I have heard this argument among the goats so many times. I always have to stick around to see what the outcome will be and who will win. It’s just so fascinating. Which one will have the stronger will this time and win out? It beats watching soap operas any day.
This argument can take place between any age of goat, kids or even between goats and human adults. You see it between kids, between adult goats, between kids and adults, between kids and human (me), between human and adult goats. And, who will win? Will the adult goat return to the other adult goat who is hollering? Will the kid return to the mom who is hollering? Will the human go to the goat or kid who is hollering for them? And, why?
Fascinating to observe. Good enough to be a TV soap opera called, “As the Goat Turns” or “Guiding Goats”, “One Goat Life to Live”, “All My Goats”, or “General Goat Hospital.” The leading theme would be, “Who will answer the call of ‘You come here, no, you come here, no, you come here”? Absolutely riveting.
Possibly you have noticed this on your farm. A momma goat goes out into the field to graze. The kids want to finish their nap and don’t want to go. Momma is hungry and needs to get some good brush to make more milk to feed those napping kids. She wanders on out, knowing that the barn is safe. Sleepy kids watch her leave, but still don’t want to go. The hay is so comfortable to lay in, but mom shouldn’t leave them. They don’t want her to go and they don’t want to go with her.
She’s half way out in the field. The kids jump up and scream, “MOM!” Now mom can be young and inexperienced and run back to the kids, or she can be older with very young kids and still run back to them. An older doe with older kids knows the kids are fine and that she really needs to eat something, just usually hollers back to the kids, “No, you come on out here, sweeties.”
Now the kids can kick up their heels and run to mom, or that’s when the argument starts, “NO! Mom you come here!” It’s always fascinating to see how this scenario turns out. Usually ten minutes to a half hour mom and kids will holler back and forth, but who will give in? Ah, that’s the question. It’s a cliff hanger to wait and see. Okay, okay, so I don’t lead an exciting life to some folks, but this question of who wins is a real nail biter.
How about when one of the adult goats is napping in the field and doesn’t notice that the herd has got up and moved to the hillside to graze. She wakes up and sees everyone on the hillside but her! She screams, “What are you doing?! Get back here! I wasn’t finished grazing in this one spot!” What do the now hillside goats do? They go, “Phooey on you. We are here and we like it and we are all together in a group and we are happy. You come here if you are lonely.” And, that’s what the lone goat does. In fact, charges to the hillside group so she won’t be alone.
So far, what I’ve seen, it’s the kids that are the toughest in holding out in the yelling contest and a lot of times they win. They know they have power over mom, usually. I’ve watched moms travel on to graze, leaving several kids back at the barn. These kids weren’t sleeping or anything, they just didn’t want to make that trip on the hillside today. What’s in it for them, they ask, just another long walk. This is a good day to lounge at the barn because with mom there they have a milk bar handy and plenty to eat. They don’t take into consideration that mom is hungry. Who cares? Plus, they figure they have this power over mom. One yell and mom comes running.
Well, if they are older kids with older hungry moms, they have lost some of their power over mom. Oh, sure the moms will holler back to them, muffled hollers with mouths full of brush, but they know the kids are all right at the barn, especially when they can look from the hillside and see them standing there screaming by the barn. You do sometimes see a young mother freak out over the kids yelling and bring her own kids back just to check out the ones that are yelling. You know, just in case there was one of her kids in the group. But, after checking she returns to the group with her kids with her and usually the rest of the older kids charging behind her. So, the yelling from the kids can work out for them in getting an escort service.
What about people yelling for goats? If you expect them to come to you, it will only work if they are use to being grained by you. Oh, and it’s actually grain time. You keep trying to call them out of the fields to show them off to friends a couple of times a day, and you don’t give them any rewards for their efforts, well, forget it. They catch on real fast and learn to totally ignore you. So, human, forget the yelling for the goats unless you have something to bribe them with and they know that you will bribe them.
Oddly enough, goats never bribe me. They know they can yell at any time, and I’m there like a shot to see what is going on. Is anyone in trouble, hurt, lost? One yell and I’m there. So, there’s no big surprise or wonder that I run to the goats at each yell. They know they got me.
Now, if they stand at the gate and yell for their grain and it’s not time for their grain, they also know I am not going to respond. Spoiled babies can go out and eat, grain is for later. They learn that fast and also if they get the time right and yell that it’s supper time, they do get fed. They are surprisingly accurate on when is the actual time of feeding. The other times of yelling at the gate, they are just trying to trick you. I learned that after a few months.
Wait, I hear an older kid yelling for it’s mother. Oh, this is going to be good. This is a young first time mother with an older kid. Is she use to kid rearing now and won’t be quite as concerned as she had been in the beginning, or, will she come shrieking back to her beloved baby, thinking maybe a shark is eating him? Or, will she really just stand in the field and yell back, “You come here. No, you come here!” The suspense continues. I’ve got to go watch.