Tag Archives: Fergus the Guernsey goat

It was quite the Friday

Mr. Fergus

Yesterday we got up extra early (after I had a bit of a sleepless night), and got on the road to Monmouth, Maine, to take Fergus the yearling buck to have his man parts removed.  Because I wasn’t sure where my husband was going to be, we also took our house goat, Peanut, with us, in her little Rubbermaid tub.

Fergus has been a very vital part of the farm for the past year, but I really need him to be able to hang out with an unbred girl or girls, or really any of the goats on the farm, without being afraid of his getting the girls pregnant.  I don’t particularly like putting castrating bands on baby bucks or rams as when they grow, their urethra and their urinary tract does not grow well without the hormones coming from the testicles being present.  I lost a ram lamb to urinary calculi, which was a bit of a wake-up call, and when you castrate them as babies, this is a much bigger problem.

Fergus and Jingle, breakfast

And so we don’t do that with our little guys.  But if we want to keep them and not use them as breeders, we really need to get that taken care of.  So we had him surgically altered today, and they also tried to do something about his recurring horn scurs (even though he was disbudded while still a baby, those boy hormones keep the horns growing afterwards, but they break off regularly and bleed all over the place).  I hope that when his hormones have died down, they won’t keep re-growing.

Apparently there were many large animal emergencies yesterday, so poor Ferg didn’t get his surgery until the afternoon.  Which meant that Sam, Peanut and I were at loose ends.  Just a little too far to go home and return, we made the best of it, going back into Gardiner and eating a late breakfast at the wonderful A1 Diner.  Later on when we realized he hadn’t even had the surgery yet, we hopped on over to Augusta and spent some time at Barnes and Noble.  Peanut seemed to enjoy the traveling, although she didn’t get much exercise.  We are making up for that today!  And Fergus needs to stay quiet for a few days, so that will be the biggest challenge of all.


Snowstorm Stella

Fergus at the gate. Complaining, as usual!

They have been promising us another blizzard-type storm.  And it is here.  Blustery and blowing from the north, it’s a white world again.  Not what any of us want to see in March, but this is Maine so that’s how it rolls!  (I won’t curse here, I promise).

Betsy and the little ones

We are definitely keeping busy with Betsy and her little ones.  Betsy is coming along slowly, and I am hoping that she revs into high gear sooner rather than later and gets some eating done.  We need to put some weight on her (we are doing all the supportive appetite-inducing things, as well as making sure she has vitamins, probiotics and plenty of minerals, salt, etc).  Even though we are bottle feeding those little bugs, they continue to nosh on her as well.  At some point I need to decide whether or not it is putting too much stress on her, and if I think it is, I will have to take the babies away.  I really don’t want to do that, they all need each other and that could be just as stressful to Betsy, but as the vets say, she is in a ‘negative energy’ zone right now, and I hate to think of her body trying to produce the milk for those hungry, hungry twins.  Sigh.  It’s always something on a farm!

Betsy’s little doeling enjoying some head scratches

Dorcas is the next doe in the lineup, and she could freshen at any point.  Difficult to tell, and most of our attention is focused elsewhere, so I suspect she will have a big surprise for us any time now.  And that will be the halfway mark for us.  4 more girls are due end of March, beginning of April.

Twig in the feeder, looking like a good farm kid with a stalk of hay in her mouth.

The 4 older kids are having plenty of action-packed adventures in the meantime.  They can’t help but have fun, because 4 is much more exciting than 2!  They love to run the fenceline and torment Fergus the buck on the other side.  He very sweetly sniffs them through the fence, and then they hippity hop away to torment someone else.  For a few days there Olive, one of Delta’s girls, was trying to sneak treats from Eleganza.  El is wise to her now, but for a few minutes there I thought Olive was going to get away with it.  They are all too funny.  And Twig has figured out how to get into the Sydell blue tub feeder…  that is one of the highlights of every goat kid’s life!  It’s not a perfect design, because of that, but none of the work-arounds I have tried keep them out.  And so it goes.  A goat kid’s world is a wonderful place, most of the time.

Just about time for afternoon chores.  Time to go out in the storm.  Ugh.  They say this one is a fast-mover, and I hope they are correct!

My heart

The newbie goat girls reminding me that we are need to keep things in perspective.
The newbie goat girls reminding me that we need to keep things in perspective.

Today my heart was with many of my friends as well as women and men all over the world who were at Women’s Marches. I wanted to join in at least to be at a rally in Maine, but my hip bursitis and my back are giving me hell right now, and standing or walking for a few hours was just not in the cards.  My son thought I should give it a go, maybe to be the last of my big demonstrations, but it was probably wiser for me to stay behind. I listened to some great music, and watched the photos flow in on Instagram, and knit.  (I was very active in the 60s and early 70s in the civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war movements and spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C. as a teenager. And knit.).

Talk about this is why we fight!
Talk about this is why we fight!  Fergus is already there.

And so it goes.  I am a pragmatist, and always an optimist, so I am hoping that all of us just stay aware and keep letting our representatives know how we feel about what is going on in our country. Constant Vigilance is the word of the day (thank you, J.K. Rowling and MadEye Moody).  We remain a country where we are free to state our opinions, and we need to make sure it stays that way. We really need to unite and talk to one another, I don’t think any of us want to see this country go under. Whether we voted for him or not, he is our legal president, and we need to get busy making sure everyone in public office knows what we want.

Listening to the Decemberists This is Why We Fight also helps (although the video does not reflect what I take from the song. But it’s artistic and up to us all to interpret). Obviously our Fergus the Buck is ready and willing to take up the Cause, and I am with him!

I love this kid

Fergus the nut
Fergus the nut

Fergus.  He is a crazy goofball, and he is about the sweetest buck we have ever had on the farm.  There is something going on here that is not what can become the i’m-friendly-when-i’m-small-and-i’ll-boss-you-when-i’m-big.  He seems genuinely sweet.  Of course, he is a goat, and goats can get up to some pretty crazy things, so I am not counting on him always being totally cooperative, specially when fully grown.

Always fooling around
Always fooling around

This little guy is almost dog-like. His mama Pickles was sold a few weeks ago with his auntie Sassafras.  They are Lamancha/Alpine crosses, and his papa is Reddog the Guernsey buck.  So almost half Guernsey (although the Guernsey association will not allow any of the Lamancha crosses  to be used as foundation stock for the breed, more’s the pity).  The Guernsey goats really are much more laid back than most of the other dairy breeds, so I hope this continues to be his personality.

Working in the greenhouse, Fergus has to lend a helping hoof or two
Whatcha doin’?  Can I help???

What a nut!  Wherever we are, there is Fergus, making our day a little bit brighter.  He is always ready to offer a helping or hindering paw, whichever.

He knows he is cute!
He knows he is cute!

Almost there


Sorry to have been away for so long, but things at work have been cranking.  It’s the end of the school year as well as the end of my work career.  Wow!

Saffron waits patiently
Saffron waits patiently

And so it goes.  The goat kids are growing like hot cakes and the weather is getting more beautiful every day.  It’s almost summer, and I can hardly wait!

Tomorrow should be my last day at work.  I will be breathing more easily after that.