Hooper was last year's breeding buck, currently on my list to be sold. He's a 7/8 Kiko youngster we bought early last summer to breed our Nubian and Nigerian does when they came into season in the fall. As far as I know he did his job, although not without some mix-up, unfortunately, (see "More Misadventures in Goat Breeding").
The other night Dan was out after dark to check on things. There were dogs barking like crazy, but he told me he heard something that really got his attention; not a dog, but a goat. It was the sound of a goat in distress. He took the flashlight and headed toward the buck shelter.
When he got there he found a mess. Hooper and Alphie had gotten into a tussle (typical for goats). Both have horns and both have collars. Somehow Alphie had gotten a horn hooked under Hooper's collar. In their struggling they had gotten completely tangled up. Hooper was strangling and Alphie was panicking, but Dan said they were so twisted up Hooper's collar was too tight to get off. He had to flip Alphie head over heels to loosen the collar. He could not get Alphie free but was finally able to release the latch on Hooper's collar to free them both.
He said Hooper stood there dazed, pupils fixed, glassy eyed. Dan kept calling his name, trying to get him to respond, but Hooper went down and stopped breathing. Dan said he started furiously pumping his ribs and blowing into Hooper's nostrils. Hooper finally came to.
|Hooper's okay but now collarless.|
You goat folk are probably thinking of the same two things I am - horns and collars. Horns are a topic of controversy amongst goat owners, and there are many "war" stories out there about them. I have a few more of my own. While dairy breeds are traditionally disbudded as kids, the meat and fiber breeds are not. Personally, I have had too many bad experiences with horns to like them. Dan, on the other hand, thinks they are natural and beautiful. A lot of folks feel that way. Horns (or rather hornlessness) is one of the reasons Ziggy is part of my breeding program. That little Nigerian is naturally hornless (aka polled)! I'd love to keep a small, dual-purpose, polled herd (with the added benefit of creamy Nigerian milk genetics).
Of collars, many folks like those plastic chain-look goat collars. They are said to be fairly sturdy but will break apart if necessary. I doubt they could be used to catch and hold a goat that definitely does not want its hooves trimmed. Or to drag away the goat who has managed to dart through the gate at feeding time and jam her head into the open bag of sunflower seeds (no horns required for that!).
Remember what Ma Ingalls used to say, "All's well that ends well"? That's what I have to walk away with here, thankful the worst didn't happen. Thankful that it was Dan who found them, that he happened to go outside at that moment, that he was even home at the time. It's unlikely I would have had the strength and weight to come between the two struggling bucks to free Hooper. But it didn't work out that way and I'm very thankful for that.
Hooper's Close Call © March 2014