Tag Archives: escapees

Houdini Hagrid saves the day

Hagrid is still a sweetie! (And he is finally growing a beard!!!)

This past week has been crazy as usual.  Lots of goings and comings, but in between all of those, we kept noticing that our little buddy Hagrid (Pippi’s baby of this year), was always on the wrong side of the paddock enclosure where he is housed with Reddog.  He and the big guy get along famously, they never fight, they eat in peace together and things have been going extremely well.  So we have been scratching our heads and wondering where he could have been escaping from.  We walked the fence lines multiple times, beefed up a few joins here and there, but we could see no way that he was getting out.  (Luckily, when he gets onto the other side of the fence, that is a large fenced area at this time, because that is where we are letting our moms graze a few hours each day after milking.  Needless to say, we have not been able to let our moms in there for the past week, because I definitely don’t want anyone bred this early!).

Hagrid on the other side of the fence, again!

Sam has been out there diligently watching and waiting, but the minute we turn our backs, out the little guy is again, and we did not catch it.  Sam puts him back in, we walk away, and 10 minutes later we see him on the wrong side.  One night he must have gotten out there just at twilight, because after it got dark, Sam heard him wailing piteously from his hidey-hole under the tractor.  So out he went to rescue the little guy.

Fence mend

We had come to the conclusion that he was scrambling over the cattle panel and dropping to the other side, although none of the panels over there are droopy or springy in any way.  Finally, on Wednesday afternoon we were out at the usual chore time, and Hagrid was doing his Houdini impersonation for us, but this time Sam caught sight of him out of the corner of his eye, just in a flash.  There Hagrid was, with his head and one leg and shoulder through the fence!  What we did not realize is that there was a square of galvanized fence missing, it must have come away at some point, right behind where we always had a hay bag hanging.  In all of our fence line searches, we never looked squarely at the fence itself, only at where each panel joined up to the next one.  Who knew!  He is still small enough to shimmy himself through, but he never could get back!  There must be a sharp edge there on the opposite side.  And so the mystery was solved.

Wheel barrow full of Nightshade. Yuck!

But in the meantime, as I was standing there trying to figure out how he was getting over the fence, while he grazed very unconcernedly at my feet, I realized that along the fence right at that spot, was a whole viney patch of Nightshade!  OMG!  We usually have giant pumpkins growing in that swath of ground, but this year we do not.  I wonder if it had been getting bold, growing under those enormous elephant ear pumpkin leaves, and taken hold.  I could not believe it.  If Hagrid had not been escaping, I don’t think I would have noticed the Nightshade until it was to epic proportions, or until one of our does got sick from it.  Hagrid wasn’t munching on any of it, nor do I think he had, but it almost gave me another heart attack!  Ah!

I wonder if Hagrid knew it was not a plant he wanted any part of, but  whether or not it’s the case, I am extremely relieved that our attention was drawn to that area and the nasty plant has been removed.  I am going to go over that whole paddock again before we let any of the girls back in there, and maybe after this lovely rain, it will be easier to pull out if I do find more.  I hate that stuff!  But in the end, what a relief.  And so it goes :*)  Hagrid definitely deserves some treats!

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Houdini goat

Zelda, definitely not in her paddock!
Zelda, definitely not in her paddock!

Contrary to popular conceptions, goats are not impossible to keep penned.  Yes, they are inquisitive, more so than sheep, but in general they do not want to be separated from their peeps, not being comfortable totally out on their own.  But there is always one in the crowd.   This year it is our Zelda the Beautiful!

Elf and Jingle watch Zelda from inside the paddock
Elf and Jingle watch Zelda from inside the paddock

Zelda is much taller than most of our goats, taller than her mama, Elf.  In the past week or two I have found her outside their pen at oddball times.  Meeting me in the driveway on my way up to feed them in the morning, standing inside the milking greenhouse in the afternoon, and then yesterday afternoon we looked out the window and saw her on one of the compost piles that are most definitely not inside their paddock.  Since I have been off this week, I have had the time in daylight to go over all the places I really though she might be coming out.  Our dinky green gate was definitely a possibility, so I put the extra blue gate inside that one.  I have never seen any of the animals go over that one, even Zorro the llama.  (Silly to have two gates, but we can’t get a t-post in until the ground softens).  So when I saw her on the compost pile yesterday  I was quite surprised!

Escape zone
Escape zone

Turns out that she has been going to the top of their paddock and pushing on the cattle panel that’s sagging a bit, and she must just scale it at the right moment and jump into the snow up under the birches on the ridge.  John pointed out that he thought she might be able to get over there, since we had gotten everything beefed up, and when I waded over there through the still deep snow, I found her landing zone.  I have always been sorry that we didn’t put t-posts every 8 feet along the 16 foot cattle panels, and there is ledge at the top of the hill there, and the t-posts lean a little as they are not deep in the ground.  I shored two panels up with some supports, and hope it does the trick until the ground defrosts a little.

Elf gives Zelda some motherly advice
Elf gives Zelda some motherly advice

Zelda probably had a good little jaunt, but when I got up to the paddock she was waiting by the gate, and when I opened it up she ran in and had a little snuggle with her mama.  I think Elf gave her a little talking-to, but as of today, so far everyone is where they should be.  What a relief!