Friday, December 12, 2008

How to give a goat a bath

Well, I haven't posted for a few days now because I've been busy with a number of things, including studying for final exams, and more importantly, giving goat baths! Early in the week I saw that the Animal Rescue League of Iowa had 4 angora goats on their "barnyard buddies" section of the adoptable pets. I check there quite regularly in case they ever have hens who need a good home, but angora goats were new to me. I called Kelly and he was excited about it - what lovely fleece they would have if we could adopt them!

So, off we went to see the great folks at the ARL. They do such good things for our community, and have a lovely new facility that is second to none. I used to volunteer at the ARL when I had more time, and then I did some fostering for them as well. Also, Rosie came from the ARL - you can see the post about her back in September 2008. Well anyway, one look at those goats and I was smitten.
There are 3 baby girls, maybe 3-4 months old, and one older adult female, maybe 3 or 4 years old. She might be their mom, or maybe not. It's a bit hard to tell because they were confiscated from a farm where they were kept in terrible conditions. Their little hooves are very soft and curled under from lack of care. They have bad lice and are a bit underweight. And, to be blunt, when we first got them....they stank to high heaven! To top it off, they looked pretty dirty. It just makes me so upset that people can do that to animals, but fortunately, there are shelters who will take them and people like us who adopt them and give them good homes. I have to console myself with those thoughts.
Anyway, since they smelled so bad, we decided to give them a bath. Since it's very cold out, it was necessary to give them a bath indoors, in our tub, of course. So, last night, we began with the first little goat. Here she is in the nice clean warm water....ready to begin!
And here she is about 5 minutes later, after one short shampoo and rinse episode. As you can see, she is not terribly pleased about this whole experience. First, she decided it would be best to add her own "bubbles" to the bath. Then, she began bleating quite regularly, and generally being very slippery and hard to hold! However, lo and behold, you can see that she is starting to change colour! (so is the bath water).
After being rinsed, it is always best to leave your mark, to show people where you've been.
The ARL gave us some great shampoo that is helping with the lice, and they lent us a super-strong blow drying unit that they use on the shelter animals when they give them a bath. This has been a tremendous help. She kept giving me little goaty kisses when I was drying her belly. She would reach up with her head and touch her nose to my chin. It was very endearing!
Here she is being fluffed up!
After being mostly dry, she got to wear our greyhound's coat for the night, and she was in our spare dog kennel in the basement, to ensure that she dried out completely before going back out to meet her siblings. I swear they didn't recognize her!
So tonight, we did the same for the potential mom goat. She was a lot worse than the babies because she had been in those conditions for much longer. She had a lot of very matted fleece and her hooves needed a lot of trimming. We will have to keep working on that to get them to a point where they are approaching "normal" hoof shape. Here is momma goat in the tub!
Unlike the kid, she decided that she preferred to lay down in the tub. That actually made it a little easier, except when it came to rinsing, because she really didn't want to stand up at all!
She had the same spa treatment with the blow dryer, and she was very calm and well behaved for the whole procedure. We had to trim a lot of the matted fur and removed a lot of burr type weed seeds and other assorted bits of grass, hay and vegetation from her fleece. She will have a beautiful fleece grow in after the spring shearing when it can start fresh. Her fleece is very fine and soft - just beautiful!
Finally, she got to wear the dog's coat and she'll be in the kennel for tonight, drying out completely. She'll go out with the young ones tomorrow morning. I'll try to take some pictures of that reunion as well. Good night goat!


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Y'all are so awesome for taking them in and providing such great care. They are darling. Keep posting updated photo's of 'em so we can see how they're coming along Claire.

Gone2theDawgs said...

OMG!!!! What cuties! I couldn't believe the difference after the bath. I love the pic of the youngster snuggling up while getting her blow dry. :) Those goats are going to be SOOOO happy now!!

Mike W. said...

That is quite a transformation when the bath is done! It's just wonderful that you can give those goats a home.

frugalmom said...

I just cant believe how dirty that water was after just one little goat. Look how sweet they are! That is so great that you were able to give them all a new home.

Im sure they must feel so much better after their spa treatment. Seeing them in the shower getting dried off with the blower was cracking me up.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Those goats were adorable before the spa treatment. Now they are beyond cute!
The "bubbles" and the little goat poops in the tub had me cracking up.
Speaks volumes as to what kind of people you are rescuing those sweet animals.

Peggy Montano & Paintings said...

I am so impressed! Never have I seen this kind of gorgeous animal close up.
'course I have always lived in the city.
Keep up the good work there.

Jolyne said...

Hmmm, I would love to have something for the baby made from that fleece (deloused and clean, of course). Any plans to get it spun, my mom could crochet or knit it up for me! And no, I am not hitting you up for a present!

Claire MW said...

Thanks to all for your comments! We are just so happy to give them a home and they seem happy with us too. Next baby gets washed tonight!

Well, we are hoping for the first shearing this spring, and by then, I hope to have learned how to process the wool. I also want to learn how to spin, but I might get some spun professionally for the first few times to see what can really be done with it! I would love to send some to your Mom for her to make something for the baby. I have no idea how much wool is needed for things. I could probably mix it with some of the Icelandic sheep wool, which is also very soft and white, in order to make more wool.

Lola Nova said...

What lovely ladies and what wonderful folks you are. I love the curly looking coats they have. I am imagining it being quite soft and nuzzle worthy. Man, I have a hard time giving my daughter a bath, I am impressed.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I have seen a lot of things, but never an Angora goat given a bath inside ;) They are going to feel so good after wards and you are going to have some beautiful fiber and lifelong friends! I get itchy all over just from the mention of lice - yuck! Congrats on your new beauties :)

laura said...

What a great thing to do! I was never a fan of goats especially (although I hasten to add I've only seen them in petting zoos), but seeing these, I can see the appeal--they're quite nice looking (when all cleaned up and taken care of!).

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Oh, yea! Hoof clapping, clucks from hen house, tail wagging, braying...What a great thing you did. Bravo. And the bath photos, well, what can I say?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! I've never heard of washing goats. hehe
That baby is so so white, though. Good for you in rescuing these sweeties and giving them a new lease on life! :)

I rescued my dear sweet Luna, also an Angora, last Spring. She was kept in a tiny, very muddy pen and fed only scraps of brown dusty alfalfa. Her feet had never been trimmed and her fiber had never been shorn since the man had bought her from an auction over a year earlier.
She was a mess! She even had the blue paint blob on her back from the auction still.

I didn't even bother with bathing her. She had too many mats and burrs. So I sheared her and kept her in a large sweatshirt until it warmed up. Her fiber was too matted to use anyway, so I gaev it to the birds to make nests with and used the rest in the compost bin.

Luna was sheared again this past summer, though and her mohair fiber came in beautiful and I can't wait to spin it and make something beautiful with the yarn.

Congrats on your new angoras. I loved seeing those pics of you. I look forward to seeing and reading more about them in the future.

New Mexico

Paula said...

Oh Claire- they are so sweet! (even when they were dirty!!) I'm so glad they're going to have a wonderful new home!!

diane said...

omg they are adorable! i'd be in heaven if we had a goat. and thanks for the welcome, we absolutely LOVE it out here :)

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Sooo cute! I'm a relatively new goat mum myself (I've had one for two months, but we just got another who definitely needs a bath)...thanks for the encouragement :)