Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A darker side to my sweet Zuri

Yesterday was an enlightening day for me. My bucklings too. We all discovered that Zuri... my sweet, perfect, lovely Zuri... is a hussy. Perhaps if I were breeding goats willy nilly without regard to kidding times, I'd be perfectly happy with Zuri's amorous behavior. But when you're trying to maintain a schedule to keep things as orderly as possible in an amazingly chaotic choice of hobbies (raising goats and chickens)... a hussy goat with an uncanny knack for escape and an array of eager suitors does NOTHING to make a day orderly. It does however, give one more aerobic exercise than they counted on.

The day started out mundane enough. Doing chores, pulling weeds, tweaking fence here and there, though I've long since abandoned the notion of keeping Zuri and her cohort Daisy within the boundaries of something as restrictive as a PEN. (Silly me for even contemplating THAT ridiculous idea!) I did notice that Zuri didn't jump back in with her friends to enjoy a little breakfast, but since she doesn't typically eat much grain I wasn't concerned.

She's really a dream as far as a 'meat' goat is concerned. She gets all the browse she can stand while out meandering the pastures all day. She isn't remotely pushy when I give the girls their morning grain, which is surprising since goats are born being pushy and obnoxious. She'll eat a bit from my hand and generally stand back and watch the other 'normal' goats eat. She gets along with everyone and doesn't bully anyone. And it's really quite miraculous that she can gain enough elevation to get over my pasture fences even if it's not an elegant show. I don't carry on about Daisy clearing those fences since she's a dairy breed that is much lighter in build, much longer legged and looks like her daddy MUST be a deer. So it seems perfectly reasonable that she sails over fences like a bird and DOES do a lovely job of it.

As the day moved on and lunchtime came and went, I noticed that Zuri still hadn't come back to the pen to hang out with her friends and chew cud. Not even to lie in the sun with Daisy. In fact, I hadn't seen those two together one time all day. That's just not normal. I could see Zuri out at the horse barn where I'd locked Aiden, my only adult buck, in a stall to keep him from the girls. She was standing by the stall front making sweet faces and batting her lashes at him. Of course he reciprocated by grunting, wagging his tongue, peeing on himself... all those very sexy buck moves the girls go nuts for. But I'm a good chaperone and she has an arranged relationship waiting for her in October, so, like Romeo and Juliet, their love is forbidden.

She did at least have plenty of company to make her feel loved and appreciated. My four young bucklings from this spring were hanging out like a gang of hoodlums cat-calling at her. They were obnoxious enough (I think I mentioned that they're born that way) that she had to bash them periodically to keep them at a respectful distance. I'd say that was about four inches, give or take. Seeing how well she kept them in line left me no worries that they were all loose in the barn together. Their pipe dreams were as unattainable as hers without any intervention from me.

Or so I thought. I suppose after a few hours (or most of the day) a girl is bound to start considering her options. Maybe those young boys didn't look as small and immature as she originally thought. Would it really be so bad if she gave one of them a shot? The other girls probably wouldn't even notice from their pen. Even if they did, she'd already played hard to get... surely it couldn't be held against her, right?

I swear I could hear her thoughts and in that brief moment, the atmosphere changed abruptly. Apparently, the boys could hear her thoughts too. They became more than insistent. More than obnoxious. They became downright rude... and really, really fast!

I ran to the barn in my flip flop shoes shaking my little grain can praying I'd get any one of them to notice me. Silly human, we're talking about unrequited goat love here. Grain doesn't hold one ounce of importance when you're competing with passion! So I abandoned the grain plan grabbed a rope and figured I was just going to have to get my hands on anyone I could and drag them apart. Of the five goats in the frenzy, only one is actually tame, though you'd never have guessed it in the following moments. In hind sight, it wasn't a very good plan but it was the only plan I had.

Zuri was really the only one in the group who seemed to notice me at all. Apparently her goal was to avoid me at absolutely all costs. She ran all over the barnyard, went over fences that were effective at stopping me AND the boys, back into the barn, streaking through the field, running in circles... Funny thing though, when she began to run from me the boys went completely wild. I guess goats are into the thrill of the chase? The boys began literally THROWING themselves at her as she ran! I have to say, for all the calamity they had darn good aim. Good thing they're all so short.

We ran around the farm for what seemed like an hour with me tripping over my flip flops and hearing the Benny Hill theme song in my head until Zuri finally changed her course. She headed back to the girl pen and instead of jumping the fence to go in with them, she went into one of the little side doors to a goat stall. All but one of the boys beat me to the stall but I had her cornered at last! It seemed simple enough to throw a noose around her neck and drag her to her own stall. Ya right. The goat stall was only 6'x6' and packed with bodies, but it was still no easy feat to get her roped. When I finally had her, I had to wrestle her across the alleyway into her own stall... a.k.a. solitary confinement.

I wish I had some enlightening insights to share from this experience. All I got from it though was a stubbed toe, some sore muscles and a few pouty goats.
Zuri at 3 months old, still sweet and innocent

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