Bucks, coming out of rut (April 2017)

Bucks crack me up. Mostly because they’re scary and bonkers all in the same moment.

‘Coming into rut,’ in case you don’t know, is the hormone surge that happens to bucks during breeding seasons. If you’ve ever seen a buck in rut, you’ll know that they do extremely lovely things like pee on themselves and blubber at anything on four (or even two) legs that wanders past. That stereotype about goats smelling? Yeah, it’s from them.

Right now I have two bucks in the barn: Aztec and Sauvie. Sauvie I bought two years ago because I absolutely loved his color (blonde!) and his conformation was excellent. I’d been eyeing him for a few months on craigslist… and my fiancee bought him for me when I moved in with him (moved in with the fiancee. Not Sauvie). Sauvie came to me at 8 months as the sweetest little buck who ever lived. He just wanted to cuddle and be next to you.

Aztec I raised from a baby long with his sister, Magnolia (who unfortunately died from a freak accident I’ll someday share). So he’s VERY tame and well behaved. He inherited some of his father’s bossiness, but his mother’s shy affectionate character is definitely in there too.

Then September and the hormones arrived.

That’s what bucks do, so I expected it. I knew what was going to happen. I was just more surprised as how much of the horn-dog mania could be seen in there eyes. I mean, the peeing on themselves was bad enough (Sauvie? Not so white anymore…), but they raced around and fought and snorted at everything that moved. It was a little difficult to get into their pen without being covered or knocked over (some lessons in who’s boss had to be taught — the downside of friendly bucks). Half the time the whites of their eyes showed and they looked like they were high on some serious drugs. I couldn’t pet them (with gloves of course) without being attacked by their tongues as they attempted to impress my hand with their blubbering.

Now it’s April. I’d been noticing the lack of fighting and general carrying on, but I’d been so used to them being insane I wasn’t really paying attention.

IMG_3643.JPGThis evening, I was tickled to notice Aztec watching me move around, alert and attentive. So I wandered over and gave them both some attention.

They nearly fell over in shock when I stroked their noses and chins. I guess it has been a while since I’ve actually touched them. Sauvie’s eyes actually glazed I stroked his cheeks for a while, which was kind of endearing.

Shockingly, they don’t smell so much anymore. My hands smelled a little bad after giving attention, but their faces (along with their front legs, usually the worst of the pee-targets) were only a little musky.

It’s nice to know my boys are back to the realm of the sane and friendly! They’ll be needing baths before I’ll really spend time with them (drat it weather, warm up), but I’m looking forward to actually knowing their personalities again.

Side note: The fur on their noses is so soft… it’s amazing, almost like baby fur! I’m not sure what that’s about, but definitely makes me want to pet noses…

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The Adventure of Duchess and her Broken Leg

So Duchess somehow managed to snap her leg in half. Bone protruding, the bottom part of her leg dangling free without any support, the whole deal. This is the goat who gets out of any fence known to man and clears 5 foot fences like a deer.

(Warning: graphic images!)

So we rush her to the vet while I practically lay on her, because she somehow thinks standing in a moving car instead of lying down with a broken leg is a good idea.

So the veterinarian is in surgery when we arrive. We wait about 15 minutes. Vet comes out and assesses, and gives Duchess some pain meds. Duchess proceeds to crash out on my lap.

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We wait for about 45 minutes, because it’s the day of emergencies apparently (then we realize it’s the full moon, and we understand).

Anyway, the vet returns. We need to carry her in to work on her leg. I’m sure that she’s going to thrash around, so the vet knocks her out. Wow, that stuff works like a charm. We carry her in on my ratty old sleeping bag, which has it’s second life as a gurney.

Duchess stops breathing. Vet has to intubate. Apparently, it’s really hard to intubate a goat, so we were all pretty sure for a few seconds there that she was going to die. But we finally get her breathing again after a few minutes.

It takes an hour and half to fully shave, clean, reset, wrap, cast, and take xrays of her leg.

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I wish I had taken a picture of the xrays! It was pretty fascinating actually, for the more scientific minded. I think you probably have to get used to a little gore working with animals, though I did need to look away when the vet pulled her bone back into alignment.

Back in the car, Duchess is waking up, but really drugged, but keeps trying to talk. So mostly I see a lot of lip twitching, blinking, occasional head throwing around and plaintive noises.

Of course, as soon as we got her back into her pen and went to leave, she woke up and jolted to her feet and yelled at us to come back.

But anyway. Here’s a funny picture of my very stoned goat after being returned to her pen. Look at her fancy bright red cast!

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For the next few days I’ll be giving her a shot to help with inflammation, and make sure that her cast doesn’t get wet. And I have another appointment with the vet in 5 days to check on everything, clean it, and have another antibiotic shot.

The biggest worry at this point is that an infection may form (since it was an open wound). I was told there was a possibility the bones may not fuse, and she’ll need orthopedic surgery… so here’s hoping her bones fuse! It’s going to be a rough month or two for this kiddo, especially since she’s the troublemaker of the group and just loooovvves to get out of everything and be a brat.

The positive news is that she gets alfalfa again to aid her healing! She can’t deny being happy about that.

 

UPDATE:

A little over a month later, the vet’s biggest worry is that the bone isn’t “bridging,” or starting to fuse. It’s possible it’s due to infection, so we loaded her up with a ton more antibiotics and another month of waiting.

Let’s hope the bone starts healing. Otherwise, if it’s a non-healing fracture (which is a possibility with the severity of the break), she’s going to become a three-legged goat.

That being said, she has MASTERED the three legged hop-run. The cast is no longer slowing her down in the slightest. And she’s pretty mad about being locked in a little pen all the time (the vet said she needed to stay ‘quiet’ to give her the best chance of the bone bridging).

Genetics of Personality

As new babies are born and become little bundles of (increasingly bratty) joy, their personalities emerge full force. It’s amusing to me to see the differences between Maggie and Aztec, and now Beltane and Inanna.

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When I worked with 120+ kids a year it was harder to see how their individual personalities presented themselves, except for the few who really let their personalities shine. With a smaller herd and making sure I spend a lot of time with my dam-raised babies to make them tame, I can’t help but notice all the differences between them.

For Maggie and Aztec, I didn’t raise their parents (Blackberry and Rhett), so I don’t know what their personalities were like when they were toddling around. But the similarities to their adult parents’ personalities is striking.

They were a little doomed for being attention-needy, as both Blackberry and Rhett are both obvious and loud about their desire for attention. And I can understand the kids being whiny and hiding behind me when they’re threatened — Blackberry does that, and they will follow her example.

But weird quirks that Rhett has keep popping up — and I can’t blame that on learn by example because they’ve never spent time with him!

For example, Aztec does the exactly same wave his head in a circle while looking up at you that Rhett does when he wants attention. Maggie does the same back arched, head down, eyes half-closed thing as her father does too. And it started by the time they were a week or two old!

Beltane and Inanna are no less striking. Sari is a fearless tank who does exactly what she wants when she wants to — and little Beltane really got that personality aspect. Within two minutes of being born she was getting to her feet and searching insistently for the milk. She’s also the one that just trots out wherever she wants and explores to her heart’s content. The other day she was trying to fight a chicken.

Inanna, on the other hand, laid there quietly upon being born, looking around, collecting herself. She even took a nap before deciding to get up and look around for sustenance. Maybe it’s just that she inherited her father’s sweet face, too, but she is strikingly like her quiet, collected father.

Now that they’re older, both of them definitely have the cantankerous, in your face aspects of Sari, with really sweet moments of Sauvie. And, of course, there’s just something that’s all their own, too. Beltane does this little head flip that’s the cutest thing ever. And Inanna is into everything.

It all just fascinates me.