At least once a day something happens that makes me wish I could communicate with animals. I would love to ask our pigs what they find so appealing about my boots or explain to the calves that we are taking them to a new and better pasture. It would make life so much easier.
Today I wanted to talk to the goats. We wanted to move them from the woods with the calves to the woods with the pigs. There isn’t a good way to herd them from pasture to pasture so we needed to load them in the trailer and cart them over. To help them get comfortable with the idea of the trailer, we parked it down in the calf woods a few days ago and filled it with straw and feed. This gave them a chance to check it out and explore at their own pace so when the time came to push them in, the wouldn’t be scared of it. Good idea, right?
It worked…sort of. The goats loved their new sleeping shelter and made themselves right at home. But we couldn’t get to the trailer to lock them in without spooking them (in which case they ran back out). Ryan and I went down to try to tag team it. The goats ran out, but I attempted to lure them back in with a bucket of feed. (We’d allowed them to eat the food we’d put in, but didn’t refill it so they’d be a bit hungry.) About 10 of them followed me into the trailer, but as Ryan close the gate two of them escaped. We took the eight we’d caught to their new home and returned for more.
Unfortunately, the remaining goats were skeptical. They’d seen their friends run in and now the trailer was empty. Actually, I don’t know if that’s what they were thinking, but they knew something wasn’t right. They bucket trick didn’t work the 2nd round. Once again we left the trailer down their and left them alone to calm down for a bit.
After lunch we went back down to try again. They still weren’t interested in following the bucket so we tried herding them in. This is where disaster struck. Ryan was pushing them down the lane while I was supposed to be keeping them from jumping over the stone wall. I was watching the front of the herd who was nearing a gap in the wall while Ryan was pushing from behind when all of a sudden a few in the back broke away and jumped the wall. As I turned to stop them the rest bolted and that was that. The trailer will sit down there for the weekend and we’ll try again on Monday.
All this would have been so much easier if I could have walked down and said something like “Hello, goats. We are taking you to a new pasture with better food. Please climb in the trailer and we’ll transport you to your new home. Thanks!”
Too bad those translating dog collars from “Up” aren’t real.