Woodland Swamp Farm

Goats On The Run

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Clover the goat, enjoying my shrubs

This past Wednesday I spent a short time out in the goat pasture with a fellow farming enthusiast from up the road. We spoke about chickens, goats, growing vegetables, cultivating mushrooms…and at some point I’m sure I talked about the portable electric mesh fence we use to keep the goats in place. I no doubt mentioned that despite its flimsy appearance, they rarely challenge it and certainly never escape.

Fast forward two hours later as I’m rounding the bend with an armful of hay, only to be greeted by a most unpleasant sight: one of the large white goats had both its feet in the fence, kneeling down and thus bending it all the way to the ground.  Almost the whole herd was suddenly leaping over the lowered section and out into the woods. Have you ever seen a cartoon depiction of someone counting sheep as they try to fall asleep, one animal after another jumping over the fence every second? It looked exactly like that except with Saanens, Lamanchas, and Nigerian Dwarfs.sheep-jumping-over-fence-in-a-cloudy-moon-scene-dieter-spannknebel

I usually would have been irritated at such a spectacle but it did look funny, especially to the carpenters building a house next door who suddenly stopped working to enjoy the show. I casually leaned against a pine tree with one hand to give the appearance I had everything under control. I doubt it looked very convincing.

But what happened that they no longer respected their enclosure?  After rounding up the escapees I inspected the fence and found that the last time I moved their pasture, I forgot to connect a section together which left half the fence uncharged for an entire week. In seven days they figured it out and took advantage of my error. Lesson learned, I’ll pay more attention in the future.

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