Have you ever walked out among your goats and scratched your head at how they are
acting? I have lost count of the number of times Iíve done that. Why is that oneís tail
down? Are the eyes on that one looking a little dull? Is that one acting sick? Iíd finally
give up and go to the house, deciding if they werenít lying there dead, I was still a little
ahead of the game.
It wasnít until Suzanne Gasparotto and the members of chevon talk shamed me into
learning how to take a temperature, did I finally find one way of figuring out if my goats
were sick or not. Lee and I donít even take our own temperatures and here we were
willing to learn how to take a goatís temperature.
I hate reading a thermometer because I canít. Trying to find that little blue line or that
little red line drives me bonkers. Usually Lee and I will lay a wrist across our foreheads
and try to decide if we have a temperature or not.
Another way is if you donít want to eat. Then you know you are running a temperature.
One evening I pushed away from the dinner table and announced to Lee I had a
temperature. He asked how I knew.
"Well, I canít eat my dessert, I must have a temperature," I patiently explained.
He pointed out that I had almost finished off a large pizza and maybe that was why I
couldnít eat dessert. I thought his reasoning pretty weak, but didnít want to make him
Anyway, when Suzanne and chevon talk said to use a digital thermometer on the goats, it
was like a revelation. Wonderful! I could read that. I hurriedly bought one the next day
that would let off beeps when it was finished and would also tell me what the last
temperature was. A smart thermometer! Well, as smart as anything can be that letís itself
get stuck up a goatís behind.
I waved the new, digital thermometer under Leeís nose. "Letís go try it out," I said. "You
hold the goat and Iíll take the temp."
We went out to the goat barn and Lee caught a yearling doe. I lifted her tail and studied
what was underneath for a few minutes.
"Well?" Lee asked.
"Itís gone," I said.
"Whatís gone," he asked, puzzled.
"How can the hole be gone? What does it look like under her tail?" he asked.
"Itís all puckered. Just a lot of tight wrinkles." I had a great idea. "Let me go get the
I was back in seconds and had even brought a bucket to sit on to study the situation. I
turned the flashlight on and sat there a few more seconds.
"Well?" Lee asked.
"It canít be gone," he said. "Just take your thermometer and try it."
"All right," I said a little doubtfully and started probing. The doe started having a fit.
"Hold her still, Lee," I complained. "This isnít easy, donít you know." He just gave me a
He got her under control and success! I got the thermometer in. The doe had another fit.
"Whereís the thermometer?" Lee asked.
"I still have hold of it," I said. "See, my fingernails have a death grip on this little piece
thatís sticking out."
"Uh, I donít think you are suppose to shove it in that far, Connie. The instructions said
just the tip."
"Oh," I hurriedly eased it out, leaving the tip in. "I thought you took it out to read after
you heard it beeping inside. Thatís why they had the beeper."
Strangely enough the doe settled down with only the tip of the thermometer in her. The
beeper went off and I checked the reading. "Sheís perfect. No, temperature here. Let me
try another goat."
I confidently grabbed hold of the doeís tail and plunged the thermometer in. The doe
squealed and jumped forwards.
"Too far up," I explained.
The next time it was right in the mark.
"Letís try a few more. I need to practice." Fifteen goats later I was very pleased with my
performance on taking a temp.
Now, when I walk out to study the herd and I notice at least 16 goats clamp their tails
down, study my hands, and silently sneak off, I know exactly what is going on. Besides,
Iím sure the extra holes will heal quickly.