I have been caring for my goats since 2007. Before the first two came to the farm the hubby and i did a fair bit of reading so we’d know how to prepare for them. But as with anything reading can never prepare you for the reality. Reading told us that an electric fence would be fine for keeping them in; reality had them jumping over that fence and escaping on a regular basis. Goats are very intelligent animals. My little herd grew and I soon had a barn full.
Goats are also very cute. Especially when they are babies. I look forward every year to kidding time because the little ones hopping around give me some of my biggest laughs. They are the sweetest little things. But the books didn’t prepare me for goat society. I had Utopian visions of my goats all living happily together. That was blown the first night I put my herd up in their new barn and they all tried to kill each other – or so it seemed to me – to get to the hay and the “best” spot. I soon had the hubby building separate pens because I couldn’t stand the butting.
It’s not the just the adults. The kids start early establishing their pecking (butting?) order. I have three kids this season – Harley, Nick and Nora. Harley is the eldest by a week but was very sick for a period of time. He has made up for it though and has turned into a bullygoat and he beats on poor Nick unmercifully. I hate to see them butting each other but it’s what they do. The older goats do the same thing. Thelma and Louise are always fighting it out for who is head goat in their pen. Bernadette is the runt so she takes abuse from all of them.
Pricilla is old and weak so I’ve moved her into a pen all by herself. Any time the others join her – like when they go grazing in the summer they immediately show her that they are stronger. It breaks my heart because she tries to be the goat she once was but she just isn’t. She will often just retreat inside her goat house until they get far enough away.
I express my worries to the hubby and his comment is always, “what makes them any different from humans?” I started to protest but then I thought about it and he’s right. We might have a veneer of civility but we are and always have been a very violent society. Of course there are many among us who do act with the better interests of others in mind but there are so many more that are willing to step on anyone they feel are in their way to whatever success they are seeking.
It seems to me it is getting worse. I wonder if I feel this way because I am getting older. I read the paper and watch the news and question the society in which I live. People are being killed in the name of a God whom I truly doubt would approve of such behavior. People are being shot right and left for no good reason. The people running this country of ours are more concerned with winning for their party than governing for the people that elected them to office. I suspect that each generation looks back at where it came from and sees the degradation of the society it once knew. I do know that there are no “Good Ole Days” for each time has had it’s trials.
I try to keep my goats from killing each other but I can’t change their nature. I can only do what I can to make things easier of the weakest of them which I suppose is what most of us do for the people around us who need help. You would think the religious types out there shouting each other down would remember the words of one of the great prophets who walked the Earth so long ago and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”