Remember that peppy old song, "Iím a girl watcher. Iím a girl watcher, watching girls go by. My, my, my. Iím a girl watcher. Iím a girl watcher. Here comes one now." I know, Iím showing my age remembering this old song, but it just so fit the situation the other day.
I was going by one of the buck pens and noticed 4 year old Nico and his six month old son, Beamer, lying together at the very end of their pen, next to the field where I had turned out twenty-four 2 to 6 month old doelings to graze. The little girls were walking back and forth in front of the two watching bucks, not paying any attention to them, just grazing and enjoying the warm sunny day. The bucks were contentedly chewing their cuds, admiring the girls as they walked back and forth. They looked so content observing each of the cuties walking by in front of them.
Now, usually we only have the youngest bucks together and have the older ones separate. Years ago, after attempting to allow older bucks together in a large field and having the war of the titans on our hands, we said forget it. It wasnít worth our lives to dive between battling older bucks to separate and protect them. So, just the young ones who grew up together were allowed to be together.
Even then you had to watch that. Sometimes there is a smaller one or more mild mannered one that gets picked on too much and suffers. That was Beamer, he tried to hold his own, even his best pal Mad Max would go in to make the other guys leave Beamer alone, but there was just too many.
Now Nico had had his ups and downs this past year, the latter being during the artic blast around Christmas time. It was so cold that as soon as you filled up the water tubs or buckets, they were froze in less then a half hour. The goats quickly learned that when they saw us out morning and evening breaking out buckets and tubs, to quickly come and drink their fill of water, because soon it would be froze again. Not so, Nico. Heís the type of buck that is always waiting in case a doe comes in heat, always on the alert, watching the pastures, pens, just in case we might need him. He would miss those times when the water was flowing, even when I would go out at noon to break the ice out of the tubs and buckets.
One evening I heard him holler to me. It sounded different. Heíd been fine at noon. I went over to his run-in shed and there he was, stretched out rigid, eyes flicking uncontrollably up and down. He looked bad. I knew he was a goner. It looked like goat polio, probably the rumen getting messed up from not getting enough water. We took his temp, it was normal. I decided on a just in case scenario as if it was Listerosis or goat polio, they are very similar in appearance.
I hit him with 10 ccís of procaine penicillin, 10 ccís of thiamine (200 mg per cc), Banamine for pain, wormed him, gave him a big dose of probiotics, and the whole time he kept trying to talk to me, though he couldnít move and the crazy flicking up and down of his eyes kept him from seeing properly. I thought he wouldnít make the night and sadly left.
Next morning he was up and staggering and we started again on the shots, procaine penicillin, thiamine, every six hours. Did this for a week. He was a tough one, fighting to eat, drink, and to live. It was amazing. At the end of the week the crazy flicking of his eyes up and down and bulging out settled down, he just had the staggers and a palsy gait.
As many shots as that fellow had, he would calmly stand and accept another from me. I gave him shots all over his body, under the skin, to keep him from getting sore in one place. Now adays his staggers are gone, he has a touch of a lilt to one side as he moves, but he keeps improving. So, when his little son, Beamer, was being badly roughed up by the other young bucks, I decided to try putting him in with his dad.
When big Nico stepped out of his run-in shed to see who I had put in his pen, little Beamerís eyes bugged out and you almost heard him say, "Holy Moley! Iím going to die!" Nico walked over and Beamer stood his ground and Nico sniffed him in disgust at it being another buck and disdainfully walked away.
Beamer looked relieved and went over to eat hay. The next day I heard a buckís "Na, na, na, na," then "snort, snort", and the stomping of a foot. I hurried around to Nicoís pen to make sure little Beamer was all right. There laid enormous Nico, attempting to take a nap, and standing in front of him was Beamer. And Beamer was doing his buck talk and snorting at Nico. Nico ignored the little annoying fly until Beamer blew particularly wet raspberries through flapping lips right in Nicoís face.
Slowly Nico lumbered up and stood in front of his young son, swung his head and gently knocked Beamer aside, like the annoying insect he was. Nicoís adult buck head pretty much was three fourthís the size of Beamerís whole body. After knocking Beamer aside, Nico laid back down to finish his nap.
Well! Beamer was a true buck and couldnít let that go, but he is also a smart young buck. He stood several paces away from Nico and repeated the same performance over again that had got him in trouble, but now he had running room. Nico ignored him.
The next day a cold spell came through making all the goats frisky. I checked Nicoís pen and I was the one thinking Beamer was really going to die this time. There stood Beamer on his hind legs, challenging Nico to a head butting contest. Nico feeling good, reared up and stood taller then me, and looked down at his peanut son, who was undaunted and reared up again to meet that big head coming down to butt him.
Iíll have to say this for Nico, he held back on this too, but even letting gravity bring him down and the slight bump he gave Beamer caused Beamerís nose to plow into the ground. Beamer came up snorting, and game enough to try the light head butting again, but he was ready to move aside and not get his nose planted in the ground again.
The two are getting along surprisingly well now and you can almost hear them talking as the little girls walk by each evening:
Beamer: "Hey, dad, I like that one!"
Nico: "Sheís for me."
Beamer: "Oh, Oh, I really like that one."
Beamer: "Well, how about that one."
Nico: "Nope, mine again."
And, you can almost hear the two lounging bucks, the older one and the peanut, humming, "Iím a girl watcher. Iím a girl watcher. Watching girls go by. My, my, my."