A wether by any other name is just a wether By Nicki Arcangeli

Most everyone has a ‘family member’ who is a real character — that you just have to talk about. They have made you laugh and cry and sometimes they make you mad, but you always love them. Well, Acorn Ranch Kikos in Decaturville, Tenn., has such a one and he has four legs, an impressive set of horns and the sweetest face going. We have dubbed him Uncle Harry.

Harry came into the world in the wee

hours of May, 2016, in our barn in Cheyenne, Wy. — a twin, big, black and hairy, his mama, a first time doe, could have cared less about him ~ he was the second born and he literally just slipped out of her as she was cleaning up the first born — to keep it short, I took care of him from the git go because it was obvious she wasn’t going to. She would allow him to suckle because he figured out real quick that while his brother was nursing he could slip in and help himself; until she noticed him. I would bottle feed him once a day and because of that Harry became my shadow. I’m not much on bottle feeding be- cause they always end up following you around, getting under foot and just being a pain in the neck. Well, Harry is that sort, but he has become so valuable to us and is just so darn lovable that we just put up with it. When the time came to send all the wethers to the sale that Fall, husband Joe was all set to tag Harry. There was a real discus- sion about that and I explained that there were lots of ‘advantages’ to having a herd wether around. He wasn’t buying it, but Harry stayed, end of discussion. It’s been about four years now and Harry has been a real asset to our little herd & farm — he’s a great PR goat when folks come by and want to see the ‘herd’. Harry’s the first one to the fence and ready for hugs and kisses from the visitors. Harry is really tall so he stands out from the rest. Our lady neighbors love him to pieces and have made it clear to Joe that he better never send Harry to the sale or the freezer or he’ll have to deal with them! A formidable bunch these women are, too!

Harry is very dedicated to his ‘job’ here

on the farm. When the gate opens in the morning to send the herd out to pasture, Harry is in the lead. We have leased browse areas across the road and Harry takes the lead to show the girls where to go. I heard him bellowing like mad one day and went to in- vestigate and found a young wether caught

Harry’s in charge of PR. He’s the first one to the fence and ready for hugs and kisses from visitors.

in some old fencing that we hadn’t found. Harry was just crazy until I got the kid cut out of it and off he went to his mama. Most days you can see him out on our home pas- tures laying up on the high hill so he can watch over the herd. Between he and the 2 Anatolians the herd is safe.

At weaning time Harry assumes the Uncle part of his name. We send all the weanlings in with Uncle Harry who keeps them company and in line. We’ve watched for 3 years now as he settles the little ones with a kind of chirping noise from his throat and they just follow him wherever he takes them. He shows them where to go for water and where to browse in the field they are in and he hunkers down with them at night, all laying up close to him in the shed row. Harry has another job here and that is letting us know who is in heat. It has helped me im- mensely as we don’t have a teaser buck so I keep a record of all the doe’s estrus cycles and will know almost to the day when we put the buck with the group, what day they will be bred.

The last job Harry has, is the only job Harry dislikes. It is to hang out with the buck when the breeding season is over. He cries and screams and carries on like we are send-

ing him to his death, but he goes, none the less.

Harry has a couple of annoying habits that make me crazy; like chewing the back of my coat and pulling the elastic string out and then letting it go to smack me in the butt, or opening the gates, if we forget to latch them, and going for a walkabout until Luke, our BC sees him and sends him back to the field. And you better have him locked out of the corral when it comes time to lay out the feed pans or he’ll knock you down to get to one! But I put up with all of this because he just looks at me with those big eyes and the silly grin and I melt. I can’t help it. I love Uncle Harry and can’t imagine this place without him.

So, until God decides that He needs Harry more than we do he’ll be here doing his ‘job’ and we’ll be thankful for every day we have him with us.

(Nicki and Joe Arcangeli own Acorn Ranch Kikos in Decaturville, Tenn. They run registered purebred, percentage and Ccom- mercial Kikos. They may be contacted at or by phone 731- 852-2347. Visit Facebook @ Acorn Ranch Kikos.)

May 2020 | Goat Rancher 43

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