Toss up in the winter paddocks

The offending gate!
The offending gate!

Had another surprise the other day when I went out to do afternoon chores.  I walked up the driveway and the first paddock that I pass is Jingle the Donkey’s group, with 4 bred ewes, and Elf and Zelda the mother/daughter goat duo.  We have all the others in the adjoining paddock which connects to this one via a blue metal gate.  During the warmer weather last week I took the opportunity to unstick the connecting gate while I had the chance.  I am going to have to mix up the makeup of the two groups, but not quite yet  (this involves who will be getting grain running up to lambing and kidding).

That afternoon as I was passing the first group, I noticed Fuzzy Lumpkin and Beezus the ewes standing next to Jingle the Donkey.  Hmmm.  Something is definitely afoot!  And when I looked more closely, I couldn’t see Elf and Zelda in that group.  And then I saw it:  the interconnecting gate had been pushed in (the baling twine that I used to hold the sides of the gate to the cattle panels had rotted and broken).  So the girls had a mixup.

I did chores and watched what was going on the whole time.  I was worried about Elf and Zelda because when they came back from Bridge Farm we couldn’t integrate them with the other goatie girls as they had a territorial dispute and I didn’t want a repeat performance.  I watched them and went back out later… Pippi the herd queen was going after the other two at the feeder, trying to make Elf and Zelda move away and find another spot to eat.  They settled down after awhile and I thought I would see how it had shaped up by the next morning.  If everyone was resting in the greenhouse when I went out for chores, I would presume that they had worked out their issues.

5 a.m. the next morning I got up there and it was pretty obvious that Elf and Zelda were not being welcomed or even tolerated.  They were cuddled up by one of the feeders, outside.  Luckily they were very sleepy and not inclined to argue as I popped them back onto the other side of the fence.  They seem much happier.  Now I don’t have to lose sleep worrying that there is going to be fighting in the paddock.  And I knew that icy rain and snow was on its way during the day so I did not want to think about the two does standing outside in the ice because the other two wouldn’t let them into the shelter.  Goat society can really be brutal!


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