Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is it Elvis or is it Us?

Ok. I am feeling frustrated. And funky. So my blog now becomes my journal and a forum to vent.

It’s gotten bad with the goats. Very, very bad. So much for Elvis knowing when to back off. As I wrote yesterday, he’s been out of control for nearly a week. I won’t go into graphic detail, but if you’re interested in some of the mating behavior of pygmy goats click here.

We put him up in the stall on Saturday afternoon. We tried to let him out a few hours later, which was a mistake, and Marty literally had to wrestle him back into the stall. He stayed penned up all day Sunday, doing nothing but butting the walls of the stall (and chipping his magnificent horns in the process) and bleating non-stop (you could hear how hoarse he was by Sunday afternoon). Feeding him Sunday proved nearly impossible as he was so hostile.

Marty and Steve went out yesterday and got a collar and a chain so we could at least let Elvis outside for a bit. By the time I got home in the evening, he was chained up to a tree in the middle of the pasture, where he’d spent most of the day. Marty said when they first put him up he jerked so hard on the chain, he nearly snapped his neck.

Despite being outside all day, he wasn’t a happy goat. We unchained him and tried to feed him at the fence as is normal custom. I coaxed him about halfway there but then he backed off and ran back to the other stall where the girls were penned up and started doing the sort of things that male goats do that make me think of lascivious old men and flashers on the subway.

We ended up herding him back into his stall and left him there, bucking and bleating.

Marty’s observations were that we can't let the animals run our lives and we do. They are spoiled and it’s our fault. We need to break them. This is how it’s done. Well, I am a softie at heart and all of this hurts me. A lot. And so I ask the question: is it Elvis or is it us?

I was so worried about Elvis (because we left the rope chained to his collar and I thought he might strangle himself or choke on it as he tried to chew it off) that I went out to check on him this morning before I left for work.

Of course, it was dark out and so I tromped through the pasture, flashlight in hand, and when I got to his stall and peered through the slats, he was just standing there, silent, looking forlorn and beaten down. Despite all of his frustrating and out of control behavior recently, I felt bad for him and wished more than anything that things hadn’t come to this; that Marty and I had had the foresight to neuter him early and send our females out to be bred – if and when we decided we wanted to breed.

But it is what it is. And so Elvis will spend another day penned up, angry, scared, confused, hurt, lonely (wow – am I projecting onto this goat or what?!). And then Dr. Mary will come tomorrow morning and slice, slice, snip, snip and it will be over. I hope. And then we can put this all behind us and go back to being the family we once were.

And if that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your…


Linda said...

I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. I can tell how much you love those goats. Either you accept or not, animals are your kids and you treat them thus. Hang in there, Sarah. It will get better.