Goats Run Wild


Meeko and I had a grand adventure on the way up to our Larch hike(s) yesterday evening. On approach to a friend's place, there were something over a dozen goats on the wrong side of the fence grazing the delicious rain-renewed grass by the road, with a couple goats loitering in the road. Stuck my flashers on and blocked the lane (country road with good line of sight on approach, so plenty of time and room for other travelers to go around in the other lane) and called him. As we were talking, the last one inside was feeling left out and made an impressive leap over the fence to join the herd. Then the big ones started moving towards the gate and the two smaller in the road followed off the tarmac, so I pulled across the driveway to encourage them to stay buddied up between car and gate. Meeko helped with much barking and jumping from seat to seat and an occasional body slam against the window.
The gate was padlocked, but my friend asked if I could lift it up and get them back in, as he was two hours out, and I said I'd try, and call back.
Loree thoughts...I don't know Goat... are any of them cranky?... how the hell am I going to lift this big floppy attached-on-both-sides thing high enough to get animals who probably can't crawl back under it back in?... why would they go back?, the delicious green grass is out here...both my hands are going to be occupied and I'll be stuck in place lifting, so how am I going to herd them in?... I wonder if I could let Meeko out in hopes the untrained Border Collie third would win out over the Boxer third that wants to play and the Pointer third that wants to hunt [<<< that was just silly talk]... why don't I carry emergency carrots in the car?
Tried to lift, got about six inches clearance [goats all still watching me with great curious eyes and politely moving aside, good goats], and held it, looked at the gap a cat could get under, looked at goats who didn't appear quite as flexible, put gate back down all wonky, told the goats to just stay right there, good goats, stepped back for perspective, decided I was too far to the left side and needed to pull out then lift up, and moved back to the middle, goats politely moving aside and watching me with great curious eyes, good goats.
Got the gate up to a knee high gap, then one goat went through with another following, good goats, and the rest followed, good goats!, and I set the gate back down in place while they watched me with great curious eyes, waiting for reward carrots. Or kale. Toast. Something.
Feeling accomplished, and puffing a bit, I turned around to get in the car and call back to report success.
...There was one small goat by the road, happily munching delicious rain-renewed grass. She did not respond to cajoling or good goat, so I pulled a lovely clump of delicious rain-renewed grass two feet from her and held it out. She's like, thank you, but I have some right here, so I walked back to the gate and tossed it over to reward the good goats. Apparently throwing delicious rain-renewed grass at goats creates a Startle. Who knew?
Also, creating a Startle in the herd apparently makes stragglers willing to return to it. When I turned back around, she was coming towards me, so I lifted the gate out and up and she went in, and they all watched me with great curious eyes while I wedged a functionally useless board against the escape route.
Maybe Visual Deterrent is a goat thing, because they were all still inside the gate when he got home.
Good goats.
p.s. Thanks, Meeko, for standing in the back window barking while I was creating the Startle... it's probably all to your credit that we didn't have to lure that last one into the van with a brownie and take it with us to our hike(s).