Herman/"pet" buck story?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by AnnaS, May 4, 2005.

  1. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2003
    Verndale MN
    There was a sad story about "Herman" (I think tht was the name) a buck that started as a pet, then went through several progressively worse owners and eventually dies of neglect. I'm trying to find a link to that story for my sister... She doesn't understand why I want to sell my bucklings directly to the slaughter buyer instead of running them through the stock auction and "giving them a chance".
  2. lacyj

    lacyj Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    Calif, The Mother Lode
    I think it was a:
    cindiloowho , story. Try the search button, with that name as author...

  3. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    This story is taken from November 1979 from Dairy Goat Guide, Pages 9 & 10, written by Pat Hollister:

    What Ever Happened To Elmer?

    Nanny & Flossie were pampered family milk goats that lived right outside of town. I didn't know the people who owned them, but whenever I drove by, I always rejoiced to see two family milkers who were obviously so well cared for & happy.
    They were mostly Nubian but obviously grades, since their noses were more straight than curved & their ears were of the type known as "airplane". I would see the children petting them & watch the two does follow members of the family around the yard, & I knew that here was a place where the goats had found their true nitch - lots of love & milk for the children, with the love returned.
    I got acquainted with the family when Mrs. Smith discovered I had goats & called just to "talk goats" one day. I enjoyed talking to her. She was a woman with an inquiring mind, she obviously wanted the best for her animals.
    She had bred them to a purebred Nubian buck in a program of up-grading. She was very excited about the approaching births since they had bought the does as milkers & this would be the first kids they had seen born.
    Came the appointed day, & Nanny came through with twin doe kids to much rejoicing. Flossie, however, delivered herself a single buck kid. At my house a buck is not cause for joy, as a rule, but at the Smith's any kid was welcome & they greeted him with as much enthusiasm as they had the does. They named him Elmer.
    Mrs. Smith called me "What do you do with buck kids?" she asked. "Elmer is only a grade," I told her- I am not always tactful but I was trying to be gentle. "The best thing to do with him is destroy him, or wether him & butcher him later."
    A stunned silence. Finally - "Destroy little Elmer? Eat little Elmer? We couldn't, we love him too much! Mindy (another goat breeder) told us to take him to the auction."
    I always went to the auction in those days. I guess I was a masochist. I had even, in my early stupidity, sold a goat or two through the auction. It's something I don't like to remember. I went, though, & wept over the goats there, wishing I had an unlimited fortune so I could buy all of them & put them out of their misery.
    "If you would like to bring him over here," I said as kindly as I could, "I will shoot him for you."
    "Wouldn't it be better to take him to the auction?" she begged.
    I was firm. "No. You don't know what will happen to him once he is sold - maybe he will be eaten, maybe something else will happen to him, something not as nice as simply being eaten. Believe me, it's better to destroy him."
    "I'm sorry," she said, "I just can't destroy little Elmer. I'll take him to the auction, maybe somebody will take him for a pet."
    "Worst thing that could happen!" I shouted - but I had lost her. She was polite but distant when she hung up the phone.
    So I went to the auction that week. In the pen with all the skinny, runny-nosed kids, the does with half an udder, the wethers with pinkeye & scabs, was a fat, sleek, cunning black Nubian kid with a red ribbon around his neck. I looked for Mrs. Smith. She wasn't around, but I found Mindy.
    "Is that Mrs. Smith's kid?" I asked her.
    "Yes," she said, "isn't he darling?"
    "Has he been castrated?" I asked.
    "Oh, I don't know," she replied impatiently, & turned away.
    I checked. He hadn't been castrated or disbudded. I wrung my hands in despair. Why hadn't I at least done this for Mrs. Smith?
    I watched as little Elmer was picked up by one hind leg & tossed over the barrier into the auction ring, & then poked with a long staff to keep him jumping around while the bidding went on.
    "Oh, Mama," from behind me - "buy me that, isn't he cute?" And a bid came - a pet goat for the child. Elmer left, cradled in the arms of a beaming child, his red ribbon perky, but his eyes a little wild.
    It was six months later when Elmer made his next visit to the auction. I recognized him immediately. He was still fat & sleek looking,& had been getting enough to eat, but he was very large. Much too big for a small boy to play with, & it was worse because he now had very sharp, five inch long horns. He was alert & watched all the coming & goings with interest.
    I came up to him & said "Hello Elmer," & he gave me a soft "maaa". I rubbed his head & he arched his neck in pleasure, which presented the sharp ends of the horns to me. "Good luck this time around, Elmer," I whispered, & went up for the bidding.
    "Short yearling billy goat here," the auctioneer informed the audience, as Elmer was dragged in by one horn. "Strong rascal, ain't he?" as everyone laughed at the way his feet were planted & how it was difficult for the man dragging him to keep him going.
    "Just what we need, hon," said a man beside me to his wife. "Great for Jill to practice goat-tying." And the bidding started. Jill got her goat-tying practice animal & he was dragged out with a rope around his horns & thrown into the back of a pickup along with two pigs & a steer calf.
    Six months passed & as I came into the auction yard I recognized Jill - & there was Elmer again. This time, though, he was tied to the tailgate of the pickup & nobody was getting too close to him.
    "He stinks something terrible!" Jill was telling a friend. "I can't get near him. Horrible stinky thing, & the auction won't let us run him through because he smells so bad. I'm just hoping somebody will buy him from here."
    A man approached. Jill's dad turned hopefully.
    "Breeding billy?" the man inquired.
    "You bet," Jill's dad said, "can't you smell him?"
    "I'll give you $15 for him," he said.
    "Done," said Jill's dad.
    So Elmer was again dragged with a rope around his horns to another pickup where a thin, mangy dog was waiting patiently. I noticed this time, that Elmer's coat was rougher looking, & there were scabs & scraped places on his flanks. But he was still alert, & proud, still ready for whatever life would bring him.
    I never went back to the auction again. A few months later a man came over to buy some milk from me. He mentioned that his "billy" hadn't "caught" any of his "nannies" & he was pretty mad about it.
    "Bought him for breeding." he said, "and he's no good."
    I inquired. What kind of a buck? How did he handle his breeding program?
    "Oh, he's a black billy with long ears - but he's got these huge horns so I keep him chained in the side yard, so if a nanny wants him, she just comes up & gets it. Works out great, well, at least it always has before. He sure smells bad enough, he ought to be potent!?
    Could it be . . . .? I offered to come see the buck & give him my opinion.
    He said, "Sure, I don't want to get rid of him unless I have to."
    I got directions to his house & drove out the next day. There, in a field, devoid of all but the most discouraged yellow grass, stood Elmer. His head was bowed as if the heavy horns were weighting it down. His bones stood out & there was a large sore on his left hip, where it looked as if the bone would surely show through, so thin he was.
    "Dogs got in," the man informed me, "but he fought them off."
    Elmers chain was about ten feet long but it had got tangled up on the log it was hooked to so he only had a foot or two to move.
    "Don't know if the kids gave him any water today or not, I have to keep after the kids all the time." the man muttered.
    I approached the buck. The chain had cut into the thick, black hide on the back of his neck & scabbed over; the once sleek, shiny black coat was thin from lice & rough from internal parasites & poor feeding; his feet were like clubs. When I came up to him, he didn't even raise his head. I didn't even look at the man.
    "I don't think this buck is in any shape to breed," I told him. "Do you want me to take him off your hands?"
    "Well," he said, "I paid $25 for him, I suppose he's got that much meat on him."
    "Are you going to butcher him & eat him?" I asked.
    "Oh, I don't know if I would mess with that," he said quickly. "I could let you have him for $20."
    Money was never something I ever had enough of. Elmer was sold the first time for $10 & I didn't have it to spend then - I surely didn't have $20 now. But what could I do?
    "Look," I said, "unless you feed this buck, unchain him, give him some proper exercise, worm him, delouse him ,give him some vitamins, & trim his feet, he's worthless to you. Take him right now off that chain & bring him into the barn & I will show you what you need to buy for him to get him back to health. "
    "Buy what?" he asked suspiciously.
    "Well, hay & grain for a start," I said.
    "Dont have no money for grain," he huffed.
    I then said, "Then, like I said, you need vitamins, worm pills, louse powder . . . . "
    "Oh, to heck with it. Do you want him? You can have him, I don't care, he's no good to me," the man burst out.
    So I drove home & got my trailer & came back to take Elmer on his last trip. Carefully I took the chain from off his sore neck & used his beard to lead him, stumbling, into the trailer. Home again, Elmer & I went up deep into the woods. He stood unmoving, head down, as I stood him by a tree & cocked the pistol at the base of his ear.
    "Goodbye, Elmer," I whispered, and at last he lifted his head and his eyes met mine. He was less than two years old. The coyotes feasted that night.
    I met Mrs. Smith right before we moved away from there. We chatted, I told her we were moving, she asked about my goats, mentioned that she was lucky, only doe kids born this year . . . . & then she said, "I wonder whatever happened to Elmer? He was so cute - we were sure fond of him."
    No you weren't fond of him, Mrs. Smith, I thought as I turned away. You sure were not fond of him. But I didn't tell her what had happened to him, not then. I couldn't find my voice. I will tell her, though, someday, before her next Elmer is born.

    -There it is
  4. IMContrary

    IMContrary Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    Every person who has a goat or goats they breed should read this story before and right after kidding time.
  5. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 12, 2005
    SW WA
    Prime reason why all grade bucks born at our place are wethered and disbudded early. Even the registerable bucks are usually not good enough to be kept as breeding bucks. When the buck is half your herd, it needs to be better than either of its parents to even be considered as a breeder. Plus wethers make lovely pack or cart animals! A properly trained wether can be a money maker for your farm, much more valuable than a grade, low quality, horned, smelly buck will be to you(or others).