Stressed-out may be a better word then just stress. This is what momma goats and owners
are whenever new little ones are on the place. Take for instance the other day. Lee and I
decided that since it had warmed up to a nice 25 degrees F and the does and kids had been
in their kidding pens for two weeks because of bad weather, it was time to move them out
into the general population.
We thought we’d take one group at a time to lower stress levels for all concerned. We’d
calmly and sanely put out 23 kids and their mothers, all in a nice orderly manner. First,
we’d be even more organized and fix up a creep feed and lounging area for the kids,
complete with heat lamps and a pallet to play on. It would be the envy of all kids
everywhere. We figured it would take us about a half-hour to do this.
Four hours later we were finished. We started letting the mothers and kids out of their
kidding pens into the main barn. Instead of moving quietly and in an orderly fashion, we
found that the kids did not want to leave. All those days of pushing kids back so they
would not escape were forgotten. Now that we wanted them to escape, they knew we were
up to something.
Of course, mom was eager to leave. She had been pestered for two weeks by kids wanting
to nurse all the time or bounce off of her in their play. Mom shot out of there like her tail
was on fire and as soon as getting out it occurred to her she was missing something. It was
babies. The scream went out for her babies. Naturally, it never occurred to her to come
back to the spot she had just left to look for her babies. She just kept traveling on
screaming for babies.
We just sighed and peeled the kids off the wall of their kidding pen and set them outside for
mom to pick up on her way flying by looking for babies. The next pen down the aisle was
the same way. Mom shoots out of her pen like her tail is on fire, babies hug the wall and
don’t want to leave. Finally, we have all 23 kids and their mothers out in the main barn.
Kids are screaming like something is killing them. Moms are screaming frantically for their
kids because they believe something is killing the kids, too. Kids hear their moms yelling to
the left of them. Naturally the kids run to the right to find them.
It suddenly occurs to all moms present that most the kids look alike. They have red heads,
white bodies. A few are different colored. They can’t tell their kids apart! Whose idea was
this anyway? It must be those HUMANS again, always coming up with IDEAS.
The only way they can tell their kids apart is to sniff the kids’ rumps. Now, I’m a bit
unsure about this myself. Why is it they can only tell which is their kid by smelling its
rump? Do kids let off a continuous gas that we, as humans, are unaware of? Our noses are
not fine-tuned enough to catch this? This sounds like a blessing in disguise for us.
So, what we have going on now is does screaming and running with their heads lowered
like old hound dogs, trying to catch up with running kids to smell their rumps. Kids are
putting it into overdrive after looking back and seeing a bunch of big mommas chasing
them, trying to get to their tails.
Two does run by chasing one kid, screaming, "Son, son, come back, son!" And, this kid
doesn’t belong to either one of them. One kid spots me and runs over and collapses at my
feet to take a quick nap by something he recognizes. He would know those big feet
anywhere, but not his own mother.
One doe stops a minute to take a breather and before she knows it, six kids zero in on her
to nurse. She leaps into the air, shouting, "Heavens to Betsy," and starts butting kids away.
First, she can’t catch them. Now they are all over her.
Finally mothers and kids start coming together. A few kids are still trying to nurse on
anything with an udder. After all, they all look basically alike. They are having to learn the
hard way that this is not acceptable.
The barn has settled down to a dull roar and it occurs us that we haven’t introduced the
kids to their new creep and lounging area. Now we go on the prowl and start picking up
kids and depositing them in their new area. There are plenty of ways to escape, but the kids
stand there and scream, "They have kidnapped us and put us in another country!" Mothers
looking over the barricade, to keep them out of the creep and lounging area, start screaming
too, "Our kids are kidnapped and in another country!"
One small mother discovers she can fit through a hole meant for a kid and gets into the
creep and lounging area. She ignores her own kids and starts wolfing down all the goodies
put out for the kids. We get her out and ponder over how to fix that hole, yet let kids in.
We get it fixed and she finds another hole she can squirt through. We get her out again and
fix that hole.
The kids mill around in their creep and lounging area for a while, blind to all the ways of
escape for them, screaming at the top of their lungs. Moms are screaming at the top of their
lungs for their kidnapped kids, while watching them mill around. Finally, the kids realize
they can escape. They all charge out.
The moms start thumping kids, shouting, "Who are these strange kids? These can’t be
ours, all of our kids have been kidnapped." Another ten minutes of running around,
screaming for kids and moms, and the herd settles down to a peaceful dull roar again. We
decide to leave well enough alone and go back to the house.
Lee said, "I thought that went rather well."
"Oh, yes," I agreed. "Much better then last year. I only feel one ulcer coming on this time."