There are so many positions I find myself in when doctoring goats. And, it all depends on what parts of my body that are willing to work that day. I find as I grow older, and contrary to popular sayings I am not aging like a fine wine, that parts of me suddenly go on vacation, leaving the rest of me to do the best it can with the work that has to be done.
The other day my knees decided not to work, and at the same time my back decided it also needed a vacation. So, no bending the back or the knees. Usually they take turns, like one knee, or the back quits working, but this time both knees and the back said they needed a well earned rest. Fortunately, they usually quit working for an hour or a day or a week or two weeks, but so far they always come back to the job.
Only thing, this day I had an eight month old doe that needed Blu-Kote put on her belly and udder. She had been acting miserable all day, tail down and wagging, kicking at her belly and I figured that it was the gnats eating at her. During wet weather gnats seem to live in the tall weeds that the goats like to browse through. Every now and then youíll get a couple of does who get raw places on their tender udders or underside of the belly where the gnats have been irritating them. After they get a raw place, then the flies start annoying the goats, making them even more miserable.
Usually, putting Blu-Kote on these raw places discourages the gnats and the flies and the places can quickly heal up. For some reason, whether itís the purple coloring or what, insects stay away from a cut that is coated with Blu-Kote. I use the dauber kind instead of the aerosol or spray Blu-Kote. The goats donít get as upset using a dauber on them.
But, I couldnít catch the little girl by myself with my knees and back on vacation, so I had to wait until Lee got home to catch the little girl and hold her so I could treat her. One problem, I couldnít squat or bend over to feel or see where the raw places were much less doctor them.
Since we were standing beside a round bale with a cattle panel wrapped around it to keep the goats from climbing the bale, I leaned against it and using my shoulders and arms, inched myself down the round bale until I was lying on the ground, almost directly under the goat. I rolled on my side to look better at the belly of the goat, took the cap with the dauber off the Blu-Kote and was able to paint up her belly and udder pretty good where all the raw places were. Oddly enough she stood perfectly quiet while I was rolling around doing this. Lee had hold of her head and shoulders to keep her from taking off, but she could have danced all over me with her rear end but she didnít. Which I appreciated very much.
Now the next trick was to get up off the ground. Remember that saying ďI fell and I canít get back upĒ? Years ago it was meant to be funny and at the time I did think it was funny, but now itís all too true. But, you learn to be creative.
I rolled over to the round bale again, grabbed hold and pulled myself upright. Then checked the little girl over to make sure there werenít any raw places topside that needed caring for before we turned her loose.
When my joints are working half decently, Iíll catch a kid to yearling size goat, swing my legs across and use my legs as a squeeze chute around their necks and worm them or treat eyes or whatever needs to be done. You donít want to get into a position like this on a full grown goat that was never taught this from a baby up. Youíll find yourself going for a wild ride across the field. Trust me, I know.
A small kid that you canít do this to because heís just too short, I carry a bucket out, catch the kid, sit on the bucket with the kidís front legs across one side of my legs and the back legs across the other side and I can then doctor them. But, if that kid has gotten bigger then you thought and when you use the bucket position to doctor with, if his feet can touch the ground, watch out. He can kick the ground hard enough to knock you and him off the bucket. You find yourself looking up at the sky with a thrashing kid on top of you. So, brace the bucket by putting it against the wall where you can lean against.
If you do use the Blu-Kote and you work off the farm, youíd better use rubber gloves when spreading it on. That Blu-Kote is more permanent then the permanent ink you use to tattoo animals with. You will have blue/purple hands for a week or more before it finally wears off. Itís great stuff. Since I donít work off the farm, I donít worry about blue/purple hands, face, arms. Some goats donít take it as quietly as that young doe did so you can get pretty blotched up with color.
So, if you tend to have joints that lock up on you, get creative. Youíll find ways to doctor those goats. Would I have rolled around in mud to treat a goat? Been there, done that, and I lived to tell about it. I find I am very washable.