Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He came back!!!!!

Shaw (left) next to Boomer as if nothing had happened...
I had driven all around the Beasley School area on Saturday and nobody had seen a sign of Shaw, and when Chuck went back down in the woods where he had last seen him, again, there was no sign of Shaw.  I had typed up a fancier version of my "lost goat" sign and was getting ready to leave the house to take the kids to visit Grandma, while Chuck was getting ready to go to the farm.  My phone rang, and a voice on the other end said, "is this Mary, that lost the goat?"

Now, I don't go by Mary, but it is officially my first name, so I replied that yes, yes I am the Mary that lost the goat.  She proceded to tell me that I had spoken to her husband the day before and he had told her the story, and when they passed the farm on the way to the store, he looked out and said, "well there he is, right there."  She said there was a red goat outside the fence up near the road, so I thanked her profusely and Chuck took off towards the farm immediately. 

We had some concerns that the red goat would turn out to be our red doe, Louisianna, just gone for an unsanctioned stroll.  When Chuck arrived, he did not see Shaw, but having been told he had been sighted near the front field where we had moved the bucks the day before, he started checking around the fence.  Lo and behold, there was Shaw.  Now, we know that Shaw has no great love for Chuck, and we know he has no use for Chuck's pink bucket.  Chuck called me and we had a few ideas, but he said he would take one of the goat panels on the back side of the paddock down (these are providing a temporary fenceline until we get posts and field fence down the rest of the woods).  I suggested putting some alfalfa hay out to keep the bucks occupied longer than some grain would, but apparently the bucks were more interested in what Chuck was doing to their fence than eating any hay.  He said he wasn't really worried about them getting out, because he knew he could get all but one caught easily, and even Boomer will follow a bucket into a pasture.  I wished him good luck and Godspeed and whatnot, and off Chuck went.
Shaw blends in behind Boomer
He called me back a while later (it is easy to lose time with three kids and their Grandma) and reported that Shaw was inside the fence.  This, apparently, is how it happened.  When Chuck opened the fence panel like a gate, and sprinkled feed on the ground as bait, our bucks, being pests, took it upon themselves to exit the pasture and help Chuck.  They went out milling about as if out for an afternoon stroll.  Chuck had lost sight of Shaw in the woods, so he walked down over the hill to check to see if Shaw had gone down to visit the does.  He picked up the empty bucket and sat it inside the fence on a log so it would be visible.  He noticed some movement way down in the trees, so he put a rock in the bucket and rattled it to see if that sparked any interest.  Boomer came in to investigate, but everyone else stayed out.  Chuck sat and waited.  In this picture, you can barely see Shaw outside the fence behind Boomer inside the fence.  Shaw would come a little closer, then stand for a while, then a little closer, then stand for a while, so Chuck figured he better go
fill the bucket with feed in
He's in there!

case he needed to coax the bucks back in.  He went over to the barn to get some feed, and Ace came out of the woods over next to the tobacco barn, followed by "the other three bozos" as he calls the young bucks, followed by Shaw.  Chuck started walking and shaking the bucket, and they just fell right in line behind him.  He walked to the regular gate, opened it and went in, and the bucks, including Shaw, followed him in as pretty as you please.  He couldn't believe it.  He tossed some more feed down so he could get around Shaw, so he went out and over to the side to bolt the fence back together.  The bucks came over to see what he was up to, so he tossed down a little more feed, and Shaw came over with them as if he'd been part of the "brat pack" forever.

In the front of the new field

Now everything hasn't been all peaches and cream of course, as the normal quarantine process we do pretty much fell by the wayside.  There has also been the inevitable fighting between the bucks, and while the young guys bowed out pretty quick, Ace thought he might toss his hat in the ring.  Since Boomer had already showed him what a rhinoceros might show an obstacle in his way, he didn't last long.  Unfortunately, Boomer and Shaw are a little too evenly matched.  Not only has Boomer filled out in the past year, he has been shoving his very heavy cage around to get new grass, so he's become very strong.  We wanted Boomer to be able to be in the front field on browse so he doesn't have to be fed much, but if we have trouble, we'll send him back to his Fort Knox buck pen.  As of right now it seems they've worked it out and everyone is playing nice.  We just don't need any broken horns, legs, or necks.

Tall grass in the bottom field.

Looking back on it, it is pretty obvious what we did wrong.  What is not so obvious, though, is what me might have done right.  Most of it was completely by accident.  Thinking Shaw would smell the does, we moved them down to the bottom field closest to where Chuck thinks he last saw him.  That put the bucks up in the new field.  We needed to do that anyway because the does had wiped out the new field and the bucks hadn't been able to keep up with the bottom area and it was very high.  It was high enough, actually, that the next day when Chuck went down to check the does he had a moment of panic when he saw nary a goat in the field.  He yelled and yelled and finally a couple of heads poked up out of the grass.  Eventually everyone got up and walked over, but while they were lounging, he couldn't see a single goat - not even Marshmallow with the radar horns.  This move stirred the bucks up, though, and they had spent all day Saturday scrubbing their horns on trees and getting all nice and stinky.  What this may have done is truly made our farm so Shaw could "smell us a mile away." 

The other thing Chuck did that may have helped, once Shaw was there, was let the bucks out.  He didn't really mean to let the bucks out, but he had considered it an acceptable risk because he has had to catch them enough to know he can.  Herd instinct kicked in and Shaw's fear of Chuck and the new place wasn't as strong as his desire to be in the group.  When they came in, so did he.  I hope we don't have to use this tactic again anytime soon, but at least we'll have it in our repertoire.  The eventual plan is to perimeter fence the whole place, which would have probably stopped him, but we just haven't made it that far.  We are just happy he is back.  We chose him because he is a grandson of Southwest Cisco top and bottom.  His sire is ECR Rusty (a SW Cisco son) and his mother was a SW Cisco daughter, too.  Southwest Cisco was one of the sons of the original Terminator, and we want to use him on our does that are from the lines of the other Terminator son, Terminator XX (in the form of Turbo and Wild Bill).  These goats are often considered the toughest of the tough, and that's what I want to concentrate, before going back to another line for size (gotta breed what people want) on my next cross.
Defining "Kiko tough" is Kitty and her twins.

I plan to blog about Chuck's visit down to Egypt Creek Ranch, but with all the excitement we haven't even gotten the photos uploaded.   We'll get them in, though, and I'll have some time to recount Chuck's visit.  One of these days I hope to make it down there myself.   The other thing I haven't had time to blog is that the last kids of the season have been born.  Kitty the three legged goat kidded twins - a buck and a doe.  I hope we can keep that little doe.  Her mama sure is tough as nails.

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