Okay, I have to admit it. Iím pretty good goat bait. I hate to think of myself as bait. The fish bait sold at the convenience stores doesnít look a bit appetizing, but it works and it must look tasty to the fish. I guess the same goes for me if Iíve been out all day working with the goats, I look a wreck, but I must still look good to the goats.
I was reminded of this the other night when it was time for two particular big bucks to be deloused, wormed, and hooves trimmed. Lee stepped into the pen and the bucks disappeared somewhere in a land far far away. No catching them, boyoo.
Lee called out, ďConnieĒ, and as soon as I stepped into the pen, the bucks miraculously appeared and came over to bug me. They either wanted to push me around or have me stand there and scratch their backs. I kept them busy so Lee could grab one and we tied him up and worked on him. The other one wouldnít leave because I was still there to be picked on. So, he soon became the next victim.
I donít exactly know what it is that makes me good goat bait. With bucks, from the young to the older, I believe they know I am a push over. Literally. Iím easily pushed over. Easy to push around, easy to talk into giving them a good scratching, easy to convince to brag on them outrageously to their faces, telling them they are wonderful stinky bucks.
The only way I can control the younger bucks from getting too pushy is to carry my clean commode brush with me. When I do the watering I carry a clean commode brush to scrub out water tubs to put fresh water in. The young buck boys come up and start trying to butt and push me around, I ďaccidentallyĒ gently thump them in the nose with the wet commode brush. They either know itís a commode brush or they just donít like the wetness and getting ďaccidentallyĒ thumped in the nose with it, but they will walk away totally grossed out. Or, I will ďaccidentallyĒ wet their feet down with the hose. I donít get antagonistic about it. Itís more like, ďOh, did I do that?Ē I donít want them to feel like they need to get aggressive and fight back.
The commode brush trick usually doesnít work with the big bucks. Some get their feelings hurt and think they need to teach you a little respect. Accidentally hosing their feet down will work a lot of time when they get too pushy while Iím in the pen watering. Usually, with the big bucks, I just make sure the tubs or buckets are close to the fence so I can just reach in to clean them out and fill them back up, plus give the bucks the scratching they so like on their withers, only give it on the other side of the fence.
Now, the does are totally different. They usually donít want to come up and knock you over. The very friendly ones want to come up and get hugged and told how beautiful they are, but they arenít pushy.
One year I took care of all the baby kids while Lee was caring for another group of adult goats. When he came in one day to give me a hand with the chores, well, they wouldnít have a thing to do with him. They didnít know him. Who was this stranger they asked.
I couldnít figure it. Soon as they heard his voice, they were gone. I finally realized what I was doing and what they were use to. I would speak in a real high singsong voice, asking how my wonderful babies were, and werenít they just gorgeous, and who was prettier than they were? I told Lee to speak in a higher tone.
It was hilarious, but it worked. The sight of a big man speaking in a high pitch voice, giving out compliments to everyone, well, it just won me and the baby girls over. We would follow him anywhere, the babies to admire him, me to laugh.
Even when we have a group that just are not friendly and donít see why on earth we humans need to be around, Iím still good goat bait. We will get them cornered in a building and Lee will put me in a place to block any goats from leaving. Most of them will get in a tight group and many times one or two will peel away from the group to escape. When I am placed in a certain spot, you can count on that they will peel away to run past me. Iím just not intimidating enough. Lee can catch them one by one that way for us to worm or whatever it is we needed to check.
Now, the problem occurs occasionally when the whole group decides to peel off and run to and over my spot. Remember the Wily Coyote cartoons and what the coyote looks like after each scheme goes wrong? Thatís me, only Iím not so wily, Iím just mashed bait.
The life of a goat bait is not easy, but very rewarding. We usually do get our goat.