Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1300 Pound Goat

Sh... don't tell him. He's decided he's a goat. It's either that or he likes their shed. But then why does he stay in the shed during the day but sleeps outside at night. I know this not because I've adventured out into the 30 below 0 F. windchill but because there is a bare spot in the snow just outside the shed, the size of a beef.

So tell me, what's your vote:

1. He thinks he's a 1300 pound goat,


2. He likes the goat shed.?

Tinker Bell (winter 2010)
In actuality it doesn't matter since I can't keep him in his own pen if he wants to leave and I really can't complain because he has chosen the past few months to either go and visit Bess, my mare, or lately, the goats. It's a whole heap better than Tinker Bell here who would go and visit the neighbors, jumping into their pen with the heifers and colts. Now she was a handful in comparison to Pedro.
At least Pedro doesn't attempt to run circles around me brushing up against me as he whirls, causing me to dance in a circle to keep from getting bumped by 1300 pounds. It isn't a light tap even if no harm is intended. She did the same thing when she drank from a bottle, circling after just a few sips. Never could break her of it.
No, Pedro is calmer, gentler and is quite well liked by everyone including Chicory. Her small daughters on the other hand, consider him a scary BIG oaf and bawl their complaints at having to share THEIR shed with him.
But what can I do? A 1300 pound beef within a cow panel fence can go pretty where ever he pleases. I don't care if the fence is rated for cows. Use barbwire you say. Oh sure you've gone down the highway and have seen thousands of miles of barbwire fence keeping in herds of cattle. Don't be fooled, the fence is only a hopeful suggestion by the rancher. How do I know? My dad managed a ranch for years that had a thousand head of cattle and a thousand head of sheep. If one of those cows wanted to go somewhere, that fence wasn't going to stop her, it only cause a brief hesitation as she shoved it aside. Yearlings and bulls were the worst for destroying fence.
That's why when yesterday Pedro didn't want to come out of the goat pen, even for his favorite treat, and go to his own pen, I didn't push the issue. I knew he'd just jump back in, tearing up the fence worse than it already was.
Some of you are wondering what keeps a beef in then? A stout, thick pipe fence, or keeping the beef happy. The later is much cheaper.
And since my animals are happy, that's why on the rare occasion when they get out, I don't worry. They aren't going far. The know where the getting is good. I just open up the gate and in they come again.
My mare and the goats rarely ever leave but a beef that needs butchered, well, I don't know what it is but at that time they begin to tear up fence. Maybe it's the Lords way of making it easier on me to say bye, bye.
Till that day I'm trying to figure out how to keep Pedro in. He didn't mind all the snow that blew acrossed him. Bess on the other hand whinnied endlessly, hoping I'd bring her hay to her shed. No such luck as a thigh high drift was in the way. And the goats being the wimpiest of the bunch, just stood in their sheds and shiver on cue when they saw me. I'm sure it's was to invoke a sympathetic reaction. Their shed is insulated, with a rubber floor, and a sawdust layer to bed down in. Sure it is cold but not as cold as Bess's. They have it quite comfy in fact, unless we had a nice warm barn of course. So I'm not moved by the cries of how tough they've got it.

But it wasn't snow that caused all the misery this past week, but wind chill factors. And I was in my jeans and coat since two ton Tessy here out grew her warm Swiss army pants. I'm working on that problem. And I had to lift these rubber tubs, slamming them to the ground to break up the ice frozen solid inside. And if you would have driven by last week you may even have caught me jumping on top, like a mad women throwing a fit, with the tubs turned upside down, trying to get the ice to release from the bottom. As I lifted them, the shattered ice rained from the tubs sounding like thick broken glass tumbling out. My footsteps in the powdery snow squeaked like the tennis shoes on a polished wood gym floor.
In each pen a pile of ice sculptures sits to one side.
I've learned they are dangerous strewn about to slip on or trip over, for the livestock as well as myself.
Oh it helps a little to put the tubs on the south side of the sheds to absorb some of the suns warm rays but some days like last week, though we can see her, we can't feel her.

Hence, when you place these waterers in the pen, you put them on the south side of the sheds where the sun can get to them when she's a mind to send some warmth our way. The black color and rubber construction heats up and keeps the water from freezing as quickly as if it were in plastic or metal. On cold days, they stand up to the abuse needed to dislodge the ice.

Watering is the first chore of the day. I usually give a small treat near the watering pans to encourage the stock to come drink. Then I milk giving the animals time to drink before I hay them. Hay first and they will dig in to eat while the water freezes solid risking impaction of their bowels.

This drift in front of the chicken coop is getting old as I struggle through it with my arms full of hay or a bucket of feed and one of water for the chickens. At least now, the snow is getting packed down and I can walk without sinking up above my knees.

Me thinks I need to build a snowman or go sledding to remember the enjoyment that snow brings, instead of its trials for winter already seems long.

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