Moving the Goats

The new goats, Star, Millie and Morha, have lived in the front pasture across the property from my house since they arrived here almost 4 weeks ago.  The original plan was to keep them over there in quarantine for a month, but I'm going to Maine this week so it would have been 5 weeks if I waited till I got back.  That seemed oh so reasonable except that we have had a huge amount of rain and their shelter has become a very stinky, very damp, very mucky place to live.  First thing in the morning we decided that Monday would be the day to move them over to the barn.  No sooner had we made that decision than the heavens opened up with a deluge of more rain.  Fortunately, it didn't last very long but that put us off till the afternoon.

I figured that Star was the one to catch and lead across the property.  The younger girls were much more likely to follow Star than she was to follow either of them and since Star is old and slow there was a better chance I could catch her.  That part was easy.  I tempted her with a bucket of food and was able to grab her.  I buckled a leather dog collar around her neck and added a nice thick lead rope.  We opened the gate and started across the yard.  None of these girls lead particularly well but Star got the idea by the time we got to the barn.  I let her stop along the way and nibble on the bushes and she seemed happy enough.

Morha came out of the pasture gate right behind Star and followed her across the property but Millie was stymied about what she should do.  She didn't want to be left behind but wasn't comfortable leaving the pasture she had lived in for the last weeks either.  When we got to a nice bit of shade almost to the barn but within sight of Millie she finally made the decision to follow.  She came tearing across the yard.  I never should have started patting myself on the back at that point.

Millie ran up to Star and Morha and then realized there were lots of things to look at and immediately wandered off.  I got Star and Morha in the barn easily but we spent the next 45 minutes chasing Millie all over the place.  Millie went up the property towards the back to visit the llamas, alpacas and my goat herd.  She dashed back to the pasture but the gate was closed so she couldn't get back in.  She moseyed up to the front and walked along the front fence looking out at the road.  She wandered past the front of the barn.  I think at that point she would have come in if either Star or Morha had called to her but they were both completely mum.  She ran around the back of the barn to visit with my goat herd.  They had all moved up to the barn when they realized that's where the action was.  And during this whole time, Steele, the Welsh Pony who has lived in the pasture next to the new goats was screaming for them.  It was chaos.

Ron had started off on foot with a shepherd's crook.  He changed to the mule at some point and was following Millie that way.  In the end it was Ron gunning the engine of the mule and encouraging Millie to came towards me that got her through the gate and into the barn with Star and Morha. 

Now the new goats have a nice dry barn to sleep and eat in.  They can go out behind the barn and be nose to nose with the goat herd but not mingle just yet.  We will leave them there while I'm in Maine and I'll evaluate how they are doing with the herd when I get back.  Ron will be watching them while I'm gone and I know I'll be getting updates.