So You Think You Can Herd Goats

April 27, 2014

So You Think You Can Herd Goats

April 27, 2014
Posted in: Best-Of, Nature | Reading Time: 4 minutes

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It was 7 pm on a Friday. Rush hour for the mountains. I spotted a man looking down the hillside at our pasture where the goats were grazing. I sighed contently.

"Another lookie-loo admiring the goats," I thought.

It made me happy that people enjoyed watching them. But as I passed the man, I noticed a young goat on the wrong side of the fence. The man was trying to keep him from crossing the busy road.  I flipped the car around and parked thinking that it shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Getting a single goat back inside the fence should be a no-brainer, right?

The good Samaritan seemed to have goat experience so I went to the car to get some dog leashes to lasso the goat. Before I knew it, we had two more good Samaritans with goat experience.  Four of us should easily be able to corral the goat, right? The odds were in our favor, but just to be sure, one of them called Jill to let her know about the escapee. 

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That slippery little fella managed to elude all of four of us.  Time after time, lure after lure, that little goat mocked us all. And in no time, when the herd of goats figured out the fence was off, one escaped goat turned into three escaped goats.  My heart sank.  Goats: 3, Good Samaritans: 0.

Somebody suggested to let Lu Lu out to round them up. I was hesitant. But if one goat gave four people a problem, we wouldn't stand a chance with three.

As soon as I let out Lu Lu, she was all, "Goats? What goats? Let's do zoomies! Woo Hoo!"

Sigh. I've handled two working dogs with completely opposite working drives for six years now. How did I not see this coming?

So now we had three escaped goats and one guard dog bouncing around like a clown. This was quickly turning into a bad reality show.

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By the time we got Lu Lu back inside the fence, Jill, the goat's keeper and her assistant showed up, made a plan and assigned tasks.

We were so close. So very close. A person behind herded toward me as I held the fence up high.  Just as the goats were about to make their way under the fence, the first goat suddenly remembered he was out of smokes. And just like that, all three bolted across the street toward the grocery store.   Presumably to pick up a pack of cigarettes. That's when things got interesting.

By now we had an audience and more volunteers. The goats took off on another walking path down the busy road. A few volunteers rounded them up from behind, drove them back our way where we shut down traffic for a minute to get them back across the street safely. I held the fence as high as I could. The goats wanted nothing to do with my invitation to re-join their herd and instead made a beeline down the hillside. At that point, all we could do was wait patiently for them to follow the fence line in the forest around and back up to the pasture where their pals were happily munching on fresh alfalfa that was intended as bait for the escapees.

Two hours later, the sun had set and I heard Loki yip across the property. He couldn't see me but, from his bark, he knew I was nearby. I had been gone most of the day and as much as I didn't want to, I had to leave. It was nearly 9 p.m. and  Jill had plenty of professional help. 

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I have no idea how long it took to wrangle up the three goats but I did learn some valuable lessons:

  1. Never underestimate the power of a single goat.
  2. Guard dogs are not the same as herding dogs.
  3. It's far better to rent goats to mow your pasture than it is to own them.

Ain't Too Proud to Beg

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8 comments on “So You Think You Can Herd Goats”

  1. And then to have to look at that smug expression on the face of the goat in the bottom picture. Oh, and yeah, we hire guys to weed eat our hill. Thanks for the tip on the goats!!

  2. I know this essentially unrelated, but it reminds me of my wedding, when my brothers and my father were trying to figure out how to pin their boutonnieres on their suits. I believe there were many comments about "how many graduate degrees does it take to pin on a boutonniere?" flying around.... Hey, I told you it was mostly unrelated.... But how many volunteers DOES it take to herd goats? But look at the photo opportunities you had! 😉

    -Dr. Liz, who spent a fair amount time herding sheep during her high school days (I worked on a farm) and knows that goats are NOT sheep.

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