I don’t know about your goats, but our goats have always had dreams of being equipment operators/mechanics or equipment dancers. One or the other, or a combination of all three greatly appeals to them. It doesn’t matter what equipment either. Whether it’s you tractor, lawn mower, 4 wheeler, ATV, manure spreader, car, truck, chain saw, wood wagon, whatever, if it makes a noise or is on wheels, that’s what they want to learn.
In the last century when our first goats escaped from their pens, we knew exactly where to go to find them. There they were, dancing on our car or truck. Either on the top or on the hood, they would be leaping and dancing their little hearts out. Just having a wonderful time, making noise and kicking up their heels. That was our first clue that they liked machinery.
Then in the summer, when Lee would take the tractor and his chain saw and go up into the woods to cut wood for the winter, the goats caught on that good things came of this. Felled trees meant delicious leaves and all because that wonderful tractor and chainsaw went to the woods.
It wasn’t long before Lee would have a herd of goats crowded around his tractor as he went through the fields. And, if he ever got by them unnoticed and they heard the chain saw start, they would come tearing out of their buildings, drizzly day or not, hollering, trying to find where those wonderful machines went to.
And, if Lee ever left his tractor in the field to go work on fence or check something out, when he came back, it was not unusual to see a couple of goats on top of it, dancing happily. Or, a couple of the mechanic goats working on the wires and any plugs and stuff they might be able to work loose and rearrange, and to them put back in a better working order. After all, it was very important to them to keep this wonderful contraption going. Not only did it take them to felled trees, but in the winter it brought round bales to them.
Lee had to learn to either lock the goats in their holding pen when he went out to work, even to cut down trees. After he got some particularly large tree down, he would call me on the walkie talkie and I would go and open the gate and the goats would then fly to where they had heard the tractor and chain saw last. You had to protect the goats because some would get so close to the chain saw to watch it in action, you were always afraid they would get cut. Or, the others would stand under the tree Lee was cutting on and look expectantly at Lee, as if saying, “Okay, Lee. Drop the tree, we’ll catch it.”
If he had a place he wanted opened up on the farm, get some intensive clearing done of brush, multiflora rose, weeds, and smalls tree, Lee would make sure the goats would go with him. He’d open up the fence gate and go to that area, even though there was no fence there yet, that he wanted them to work on, and the 80-100 does and three livestock guard dogs would stay with him and work along side him with their beloved tractor and chain saw. Lee would cut down a few very small trees and they would be content to let him go and cut down others while they worked on that and the new brush. You could almost hear them comment, “ The chain seems to be running a little rough today. Lee had better check that air filter. The tractor sounds good. I knew if I switched those wires and chewed that other one in two it would work better.” Another one would say, “And, wasn’t it a grand day to dance on the tractor?” Everyone would agree. Any day is a grand day to dance on any equipment.
Now the young weanling goats weren’t left out on this love of wanting to be equipment operators/mechanics/dancers. After all, they are their mothers’ children. Any type of equipment left in their field was met with extreme favor. Besides working on electrical systems, manipulating anything that moved, and detaching anything that shouldn’t be detached, they would also use the equipment as a good back rub. The weanlings are short and they could go underneath most equipment to scratch. Unfortunately, having white backs, they ended up with long grease marks down their backs. They didn’t mind, but it was distracting to buyers.
One thing the weanlings loved better than anything was the wood wagon. Lee would leave it parked sometimes in their field, empty of firewood, but every now and then carrying old truck bed liners that he had collected to be used again next year on the round bales. The tall wood wagon and the liners made wonderful loud dancing areas and on their favorite place, a piece of equipment.
Now the way my goats like to pick up empty buckets and carry them over their heads, I am really concerned that someone might accidentally leave a hard hat or two in the fields while working on electric lines. Then people driving by would veer off the road staring at goats with hard hats on. Owning hard hats would suit my goats to a T. Everyone knows that equipment operators/mechanics/dancers need to wear hard hats. Though, if not available, the goats would make due with buckets. *sigh* You would think raising goats would be the easiest thing to do.