My goats think they have discovered a new dewormer. They call it the cough drop wormer and they just found out about it this winter. As soon as they smell it, they head for higher ground, as far from me as possible.
The goats have a pretty good sense of smell. They can smell the different wormers, delouserís, about anything you want to doctor them with. After they have been treated a couple of times, they catch on and itĎs exit, stage right, to get away from you if you appear with any of those scents.
What they donít realize is that their so called cough drop wormer appears every winter and then disappears during the summer. They just forgot about it until it appears again in the winter. Every winter, with the cold winds, snows, sleet, things that make you shiver and stops your head up, I drag out my favorite brand of cheap sugar free cherry cough drops from the Dollar General Store, and keep one in my mouth while Iím out in the cold. Iíll keep a pocket full of them and anyone shows up to help us out in the cold and I think they are sounding stopped up, I offer a cough drop. Itís surprising how the mentholated cherry cough drops can really open your sinusís up. For that matter, even in the summer if you are working in hay and feel an allergy attack coming on, they certainly help you survive.
But, goats get suspicious of the scents you carry. They think you are up to no good and try to distance themselves from you. Even my ex-bottle kids, who still adore me, always do a scent test on me. I bend down to hug them, they raise their nose up to my face, smell the cough drop, and off they walk away. Itís almost like they are saying, ďOh, no you donít. Not today. IĎm not going to be wormed by no stinking cough drop wormer.Ē
Maybe our goats are more sensitive to scents than most. We do worm and delouse several times a year, so they may be of a more suspicious nature, but one big thing, we donít wear any fragrances. Everything is unscented in our house, from detergents to deodorants, to everything. Except for that cherry cough drop and, of course, all the dewormers, delouserís, and medicines we use on them.
We have goat customers drop by that have enough fragrance on them that it makes my eyes water. From clothes washed in Spring Fresh and then dried in Winter Breeze, to highly potent perfumes and colognes and mousse and hair sprays, scented deodorant, you can almost see the perfumed fog around them. You wonder if they donít want to smell the wonderful scent of farming. And, the scent of farming is very important. I donít know how many times I have walked into a kid herd or adult herd and tell Lee, ďI smell diarrhea. Someone has diarrhea. We need to find them.Ē So, things are pretty much olí naturale around here. So when a customerís cloud of perfume hits our goats, they go bug eyed and stand there and snort like buck deer, not knowing whether to run or pass out.
The goats are use to good ordinary smells of bucks, goat manure, fresh hay, blooming smell of multi-flora rose on other farms, not ours. Because the goats dearly love multi-flora rose, that thorny thick brush doesnít get a chance to grow on our place, but they can smell the flowering rose on the neighboring farms, and a wistful wishful look always comes to their eyes. But, put any man made fragrances in front of them, and it just has to be dewormers to them.
The cough drop wormer makes them fear of a soon to be worming, and as they hurry away from me while I am out doing chores, all alone, because very few goats want to be near me to keep me company, they just donít consider the many times they have belched in my face and I never left them. Sure, I gagged a lot, but I never left.
The fragrance of rumen juices wafting strongly around your face does make you feel the irresistible desire to leave the area, but they think it is heavenly, just as when they spit cud out on your boot after you have really wormed them. After that, the other goats follow you around with their noses on your boots, because that cud smells heavenly. They donít consider that maybe you want to leave the county when they belch or spit up cud on you.
Youíd think theyíd give you a little leeway when you have a cherry cough drop in your mouth. But, sadly, no, survival instinct kicks in and they hurry and leave in case you want to worm them with that cough drop.
I donít know how many times I have showed up in the pen or pasture, hiding the wormer behind me to do one girl that might be acting suspiciously wormy, only to see the herd very hurriedly moving up the valley, nose in the air, ears back, listening that I might follow. I really need to do like those hunters and check which way the wind is blowing that might be carrying my scent. Or, maybe keep my mouth shut while I am happily sucking on my cherry flavored cough drop. Itís perplexing.
I canít give up my cough drops and live with stopped up head all winter, yet I need to catch the goats. Iíll just have to desensitize them. Iíll have a cough drop in my mouth during any graining or haying or watering, all good things. And, maybe, just maybe, theyíll forget about cough drop wormings. Iíll stand there and breath all over them because they will not leave that wonderful grain. Itís worth a try. Maybe they can also adapt to the highly scented goat customer. When pigs fly. I have more of a chance with the cough drop wormer.