Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bucket Tame

Chocolate the goat is so huge it is painful to look at her. But we're still waiting for those babies. We have milked her before and while she is wild enough to be a good mom and goat, she is tame to us and especially to the bucket.

Her daughter, Cinnamon, had her baby a few weeks ago, and it was then I discovered she wasn’t even tame to the bucket. We don’t mess very much with the goats having found that they are far better off left to be goats’ goats than hand-raised think-they-are-people hothouse flower goats, so it is not surprising exactly that she is wild. It is just that the goats usually learn that buckets just may contain corn and that corn is the most delectable treat on earth. Since she hadn’t learned that, I took it upon myself to let her in on it.

One day I took a bucket with some corn out when the whole herd was together. Chocolate will always come to a bucket and I knew Cinnamon would once she saw Chocolate do it. And so it was. A few days later I noticed that Cinnamon and her baby were in the woods by themselves and so I again got some corn in a bucket and took it near her. She watched me approach and when she showed the first sign of being uncomfortable, I stopped. Rattled the bucket. Watched her perk, waited until she took steps toward me, then walked a bit toward her though not directly.

Speaking flee animal is a trick, a subtlety that many people never get. Like the Appalachian way of speaking, nothing is ever direct unless what you want to do is establish dominance, create a flee response.

In only two approaches, she was eating from the bucket and I put my hands on her body. I could catch her if I needed. Which I didn’t. She won’t like it when I do catch her but she’ll put up with the possibility of being caught for the possibility of corn.

And now, with only that, two tastes of corn, she is bucket tame. Whenever we go out with a bucket, even if it is full of stump dirt, she comes to see what it is. In a few weeks I’ll probably put a collar and a bell on her. I may milk her when I start milking Chocolate (which is when I will dry the cow off).


justrose said...

there is only one earthy and awesome blog on the planet where I would read the phrase "hothouse flower goats" and laugh my hothouse flower ass off. You, CG, are a marvel. I don't know how to explain to you how cool it is for me to read about your life. It just is.


the Contrary Goddess said...

You bring tears to my eyes jr! Thanks!