Tricks of the Trade

goats in the outer yard
Apparently a dried up branch is more yummy than a lush green one right overhead. Maybe it’s the crunch?

This week I’ve been going fairly often to take the goats out to pasture and I must say some days it can be quite a challenge. As sweet as the goats are, they’re not trained, so getting them to do what you want poses a bit of a challenge. I’ve been told that there are three techniques to employ when trying to get them back into their pen. The first is to stand where you want them to go and if you’re lucky, they’ll eventually make their way over to you. Goats are prey animals, so it’s in their genes to stay together as a pack for protection, the goats seem to consider humans as not only members of their herd, but also important members of their herd, so they are willing to stick close to us a follow us around, at least when they feel like it that is. The second technique is to get behind them and slowly walk towards where you want them to go. This works best when it’s someone who the goats don’t know very well because their prey animal instinct is to run away from anyone or anything unrecognized that walks towards them. The last (and most effective) technique is to simply bribe them with some yummy greens. I’ve found that they take a great liking to large tree branches, lettuce, and forsythia, but it seems to me that their most favorite treat is locust tree branches. This is a good thing since there’s a locust tree that grows right next to their enclosure (beware the thorns though). Depending on the day, getting all the goats back into their pen can be very difficult, they can be quite stubborn little creatures. Let’s just hope they never lose their taste for locust tree leaves.