Part 2 – Nurturing your newly acquired Bucks
Moving on to the very important step of Nurturing your newly found Small Bucks. This is vital, remembering that you are going to need Big Bucks in order to make Lots of Bucks.
Do not forget, at this point, that we should have no, zero, zip knowledge of bucks. For optimum fun, your knowledge should be confined to standard domesticated animals such as cats and dogs.
1- – Stare dim-wittedly at your 4 baby buck who, unlike any other animal you have dealt with, do not appear to want to be close to people.
2 – Let the realisation set in that, unlike dogs and cats who descend from hunters, these poor little creatures are, to all intents and purposes, natures’ fodder. Their instinct is to run!
3- Although they are as cute as any baby could be, these little creatures are terrified. You also have four of them, so they will bond with each other, not with you.
4 – Get on to practical issues. These babies need to be fed but with what? Call everyone you know. Flatten the phone book. I’d have called the President if I thought he’d have the right knowledge!
5 – Desert your babies to drive to the nearest town. Surprise everyone who knows all too well that you do not have children, by buying up a range of baby bottles, sterilizer and all manner of other paraphernalia
Small towns love gossip, so it would be helpful if, at this point, you are in too much of a hurry to explain your motives. This will keep the locals busy for a while.
6 – Begin what will become your daily routine, every couple of hours, for the next few weeks.
For your reference, so as to avoid unnecessary phone calls to world leaders, cow’s milk is not sufficiently rich for baby Springbok. When a baby Springbok’s mom is off foraging, the baby awaits, lying low in the long Bushveld grass, with its’ ears held flat (to avoid being seen by predators). Depending on the dangers the mother encounters, she may stay away for quite some time, avoiding drawing attention to her baby. This may mean waiting for extended periods between feeds, thus necessitating a richer milk mixture.
7 – Mixing egg yolks with cows’ milk provides a good natural alternative. This, of course, leaves you with loads full of left over egg white – I hope you like meringues.
8 – Let the games begin! In order to feed a baby, you need to catch a baby. If this were a hungry puppy or kitten, you’d have no problem but these little critters are already fast enough to out run large African predators, so what chance do you figure I’d have? They can, literally, leap over your head! Fabulous!
9 – Call in the help of one of the farm staff who is good with animals.
We had constructed the enclosure to have a thatched roof section, surrounded on three sides with hay bales (to keep them warm) and an open, fenced area around that. The back portion was narrow, so we cleverly started the process of me herding the buck there, where my unsuspecting assistant awaited their arrival, ready to catch one as it ran past. Brilliant – this should work like a charm!
The buck come belting and pronking (that straight up jumping motion a Springbok makes), over assistants head. Too his incredible credit, he managed to catch one and we quickly learnt our mistake. These animals have been built to survive encounters with Africa’s wild hunters, all of which have greater strength, skill and speed than us lowly people. One survival mechanisms is a kick beyond anything the Olympic athletes have managed to muster. Poor assistant got a hammering!
10 – Confuse the small town locals by appearing in a generally disheveled state, rushing around to find the thickest, longest gloves available. Again, avoid explaining your actions. Remember, you have a duty to those around you and, if that is to provide them with good gossip conversation, then so be it.
11 – Return to farm. Arm assistant with long armed gloves and restart the process of being beaten up by adorable looking babies.
12 – Again, to assistant’s credit, he proved to me phenomenal at catch the buck. Once caught and I had a bottle in the mouth, the buck would lie perfectly still, sucking at a breathtaking speed. With milk finished, they would instantly bold again. I was delighted. This was going well!
13 – Only after a few feeds did I start to see a pattern. All four buck would race around the back, leaping and pronking over assistant. Each time, one proved to be easy to catch. Now it’s important to remember that they all look identical. It suddenly dawned on me that one greedy little so-and-so was allowing himself to be caught and had flattened three full bottles. The others had had nothing!
14 – Run aimlessly around the farm until you miraculously find some wool (not mine – I’ve never knitted a thing). Find four different colours and start catching the buck to put different colour wool collars on each one.
15 – Break eggs, separate, mix in with milk, heat to required temperature and return to the babies. Start the feeding frenzy again. Find out that you were spot on! One buck liked his food enough to be caught each time. He looked mortified that we now kept letting him go.
16 – Finally finish the first of many feeding frenzies to take up your following days.
17 – Collapse in a heap but not before cleaning and sterilizing all the bottles, ready for the next run in with wild babies.
Part 3 will follow, as we continue our mad adventures and desperate attempts to grow our small bucks into big bucks. Stay tuned!