Thursday 28 January 2021

Herding the Goats

    As my herd of Angora goats increased, I eventually got to the point where having them enclosed in the paddock during the day didn’t really provide them with enough grass to eat.  I had a pasture on the other side of the house with a lot of grass, but the fences were so poor that I didn’t trust putting the goats there during the day while I was at work, so instead I began herding the goats there for an hour or so after I got home.  The goats loved going down to the pasture, but always tried to nip some of our flowers when I drove them through the yard.

    The goats instinctively stayed together, and I had a whip that I would snap to get them going in the direction I wanted.  I sometimes flicked the whip on a trouble-making goat’s back, I’m sure it didn’t cause them any pain through their thick coats, but it did get their attention.

    After a day at work, I found herding the goats in the pasture was a very calming and relaxing activity for me.  I remember one sunny summer day, I got tired of standing around, so as the goats were busy grazing, I just lay down on the grass with my hat over my face to shade the sun.  I must have fallen asleep, until a curious goat nudged me on the side of the face.  I was happy it was a goat and not a bear.

    Herding of goats and sheep is one of the most ancient of occupations.  I often thought about those ancient goatherds and shepherds as I was out watching over my flock.

    The photo shows my father herding the goats back to the barnyard during one of his family visits with us.

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