August 15, 2008

Farm Rules


Where the animals are concerned there are only 2 farm rules.

#1 - Each animal has to have a purpose to stay on the farm.

Chickens (eggs/meat)

Turkey/geese/ducks (eggs/meat)

Peafowl (eggs/hobby)

Dairy goats (milk/manure)

Meat goats (meat/manure)

Pigs (meat/tilling)

Sheep (meat/fiber)

Angora goats (fiber/manure)

Outside dogs (predator control/ herding/ guarding)

Barn Cats (rodent control)

Inside dogs (pets/companionship – yes is a purpose, haven’t you heard how pets can lower your blood pressure?)

#2 - No animal will hurt me.

I refuse to put myself in harms way to raise any animal. I refuse to work with difficult animals. All animals on the farm will and do come to the sound of my voice. No animal runs from me (with the exception of the poultry). Mean, obstinate or animals with an attitude are not welcome on our farm. Bluntly, if they piss me off they go to the freezer or they are out of here.

That’s where I am at right now, in between madder than …and he’s out of here. Copper Top our Angora herd sire has been testing my patience’s for quite awhile now. Knowing goats, normally I can over look his pushy attitude, after all boys get a bit bucky at different times and they want to be in control of their herd. He has to be first to greet me at the gate, first to get a pet, first to eat.
He has those horns that turn out like Long Horn cattle and he knows they are there. Beautiful horns really, very majestic and impressive on a goat. More than once I've seen him send the smaller goats flying with just a twist and flick of his head and horns. This is not constant, just any time I approach their pasture. That irritates and worries me that a baby maybe harmed. Yeah, I know he is the boss and they need to learn that.
The last couple of weeks Copper has been showing more aggression towards my entering to feed. He stops in front of me and dares me to walk. I step forward to move, he steps forward, head down in charging position to stop me. We do this two step for a minute or so until I have had enough. I set the feed bucket down, grab his horns and hold him, to show him who is boss and in control. No, not being mean, I hold and pet, hold, talk and pet, scratch his back and tell him such a good boy he is. The entire time he is trying to pull away because after all he is the boss. Wrong! I am the boss and I will let go when I am good and ready. Good and ready is when he stops attempting to pull free and decides he likes being petted. He normally will let me pass and runs ahead of me to the feed trough. Of late he is letting me walk by then shoving into me from behind pushing me towards the feed trough.
Yesterday he was in rare form, more aggressive than I have seen before. He was in full attack mode, head down and charging me before I could step into the pen. He slammed his head and horns into the gate as I was opening it. I had to push him back to step in, then I positioned the feed bucket under his nose, to get his attention and walked backwards to the feed trough. Nope, this is not going to work.
Granted, the weather has started cooling off and nearing the time of year bucks go into rut. You don’t want to get between a buck in rut and his does. Knew another goat owner who got in a pen with her Boer bucks during rut. A buck charged, attacked and broke her back. I can learn from others mistakes.
Copper Top is not showing signs of rut. So nope that is not it. He has always had an attitude since he came into his own, over a year now. Which has been annoying, just never this excessive.
Shearing time takes his attitude down a notch or two. Afterwards he is docile and shows no interest in getting close to me. Imagine you wouldn’t get near me either if I shaved you bald, gave you your yearly vaccinations and trimmed your hooves. There’s no way I am going to be shearing this fella once a month to settle him down. I am so aggravated with him right now. I am not sure what we will do with him, I just know he is out of here!

Earlier in the year, due to my wanting to concentrate on breeding for black and white fleece, we had decided to sell Copper Top (red) and use Sundance (black) as our herdsire. We had a buyer, who at the last minute changed his mind. So Copper Top stayed. I highly doubt we will try to sell him again, due to his aggressive behavior. We don’t believe problems like this should be passed on to endanger someone else.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Those are good farm rules!