What’s Up (with the) Pussycat?

Well, let’s see, first of all, he was officially confirmed as a he by our Awesome Vet today, and so his name is Malcolm, or Mal for short. (With a nod to Captain Tightpants.) She also confirmed my suspicions that his round little belly is full of worms – roundworms, to be exact. So he got his first treatment today, and will have another in a few weeks. He’s doing really well!

He loves to bat at anything moving – playful little fuzzball! Sunbeams are also a favorite.

She said that I have done the right thing by giving him the Duramycin in his food (which I make soft by adding water, and I mix the antibiotic in with that.) It looks like we nipped any distemper in the bud, because his face is all spanky clean! No more snots or eye boogers. She thinks he will be ready to be fixed in a few weeks. Although he is at a good weight, she wants to see him get rid of the worms first, so that he’s at optimal health to handle the surgery.

His favorite toy so far is the little furry white mouse made of leather, and I am guessing rabbit fur? The kind you see in all of the pet supply stores. I tied it to the end of one of the orange baling ropes from around the hay, and he loves chasing it around.

Frequently, we find him in the pen with the goats more than over by the bed we have for him. He really enjoys cuddling with them, and they are very careful not to hurt him. They watch for him underfoot and take care not to trample him. It’s a neat relationship we see building between all of them.

Of course, he’s still very interested in us humans, too, and will happily receive any and all affection and and attention that we will provide, as you can see. 🙂

We are also seeing a lot of attention and, well…I guess you could call it “affection” on the part of our intersexed doe, MaryMan, toward the other does. She’s displaying a lot of buck-like behaviors, and is in heat herself. Awesome Vet LeeAnn pointed out that she’s going to be a very helpful part of our AI (artificial insemination) program in coming years, because she will not only alert us to when the other does are in heat, but also, her buck behaviors and noises will cause our other girls to ovulate, and will likely result in more multiple births from the breeding.

This year, we couldn’t ramp up to AI quickly enough, so we will be borrowing an Alpine buck from LeeAnn’s farm – he’s an ADGA registered goat, and as such, as a formal name. But they have lovingly nicknamed him “Asshole” because he keeps escaping from every pen they have him in – he’s desperate to mate with some females. But she’s trying to do AI on the does she wants to breed, so that’s causing quite a bit of interference. Even though we’ll have to deal with a buck (and the associated smells and buckiness) – I think we can be fairly confident that we’ll have bred goats after he spends some time with ours!

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2 responses to “What’s Up (with the) Pussycat?”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    What happened to Artimas (sp?) kitty?
    Why AI vs – uh – natural / standard procedure?

    1. Trase Avatar

      Artemis ran away on us – but not before killing a couple of our pullets (young hens), including one of my beautiful Mille Fleur Bantam hens! 🙁 Also, she attacked our dog Loki (who she used to ADORE) and was hostile toward us. It was like she did an instant reversion to being feral.

      And AI has several advantages – good question! Basically, to breed goats naturally, you of course, have to keep a buck around, for at least a period of time. We are borrowing the buck, and will have to keep him around for at least a week to insure that he knocks all of the girls up. But during that time, we will have to put up with his “buckyness.” That means a whole host of behaviors and smells that are less than pleasant. Bucks pee on their legs and beards and have musk glands that they use to create what they feel is an alluring cologne, but pretty much amounts to Hai Karate overload. Does tolerate a bucks presence when they are in estrus (heat), but that’s really the only time they like them. Additionally, there is a risk of STD’s from a buck.

      And for those who keep bucks year-round, they must be housed in separate quarters, because they can taint the milk with all of that zeal for creating a musky presence. They don’t take kindly to being kept away from the ladies, and frequently, there are issues with them becoming escape artists. Furthermore, if you keep doe kids, you can’t breed them to their father, so now, you need another buck, and so it goes with each generation.

      AI is advantageous because you can introduce a variety of bloodlines into your herd without the need to travel with your goat does to breed them, or for the buck to come to your does. Travel puts goats under a great deal of stress, and they can actually get ill from it, when they were perfectly healthy before the trip. (We are fortunate that the buck we are borrowing is only about a 1/2 hour away.) You can order straws of goat semen through catalogs (online and paper) as well as purchasing them at goat conventions and shows, and it can be kept for years in a storage tank. So even bucks who have since passed on, but who had the genetic traits you are looking to cultivate in your herd, can breed your does. My plan for our herd is to eventually breed up to having Oberhasli and LaMancha goats. I’ll be able to be very choosy about who sires the kids in our herd – and if there is a need for breeding improvements, like better udder attachment, etc., I can make AI choices to do that much more easily than I could try to track down a buck who is the right breed, and has the traits that I need locally.

      We are really lucky, because our Awesome Vet is one of the leading authorities on Goat AI – she just got back from the national convention, where she taught classes on it. We are going to be working with her to create webinars on the subject that she will be offering via her website, and that’s going to give us some great practice for our own herd next year! We couldn’t do it this year due to equipment costs -it was just too much at once for us, but we’ll spend the next year gradually acquiring the things we need, so we’ll be ready, come next November. 🙂

      Hopefully I’ve covered it all – let me know if I missed anything!

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