Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goats In Revolt

Our animals are revolting.

I'm not talking about their odor. Or about the revulsion the #1 son has to our furry and feathered family members. I'm talking about an uprising of Animal Nation.

The goats have broken out of their enclosed woodland hideaway twice since last week. At first, Farmer H accused The Pony of not shutting the gate properly after his goatherd duties each morning from 9:00 to 10:00. The Pony denied responsibility. Really. How smart do you have to be to latch a gate? It's not a Mensa activity.

Upon closer inspection, Encyclopedia H found the clues. Those scheming, plotting caprines had butted the gate until the latch gave way. Now they are confined to quarters, with a metal clamp and a strap hampering escape attempts. A new exit procedure has gone into effect. In order to frolic capriciously about the Mansion grounds, goats must pass through a gate into the chicken pen, and through another gate to the yard.

The Pony is the Pied Piper of goats. He claps his hands and starts running, and the goats follow. They're herd animals, you know. Except for Nellie. She marches to her own drummer. Whether it's planting her head in the fence, refusing to exit the pen, or refusing to return to captivity, our Nellie defies convention.

Yesterday, Nellie ignored The Pony's goat-gathering applause. She turned her rump to the ovation, and grazed farther and farther away. One black triplet stayed with her. The Pony coaxed the kid back to the goatyard. Then he had to chase Nellie from the front field. When she got close to the pen, she pretended it was her idea all along, and went in the gate for some goat chow. The Pony rattles it in a metal scoop to get their attention, and the goats are tricked into thinking it's feeding time. He does give them a little taste, just to keep their hopes alive the next day.

Today started the new entrance and exit procedure. All the goats except Nellie and her triplets trotted right out and began ripping great mouthfuls of grass from the area where Farmer H just mowed. Nellie stood in the pen and looked pitiful. Then she started to cry. The babies started to cry. The Pony had already taken his goatherd position on the front porch, laptop on lap, to watch for any clandestine lilac-nibbling. He said, "If Nellie is too stupid to get out, she can just stay in there."

Twenty minutes later, The Pony cracked. "I'll go try and get her out." Nellie still refused to follow him through the maze. Two of the triplets did, though, and kicked up their heels at their new-found freedom. Nellie continued to cry pitifully. The Pony came back to the house. I got him half a banana. Nellie loves bananas. He lured her out with the tasty fruit. But the baby remained. Crying. "Do you think I should just pick it up?" I told him it couldn't hurt. Farmer H is always manhandling them. Every time The Pony got within arm's reach of the baby goat, it skittered away. But...it skittered in the direction he was herding it, and was out of the pen in two shakes of a kid's tail.

The magical goat chow scoop brought them all back in the new door without issue. Now they have to butt down two doors to escape. Don't worry about the chickens. They don't use their pen anymore, now that the dogs have stopped killing them.


Chickadee said...

Did you ever see the movie Chicken Run? That's what the getting out of the gate incident reminds me of...plotting their escape ;)

Hillbilly Mom said...

I saw it a long time ago. Our chickens used to do that, too, until we started letting them range.