Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goat Maintenance


Today was hoof trimming/ear maintenance day for our goats, and well... yuck.

Goats are awesome little critters, and though they can be challenging at times, are sweet and fun 90% of the time. The other 10% - crazy, smelly, ornery and bitey.

Today was a 10% day. Their hooves all looked really great; no hoof rot, impacted gunk or anything else nasty. I am especially grateful about the absence of the hoof rot. One of our girls had a terrible case of it last year when we first bought her. It took a lot of foot baths, intramuscular antibiotics and constantly refreshed bedding to get her hooves back in shape. Hoof rot is also very contagious, so we were lucky that our other goats didn't get it. Keeping their feet trimmed and clean, and having dry, poop-free bedding are the keys to keeping their feet healthy. It is a lot of work!

When we do hoof and foot maintenance, we also do ear checks. Seven of our nine goats are Lamanchas, and have tiny little ears that occasionally need to be irrigated and medicated, because they have very small openings and don't "breathe" well. Needless to say, the goats are NOT fans of these procedures, and wrestle and wiggle the whole time that we're trying to flush out the gunk and administer the ear drops. It is thankless and messy.

So by the end of it all (today it took about 2 1/2 hours), you smell like a buck, have bits of hoof trimmings in your hair, have had ear goobers flung in your general direction and have probably had your finger chomped a time or two by an overzealous goat seeking his or her snack. A shower and change of clothes will knock the smell down, but not always out, and the "essence of buck" has a way of lingering in your sinuses and throat for a few hours after the fact.

Even with all of that, how could you not love sweet faces like these?

Just like with kids, all of the work and the craziness are rewarded with little moments of sweetness that remind you why you bother with it at all. I heart my stinky, ornery, snuggly little goaties, even on days like this. ;)

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