Each group of weanlings can be so different in attitude. This yearís Jan./Feb. girls, even at two months of age, tended to stampede. The least little thing and they would just fly off the handle and stampede. In June, they are still stampeding.
You might think what kind of harm can a group of twenty-two little girls do to you when they stampede. Well, you are in fear of your knees when they decide to stampede through you, and they can easily take the feet right out from under you.
But, besides that, hearing the stampede of eighty-eight little hooves heading right for you, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck just stand on end. Maybe itís all those years of watching westerns and seeing hundreds of cattle stampede, horses stampede, buffalo stampede on television that just preconditions you to want to go running for your life too. Even if they are just a bunch of cute little Boer weanlings.
Why this little group stampedes so much is beyond me. Twice a day, when I give them a little grain for breakfast and supper, they stand tightly at the gate of the feeding area, impatiently waiting for me to put out their grain in the hanging feeders (six inch PVC pipes cut in half), and to open the gate.
They are pressed tight at the gate and hollering and when I swing that gate open, then the charge is on. They shoot past the feeders and donít stop until they hit the fence at the end of the feeding area, and then they bounce back and fan out to the feeders, having to double back every time to get to the ones they had just shot past. No kid peels away from the herd to a waiting feeder, they just stay tightly together until they hit the fence at the end.
Now I donít know if this is because they have got so revved up at the gate that when they burst through the ones in front are afraid to slow down, afraid they will get run over, and the ones in the back are afraid they are being left behind, and the ones in the middle know they had better put the pedal to the metal or they are going to be sandwich spread. Whatever it is, they stay tightly packed, charge ahead, hit the fence at the end, and then spread out to gobble down the feed in the many feeders.
One little girl actually had a thought of her own once and peeled away from the stampeding herd as it went through the gate and started to immediately eat, and just couldnít take it. She stopped eating, whirled around in a circle twice and caught up to the herd to hit the fence at the end with them, and then she went to eat at the first feeder she had been tempted with.
It sort of reminds you of that old spaghetti western, My Name is Nobody, made in 1974. Thereís a mob of bad guys in this western that is always riding at a dead run. I donít remember them ever stopping, maybe they did at the end, after all itís been at least thirty-three years since Iíve seen it, but those little girls remind me of that group of stampeding riders that keep appearing throughout the film. Everything is done at a dead run.
Walking in the barnyard, one of the girls can snort loudly to only clean out her nose, and before you can say ďWhoaĒ, those little girls will band up tight and be in a dead run. They donít know where they are going, but they are getting away. Several yards later, they run out of steam, after all nothing is really chasing them, and theyíll stop, mill around, and say, ďWell, I didnít get ate. That was a successful run.Ē
They do this out in the pasture, up on the hillside, down in the barnyard, going to their grain, and heaven help you if you are standing in the middle of them, petting and talking baby talk to them and they get scared over something. They swoop in tight around you and start running. Itís like trying to keep on your feet in a violently moving wave.
And, if you are standing in the path that they prefer while they are stampeding, Oh My. Having all those little bodies pound into your knees. I just hunker down a little to protect the knees as they rebound off me. You learn real fast to leap behind trees, buildings, and just forget about trying to out run them. They double their speed because they think the booger chasing them must be really bad, if you are running! I laugh at them all the time, as long as I am no where near them to make them stampede.
I have a new group of weanlings just about ready to be put out in the stampeding herd. I just wonder how this will go. These girls are laid back. They really donít care if it snows oats. They firmly believe that the world is a safe place to live in. Either they are going to have a rude awakening when the other girls stampede, or the stampeders are going to have a rude awakening when they fall over little girls who are not afraid. My continuous stampeders are definitely going be quite surprised when they run into girls who donít run. I want to make sure Iím standing behind a building for this one.