captpackrat: (Goat)
Goats have a rather peculiar habit of "pinging" each other.  One bleats and another will respond.  My SO and I were talking about this, and I made the suggestion, "Oh, it's like an ACK packet!"

Sometimes two goats will start pinging back and forth incessantly, getting louder and louder each time.  I guess you could call that a ping flood.
captpackrat: (Goat)

Phylla (light-colored female) and Calynx (black & white male), feeding from their mother Mabel.  They'll be 3 months old in just two days (they were born Christmas Day).  Phylla is friendly and very curious, while Calynx is quite the momma's goat.
captpackrat: (Sheep)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Sheep are way better than cats or dogs.  They can be trained to walk on a leash, they come when called, they can be very affectionate and they eat grass.

Goat party

Feb. 19th, 2012 05:09 pm
captpackrat: (Goat)

He has treats!  Gimmiegimmiegimmiegimmie!

We know you have more treats!

A face only a nanny could love.

We'll eat, you stand watch.
captpackrat: (Goat)

It's my chair now.

Snuggle Me Sherpa.  It's a plushie that turns into a blanket and pillow.

Playing around with a retro-camera app.
captpackrat: (Goat)
Ruthven is one week old today.  He's experienced some ups and downs, but he seems to be doing quite well.

We were initially feeding him Sav-A-Kid milk replacer, which is basically powdered milk with various nutrients added.  I had trouble getting him to nurse from a bottle, but he took to drinking from a bowl almost instantly, which has made our lives much easier.

He did alright with the milk replacer for a couple days, but Tuesday he came down with a case of milk scours.  This can be a very serious condition leading to dehydration, so we took drastic steps.  We stopped his milk altogether and gave him nothing by water and electrolytes (table salt, potassium salt, baking soda and corn syrup) for a day to clear out his system.  When the diarrhea stopped, we resumed the milk replacer.  Unfortunately, the scours returned, so I went out and bought a bottle of whole (cows) milk and some heavy cream to enrich it slightly (whole cows milk is 3.25% fat, goat milk is around 4%).  He seems to be doing better with the real milk.

Ruthven is an amazing ball of energy.  A human baby one week old is just a helpless lump, barely able to do anything but eat, poop, cry and sleep.  Ruthven, on the other hand, follows us around the house, runs about the yard, tries to play with the dogs, and jumps about on the furniture.

When we first brought him into the house, we put him in a plastic storage bin that we dubbed the "Goatquarium" to sleep during the night.  Unfortunately, that only lasted a few days, as he quickly gained the strength to leap out, despite the walls being above his head.  Now we are keeping him in an old dog crate.  It has plenty of room for him, as it was designed for a fully grown Great Dane.  We've lined it with old carpet pieces and towels and added a salt lick, some hay to sample, a cardboard box to hide in, and a bowl of fresh water.  But that is only at night, during the day he's either being cuddled by my SO or myself, or running about the house under careful supervision.

The Goatquarium

I'm beginning to wonder if a goat can be housebroken.  Every time we take him outside, he immediately pees on the grass.  He pees a lot in the house too.  I'm amazed that one little goat can produce so much urine.  That's a good sign, though, as the urine is colorless and odorless, so he's not getting too dehydrated.

Luckily he doesn't have much of a scent.  He gets a daily bath (mostly because of his messy poops), so any scent he'd normally acquire is neutralized.

Goat huffing.  Kids, just say no to goats.

Ruthven gets along well with the two dogs.  Our female Great Dane seems to have some slight mothering instinct towards him, and is protective of him.  Our male Lab initially exhibited some hunting behaviors (stalking, etc), but whenever he made even the slightest aggressive move, he got a beat down from the Dane and a verbal reprimand from us.  He's learned his lessen now and accepts the goat as one of the pack.

Our ram doesn't show the slightest interest in Ruthven, while our ewe shows a very strong maternal instinct, despite her advancing age.  If she could still produce milk, she'd have probably raised him herself.  Our remaining nanny goat seems rather aloof to the kid, maybe because he's not hers.  And his father, perhaps sensing a future rival, occasionally headbutts him.  We're eventually going to have to sell one of the males, and I'll be damned if it's Ruthven.

Our biggest concern however, is the donkey.  He's showing very clear aggression towards the baby goat, even whirling around and trying to kick him.  I'm not sure if he just hates babies, or if he thinks the goat is another dog who needs to be put in his place, since he comes out of the house just like the dogs.  If the donkey is out on the lawn, we are especially vigilant around him.

Ruthven is just the absolute sweetest thing.  He loves to be wrapped up in a nice warm towel and just cuddled.  He's particularly fond of my SO and will often cry if he gets out of sight for long.  Ruthven has a very healthy set of lungs.

This is one happy, spoiled goat.

Ruthven is nibbling on everything now, so we have to be extra vigilant when he's playing.  The house is pretty well dog-proofed, but a baby goat is so much smaller than a Lab and can get into so much more.

Last night he was in the kitchen watching his mama (my SO) preparing his milk, so I laid down on the ground.  He started climbing all over me, then started exuberantly licking my face.  He'll probably start sampling solid food soon, if he hasn't already.  That should help his digestion settle down even further.

A young Gene Simmons?
captpackrat: (Goat)
For months, one of our goats, Josephine, has been getting fatter and fatter.  She was clearly very pregnant, and we were surprised at just how long it was taking.

Saturday she finally gave birth while we were out.  She had an astounding four babies (the norm for goats is two).  Alas, three of the babies were stillborn.  They were very small and underdeveloped; one didn't even have eyes.  But the fourth baby was healthy and appears normal.

Unfortunately, things did not go well for the mother.  The next morning, we saw that the baby was wandering around on his own.  We finally found the mother hiding inside one of the old dog houses.  She was clearly not her normal self, and she wouldn't (or couldn't) stand up to feed the baby.  After a while, we brought the kid inside and cleaned him up.  We found an old package of multi-species milk replacer, mixed up a small batch and fed it to the kid with an eye dropper.  My SO and I took turns holding him wrapped up in a towel for warmth.  Then we emptied the feed out of one of the large plastic bins, lined it with old towels, and placed him in it for the night.

This morning I went out and bought a fresh bag of goat milk replacer and a couple nipples.  Meanwhile, my SO tended to the kid and discovered he will drink milk from a small bowl like a dog.  That will make feeding a bit easier.

He seems to be doing well.  He's feeding, pooping and peeing (he peed on my bed last night), and when we set him down, he ran and leaped about the kitchen.  He's curious about everything, occasionally tried to headbutt my hand, and likes standing underneath people, all healthy, normal responses for a baby goat.

His mother passed away this afternoon.  I guess the strain of giving birth to that many babies was too much for her.

We've named the goat Ruthven (pronounced like "riven").  Ruthven is the protagonist in the opera Ruddigore, keeping with the theme of naming our goats after Gilbert & Sullivan characters.  It's also a bit of a play on words, albeit a sad one;  "Riven" means "torn apart", and little Ruthven has been torn from his mother.

Little Ruthven and one of his two mommies.
captpackrat: (Nosey)
The dogs have learned not to screw around with the goats or the donkey.  I let the dogs out the front door onto the deck, but there was a goat and the donkey at the foot of the steps, so the dogs refused to go anywhere near them.  Good dogs.  Smart dogs.

So I let the dogs out the kitchen door, away from the other animals.  The donkey walked over to me and wanted some attention, so I rubbed his ears until the dogs were finished with their business.  Now the donkey has apparently discovered that our Lab is a total coward, and delights in chasing the poor dog around whenever he has the chance.  And, of course, when the dogs came back, he saw his chance.  He started prancing around behind the poor dog, who practically teleported into the kitchen porch.

At least the dogs are no longer a threat to the donkey.  Now the (horse) shoe is on the other foot.
captpackrat: (Nosey)

Why the long face?
captpackrat: (Camera)
We've been in need of a proper animal trailer for a while.  I was amazed just how hard is can be to find one.  We were initially looking at horse trailers, but the reasonably priced models were too small for our alternate purpose, hauling our enormous zero-turn mower.  They also had features we had no use for, like a tack room.  We finally settled on a Titan Challenger stock trailer.  Brand new, it was $5500.

I spent most of today building a ramp for the trailer.  We had a pair of metal ramps to load vehicles into the truck, but they're not really suitable for animals.  I took a couple sheets of 3/4" plywood and hinged them together to make a solid folding ramp that sits on top of the metal ramps.  It should be able to support a full-size horse.  I still need to attach some handles to make the ramp easier to carry.

No pictures of the ramp, because I forgot.

There was a grasshopper sitting on the fender of the trailer, so I snapped a closeup photo.  Clicky to zoom in.

When I opened the garage door the other day, I found this group of harvestmen.  I think they're plotting against me.
captpackrat: (Camera)

Two Year of the Mouse coins, reverse and obverse, and a Year of the Rabbit coin, reverse, from Australia.  My roommate gave me these today.

The local Borders has an entire shelf devoted to Water Sports.  I guess nobody there has ever tried to Google that term....

Plastic lawn deer at Tractor Supply Co.  I wanted to buy one for my SO, but they're $100 a piece.


Jul. 3rd, 2011 09:49 pm
captpackrat: (Thumper's Butt)


Apparently, yes.
captpackrat: (Bunny morning)
I was watching all the bunnies on the lawn yesterday when I noticed a little brown ball of fluff on the kitchen steps.  I grabbed my camera, gently slid open the living room window and hung out over the deck while I snapped a few photos.  Clicky to zoom in.

I also managed to get a photo of the goats riding on the sheep.  I only managed to get one shot before they jumped off (indeed, one is jumping off in the photo), and it's a bit blurry since it was getting dark and I had the ISO set for a daytime shot.

Uncle Ram looks really happy giving his goat nephews and nieces a ride.
captpackrat: (Nosey)
I took our Great Dane to the vet today for her annual shots.  Everyone always says what a beautiful dog she is.  They've never seen her with a rope of drool hanging from her slobbery jowls.


May. 23rd, 2011 06:49 pm
captpackrat: (Goat)
I just noticed that Frank the goat has round pupils

Normal goats eyes have square pupils:

I've been around sheep and goats long enough now that Frank's eyes look weird to me.
captpackrat: (Goat)
Our baby goats like to climb all over everything.  They've climbed on the dog houses, into trees, on top of my roommate's car, onto the deck table, but they particularly like to jump onto the ram's back.  Nice Uncle Ram loves giving the kids a sheep-back ride.

I've been trying to get a photo of them, but it seems fate keeps conspiring against me.  Either I didn't have a camera with me, or it was too dark to take a useable picture.  But Saturday, I finally managed to catch them at it with a camera and enough daylight.  So I pulled out my pocket camera...  and the battery was completely dead.  No problem, I carry a spare for just such an occasion... and it was dead.  I ran to the car nearby and grabbed by other camera... which also had a dead battery...  and a dead spare.  Two cameras, four batteries, all useless.  I snapped a photo with my cellphone, then ran all the way to the house and dug out my big camera.  The battery was full!  Yes!  Ran back to the barnyard... but the goats were all done playing.

At least the cellphone photo came out semi decent. Clicky to zoom in.

Costco has HUGE teddy bears, 52 inches (132 cm) tall, for just $30!  (I think that measurement is seated, they appear to be more like 66 inches (168 cm) head to toe)  They come in two colors, dark brown and tan.
captpackrat: (Goat)

Josephine and Buttercup, two of the three mothers, and all 7 of the babies, Willis, Iolanthe and Fleta, Celia, Phyllis, Strephon and Leila.
captpackrat: (Goat)
I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with one of our goats.  The other two nannies had given birth several weeks ago, but Josephine still hadn't.

This afternoon I heard a high-pitched bleating noise from the barn, but the other kids were all out on the lawn.  I checked out the barn and found Josephine had given birth to TRIPLETS!  Two females and a male.  They look quite healthy and are already starting to play.

Sheep and goats usually only have two young, three at a time is rather uncommon.  That might explain the unusually long pregnancy.

That gives us a grand total of 2 males, 5 females and 1 stillborn.  We're going to have to give away a few goats at some point.  Including the adults, we've now got 11, and I saw our billy goat trying to mount one of the females, so there could be more on their way in a few more months.
captpackrat: (Goat)

Another of our goats popped this afternoon and we have two more baby goats!

Sorry about the crappy cellphone pic, but I don't really want to bother them too much for the first day or two until the mother and babies bond.
captpackrat: (Camera)

Licorice is the same thing as bubble gum?

Should I get the fat free fig cookies, or the fig cookies that are fat free?

An EC-135S Cobra Ball measurement and signals intelligence (MASINT) collector plane flying low overhead on the way to Offutt Air Force Base.

I was taking the dogs for walkies when I came across this tiny little snake in the driveway.  The dogs somehow managed to not see the snake; one of them actually stepped on it, though it didn't appear to do any harm.

The first flowers of Spring.  (It's Common Field Speedwell)


captpackrat: (Default)
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