Believe it or not, there’s a patch of pussy willows blooming in a pasture not far from our homestead. That one patch always blooms a month before the “regular” season for pussy willows arrives. But it always cheers us up! Even if it was -16 degrees last night with a high of 3 degrees yesterday.
Other signs of approaching spring were the two goat kids that our friends Mike and Paulette brought over for us to disbud yesterday. Okay, their buck jumped the fence and the kids are early. But it still felt like spring taking care of this necessary but distasteful chore. We disbud with an electric disbudding iron. After making sure it is red-hot, Will holds the kids firmly while I push the iron down over each horn bud, rotating/rocking it so it makes a complete indentation around each horn-to-be. This kills the horn cells and the goat is free of dangerous horns for its lifetime.
I’ve seen many goats strangled in fences after getting their horned heads wedged through a wire square and not being able, because of the horns, to get back out. They can also accidentally bang their owners in the face while swatting flies during milking or even break the legs of their own kids after catching the fragile legs in the V where the horns come together on the head. I hate disbudding but hate the injuries and deaths that horns can cause.
As a thank you for performing the disbudding, Paulette presented us with a pair of her hand-knit wool socks. We had two pair before and Will wore his every day all winter! So warm.
This last pair is pretty colorful, but Will snagged them this morning and is now out plowing snow. Who needs spring flowers for bright colors to perk us up after winter’s white? Now we have Will’s new socks! — Jackie