a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Goat boys will forever be boys, and other lamb stories

Yesterday was a traumatic day on the farm for five of my yearling boys and the two white kid bucklings. Everyone except for Ari got a trip down to the vet's for surgical castration. Ari is staying intact for now because he's got good fleece and good horns and placed second at New York last fall. I'd like to continue letting him grow up and see what he's got for possible addition to the gene pool.

I got down to the vet office almost on time, only to be postponed for over an hour as various people came in with lamb emergencies. One woman had a bummer lamb (rejected by mom) who was 1/2 the size of its twin. The bummer had been doing ok, then suddenly got horribly sick and lethargic at four days old. The vet diagnosed a sudden food change (colostrum to powdered replacement), shot it up with vitamins, and recommended a different kind of food replacement. Then another woman came in with another bottle-lamb who was really cute and sweet, but was supposedly going blind at one week old. Again, the vet couldn't find anything specific to diagnose, especially since the lamb was walking and talking and doing its cute little thing. The lamb was perky and bright, the vet couldn't see any abnormalities in the eyes, and the lamb was able to not bump into things. So the vet couldn't really diagnose a problem besides possible near-sightedness.

We finally started into working on my boys at ten minutes past four. With some trauma and drama at the office, I didn't get home until 8:30. Then I had to convince the little boys to go back to the barn in the dark. Instead, they sprinted for the back garden and ran up and down the fenceline hollering for their mom. I have a yearling (Zoe) who can still crawl through the gate, but nooooo, these boys wouldn't squirm home to mom, and I couldn't open the gate without the whole mom herd storming out. Argh.

Here are some of the details and discussion...

As my goats are being raised as pets, they get to have twilight sedation, painkillers, and full surgery under reasonably sterile conditions. This is massively more expensive, yes, but it is also quick, 100% guaranteed to work, and allows me to let the boys to develop their horns and urethra for a year before cutting them. It also gives me a good excuse to see who would do well in fall shows (at 8 months old) who might not have done well in the initial spring ones, like Ari did.

Owen has nice color, but without horns, he and his (white) uncle Krys are out of the breeding pool. It's totally sexist, but no one seems to want hornless bucks. And in my situation, it's scary to keep hornless bucks in with horned bucks once breeding season starts, because they will be fighting without any weapons.

So if I'm such a fan of good horns and a lack of urinary calcium blockages, why did I cut the twin kids? Because I'm over my head in sheer numbers and I really need to sell the boys. Those kids have a far higher possibility of selling as wethers than they do as intact bucklings, and I want them to go to good homes as quickly as possible after weaning.
Tags: angoras, goats, kids, vet_visits

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