The Day We Met George
By Linda Steele
February 12 of 2021, a record-breaking winter storm hit the Texas Hill Country in Central Texas. The folks living in this part of the country were not equipped for such a cold and long-lasting storm. Wind generators froze, livestock and wildlife succumbed to the cold. Once electric services were all shut down, water pumps froze and suddenly the homes and ranches everywhere in the area lost heat and water!
A strange and unexplainable thing happened at 5:00 on that first morning. The security alarm on our front door sounded! We hurried to the door, quietly looked out the peephole, but we could see nothing. Next, we turned on the porch light. What did we see? Only a tiny, fuzzy, white being bumping against the door so we opened it.
There, standing right in front of us, was a tiny newborn kid goat, white, with big droopy brown ears and the sweetest, innocent little brown face you have ever seen! He was so new that his little umbilical cord was still attached and he was crying frantically.
We quickly wrapped him in a bath towel and searched for his mother, to no avail. He was inconsolable.
“Maybe he’s hungry,” my daughter suggested.
“Maybe he is,” I agreed as I searched the cupboards for a suitable piece of equipment for feeding a baby goat.
At last, I located a condiment bottle that looked like it might fit the bill, so I warmed some cow’s milk and he gulped it happily, tail wagging, as I dripped it into his mouth.
Soon as he emptied the bottle, he cuddled up in my daughter’s arms and slept soundly. He was safe and secure!
How did he manage to get through our tight, barbed wire fence and walk half a mile in from the road and how did he manage to set off the alarm? I have never seen any goats anywhere close to us.
“We asked two ranch families if they might want a nice, healthy little goat. Apparently, no rancher finds a newborn orphan goat that will have to be bottle fed for six weeks with expensive goat milk replacer a welcome gift. It appeared that we had just adopted our very own house goat!
By the second day after “George” came to live with us, we realized that he would need to have a house. Every house goat should have his own little house, so we searched through our storage building until we found a collapsed doggie carrier that was just the right size. George loved it right away! After he had his own home that had several bath towels folded inside, he slept through the night and enjoyed long morning and afternoon naps.
By the time we had George for three days, he was already potty trained. He seemed to know exactly what he was supposed to do when he was placed on grass and we had no more accidents in the house!
The internet was invaluable for teaching us the care and feeding of baby goats. One malady we read about put great fear into us. It was called, “floppy goat syndrome!” Oh no! How could it be avoided? Apparently, it comes from overfeeding the baby! That information was the impetus for our feeding chart posted on the refrigerator door! Georgie was only allowed six ounces, carefully measured, of goat replacer milk every four hours. The time of feeding was marked each time and all formula was carefully measured into a plastic soda pop bottle with a goat nipple installed at the opening. We warmed each bottle to 98 degrees so it would be like mother’s milk and George loved it!
One day George learned how to jump! What fun! He would run a few steps and jump, sometimes giving a little kick at the same time. Sometimes he would jump so high that he would land on his little bum! He didn’t mind. After a few days, our George could jump up on the coffee table. He could stand on his little house and jump onto our daughter’s bed. One day he jumped up on the coffee table and then did a spring jump over to my husband’s lap and up to the back of his chair.
Hmmmm, this was beginning to get serious. Maybe he needed a nice, big field with special fence for goats and a few goat friends to enjoy. The internet told us that he was a Boer goat and that eventually he might weigh as much as 200 pounds. It might be that having a house goat was not going to work out. Georgie was three weeks old and had gone from a seven-pound infant to a fourteen-pound kid. He was growing up fast. We had to find a good place for him where nobody would turn him into a tamale.
After searching for a week, we found a rancher who was interested in bringing new blood into her herd. He was just the guy she needed! She has a nice big field for her goats and a 10-year-old girl who loves all of them. The storm had caused many of the new mothers to be unable to feed their babies so feeding one more was no problem. No, they would never eat our George, they promised.
We felt like we were taking a five-year-old to kindergarten on the first day when we took George to the ranch, but he immediately checked out the other goats, was welcomed, fluttered his tail happily, and didn’t seem to mind when we left him.
Now, we are regular visitors at the ranch and George comes running when he sees us. He always jumps into my daughter’s lap, happily. He thinks he is still just a little kid, you see. He likes his new goat friends and his little ten-year-old human girlfriend, but he still loves us.
I think we’ve got a good thing going here!
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com