Linden Tree Leaves

Genealogy and Ancestry Explorations

Nona’s Stories: Lambkin the Goat Kid

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One morning in late Winter we woke to find the snow had been silently falling during the night—a very rare happening at Uvalde.

So we quickly had breakfast and went out for a walk in the snow with the dogs. I’m sure it was the first snow they ever saw. But they seemed to enjoy romping and playing in it.

LambkinPhoto001

Me and Buff and Duff at the Milam Six Mile Ranch

They were completely baffled when they were chasing rabbits and they suddenly dived under the snow and disappeared from sight.

They looked so puzzled, and would run in circles looking for them.

We walked for miles, going to the big pasture to check on the livestock there.

And it was a good thing we did for we found coyotes had attacked the goats and killed several—one had a little kid, and it was almost frozen in the snow.

Ray had on a sweater under his jacket, so we wrapped the kid in it and hurried back to the ranch house.

We built a fire in the big iron cookstove and warmed blankets to wrap it in. I fixed it a bottle of warm milk and started teaching it to take its milk from the bottle.

Kazan and Scotty were delighted with the new “bottle-baby”, but seemed upset by its constant “ba-a-a-ing” for its mother.

Kids are much more vocal than lambs. We mis-named it “Lambkins” – jokingly using the name at first, but it “stuck” so that turned out to be its permanent name.

The puppies watched the feeding process with great interest. But they didn’t understand the “baa-ing.” Scotty climbed into the “nursery box” with it and whined and licked its face, but Kazan just stood with his forepaws on the top edge of the box, ears pricked up and turning his head from one side to the other, face wrinkled in puzzlement.

But, strangely, the little kid seemed to be comforted by Scotty being in the box with it, and soon quieted down. Maybe it felt less alone in a strange place.

None of the baby animals we had while on the ranch seemed in the least afraid of each other. They hadn’t learned about fear and danger.

Scotty loved them all, showing his love by licking their faces.

Kazan played and romped with them but he never licked their faces, or a person’s hand. That form of affection seems to be something dogs have learned over the many  years of association with man.

LambkinPhoto002

Me feeding Lambkin. Sleeping porch in the background. Lambkin grew fast, eating a quart of milk each feeding. He preferred to take his bottle while standing on his hind feet like he is doing in the picture. He soon developed a fine coat of glistening-white mohair. The ranch goats were fine-bred goats, raised for their mohair. They were sheared each Spring, by a shearing crew that went from ranch to ranch.

Scotty would bed down for a nap with whatever “bottle-baby” we had in the Nursery-box at the time, but Kazan always sought a dark place where he could hide alone for his naps.

Lambkins took to bottle feeding without any trouble, and soon there was less “ba-aa-ing” at night. Scotty slept with it in the Nursery Box, and I guess he was a comfort and a consolation, something alive and warm, and it didn’t feel so lost and alone.

In a week or so it was out of the box and scampering all over the house playing with the puppies. In  a short time it started some bad habits—nibbling on the bedspreads and any other cloth it could find, including our clothes. And it could jump amazingly well—and high—up on a chair– then to the tabletop—or dresser top, which was its favorite spot, and study its reflection in the mirror.

So we had to put it out in the yard, much to the disappointment of Kazan and Scotty. We brought a big turkey-coop into the yard for a shelter for it, and told Buff and Duff they were to watch it. They understood, and would have guarded it with their lives. They were used to all sorts of ranch livestock and were trained to protect them.

In the daytime I let Kazan and Scotty out in the yard to play with Lambkins and they had a lot of fun. Lambkins could jump up on top of the coop and look down at them, but try as they might, they couldn’t jump up there with him. The dogs kept a watchful, though bored, eye on all three of them.

-Nona

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