Notes from Windward: #70


Leo's Luck Improves

November 14:


     It's been a challenging year for Leo. The primary good news for him was that he, and not his brother Mikey, was chosen to be our herd sire. He took his responsibilities seriously, and spent a lot of time and energy wooing the does; that's important because a doe won't come into heat without being courted.

Leo checking out the new buck Barabbus


     Leo was very conscientous. Every day he'd pee on his forelegs and use that to groom his beard, very much to the girl's delight. Everything was going great leading up to the first of November start of the breeding season...but then, all his plans and hopes were dashed when the work truck pulled up and unloaded Barabbus, a magnificent, pure-Boer buck with an impressive rack of horns.

Barabbus sporting his sale tag


     Leo's luck changed for the better when we got a call from a friend who lives a few miles away from Windward. They have a yearling doe who needed servicing, but no buck; they wanted to know if they could borrow one of ours. I figured that Leo would be happy to help out.

Lindsay tries to reassure Leo


     Getting loaded into the work truck is, understandably, a scary proposition; often animals don't come back, and for someone like Leo, who's never been out of sight of his birth place, the concept of "somewhere else" is difficult to grasp. Leo wasn't shy about vocalizing his concerns, and Lindsay did her best to convey to him that this was going to be a "good trip."

Leo ready to travel


     We weren't going far, and were unlikely to pass other vehicles on the way, so we just double-roped Leo into the back of the work truck. The purpose of using two ropes is to prevent him from being able to jump out of either side of the truck in case he gets spooked. Passing a loaded logging truck on a dirt road is scary enough for the folks in the cab of the truck; to someone riding in the back, it can be quite frightening.

Daisy and Leo check each other out


     When we arrived at our destination, Leo was eager to get out of the work truck, and made his way directly to Daisy's pen. She showed an interest in Leo, but he's got some wooing to do before her interest will be transformed into acceptance. In order to mate, a buck or ram has to stand on his hind legs and move forward. If a ewe or doe isn't ready, she just moves away and nothing happens. Mating only happens when the ewe or doe decides to stand still and let it happen‒which is where the term "standing heat" comes from.

     Daisy is half-Nubian and half-Boer, which is the combination we're looking to promote in our herd. The goal is to combine the strength of the Boer with the milk production of the Nubian; the challenge then is to avoid ending up with does that combine the strength of the Nubian with the milk production of the Boer :-(

Who's Al Paka?


     Leo did have an awkward moment when Daisy's two roommates came up to check him out. They were clearly protective of Daisy, and Leo hadn't a clue what he was supposed to do with creatures as odd as these. Leo politely stood still while they examined him, and after a reasonable time, took their leave and went back to courting Daisy.

     Seeing that Leo was settling in okay, we climbed into the work truck and headed home.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70