Naughty Kids

Well, there’s been high drama in the goat shed. One of the chevres, brown and cute, hadn’t been eating that much for a few days. I was hoping she was just a selective eater (some of them pick out the sunflower seeds with their tongues) – but when Laure came with us for the evening milking and saw her condition, she immediately went to get a thermometer. A few seconds later, we had learned a. how to take the temperature of a goat (I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t go under their tongues) and b. that our little goat was quite sick. How sick? Laurent, firm believer in homeopathic remedies, gave her a shot of antibiotics in the neck. When we asked whether he’d know if it were working, he responded matter-of-factly:  “If not, tomorrow she’ll be dead.”

Good news, though: it’s now several days later, and the little lady – who has been spending her evenings in a special straw padded stall and has two red bands around her ankles – is, as they say, getting her goat back. She now wants to eat with the others, and has been bleating in protest when we sequester her at night – which would be sort of funny, except that thanks to her lung infection, she has a cough. “Meh-eh-eh-eh, me-eh-eh, [cough, cough], meh-eh-eh.” It’s one of the saddest sounds I’ve ever heard.

I'm the queen of the bucket!

Meanwhile the baby goats, otherwise known as the chevrettes (sort of like the Rockettes, except smaller, and with a closer resemblance to the creatures in Avatar), have been up to trouble. For the past few mornings, I’ve noticed that the bucket that holds their food has been empty. Nightime, full. Morning, totally empty. Since I’m the one who’s been filling it, I know that something funny’s going on.

Take us to the tree of souls!

I’d assumed that it must be some sort of animal that’d been sneaking in at night and eating all the grain — there’s a mole-like hole in the dirt next to the entrance to their pen, and having seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, I thought that someone was carrying out a secret attack on the farm (first goat feed, next, chickens!). But then Isabelle went to feed the goats, and announced that there was a small black one whose stomach was bloated – suggesting that the mysterious attacker was actually just a rogue chevrette.

Let me explain how odd this would be: the goat feed is, logically, outside the goat pen. The goats are kept in by a wooden wall and a chickenwire fence. Yes, I had noticed a few days ago that the same black goat had managed to stick her entire head under the wooden fence and was using her tongue, frog-like, to nab bits of food that had fallen on the ground. But I never saw her outside the fence – and each morning, she was safely inside, ready to stick her head under the other side of the chevrette enclosure, the one that looks into the milking station, and complain loudly to her mother every time we brought the adults in.

It reminds me of a story Peter told me about an octopus who somehow figured how to get out of its tank at night, slither across the floor, eat all the crabs out of a different tank, and then get back home before the scientists came back in the morning. I think they used a hidden camera to figure it out (the scientists, not the octopus.) We don’t have such technology available in the chevrette pen – but trust me: something naughty is going on.

Goat cam

Couples that milk together, stick together.

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