This is but one of many questions goat farmers find themselves asking. Another one would be, "Is that buck really going to chase me around the chicken house?" Or, "Does that herd of goats really think they can get this feed bucket away from me?" How about, "Wonder if I can catch that wild looking goat to worm her?" Or, "Is that a goat out there running around with a bucket over its head?"
Goat farmers are faced daily with very interesting questions. Some of which no one else has ever had to ask themselves in the farming industry. Now the bruise or dirt question would probably be common to all farmers. But, I can think of one exception. I know a hay farmer that has air conditioned tractors (no, not the type with the wind blowing through your hair if you drive fast enough), with radios, CD players, and I wouldnít doubt, even a DVD player. Next will be tiny refrigerators to keep cool drinks in the cab. Anyway, I have yet to see him dirty. He steps out of his tractor cool and refreshed while we, that are buying his hay out of the field, are standing there in rivers of sweat, dirt, and hay chaff from loading the bales on the trucks. It makes you seriously wonder why you are a goat farmer instead of a hay farmer.
Being a goat farmer, there never seems a day that passes that I donít need to be hosed down before going in to take a shower. Dirt is my middle name. In the summer you are sweating from working outside with the goats and everything thing sticks to you. Mainly anything dirty will stick to you. You never get flowers sticking to you. Itís always dirt, manure, hay, goat hair, dog hair (from the livestock guard dogs), etc.
You get a hot muggy day where you are cleaning out the barn or stacking hay or just doing the routine thing of worming goats and you become a dirt magnet. We had two nice ladies drop by one hot day to buy goats. They were in their sixties and seventies. We had been cleaning out the barn when they drove in. I went to talk to them and the whole time they kept getting their lacy handkerchiefs and wiping their necks. I just thought they were sweaty from the hot weather and never thought a thing about it.
After we had loaded up a couple of pretty does in their van and they had drove off, I went in the house to get a pop. While washing my hands, I looked in the mirror and saw ring after huge ring of dirt around my neck. I finally figured out why they were constantly wiping their necks with their handkerchiefs. They were either afraid they were going to look like me or were unconsciously trying to clean my neck up by wiping theirs.
Dirt can happen fast on a goat farmer. Itís not something that takes days to build up, but just seconds. The best way to tell if you are bruised or just dirty, if you are no where near water to do a quick wash, is to gently push on the dirty area with your fingers. If it hurts, itís bruised, if it doesnít, you got a dirty spot.
And goat farmers tend to get a lot of bruises, too. Goats bumping into you, goats knocking the feet out from under you, and if you have goats with horns, oh my, the bruising you can get. We disbud our baby goats, but sometimes we will buy goats for new bloodlines and these always seem to have their horns.
We bought some beautiful baby goats not long ago and every one of them had little pointy horns. It had been so long since weíd had goats with horns, that I forgot what it was like. I noticed one day I had all of these tiny little spots up and down my leg, knee high and down. What on earth? I wasnít near water to see if they would wash off, so I did the pressure test and found myself ouching up a storm. I had all these tiny little bruises. What happened?
I then went to feed the baby horned goats and found a bunch of babies running ahead of me, stopping right in front of me, and then throwing their heads back to cutely look up at me. Those little horns hit my legs every time. And, it was worse when you wore shorts. I found myself doing a jig, trying to dance around the little horns, to get to the feeders, without getting any more bruises then I already had. Iím sure it was an entertaining sight for the neighbors to watch.
Speaking of goat bruising (I have yet to see one of our goats with a bruise), we had a handsome Angora buck years ago with a magnificent set of horns. Trophy horns. The deer hunters kept asking me if the buck had died yet because they wanted those horns. That buck became lame in a hind leg and I went to check on him. He was standing there calmly eating his hay and I walked up behind him and felt the leg to see if there was any swelling. He slowly turned his head to see what I was up to and that wide set of horns turned and I got whacked along side the head. The buck wasnít intending to do anything mean, he just turned his head. Then he turned it back to continue eating his hay while I was staggering behind him, seeing white and blue lights from the innocent thumping I had received on the right side of my face.
Forget the trophy horns, the next day I had a trophy bruise all up and down the right side of my face, black eye and all. A magnificent bruise. One of the best Iíd ever seen. I didnít get another beauty like that until a year or two later. I was taking oak boards off an old building on the place to be used somewhere else. I had the crow bar above my head pulling nails out when the nail head on one nail folded and the crow bar slid off with a speed and accuracy you wouldnít believe and whacked me on the head. I was patriotic that day and saw stars and stripes for a few minutes as I stumbled in circles. I still think they need to put warning labels on all crow bars. The things are dangerous in my hands. Lee hides all crow bars now when he goes to work, just in case I think I need to use one.
So, always remember the pressure test to see if you are bruised or just dirty. And, whatís this? Hmmmm. Didnít hurt. Guess Iíd better go find a wash cloth. As for the other goat farmer questions, Iíll get into them later when Iím clean enough to type on the keyboard. Now, why didnít I buy a black keyboard?