Goat Diaries, Part 3

Emily Houdyshell, Writer

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When you own a lot of animals, you need to be prepared to deal with emergencies quite often. This is especially true for goats, who have a tendency to get themselves into dangerous situations constantly. But for some goats, their situation is self-imposed.

Usually, when the goats are just beginning to grow their horns, they begin to get their heads stuck in fences. This isn’t normally a big deal, as they will scream and fuss to let us know where they are and it isn’t hard to get them back out, and soon enough they learn not to put their head through a hole that is too small. Some goats, however, never seem to figure this out.

Throughout the time we’ve owned goats, three in particular come to mind as especially troublesome. One of these is still with us, and her name is Pig. We got Pig and another goat from a lady in southern Illinois a little less than a year ago, and since then, Pig has gotten her head stuck in the fence more times than any of us can count.

Another goat that gave us problems was Freida, the goat in the cover picture. She was raised by her mother, so she wasn’t quite as friendly as some of the other goats we’ve had. This made it much more difficult to get her head out from the fence whenever she got stuck, because even though the young goats always cooperate, the adults just fight and squirm and don’t want to be messed with.

But none of my family will forget the goat that got her head stuck the most often. She was Freida’s mother, and her name was Viola. Viola was a spoiled bottle-raised goat who yelled and cried constantly even when there was nothing wrong. To this day, she was the loudest goat we’ve ever had. And unfortunately for us, she seemed to have a knack for getting her head stuck so badly that we would need to get pliers to bend the bars of the fence panels apart.

One time when we were still in Iowa, Viola got her head stuck in a fence and was almost killed by the other goats. My mother had gone out to the barn to check on them and she could hear Viola crying, but she couldn’t see the goat anywhere. After a couple of minutes of looking, she realized that Viola’s head was through the fence, and the rest of her body was under a wooden pallet that had fallen over. And since goats love standing on weird things, four of them were on the pallet.

My mother got Viola out and separated her from the other goats until her bruises had healed. She was fine after that, but it taught us a lesson: always keep an eye on the troublesome goats.