Posted 11-02-2003 at 06:18:24
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Girl could not be consoled last night. No matter how many times I went out and yelled at her, she would not stop barking.
For some reason, she had got it into her head that Star, one of my nubian mix nannies, was a threat. Star didn't take well to being barked at, so in turn, she kept slamming her head into the gate trying to run Girl off. I tried shooing Star away and she, like Girl, refused to budge. It was one of those classic catch 22 situations.
It was around ten p.m. when I went out for the first time and found Girl, her teeth bared, her haunches practically on the ground, snarling and growling at this goat from the other side of the ten foot livestock gate. This was a new situation. The goats are always there and I could not figure out why all the sudden Girl was having a problem with Star coming up to the fence.
I never did figure it out. Even after three more trips. But I did warn Girl, because each time I went out there, Billy had come a little closer to the fence, his head cocked to the side, his 'down to business' face on.
"Girl, you're fixin' to get your a$$ kicked."
Billy is a two year old LaMancha buck. His horns, where they come out of his head are about three inches across (each), and about twelve inches long with a wicked point at the end. His rack is impressive, but he rarely uses it, unless he truly feels he needs it. He was looking like he was thinking he might need it now.
Girl was destroying the peace, but Star was doing her part. Girl would bark, bark, bark, and then Star would back off a few feet and slam her horns against the gate. Star could have easily gone off into the grove and the trouble would have ended, but like two hard-headed kids, neither one of them was willing to back down.
In reality, Star was not satisfied with the flimsy gate between them. A goat will not turn their back to a threat. Their horns are their protection. She was not going to turn around and walk away as long as Girl was there. Neither will a goat back away, as they have to know what is behind them. So since Girl was refusing to leave, the game continued.
"Woof, woof, woof, growl....clang!"
Over and over and over.
"You gonna do something about this?" I asked Billy finally. Lord knows I had tried, and gotten nowhere. Billy is usually seen and not heard. The only time he ever causes any real trouble is if he somehow gets separated from his herd. Then it's Katy bar the door. Other than that he is the protector, the peacekeeper.
Billy approached Star first and nuzzled her neck. Then he tried kicking her under her belly with one of his front legs. She basically ignored him. I grinned. He wasn't having any better luck controlling her than I was. Then in a move so beautifully choreographed that I wish I'd set it up, Billy put an end to the nonsense.
He walked majestically around to the west side of the pasture and jumped the fence, putting himself on the same side as Girl. She was so wrapped up in her barking frenzy she didn't realize what he'd done until it was too late.
Next he came across the pasture, keeping himself well behind the dog so that she couldn't see him, his head cocked to the side, horns menacing as he approached. If goats tiptoe, that's what he was doing, he didn't make a sound.
He crept up behind Girl, lowered his head and in one fluid motion he slammed into her from behind, rolling her up into a ball at the bottom of the gate.
Once she gathered her wits, Girl took off into the pasture with Billy hot on her heels. The chase lasted several minutes. Star, alarmed by the sudden change in the tenor of Girls' barking, ran in a ten foot circle, and after one hasty look back, disappeared into the grove. Billy had broken the bondage spell and now, since the dog was no longer there, she was free to go.
Billy chased Girl until she found a place to hide that he couldn't get into, and then he came strutting back across the pasture, stopping occasionally to look back and make sure that Girl was where he had left her.
I climbed over the fence into the pasture as Billy came walking back past, and held out my hand to him. You don't 'call' Billy. It's beneath him to respond to a summons. If you hold out your hand and let him know that you would 'really really like to pet him please sir' then he 'might' stop long enough to allow it.
This time he did. He stopped and lifted his head, the tip of one of his horns brushing my elbow. I scratched him at the juncture of his horns, his favorite spot, immensely glad that we were freinds, and said what I always say to him when I get to pet him.
"God, you stink."
He lifted his head and 'tasted the air' with his lips, no doubt trying to discover where Star had gone, trotted back to the fence and jumped back over.
I didn't see Girl again until this morning, and she seems fine, no limping, no more barking, the peace, for the moment, has returned. I don't know what started the whole mess and I hope whatever it was it doesn't happen again, but just in case it does, this time I'll just leave it to Billy to sort it out. It's his job. It's what he does, and he's good at it.