Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mopple grows up

Mopple is growing up! I weighed him this morning: 20 pounds! He’s nibbling some hay now and tastes just about everything, including dirt.

I haven’t been doing much with Mopple these past few days as I’m hustling to finish some writing assignments so I can get back to Get Your Goat—due the first of next month.

Mostly we’ve been polishing leading skills and working on indoor manners. As many bottle babies seem to do, he’s house trained himself to some degree: he returns to his crate if he has to pee rather than going in the house proper. So, I let him wander around in the evening while I work at the computer.

We’ve had only two problems. One, he likes to chew electrical cords (as all kids and lambs do), so I’ve put everything up out of his reach. The other thing is pretty unique: he’s determined to sneak up and then hump on my leg. This is a bottle baby first.

For those that don’t know this, like baby males of many animal species (sheep, goats, cattle and llamas to name a few), Mopple was born with a frenulum (a small, elastic piece of tissue) that secures his penis inside of his sheath. He won’t be able to extend his penis until it breaks loose and he’s determined to do this sooner than later. This is why lambs and kids spend so much time play-breeding their moms, sisters and others in their herd or flock and also why goat kids “air hump” (which is a pretty amusing process to observe). Normally Mopple would be assaulting his playmates—not my leg.

Telling him ‘no’ and placing his front feet back on the ground wasn’t getting through, so I asked for suggestions at HFSheep ( Rebecca suggested a squirt gun. A quick spritz from a squirt gun or spray bottle is the traditional means to repel over-enthusiastic goats (because they hate to get wet). Two spritzes and Mopple got the point. Now why didn’t I think of that?

I hope the oppressive heat breaks soon, so I can put Mopple and Edmund (Nubian former bottle baby pictured below) together to see if they can be friends. I can’t imagine why not—Edmund is not a pushy kid—but I need to be out there for a few hours to make certain they get along. It’s about time for Mopple to move out of the house, but not until he has a pal to console him at night. Edmund has been living with The Red Brothers and they treat him like the odd man out, so he’s the logical choice to become Mopple’s buddy.

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