Phil and I were out last night and came home to this happy little scene:
I had put the goats in their pen before leaving, but forgot to lock the basement door, which they have access to. I know it was Cuzco who opened it but we saw no evidence that he came in. I think he knows his boundaries. The grain bin was knocked over but not much was taken. For Nibbles, exploring (and defiling) our house was a far more interesting prospect. There were goat pellets on every floor, basement to upstairs office. She also spent time dancing around on one of our end tables (all the remotes were on the floor) and left a present on the couch. For the record, it’s a lot more fun digging between the couch cushions for money than for goat pellets. Thankfully she did not figure out how to rifle the kitchen cabinets, and nothing in the office was destroyed (I’m sure the IRS would love to hear that “the goat ate our tax returns!”).
Not only do I need to be a lot more careful about that basement door (I’m lucky the goats did not gorge themselves on grain!), but I should probably change out the doorknobs. We have the handle kind and Cuzco knows how to open them with his head. A proper round knob would probably stump him even if I stupidly forgot to lock the deadbolt.
Cuzco has been missing his porch visits ever since we got Nibbles. She refuses to quit pooping when she’s up there, so we put a gate up; which isn’t quite fair to Cuzco who has very good potty manners. But sometimes we let Cuzco come up and we lock Nibbles out. It makes the old goat happy to have special privileges.
Nibbles got shaved! We’re taking her to the Dairy Goat Nationals in a couple of weeks, and I guess this is how they’re supposed to look.
I told her that with the white stripe she looks like a pot-bellied pig to me!
Phil and I took the goats hiking yesterday and got some great photos!
Nibbles is still small enough to do fun things like this!
There’s something about a man and his goat…
This is not a very good photo, but for a couple of days I thought it was going to be the last one I ever got of Cuzco. This was Wednesday morning June 6, about 12 hours before Cuzco disappeared. I wanted to document the first time Cuzco shared the shed with Nibbles. Of course, the second they heard me tip-toeing up with a camera and saw me peek my head around the door, Nibbles jumped up and blocked the camera while Cuzco turned his head to the wall as if to say, “Ugh, you are NOT going to photograph this indignity.”
Normally I would discard such a photo, but it took on a special significance when I thought it would be our last of Cuzco. He and Nibbles are co-existing rather well these days. I think he might even be starting to like her a bit. For a while they seemed to share the shed mostly because Cuzco was too sore to push her out (and in fact, she was seen pushing him out on more than one occasion). But now Cuzco is feeling well enough to spar with her, and yesterday I saw Nibbles napping outside the shed door, which tells me the natural order has been reestablished. He let her in later, but I think he wants her to know that it’s only by his good graces that she can share his shed, not because she’s entitled or can boss him around.
I’ve also noticed that Cuzco is seeking out the company of my horses less and less as he’s finally starting to bond with Nibbles. He’s no longer trying to get away from her, although when he’s with her he usually acts slightly annoyed by her presence. I’m sure he feels he has an image to uphold, but it’s starting to crumble. Among other things, I’m sure he simply enjoys having someone smaller than himself to boss around.
I don’t think Cuzco could have survived without a bit of help from The Man Upstairs. The yard he ended up in was probably the only really safe one in the whole area. It was surrounded by a 6′ chain link fence with one gate (which happened to be open and he found it), and it was one of the only fenced houses where there was no dog. He could stay there safely, surrounded by a fence where no predators could get at him. There was a water barrel, a half acre or so of excellent browse, several lean-to’s and sheds to take shelter under or hide behind. I think he was ready to set up camp there for a long time if no one found him. And miraculously, the man who owned the place just “happened” to be going to a funeral where he met an old friend of his, my next-door neighbor, and told him the story of the goat on his porch at 4:00 in the morning. There are just too many “coincidences” in this story.
Anyway, Cuzco is eating now and feeling a bit better. His neck is still very stiff and sore. The swelling has gone down, but the muscles are hard as a rock. He can’t bend to the ground to eat and has to kneel or lay down. He also can’t swing at Nibbles, so she’s actually taken the upper hand in the pecking order for now. She chased him out of the shed last night, which looked ridiculous to say the least. But Cuzco eventually just went in there anyway and lay down with a “Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?” look on his face. He really hates her at the moment. But I tell him “what goes around comes around”. He gave my old horse, Easter, hell for years when he was a young goat. Now he gets to find out how it feels to be old and tired and pestered by a knee-high whippersnapper.
Since this is a “glamour shots” blog, I should probably post a photo in here somewhere. This is one of my favorites. It was taken a long time ago before Cuzco lost his horn. And no, I’m not making any sort of statement about where goats go after they die!
I got Cuzco cleaned up last night, and he clearly had a very narrow escape. It’s hard to tell from the photos because of all the hair, but he has bites on both sides of his neck, and the upper portion of it is swollen and obviously stiff and sore. He has a couple of shallow puncture wounds, but we’re on the third day out and there’s no pus or swelling or even oozing from them, so I don’t think he’ll need antibiotics. I’ll just keep them cleaned out with some iodine and I think he should be ok. I think his studded collar, of all things, helped protect his lower neck. There were no wounds down there, and some of the studs look a bit bashed up, so thank goodness for fancy collars with double rows of metal studs!
Cuzco is very lucky he didn’t lose his left eye. I saw first thing that he had a scrape under it along the lower eye socket. What I saw later when I was cleaning him up was that he had a corresponding wound on top of his head in the spot where the horn is missing. It looks to me like a coyote grabbed Cuzco’s head in his jaws, and the upper teeth took out a chunk of skin on top while the lower teeth put the gash just under the left eye. Both are quite shallow. The one on top took all the skin off so the bone is showing through right behind his scur, but it hardly bled and he can’t feel it at all. That was the spot where his horn was removed, so there were no muscles, nerves, or blood vessels under the skin… just bone.
He has numerous shallow bite marks along his back and sides but only one kind of nasty one. But it’s no worse than some of the ones I’ve seen my horse, Skokie, give him in the past. He also has some scrapes that I suspect are from running through a dozen or so barbed wire fences over three miles of countryside. But nothing serious. Mostly he just looks traumatized. He’s barely eating right now, but I suspect he’ll settle down over the next few days. Unfortunately, I have to chain him up because he already tried to run off to the neighbors’ this morning when I let him out of the pen. I suppose I could just keep him locked in the pen, but I’m hoping he’ll eat sooner if he has fresh browse instead of hay. So he’ll stay on the tether until he starts feeling at home here again. He’s so jumpy, I’m afraid anything could set him running for the woods if he’s not restrained.
I’m just so glad he’s ok. I was praying I’d find his body. I never expected we’d find him alive, especially so far from home after two days and two nights!
Thanks for your prayers, guys. God DID pull a miracle out of the hat! Praise the Lord!
I spent about four hours this morning on horseback looking for Cuzco’s body among our scrub oak and on the empty 100 or so acres south of us where no one lives. All I scared up was a big bear, which didn’t raise my hopes any. I kept scanning the skies for buzzards, but only saw a couple of fly-overs. I gave up and came home around noon and was having a good cry with Nibbles in my lap when we got a phone call. Our neighbor who has the horses said he’d met someone who had been woken up at 4:00 this morning by a huge one-horned goat on his porch. His house is in a heavily wooded neighborhood a good three miles away!
Naturally, we drove straight over, but we couldn’t find Cuzco anywhere. There are many little roads and houses in that area, all thickly wooded and covered in scrub oak, so it’s impossible to see very far. Also, practically everyone has dogs, so I was afraid that Cuzco may have been chased who knows how far since 4 a.m. When we didn’t see him, we went home and I got back on my horse while Phil posted fliers all over town. I rode up and down that road and many of the surrounding roads calling him and checking in every yard and pasture that had horses. I hoped he would see and/or hear my horse and come out if he were hiding.
After several hours without luck I decided it was no use so I turned for home. I went one last time past the house where he had been seen that morning, calling as I passed, and suddenly there was a faint “Baa-aa-aa” from the bushes. Now mind you, I’d been hearing “Baa-aa-aa’s” from every bush along every road I’d traveled that afternoon, so I wasn’t convinced right away. Nevertheless, I turned round and called a couple more times and suddenly a white face peeked out at me from behind the scrub oak.
He’d been hiding back there on that same property the whole time, too traumatized to come out I guess. He’s a little bit beat up. There are some bites on his neck and a pretty nasty scrape down his back where it looks like teeth tried to dig in. It definitely wasn’t a bear. I’m thinking it was the coyotes we heard that night. Cuzco is pretty independent and likes to go out in the fields near our house, but it was a bad night to be out, what with too many coyotes and no horses at home. I don’t think he was protecting Nibbles. She’s just a homebody and always stays in the pen at night. Cuzco feels it’s his privilege to come and go as he pleases and he picked the wrong night to go. I don’t care what he thinks about it, I’m keeping him locked in at night from now on–especially when I take the horses to saddle club! Right now he’s very jittery and wants to leave home. He’s one of those critters that feels vulnerable when he’s locked in, which of course is stupid to those of us who know that his enclosure is safe. But try telling that to a goat!
Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. It’s been a very harrowing two days. Cuzco was gone almost a full 48 hours, and I’ve barely slept or eaten during all that time. So I’d better get me some dinner!
Cuzco went missing last night sometime between 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and I suspect the worst. I took the horses with me to saddle club and Phil was at youth group. When we got home, Cuzco was nowhere to be found. I didn’t worry about him… he often visits the neighbors’ horses if they venture close to our fence line and I just swing by and pick him up in the morning.
Well he wasn’t at the neighbors’ this morning and they said they’d had their horses down at the corral all night, so they would never even have come by our property at all. We had major coyote activity all around our house last night, and I fear that Cuzco wandered too far from home at a time when there were no horses in the pasture to protect him. We spent all day combing our property for any sign of him, but with all the oak brush, and acres upon acres of surrounding woods, it could be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Tomorrow I’m putting up “MISSING” posters around town in the slight chance that he followed some riders down the road or someone decided to “adopt” him, but I’m also going to be beating through the oak brush all day and scanning the skies for buzzards, seeking closure. I feel exhausted and numb at the moment. Nibbles stayed in the goat house all night and is fine. I don’t know what would have possessed Cuzco to wander away from home without the horses. He’s not usually that bold. He and Nibbles had just started sharing the shed together for the first time earlier that day, and I’d been watching them start to butt heads a little bit they way goats should do. I was so pleased. And now I’m devastated. But I’m also glad Nibbles didn’t follow him wherever he went.
If you think of us, we’d a appreciate a little prayer. Perhaps God will pull a miracle out of the hat for us.
I had my demo derby car out of the garage last week and Nibbles has decided she’s going to drive it in the next event!
What do you mean I’m not supposed to climb on cars!?
Actually, that’s why the demo car was out of the garage… I had a friend visiting from out of town. I positively assured her that goat hoofprints are the height of fashion, but she didn’t believe me. So her car went in the garage and my derby car was the new goat toy for a few days. Now all I have to do to find Nibbles is to follow the golden hoofprints.