Saturday, August 23, 2008

Goat Bustin'

Goats instinctively know when you are running behind or are in a hurry. They will choose these times to make life more difficult for you than they normally do. Don't get me wrong, goats are never well mannered but they can be a little less annoying at times.

Until you have owned goats, you cannot fully appreciate the Biblical references to people being either sheep or goats. I don't think that goats stay up late at night and plan strategies for how they are going to drive you nuts the next day, I believe that they just act on impulse. As soon as they recognize what you are trying to do with them, they react in a way that you least expect. I think that their ultimate goal is to keep you off balance and annoyed.

I was running behind last night and it had gotten dark on me, it keeps getting dark earlier every night in case you haven't noticed. Since three of my goats like to run through the three strands of hot wire that make up their gate, well, one of them is kind enough to jump over it, I have to tie Paris (the jumper) and Collette up before I take Calico and Cinder to the barn/house to be milked.

Collette always goes under the bottom strand that is 4 inches from the ground. But my biggest problem is Calico, she has started running through the gate every time that I get close to it, she will not wait for me to open it. She just bulldozes through the middle of it. This tends to be hard on gates and it also tends to make me irritable.

I started my milking off with Calico running through the gate last night. I did manage to get the other two tied up without a problem and opened the sagging gates for Cinder. Cinder and Calico both fought for position on the milk stand, Calico finally won.

Cinder joined me at the feed bin and buried her face in the sack of feed that I was trying to dip out of. It is physically impossible to remove a goat's head from a sack of feed unless the goat wishes to remove it's head, so you must give the goat a reason to remove it's head. Slapping, yelling and pulling does not work. Cinder does have tender ears, I take advantage of that quite often.

Both girls acted like they had never been milked before, they both kicked, snorted and stomped. Somehow I managed to get them both milked without spilling a drop.

All went smoothly until I put them back in the goat lot and tried to fasten the gates, they were all tangled and untangling three hot wires in the dark with nothing but a penlight isn't the easiest thing that I have ever done. My DH finally came to the rescue, he took the light and I went to untie Collette and Paris. Paris was no problem to untie but then came Collette.

We were all alone, just Collette and I, she is the biggest, strongest and most uncooperative goat that we have. Well she had pulled on the rope and halter so hard that the knots were just impossible to untie because they were so tight. She wanted to just pull out of the halter and be gone but I was not about to do that, although it would have been easier. I always like to make each experience a time of learning. So I was bound and determined that she was going to stand still and be patient while I untied the knot on her rope halter.

It wasn't that the knot was that hard to get loosened as much as it was that she kept trying to get away from me. I have never met a knot that I couldn't work loose but sometimes they take extra effort and time.

Collette and I struggled to understand each other but neither of us had much patience left after so much time had passed. It was still very hot and muggy, I was tired and sore and had no light. She just knew that the other goats were doing something that she needed to be in on or were eating something that she was missing out on.

It finally came to an end when she managed to wrap the rope around me and push all of her body weight against me and step on the top of my foot with her cloven hooves all at the same time. I screamed and tried to back away from the pain in my foot and backed right into the rope that was wrapped around my lower legs which managed to send me to the ground and pull Collette right on top of me.

She had me pinned down and I had her pinned on top of me by my weight on her rope. She flailed and flailed until I thought that she would beat me to death. My Husband finally came running after hearing the commotion.

He got her loose and I just sat there on the ground crying. He held her and looked at me for instructions. I told him to bring her to me, he did and I took her by the ears and pulled her to my face and we communed together for a little while. I think that she understood what I was saying to her without me even saying a word. Then I had him hold her while I felt of her udder to see if she might be kidding any time in the future. Her udder does seem to be filling up, so I decided not to kill her.
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