Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Dealing with Flossie
Poor Flossie had fallen on hard times, but hopefully she has turned a corner and things are looking up now that she has joined us at Opportunity Farm. She was once a much loved pet. She is very friendly and comes up for food or a scratch. When you have food for her she runs around chasing her tail like a dog with excitement.
For the last year or so her coat's needs have been sadly neglected. It is long, bedraggled and in places dreadlocked. Besides a great deal of sand in its locks there are no seeds or burrs. So the paddocks she has been kept in have been pretty clean of weeds. At some time one of her back legs has been broken, and then set again crooked. She walks with a limp. Her hooves at the end of her twisted leg have grown sideways. When we first saw this hoof in particular, we thought that her hooves had not been trimmed in a long time. But besides this damaged foot they were in pretty good shape.
Today we are tidying her up. To shear her matted coat Michelle uses the hand shears. They only cut well when the blade is at the right angle. It is slow work. Flossie is pretty calm overall but gets much more agitated when the blades get near her bottom or her damaged leg. When we cut around her face she closes her eyes and stands the most calm as if 'blissed out'. For the various higher maintenance areas we try various positions and angles: standing over, kneeling or sitting beside. Michelle tips her just like a sheep but she doesn't stay in the position. Standing over her is the easiest, starting from her backbone. Slowly the blades move down the sides leaving a trail of tangled ringlets still attached and trailing. It takes about two hours to complete her coiffure and tidy her toes. We made a coat for her so that the shock of losing all her insulation would not be too great, but she got it off in minutes. So into the warm goat barn she goes. She is on her own for the next little while until she gets used to her new look and we decide who would be the nicest goat friends for her to hang out with.