When The Pony rolled out of bed at 8:00 a.m., we took our regular walk to the Mansion petting zoo. The Pony likes to check on the animals several times a day. There are the new chicks, the two baby goats, and a very pregnant Goatrude that occupy his thoughts throughout the day. This morning we found Nelly, the long-haired white goat, with her head stuck in the hay feeder. Nelly is quite the problem child of the goat world. She is 7 or 8 years old, has never had a kid, and used to be a lady's pet. It appears that Nelly is no goat Einstein, either. Last week, Farmer H found her with her head stuck in the fence. He didn't know how long she'd been there, because he didn't count his goats that morning before he left for work. She could have been there some 20 hours, worst case scenario. He wouldn't have found her then, except that I yelled from the porch, "Why is that goat all by itself and not eating with the rest of them?"
The Pony entered the pen and tried to wrestle Nelly's head out of the feeder. He was hampered by the baby white goat trying to eat his Nike flip-flop, the baby's mama nibbling his pajama leg, and Long Horn the brown goat chewing on his pajama shirt. Those goats find The Pony to be quite tasty.
I sent The Pony back to the Mansion for a screwdriver to loosen a slat and swing it sideways. After that maneuver, The Pony twisted Nelly's neck enough to free her head. She promptly sidled down to the end of the pen to lie on top of an old corn feeder. Several smaller goats stuck their heads in the feeder, but wriggled them out again. The Pony checked on them throughout the morning, up until we left the Mansion at 11:00 for various errands and the #1 son's basketball open gym.
When Farmer H got home at 5:00, he called us to report that he had found Nelly with her head stuck in the hay feeder. I must say, I did not appreciate his accusatory tone.
Farmer H crafted a lovely hay feeder for his beloved goats during the Memorial Day weekend. It has a little roof made of a piece of corrugated white metal, like that metal found on the side of a tool shed. Knowing Farmer H like I do, it is probably an actual side of a tool shed that he has commandeered to use as a waterproof roof for his hay feeder. The feeder itself is rectangular, has four legs, and holds two or three bales of hay if you pull it apart and stuff it through the opened roof. There are two sides with slat openings 4-and-a-half inches wide so the goats can stick their chompers in and munch on dry hay all the livelong day.
Therein lies the problem. Goats have horns. Goats like hay. Goats shove their greedy noses as deep into that hay as possible, because the good hay must be in the very center of the feeder. That means that goats get their heads in but can't get them out of the slats. Apparently, this scenario never occurred to Farmer H. "I figured none of them had horns closer together than 4-and-a-half inches." Au contraire, my cotton-headed ninny-muggins. A living, breathing, eating goat does not approach those slats dead-on, level-headed, like an eating machine. They twist and turn and rotate those horns to get at the very best hay that you have stashed in the very center of the feeder. Who knew? Certainly not Farmer H, Goat Hoarder. Never mind that there must be oodles of literature on goat-raising in the meandering back roads of the information superhighway.
Farmer H: re-inventing the wheel, one goat feeder at a time.