Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bad Bard

A few months ago, our family went in on three baby goats with two other families in our neighborhood.  We spent an entire Saturday readying one of the neighbor's barns and barnyard for the goats, who would share the space with 20 chickens and a duck.  The men partitioned the barn so that each species of farm animal would have their own side and then fenced off several fruit trees.  That evening we introduced Elsa, Anna, and Bard to their new home and we patted ourselves on our backs.

Little did we know, goats are funny creatures and very smart and resourceful.  Before a day had gone by, the little escape artists had squeezed through a hole the chickens had trouble getting through and were in the garden, tearing it up.  The hole was boarded up and we thought we were clever for discovering their escape so quickly.

By the end of the third day, the goats had figured out how to get into the chicken's side of the barn and ate all of their feed.  We quickly remedied that issue and had a day or two of peace and complacency until we discovered, Bard is a jumper.  Oh boy, is she ever a jumper.  She can clear the three foot partition in the barn without a running start.  She can also leap on top of the roof of the  makeshift shelter in the barnyard and jump down into "no-goat's land" and has managed to strip all the fruit trees nearly bare.

Our neighbor sought the advice of experienced goat farmers and we attempted hobbling her for a few days, but found, even hobbled, she could leap on top of the three foot tall roof.  We ended up having to sequester her in the makeshift shelter, thus isolating her from her companions, which she did not like at all.  She's a bawler and now all the neighborhood knows it.  After a few days of hobbling and isolation, we let her wander free again, and discovered she is very, very smart.  She had learned her lesson and did not much like her punishment.  Once again, we patted ourselves on our backs for our cleverness in teaching a goat self-discipline.

Ha! The sneaky little thing just learned to be naughty when we weren't watching.  The fruit trees bore the evidence of her deviousness.  She was leaping back and forth over the fencing and eating away at the low hanging fruit without our ever seeing her.  She's a crafty one.

We are mulling solutions.  At times we want to give her up and try and sell her. At times we find her antics to be all too charming.  She is a sweet thing and very friendly.  We've been reassured she will eventually become too large and heavy to jump the heights she currently has mastered.  If we can just wait her out until she can be bred.  She will calm down.  Building up the fence a tad higher would take another precious Saturday, one that we've had trouble coordinating between the busy schedules of three busy homeschooling families.  Right now we are trying to mitigate the problem by staking Bard on our land.  We don't yet have the barn/barnyard set up for housing her, so during the day, we stake her near our garden and set watch over her, lest she figure out how to pull up stakes, so to speak.  She loves the kids and the company.  If we even attempt to sit at the edge of the garden, no more than 20 feet from her, she begins to bawl.  It's rather pathetic.  This is only a temporary fix.  Once schedules have settled, we will have to come up with a much more permanent solution to the problem of Bad Bard.

Bad Bard is enjoying the morning glory and other weeds in our field.

This is how we spent the afternoon, taking selfies with the goat.

She loves the boys and will cuddle right up to them.

She's very loving and friendly like a puppy, but she doesn't nip or bark.  She just bawls and eats everything in sight.

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