With better breeding and better nutrition the fastest kids in the country are being grown
today, and I believe they all live on our farm. Ignoring my momís erroneous thinking that
Lee and I are just getting older, itís amazing how fast these kids fly by us any more.
Just to make matters worse, you usually donít have to do anything to the kids until they are
at least a month or two old, when they have their land legs working in good order. Sure,
when they are born you put iodine on their little belly buttons, maybe a squirt of Kid Kare
in their mouths, dry them off a little, and make sure they can find the teat. Maybe when
they are a week old you dehorn them, but they are still naÔve and moving slow in
comparison to later.
Itís after that first contact with humans that their instinct to train like athletes, in order to
get away and stay away from humans, kicks in. See them out in the fields making ten-foot
leaps in the air, practicing changing directions in mid leaps, running patterns on the ground,
leaping over each otherís backs? Itís all a plan to dodge the human.
How do you catch these fast kids? Other then having young, limber legs, and fast running
shoes? Lee and I use to make wonderful NFL moves on these kids, diving to the ground
with a great tackle, the prize a squirming kid in our arms. But, lately Iíve noticed the mind
is willing but the body is reluctant to hit the ground. Making our perfect timing a thing of
So, we were forced to get smart. Try to get someone to help us catch the kids. Youíve got
to learn to be an encourager when you do this. Remember to say things like, "Boy, that
was the closest miss Iíve ever seen." Or, "Next time dive lower to the ground, that way you
wonít bounce so much when you hit." Or maybe, "Next time you dive, make sure youíre
not lined up with a post." Or, "Iím sure the dentist can fix those teeth right up." My favorite
to spur helpers on is, "Youíre just not as young as you use to be, are you?"
Some people say use the fishing net method. Just scoop them up with a fishing net as they
fly by. Iím too cheap to go out and buy one and my brother is suspicious of my motives
when I ask to borrow his.
If you can, get the kids to loving grain. That way they run innocently in to get grain and
you can start nabbing them one by one to worm or give shots. With our group, thereís
always one that runs in to get the grain, but keeps his head up to watch those low lifeís
called humans. One false move on our part and he snorts and they all take off for the hills,
or the far corner of the pen, stretching and warming up their muscles for all those moves
they had been practicing out in the field. No, matter how innocent I act, humming or
whistling, strolling around them at their grain, that one will give the warning when I take
one step in their direction.
But, if this one is particularly greedy that day and drops his head down (itís important to
feed them in pans on the ground when wanting to catch them, they canít see with everyone
crowding in beside them), then I dive in and grab one hind leg.
Itís important to grab just one hind leg. I tried grabbing the two hind legs and found baby
goats can run amazingly fast while you are holding up their rear end. Itís like those wheel
barrow races the adults make the children do at reunions, calling it fun. You grab the ankles
of someone, lift them up, and they run on their hands. Usually you end up plowing the
ground with your nose if you happen to be the wheelbarrow. This doesnít happen with
baby goats. They discover new speeds, new twists and turns and play snap the whip with
One old farmer said we were doing it all wrong. Crowd them into a stall and then just start
picking them out one by one. Like shooting fish in a barrel, he said.
Evidently he has never seen kids do running laps near the ceiling of the stall. They defy
gravity and streak around the walls with just one step in their direction. Or, bend over to
pick one out of a milling bunch and have one leap straight up, dance across your back, and
be at the other end of the stall in one second flat. By the time the shots and wormings are
done everyone but the kids are puffing and wheezing, the kids are just getting their muscles
warmed up from all that training.
Whatís the best way to do kid catching? Have limber young legs and fast tennis shoes. Or,
raise slower goats.