April 9, 2012
Nubian-LaMancha goat kids
Photo by Sue Weaver
Jimmy and Esme are kinda funny looking, but they’re still pretty darn cute kids!

We have new baby goats at our farm! Their names are Doughnut Jimmy and Esme. They are bottle babies, and we got them because our friend Emily’s goats got sick after eating hay that looked and smelled good but had toxins in it. Some of her goats died and many more got very, very sick. Jimmy and Esme’s mama, Viola, was one of the sickest. She was pregnant and kidded prematurely. Her kids needed a home so they came to live with us.

Jimmy and Esme are Experimentals. That’s what the American Dairy Goat Association calls goats with parents of two registered breeds. They are 3/4 LaMancha and 1/4 Nubian, like Uzzi and me, but they look like LaMancha kids. That means they’re slim, long-legged and bony-looking (people call that dairy character) with funny little ears that resemble flaps. And Jimmy and Esme have wattles!

Have you ever seen a goat with wattles? They’re also called waddles, toggles, tassels, waggles, lassies or cutaneous cervical appendices. They are globs of skin dangling from a goat’s throat or sometimes from other places on a goat’s face or neck. Both sexes and nearly all breeds can have wattles, but they’re especially common on Swiss dairy goats like AlpinesSaanens and Toggenburgs, but rare on us Nubian goats. According to Mary C. Smith and David M. Sherman who wrote the book Goat Medicine, wattles “contain a central cartilaginous core, smooth muscles, connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.” They’re covered with hair and are usually 1 to 2 inches or so long. They serve no known purpose.

And their ears! LaManchas have two types of ears: gopher and elf. Gopher ears are just a ring of skin around the ear opening. Purebred LaMancha elf ears are no more than 1 inch long, triangular in shape and have cartilage in them. Jimmy and Esme have longish elf ears that stick up and out of their heads. Mom says their ears are cute, but Uzzi and I think their weird ears, wattles, skinny build and really long legs make Jimmy and Esme look like space aliens.

But they are family now and we love them. They live in the house in a big crate separate from Milo’s. Mom is house training all three kids. She takes them all outside to poo and pee instead of using an indoor pad, like she did with Kerla. Milo is 6 weeks old and never makes a mess in the house. Jimmy and Esme are only 2 weeks old, but they’re learning fast. Mom is proud of her house-trained goats. That just goes to show, we goats are smart!

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