Sunday, December 4, 2016

Buttermilk and the Broom Handle

This fall has been a challenging one to say the least.  In the spring, Annie, an Alpine, gave birth to snow white twins, one of which I decided to keep and name Buttermilk.  I wasn't paying attention to the growth of the horns and before I knew it, it was too late to dehorn her.

At first there wasn't a problem, but as Buttermilk grew her desire to eat what was on the other side of the fence grew.  One evening when I arrived home from work, I could hear the frantic calls of a very upset goat in the pouring down rain.  I grabbed the flashlight and followed the sound getting soaked in the first few minutes of my quest.

Then the light hit the white goat, body on one side of the fence, head on the other.  She was stuck and could not figure out how to get out.  And she wasn't much help while I tried to get her out as she wanted to go through the fence instead of back out of it.  By then, my clothes were drenched and I was getting frustrated being wet and Buttermilk not cooperating.  Finally, something clicked in her brain and when I tilted her chin up with the points of her horns touching her back, she backed out and raced to the barn not even giving me a look over her shoulder as she scampered away.

Not too long after that episode.  She got her head stuck yet in another place in the fence.  I had read on Facebook of a guy attaching a sawed off broom handle to his goat's horns to deter her from sticking her head through the fence.  So I found my old useless wooden broom handle and took it to work where I sawed off the handle to half its size.  I bought a new roll of Duct tape and invited the grandkids to come and help hold the goat while I applied the handle.

Buttermilk did not like the handle strapped across the base of her horns.  She yelled.  She screamed.  She twisted and turned all the while trying to rid her head of the stick that would not be free.  Ah! All is well with the world I thought.

Then one morning this week as I stepped out on the porch, I heard it again - the plaintive wails of Buttermilk!  I stepped off the porch to get a better view of the barn and the animals.  There was a white goat (Buttermilk) flopping on the ground.  I rushed to the barn to see what the matter was.  Somehow, someway, Buttermilk managed to get her head through the fence with the broom handle still attached.  That really took some doing and I'm still not sure how she did it.  I grabbed her horns with one hand and raised her up so that I could work somewhere other than on the ground.  I worked hard getting the duct tape to release from its captive hold of the horns and the broomstick.  Finally, I managed to free her from the device that I'm sure she thought was a torture device.

Goats are peculiar in their behavior.  Mine now know that if they line up at the gate that separates them from the driveway and the barn, I will close the gate across the driveway and let them browse where the arena once was.  Inge follows me everywhere with the rest of the goats close behind in single file with the hopes that I will miraculously pull a grain bucket from my pockets.  It isn't gonna happen.

With the 9 goats I have, life is never boring or dull.  They certainly know how to keep my life interesting!
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