the house and lost half the grain there, but Nibbles was forced to eat what spilled because Lilly simply wouldn’t let Nibbles into the bucket. Nibbles was extremely put out until she discovered that biting Lilly’s ears did the trick. Phil and I were laughing too hard at their antics to interfere. Lilly may get beat up, but she knows how to take it and she will stand her ground when the stakes are high!