Sunday, June 30, 2013

shifting goats

One effect of all the rainy days this season, is this:

when I wake up in the morning and it is not raining - at least, not yet raining - there is no time for slouching around.  I must get up and get out.

If the goats are going to have an opportunity to dig into fresh browse before the next rain sends them back to the shelters and hay, my priority task is shifting goats.  Some or all will be moved into smaller fenced areas that have been allowed to grow up into goat-appropriate vegetation.  There they will spend a few hours chowing down, before I shift them back to their usual digs.  If I hear thunder, the shifting back to shelters goes a lot quicker!

Betula and Acer work the fenceline bittersweet.  You go, boys! 
Moving my goats between pens is tricky.  They must have collars put on, and be walked, one at a time, on leads.  At each gate, all the other goats must be prevented from squeezing through.  The goats don't always make me work up a sweat getting them from Point A to Point B...

but most days they do.

Goats are strong, and goats are determined, and goats often do not want to be separated from their companions, even by a single fence, even for a moment.  So although we go through this goat-shifting routine all the time, there is often heel-dragging.

To add drama, the oldest doe bellows non-stop whenever any goat is moved.  And she carries on bellowing for several minutes after everyone else has forgotten what they were agitated about.

It is remarkable how much noise one goat can make.
Betula: "Why is my mother roaring like that?  I'd like to roar back in solidarity but it's hard to roar when your mouth is full!"

Lily: "Let's try a new system today.  I have packed my baby in a tub for easy transport.  I call this invention 'Kid In A Tub.'  I suggest you carry it on your head."

Thanks Lily.  I'll think about it.

Tsuga: "Or you could just deliver my food here.  I'll wait."