The rut started about two weeks ago here at Naimhe’s place. What that means to us is that an otherwise mellow and good natured fellow has turned into a stinky, obnoxious, sex crazed, fence climbing goat from hell.
The head buck around here is Buckling, an almost 3 year old Kiko pushing 200 lbs. The normally stately white hair on his face and chest is now a nasty shade of brownish yellow. He’s grumbling and pacing fences, when he’s not trying to climb them to get to the girls who have the poor taste to tease him mercilessly with their wagging tails. I won’t describe what else he’s doing because if you have goats, you already know and if you don’t, why ruin your lunch?
After spending the entire spring and summer sedately strolling around an 8 acre pasture with cattle, Buckling decided Sunday to hop the fence in search of romance. It didn’t help that Nancy was in full blown heat and egging him on. It also didn’t help that I couldn’t find his escape hatch.
We have a separate barn lot here specifically for rutting season. In past years, I’ve just let nature take its course and not bothered with structured breeding but after two frigid Februaries down in the barn, this year I’m in charge. There will be no dating until October 15th. The 10th if I’m feeling overly sympathetic, and I buy warmer socks.
After the fence jumping, I traipsed out to the rear (goat) pasture to haul big boy back in and put him in previously mentioned barn lot. He promptly climbed that fence so I went after him again and locked him in the barn. I was too tired to worry about what to do beyond that. It’s not like I could keep him locked in for 6 weeks, but I decided to worry about that another day.
The “another day” came the very next day when my farm work helper let him out of the barn. (What part of “don’t let the goat out of the barn” did he miss?) After hauling the less than accomodating buck back to the barn, I caught my breath and tied him to a beam support. That lasted a hot 20 minutes until I looked out the window and saw him, once again, strolling toward the tail waving girls. Aarrgggh!
Farm helper and husband dropped their respective duties and rebuilt the fence in the rut yard. 4 strands of barbed wire spaced 2-3 inches apart on top of the field fence. Barbed wire run across the gates and a strand across the top of the reinforced plastic fencing that separates the animal yard from the human yard. It looks a lot like an impound lot at this point but we’re on day 3 and Buckling is still incarcerated.
Additional lesson learned: while herd dogs charging the fence and snapping at goats may be annoying in May, it’s worth the hassle come September. I finally taught my Australian Cattle Dogs to stop nipping and barking at the goats and now I’m trying to teach them to nip and bark at this particular goat when he gets too close to the fence. What was I thinking??