I put it off as long as I could.
I waited until the new goats were happily eating out of our hands, enjoying (or at least tolerating) a good scratch.
Then I found other excuses for a couple of weekends—excuses to put off trimming the new goats’ hooves.
I knew it would be a circus the first time I trimmed their hooves.
I’ve been spoiled by the dairy goats so used to the routine I didn’t need to even hold onto them when I opened the gate—out of the paddock, onto the milking stand, stand calmly while I do whatever needs doing, then trot calmly back to the paddock.
But of course the three new boys aren’t used to the routine. For them, hoof trimming means being herded up, and slung onto their backs. I could have done that, but training them to stand nicely while I trim their hooves will make life much easier in the long run.
For today, though, it was killer. It was a day of many firsts for the new goats—first time on a lead, first time on the milking stand, first time to have their hooves trimmed standing up.
Their personalities came out. Newton was the timid one. As soon as he found himself on a lead, he stood stock still and refused to budge. I practically had to push him all the way to the stand. Einstein was a bucking bronco, lunging and twisting to get free of the lead. He sent me sprawling to my knees, and then cracked me soundly on the chin with his horns. Darwin was happy to go, but not ever in the direction I wanted him to.
In truth, it was exactly as I expected, and no different from a dairy goat her first time on a lead and on the milking stand. I was thankful that angora goats are small—nothing like being dragged across the yard by a 70 kg saanan. Still, my chin is black and blue, my back is sore, my knees are skinned, and I have a rope burn on my arm. I have a bad feeling that tomorrow morning, I’m going to feel every bruise and ache even more.
Tell me again why I do this…?