Goats… where do I begin? They’re cute. They’re entertaining. They’re fun and they make good pets, especially for kids. I do love them. But let me tell you, they’re very good at testing people’s patience, especially mine.
Back before we got goats, I remember asking my husband if we could get a couple. Right off the bat he said no. I asked him why and he said that goats were nothing but trouble and pains in the you-know-what. I didn’t believe him; I mean how could any thing this adorable….
be such a pain? Just look at that cute little face, right?
Well, as you can see, I eventually talked him into getting a few. It didn’t take long before I found out that my husband was right and that I should listen to him more often. Goats really can get into trouble and actually cause lots of trouble. Like one time, they got out and ate the blooms off my potato plants; we didn’t end up with very many potatoes that year. Or another time they got into the chicken food, so I had to give them the rest of the baking soda to keep them from bloating. So the next time I made a batch of cookies, I had to make a special trip to town to get some because I realized I was out of baking soda only after I had started the cookies. Then there’s the everyday stuff like when I feed them, they all gather together and try to push through the gate as I open it and are all over me so bad that I have to push them out of the way to make it to the feed pan, but yet whenever I need to catch one of them, they run away so fast you’d think I was a stranger they’d never seen before. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.
I’m not one to cuss much, but when it comes to dealing with goats on a daily basis and my patience runs thin, it sometimes becomes necessary. Since my youngest daughter is with me a lot whenever I’m around the goats, I decided I needed to come up with a word to say so that I’m not mumbling a bunch of bad words around her. The first word that popped into my mind was GOAT and from that moment on, it became an official cuss word around here. In fact it can work out quite well because if I yell, “Oh great, that son of a goat just got out and ate the blooms off my potato plants,” I could be talking about one of the bucks, who quite literally is the son of a goat, and my daughter wouldn’t know or have to hear what I really wanted to say. 😉
One day last summer we had a heck of a day… in fact the more accurate description of it would be one GOAT of a day. I think that day I mumbled the word “goat” more times than I had in the whole time since goat became the cuss word around here. It all started out like any other normal, but busy day. I had a lot of stuff to do, places to go, and errands to run, all that usual stuff that happens on a busy day around here. The kids and I woke up early that morning because we had someone coming to pick up a couple of goat kids that we had sold. We needed to get them caught so we could give them the last dose of wormer and trim their hooves before they went to their new home. We got a bucket of feed and managed to get the goat kids corralled separately, and then we fed all the goats.
My oldest daughter, Brooke, happened to look out in the pasture and noticed one of the goats was out there lying down. Right away we thought something was very wrong because goats never miss an opportunity to eat. Quickly, we ran out to see what was going on, but by the time we got to her she jumped up and ran off like normal. We thought it was odd that she wasn’t coming up to eat, but since she quickly jumped up and ran off, we thought she might just be full or something. Since we couldn’t catch her, we decided to go back up to the barn and get the goat kids ready.
About the time we got half way up to the barn, we glanced out and saw the goat stretch out and fall onto her side. Then she rolled onto her back, flipping and flopping back and forth, then stopped with her feet in the air, on her back, and started twitching. By the time we ran out to her she had rolled onto her side but was still lying down and breathing hard. She didn’t try to get up and run from us. I grabbed her by her collar and tried pulling her up but she didn’t want to get up. We waited a bit and she eventually did get up. I led her up to the barn, having to stop several times so she could lie down and flop around, and eventually got her penned up in the barn. It was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. Oh dear… something was really wrong with that goat and we weren’t sure what to do next.
We went to the house and Brooke started researching the internet to see if she could narrow down what it could be while I called several veterinarians to see if they could come out and check her. None of them could come out for various reasons. One said that they were out on a call all morning, and then would be at the office in the afternoon. They were booked working cattle all afternoon but would work us in since we were having an emergency. I told her it sounded good, but then explained that I hadn’t ever hooked the pickup up to the stock trailer before there could be a big possibility, if I didn’t get it hooked up, that we might not make it in. So we left it that I would call them later that day and let them know if we’d be in or not.
Since we couldn’t get the goat in until later in the afternoon, we busied ourselves getting the goat kids prepared to go to their new homes. Their new owner called to let me know she was running a little late, but it ended up being a lot later than she said she would be. Goat. After we got the kids ready, we had a quick lunch and decided to attempt to get the pickup and trailer hooked up. Now here’s where things started to get interesting.
Since we started homesteading, I’ve had to learn a lot of different skills, from milking a goat to giving a sick chicken a pill, and lots of things in between. Some skills I’ve mastered, others I’m still working on. One particular skill that I haven’t yet mastered that well is navigating the pickup, which is a large diesel F250, in a backwards direction accurately and efficiently. Like, for example, whenever I go to pick up feed I have to back the pickup up to the dock to get the feed loaded. It’s a nice wide space and there’s no particular right spot the pickup has to be, other than just close enough so they can throw the bags on the back end. Simple, right? Nope, not for me. I have to pull up, back up, pull up, back up….. and repeat… then I usually end up in some whopper jawed position where the guys have to jump down off the dock to throw the bags on the pickup bed. It always takes five times longer for me to back up to the dock than it does for them to load the feed. And I get to the point where I mumble GOAT quite a few times throughout the process.
Yeah… the likeliness of me getting the ball of the hitch positioned under the hitch of the trailer… let’s just say I’d probably have better odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot.
So it began… I pulled forward, backed up, pulled forward, backed up… I had Brooke out there guiding me, but I still couldn’t do it. One time I’d be just a few inches away from the hitch, so I’d try to scoot over and end up 2 foot away on the other side. Forty five minutes and a quarter of a tank of fuel later, I still hadn’t got it hooked up. Goat, goat, goat! I was frustrated, and to the point of giving up, when the lady showed up for the goat kids. We got them loaded up, visited a bit, and then she went on her way.
I told Brooke I’d try a few more times to get that trailer hooked up, but after that, if I didn’t get it, I was done. So we went back over there and began again…. I pulled forward, backed up, pulled forward, backed up…. but this time a miracle happened and I actually got the ball under the hitch! And it was in less than ten tries too! Brooke got it hooked up and I pulled the trailer up out of its spot. We decided it would save time and fuel if we led the goat to the trailer instead of me trying to back up to the gate by the barn. As Brooke led her to the trailer, she had to stop several times to wait for the goat to have her episodes. When we finally got her on the trailer, she collapsed again. Poor goat.
I called the vet to let them know we were on the way and then we headed out. I was a little nervous because it was the first time I had pulled that trailer with that pickup, but we made it. I made sure to park in a place where I had plenty of room to get out without having to backup. We went inside and they told us they were in the middle of working a group of cattle so it would probably be forty five minutes or so before they could see our goat. It was no problem, I appreciated that they were willing to see our goat even though they were so busy.
Once they had a break between groups of cattle, they had me pull the trailer up. As the vet went into the trailer to examine the goat, I climbed up on the side and noticed the goat was spunky and lively. The vet tried to catch her but she darted from one side to the other, jumping through his arms and running circles. Once he got a hold of her, he had to wrestle with her to get her to hold still so he could examine her. He let her go and I explained what was going on. We watched her, waiting for an episode to happen, but she only looked at him, then back at me, back and him and etc. So we stood there waiting… and nothing happened. No flipping or flopping or twitching…nothing…. for fifteen awkward minutes.
The vet said he really couldn’t say what was wrong with her without seeing her having an episode. He told me to keep an eye on her and not hesitate to call if she had any more problems. As he started to direct me on which way would be easiest to get out, I told him I was going to run into the office so I could pay the bill. He told me not to worry about it, and that he wouldn’t charge me, which was really nice of him. They had cattle panels, plus two pickups with stock trailers all blocking the drive, so he told me that the easiest way out would be to just back out. Oh dear. Embarrassed, I told him that I couldn’t back out. He got an amused grin on his face and told me to hold on while he had the panels moved and asked the guys to move the pickups and stock trailers.
Goat, goat, goat…I just wanted to die of embarrassment. I mean seriously… all that work, fretting, cussing, interrupting the vet’s busy schedule…. and the goat goes back to being perfectly normal, just like that? Goat, goat goat!!
When we made it home I pulled up by the barn. I hopped in the trailer and tried to catch the goat but she hurdled over me and out into the yard. Of course! Goat, goat, goat! So that meant chasing her fifteen laps around the yard before getting her back into the pen with the others. Goat, goat GOAT!!!
From then on she was perfectly fine and never flipped, flopped or twitched again. So what was wrong with her? It’s something we will never know for sure, but we do have a theory. The vet had asked me if there was anything the goats climb on that they could fall off of because if so, she could have wrenched her back. At the time I told him no, but once I got to thinking about it, I remembered we had something. It’s an old portable feed bin…
The goats hop up on it and stand on their hind legs while resting their front legs on the tree so they can reach the leaves. We’re guessing she most likely did fall and wrench her back. Maybe the crazy, rough ride into the vet popped it back into place? It will be one of those things we will never know for sure.
All trouble aside, I’m really glad that the goat didn’t have anything seriously wrong with her. As for the rest of the day, I was sure glad when it was over because it was truly
One GOAT of a day!
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