Goats can be smart little creatures in their own way. They keep constantly trying to figure out ways to beat the "system". Sounds sort of like people, doesnít it? Take for instance an older Angora doe we have here. We raised her on our place and she thinks she has us figured. The other day it was time to worm her. Having been with us a while, she keeps on the alert for this quirk in our nature that makes us want to worm goats.
You have to be particularly crafty to catch her and finally we did. As Lee held onto those huge horns of hers, I bent over with the drench gun to put the nozzle in her mouth, I heard "Poof! Poof!" and warm air blowing in my face strong enough to blow my hair out of the way. What on earth?
Anna the Angora was poofing at me, blowing hard, in case any of that drench got into her mouth, she could quickly spit it out. I got so tickled it took me a few minutes to get the drench gun in her mouth and worm her. What an old smarty.
A lot of the other goats are the same way about watching us and studying us. If both Lee and I go walking in the herd, they go on the alert. Two means danger, means business, so they send the buzz out to keep an eye on us. One of us go out into the herd, they are all relaxed, coming up to say "Howdy" and to get a scratching. The only ones who donít go on the alert are the bottle raised goats, they continue to think we are wonderful, no matter what. Thatís one reason I donít complain too much when I have to bottle raise some kids. They are a more forgiving goat when it comes to shots, wormings, hoof trimming, etc.
Now there are a couple who stay on the alert even if there is just one of us walking in the herd. One in particular is Priscilla the Boer, the first full blood doe we bought years ago. Sheís tougher then nails and meaner then a snake and smart to boot. She had decided long ago that Lee and I were a couple of no-goods that needed to be constantly watched. When itís time for her to kid, we keep her penned up and make sure we tame her kids before we turn them out or weíd never get a chance to see them. It humiliates her to no end that we tame her kids and that they love us to hug them. She has to stand and watch that because she wonít run off from her kids.
With some goats when you go out in the herd they look for places to hide. Theyíll even try to hide behind their goat buddies so we canít see them, peeking out every now and then to see where we are at. Unfortunately for them, they never take into figuring on the size of the buddy they are trying to hide behind. Quite often you see this really tall goat zip around and get behind another goat, not noticing that the one they are hiding behind is quite a bit smaller then them and they stand out like a sore thumb. They have their head ducked down low behind their really short buddy and they think thatís all it takes.
Priscilla is quite different. She drops her head, hunkers down low, and actually looks for a goat taller then her. She has yet, in all these years, went to hide behind a short goat. You can see her calculating the goatís size in comparison to hers. You go out to the herd and you see this hunkering down goat, with her head lowered, sneaking around, finding someone taller, and hiding behind them. Crafty olí gal. She thinks she has beat the system.
The kids, in their kid fashion, also look for ways to beat the system. When we kid, we put the girls in individual kidding stalls that are put up in the 12 X 12 horse box stalls. We use combo or hog panel and metal T posts and put up 3 kidding stalls in each horse stall. One of the kidding stalls always is against the wooden box stall door that opens into the aisle way.
We had two kids this year who tamed themselves down and were expert escape artists. As soon as they heard us enter the barn, those little brats would stay low and watch through the crack in the corner of the door to see when we would approach their stall. All innocent, I would open the wooden stall door and those two kids would squirt out quicker then toothpaste and run wild up and down the aisle way, screaming loudly that they had escaped and where on earth was mom, and who cared, they were having fun!
In fact, the little girl got the name of "Oh Gee." Because I would usually say, "Oh, gee, there she goes again. She got out." The brother and sister considered themselves the barn mascots and believed strongly that they had to escape to make sure the barn was running in a smooth fashion. And the funny thing about Oh Gee is that she has only half a voice. Her baby voice comes out in a squeak while every other kid has this absolutely huge bellow to them that would stop a train. Squeaky voice or not, she can be heard among the others who are hollering and you had better go down to her stall and see what she is squeaking about. Usually itís just to say itís time for her to go and inspect the barn while we feed.
And, speaking about poofing and drenching the goats, one thing the goats do when they think a drench gun is getting too close is to start spitting and moving that tongue about. They think they have outsmarted you by doing this. This constantly mouthing motion and spitting just cleans their mouth out good before you do the drenching. They havenít caught on yet that if they left that grass or hay or grain in their mouth and then got drenched, it would be much easier to spit out the wormer with that mouthful of food.
I guess itís a lesson we can all learn. If we think we are beating the system in something, maybe we are poofing and spitting for nothing. Even goats can outsmart themselves.