One of my favourite books when I was younger was “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. I had a beautiful hardback with true to story illustrations (I’m sure you’ve read books where the protagonist is described as having long curly hair but the illustration has a short, straight bob) which always captured my imagination. So much so that when in primary school we had to design and make a shoebox theatre, I picked the scene from Heidi where Peter is sat on a paper mâché rock, glaring at Heidi and Clara in a fit of jealousy.
Geeky confession over, I think this is the reason I gave a soft spot for goats and love the fact the herd have free run of Otis’s field.
This morning I decided to poo pick Otis’s field before work. As I rounded the corner I could see Otis cantering around. Weird, he never usually gets upset in the field for no reason. Then I saw the cobs behind him trotting around, with the herd of goats bleating noisily, obviously distressed.
As I got closer I could see the problem. The twelve hour old kids were being chased by the cobs. I abandoned my wheelbarrow and hurried to the field. One kid was wandering in small circles whilst the coloured cob chased it, pushing him with her nose. I shouted at the mare and dived between them, scooping up the kid.
Nanny goat was bleating at the other side of the field, with the black cob separating her from her babies so I held on tight to the bleating kid, and chose my moment, just before the coloured mare struck out at the second kid with her foreleg and snatched up the second kid. The ponies were playing, but I think if I had been five minutes later they would have been dead kids, squashed by a playful, feathery leg.
Carrying a kid under each arm I walked to the gate, being followed by the ponies, who were very intrigued by these toys. Then I had the dilemma of getting through the gate! With a bit of juggling, and holding both wriggling kids under one arm, I managed to squeeze through and put the kids down. Now how was I going to reunite them with mother?
The adult goats were still careering around at the other end of the paddock calling loudly, but eventually one cottoned on to the fact I was a safety net, and circumnavigated Otis’s field towards the yard, so I made my way back along the track with the babies.
About halfway up the track the goats came over to me. But I wasn’t sure who was Mum! They were all so noisy and distressed that it wasn’t immediately obvious. Then the plain brown goat caught my eye. As the kids in my arms bleated she looked around anxiously, so I set them down and waited quietly for her to come over. She did, and I could see by her bulging udder that she must be Mum (the other goats haven’t popped yet) and was satisfied when the little kids latched on and started suckling.
A bit later I went back to Otis’s field to get him in, and all the goats where back in the far field, with the cobs! Idiots! Fortunately, Mum had left her twins in the goat shed, out of harms way. However, as I neared the herd, she looked up at me and started crying for her babies! It was as though she’d suddenly realised they weren’t there. She looked accusingly at me, as though I was responsible for the separation, and then followed me haughtily back to the shed, where she found her kids safe and sound.
Honestly, if she was human, she’d have had her kids taken away by now! On that subject, what do you think my boyfriend would say if I brought home a kid instead of a puppy?