Goats are naughty!

Yesterday there was a breach in my “goat proof” fence!  I’m not sure where I went wrong??? I mean yeah, I know, I DID use salvaged material, but I zip stripped the gaps, I made sure the fence posts were set deep, and well secured, I covered the pallet portion with wire, and I stapled the bottom of the fence to cedar posts along the entire edge of the addition to the goat pen…

OK…Not the ENTIRE edge, but MOST of it! There was only one five foot section I missed, and I only missed it because of the eight foot burdock, and a mess of thistle that was growing in that corner. There was NO way the goats would go through there!.

Besides! The salvaged fence had been reinforced with chicken wire. Sure, the chicken wire was rusted, but it was still pretty strong! Not to mention, there were some big rocks I had rototilled out of “the garden”, and a cement block I had used to attempt to grow herbs in along that section of fence too.

This morning just before we were leaving for the day I went out to check on Big Bruce the visiting bull calf who will be here until he goes to freezer camp. I knew we were going to be gone all day, and that it would be hot, and I wanted to make sure he had a full container of fresh cool water before I left.

I looked in on the goats, and they nodded to me as they lay in the morning sun chewing their cud. I filled Bruce’s water container, and gave the grass a little drink to help it grow back…The main reason Bruce is here, is because my mower broke down last fall, and my yard was starting to resemble a woodland meadow…You know, if woodland meadows grew burdocks, jewel weed, and giant clumps of crabgrass. When he first came here he got lost in the tall lush greenery, a few short weeks later, and he has chewed choice places down to bare dirt! You “Go Green!” folks should seriously consider a calf or two for lawn mowers! They are GREAT! Just don’t forget to water what little bit of lawn they leave you!

ANYWAY! Bruce was watered, the “lawn” was watered, the goats all seemed content! Time to hit the road! I walk past the goat pen, Billy and Kramer again nod to me to tell me to have a good day, I tip my hat to them, and look over my shoulder at Smeck who is greedily grabbing at some jewel weed Bruce was trying to enjoy for his breakfast.

What a silly little goat! If he realized just how big Bruce really was, he would think twice about stealing food from him! I mean WHAT is he thinking…BETTER YET! WHAT IS HE DOING IN BRUCE’S PASTURE?????

I shout to my wife Jen that a goat is out, and to please come keep an eye on him while I round up supplies to fix the breach in my “goat proof” fence. Apparently, after eating the eight foot burdock, the thistle, and all the grass along the edge of the fence, they discovered that the bottom section of fence, behind the rusted chicken wire, as actually TWO sections of fence held together with rusted twist ties, and POP! Smeck was out!

Naturally, not ONE of my fencing tools is where I left them, but Jen has a pretty good handle on things! I grab a five foot section of the cedar fencing to staple the bottom of the fence to. I find my staples, but for the life of me, I can’t find a hammer! (Why is it always the hammer???) So I grab my drill instead. I planned to sandwich the bottom of the fence between a 2×4 and the cedar post.

I head for the goat pen, and when I open the gate in the privacy fence, I look out across the back yard to discover Jen conversing with ALL THREE GOATS!

“I thought you said only one goat was out?” she asks me.

“I’m serious! There WAS only one goat out! Just keep an eye on them please? Don’t let them get into the chicken feed!”

(I am told chicken feed is bad for them…I’ve never bothered to ask anybody WHY, because chicken feed is for chickens, and it costs too much to be sharing with the goats anyway!)

Meanwhile, Bruce notices Jen standing out in his pasture taking pictures of the goats, and comes up to greet her. She was a bit shocked at first, because she didn’t realize he was tethered in that particular part of the yard, but she started chatting with him, and I went back into the house for some screws.

When I come out, Jen is still chatting with Bruce, and Billy is happily cleaning up the chicken feed I had put down for the ducks!

“JEN! You are supposed to be keeping the goats OUT of the chicken feed!”

“OOPS! Sorry! I forgot! I didn’t even see him sneak past!”

So I drive him out, and set to work on the hole in the fence. Meanwhile, Jen has managed to keep between the goats, and the chicken feed, but the goats have wandered over to the other side of the property.

I fix the fence, and head around to the front of the house to sneak up on the goats on the other side of the yard, and shepherd them back to their pen with a pair of ski poles.

Much to my surprise they all three trotted off in the direction of their pen, easily out distancing me. When I catch up, Jen has Kramer in the pen. Billy and Smeck aren’t quite ready to go in.

I heard Billy mumble something to Smeck about chicken feed, and they bolted. Jen reached out to grab them, but missed, and Kramer seized the opportunity to hop out the open gate, and join them.

I manage to get on the other side of them, and with some “HA! GOAT! HA! GET OUT OF THERE!” along with some pushes and shoves, and heaving and ho-ing, I get them away from the chicken feeder, and the grain can.

I know Jen can’t get all three of them in the pen on her own, so as quick as I can I move the feeder, and the can, out of their reach, and ask Jen to try to keep them out of the feed that was scattered for the ducks.

Now they KNOW I am watching them, and Kramer gives me a little wink, and chats with Jen while Smeck and Billy start to munch on my blackberry bushes.  They promised to behave.


Kramer distracts Jen


Meanwhile Smeck (L) & Billy (R) pretend to eat blackberries (photos courtesy of Jen Adams)

The VERY SECOND my back is turned, Kramer tells the other two to “GO FOR IT!!!” Now Jen is not aware this has happened, because she does not yet speak goat.  I hear him, and come running back to drive Smeck and Billy into the open gate of the pen, and that is when Kramer makes his  move on the chicken feed.

“They’re like little velociraptors!” Jen says. “Plotting, and distracting, and charging!”

“They are EVIL GENIUSES!” I reply! “Nothing gets past them! They seize every little opportunity! HA GOAT!!! GET ON IN THERE! HA!!!! MOVE IT!” I reply, whacking their little fannies with a ski pole in each hand.

Jen is blocking the escape past the gate with a spade in her hand, and into the pen they trot! Kramer doesn’t even slow down and trots full speed for the breach in the fence, and smashes his head into it! My repair held, and he springs back onto his little billy goat butt!

So I guess they don’t see EVERYTHING! Today’s mission will be to run those electric fence lines I mentioned in “How to build a goat proof fence”, before they figure out just how loose those boards on the bottom of the salvaged privacy fence really are!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.