Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Dancing with goats.

I’m really not sure where the saying ‘Silly old goat’ came from, be assured goats are very intelligent.  Silly old humans would be more aptly applied to us when trying to use our wits against the goats when attempting to wrangle them in the old holding and handling yards.

Goats are masters of evasion, helped by eyes that can see 340 degrees around them and with the advantage of 4 legs easily out running our arthritic knees. Yells between hubby and I of “Go left, no right, Run! Run! Round the back, get behind them; cut off Psycho Bitch before she takes off”, are generally the order of business just to get them into the pens from the holding yard.

Our old German Short Haired Pointer was absolutely useless as a herder, she believed it was all a game of divide and scatter to the yard’s farthest corners.

It doesn’t help that goats have a fantastic memory; they remember the last time they went into the yards when I either stuck a thermometer up their bum or squirted a nasty tasting liquid down their throat; it could have been worse and been the other way around!

After about 30 minutes of goat anarchy, we usually manage to get about half the herd into the pens; these are usually the pets and quieter ones. 

Psycho Bitch and Crazy pants have avoided capture and taken the scattiest of the herd with them.

The actual handling yards are designed for cattle. Being over 60 years old they are in an extremely dilapidated condition, the timber is rotten and precariously held together with bits of wire.  The yards have done the job but they are not at all suited for goats. It would be very difficult if not downright impossible for me to do goat husbandry in them on my own.

The pens are the wrong shape and size for naturally pushing the goats into the race. The goats do an avoidance dance around the pen while hubby and I perform our version of a Maori Haka. We puff out our chests, bend our knees, arms are outstretched and madly waving up and down while clutching our weapon of choice - our hats, and stomp in a bent over position behind the goats while making weird guttural noises to send them into the race. Doing this we can normally get a least 4 or 5 goats in there at once, but not enough to stop those ones doing a tango up and down the wide long race.  

The pet goats stand in front of the entrance to the race with their heads cocked to one side looking at us like we really are stark raving mad, but still stand their ground, refusing to enter it. A bit of a forceful push on their rump helps.   

Life would be so much easier if the goats in the race  would happily trot down to the cattle crush, but no.  The next step is to grab a goat by the horns. Horns are wonderful handles but goats hate to be held by the horns and forget getting them to come quietly along with you, oh no, the description ‘stubborn goat’ really comes into play. They lock their four legs and push their heads down and it becomes a game of tug-o-war into the crush.

The crush just acts as a big cage, where hubby holds the goat by the horns while I do whatever is necessary.

Needless to say, working with goats in these yards is hard work with husbandry jobs taking twice as long to do.

Over the years we have tried to modify the yards with sheets of aluminium packaging and they have been patched with sheep paneling until the beginning of last year when my husband pulled half the pens down on the other side of the cattle crush with the intention of transforming them into something more suitable for the goats but other jobs took priority over the yards, at least in a man’s opinion, and were left!!

So last time we danced with goats was the final straw for my patience. This crazy city goat woman totally lost her cool...... The yards are back at the top of the priority list. 

No comments:

Post a Comment