Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Sorting Hat

Since Jedlicka had safely arrived, we had a break before being on 'cria watch' again for Nutmeg, due July 19. So last Monday, after errands, we unloaded groceries, checked email, etc, before I went out to check on Jedlicka.

To my great surprise, there was another cria in the pen!!

It was laying flat on its side, all dry and stretched out in the sun, and very still. For a few heartbeats I feared that it was not alive, but as I approached, little eyes opened and the head bobbed up. I scooped him up, shouted to our visiting nephew, Jacob, to go tell Mike we have another cria, and took him and his humming mom -- yes, it was a little male -- to a pasture with shade.

It was obvious the baby had already walked and even nursed, for he was strong and steady on his feet. We selected a few calm females and new cria Jedlicka and her mom, to be companions in the pen with Nutmeg and her surprise arrival. She clucked to him, and ate grass all around him as he sat cushed, resting. We dipped his dry naval in Novalsan, then got out of the way to let them bond.

The white swoosh on his forehead led to his name, but we searched along a few different paths for it:
  • Since he was born during Eugene's Olympic trials for track and field, something to do with Nike (originated in Eugene for Steve Prefontaine) seemed plausible.
  • The silhouette is the profile of a bird, so we combed through Oregon birding books for ideas.
  • Or was it reminiscent of Harry Potter's lightening mark?
  • We searched Spanish and Gaelic dictionaries, and a book on myths.
Finally, in the wine aisle of Trader Joe's, I came across the name 'Griffin' on a label and immediately liked it. I mentally tried it on him and it seemed to fit well. A 'griffin' is a mythological beast with head and wings of an eagle, body of a lion, and tail of dragon. Good, spunky name. And via the sorting hat, Harry Potter was placed in the House of Gryffindor at Hogwart's School of Wizardry. So Gryffin seemed a natural fit.

We'd misjudged Nutmeg's due date because she was receptive two weeks after the first breeding. Her cues to the male are not very assertive, and when she cushed again, we rebred her. Hence, the expected birth was calculated from the 2nd breeding. However, the first time must have taken, for Gryffin was right on time figuring from that date.

Gryffin is thriving, gaining a half a pound a day. He runs and plays with the other crias, a welcome kid-brother in the group. And he senses that Jacob is somehow like him, another kid in the family.