Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Like Herding Cats

A coyote started yipping and yapping on the ranch just before it was time to put the goats to bed; it was standing in the middle of the pasture creating a ruckus.

Mattie gave a few perfunctory barks without expending too much energy. The goats were huddled together, alert, with all four pairs of ears pointed forward.

I called the goats and headed to the pen. They followed me halfway and then turned around and walked back to the driveway. I continued to the pen, put the chickens away, opened the pen gate, and went back to get them.

The coyote was sitting now and while I watched it laid down still yipping and yapping.

I called the goats again and headed to the pen but when I turned around it was only Zeke behind me. He followed me into the pen and jumped into his goat house awaiting his pan of goat treats. This is the usual nightly routine, not usually a problem, takes five minutes or less, easy-peasy, but not tonight.

I left Zeke in his house and went to get the other three goats. The coyote was still yapping and while I watched another one showed up and they yipped off into the sunset.

The sun had set, it would be dark soon, I needed to hurry.

It took cajoling, banging on pans of goat treats, more pans of goat treats, and handfuls of forage grain to get Jack and Bitsy in their houses. One more to go.

Boots remained the holdout. She'd get halfway to her house and wouldn't go any further. I patted her and scratched her back, she took a few steps forward and then stopped. I nudged her from behind but she wouldn't budge. I resorted to water with a few sprays from the hose I was able to get her moving forward.

Then - of course - the moment Boots went in Jack squirted out. Luckily, he went back in quickly when I shook the second pan of goat pellets and when I looked he was happily eating from both pans. Boots was laying down in her corner, ignoring the treats, definitely not her usual behavior.

Anyway, it took over an hour to put the goats to bed tonight.

I didn't get any pictures, I was too busy.