Friday, April 2, 2010

Grabbing the Goat by the Horns

Yesterday, we disbudded the baby goats.  What a nasty job that was!  We have a little tool that works pretty much like a soldering iron.  I didn't take any pictures as my hands were busy holding the things down but here is a site that looks like is uses the same tool we did and went through the same process.  Trent, Janina, Diane, and I were the ones there with Trent doing all the mean stuff.  I used to think Trent was a vicious, cold hearted killer, and the way he efficiently went about the business of burning the horns, then deftly wielding the knife to cut off the caps, reinforced that.  Then I looked up, a little daunted at meeting the eyes of someone who could inflict such pain and suffering on these cuddly little animals with such detachment.  The tears on his cheeks, frozen from the cold wind howling through the slats in the barn on this overcast and dreary day, made me realize that he was feeling as much pain in his heart as those poor little goats were on their heads.  I believe Trent just maintains a hard and forbidding facade to hide the fragile and tender soul he has on the inside.

It isn't as bad as branding, castrating, and de-horning, cows but whereas cows are ugly animals, those baby goats are kinda endearing.  One of them sounded just like a little person that was hurt.  All but one are complete.  The one we didn't debud has got other problems.  We think he is blind.  He had gunky eyes since the time he was born and it looks like his actual eyes are getting cloudy.  He doesn't really react to sudden movement in front of his eyes either.  We're not sure what is going to happen with him, but we'll see how things work out.

In other items, it was our turn to feed the pigs yesterday and with all the snow we've had, it is easy to see that the electric fence is working just fine.  There were not any tracks, either the inside or outside, that came close to the fence.  I did walk the perimeter to make sure that it was clear of snow and wind-blown branches, this is something that should be done every day.

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