Sunday, December 23, 2007

Integration & Weight Issues

Integration between Dixie and the goats is actually going pretty well. It took them about a day or 2, but they graze together and lay together and in general aren't killing each other so I'd say that's a good thing. They aren't yet the best of friends, but I am hoping that will come with time.

Meanwhile, the surprise in the mix is Tony, who is completely befuddled and dare I say, afraid, of Dixie. He has been a little on edge and bristley at the simple sight of her so don't expect a picture of Tony curled up next to Dixie any time soon. I am hoping, that as with everything else we've been through animal wise, time is the answer.

Had quite the day on Friday. Dr. Mary came out to give Dixie her shots - which she did not like at all. Four in total and it took both me and Dr. Mary to hold her down for the injections. We also had to wrangle the goats to be wormed - well, "we" is stretching it slightly. I held out the bag of animal crackers to bribe them and Dr. Mary did most of the hard work. In fact, as you can well imagine, Elvis was a little wary after his last encounter, and did not submit willingly.

Meanwhile, Dixie seems to be settling in nicely to her new home which is good and bad. Good in that she is happy but bad in that now that she's no longer afraid, she's also developed a little bit of an attitude. She's been sassy and stubborn and well - living up to the reputation of donkeys everywhere.

I have been trying to work with her to train her: everything from putting her bridle on and taking it off, walking her on a lead, and working her legs so she gets used to lifting them to have her hooves cleaned. She did great the first few days but yesterday was a little harder and frankly, I am frustrated. I know that I need to be the tough one, the disciplinarian, the rule setter - but I also want her to love me and I am afraid that if I am too tough, too hard on her - she'll start to run every time she sees me. Marty assures me that's impossible but that doesn't make it any easier.

Anyways, it's definitely a lot of responsibility - the routine, the training - but I know it will be worth it and truthfully, she is sooooooo sweet. Y'all have to come and visit!

In other news, Ann-Margaret is both fat AND pregnant! When Dr. Mary was here she palpated which is the main way to tell if a goat is pregnant. It took her 3 times, but the third time she thought she felt a fetus (she offered to do an ultrasound to be absolutely sure but I declined). As it turns out though, the fetus is in the back and those bulbous blobs sticking out of Ann-Margaret's side are FAT! One side is the rumen and one side is her small intestine and Dr. Mary said she's definitely carrying around a little extra mass. So the goats are on a diet which they don't like at all. They've been getting a big scoop of corn and a big scoop of feed once a day. Dr. Mary said they don't need any corn (except as a treat) and only a handful of feed. Marty suggested weaning them slowly from the overfeeding to normal amounts - like weaning someone off of drugs - but I took charge and yesterday they got a normal amount of feed with just the tiniest amount of corn. In the pre-diet days, they took 5 - 7 minutes to eat. Yesterday - they were done in about 30 seconds and boy were they confused by how little they got. It was kind of funny actually.

So it looks like Dixie Mae is not the last addition to the farm and it's possible that we'll have some more goat kids running around soon...

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...