The boys sporting their new head gear

The boys sporting their new head gear

The goats have been busy eating their way along the hedges in their field, preferring the hedgerow plants to the grass in the field. And although there is plenty of this fodder within easy reach, as with all animals the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When they were young this wasn’t a problem as they were able to get their heads through without any bother. However, now they’ve grown a bit, and more specifically their horns have grown, while they can get their heads through, they struggle to get them back out again. The trouble with horns is that they grow back away from the head, so get caught in the fence wire when trying to pull back out. A few weeks ago the boys were routinely getting their heads caught (Flopsy, the girl, has a slimmer head so hasn’t got the same problem), and unless we checked up on them regularly could be left caught for hours in one place. Not only was this annoying to have to check them so regularly, and in some cases struggle to get them free, we were about to go away for a week and leave the animals in charge of my parents. We couldn’t expect them, or anyone else, to check them every few hours on the off chance they had got stuck.

As usual these days the internet gave us the answer. It seems we weren’t the only ones with this problem. The solution (other than re-fence the field) is to put something on their horns to stop them getting through the holes in the fence in the first place. The easiest and simplest way seems to be to attach a stick or piece of pipe, which is slightly longer than the widest hole, horizontally to their horns. So armed with duct tape and two suitably sized sticks we attached a stick to Stompy and Buster’s horns. There was a bit of wriggling to get it attached, but once on they didn’t seem to be bothered at all. In fact they soon learned that it gave them a new scratching tool for reaching hard to reach places.

We led them up the field to try out their new head gear and they duly tried to put their heads through the fence, but without success. Of course Flopsy was still able to reach the tasty morsels the other side, but the boys soon learned that they had to work for their food the right side of the fence.

So we went away for the week, hopeful there would be no incidents, and nobody would have to work a goat free from the fence. On our return, the sticks were still attached, and even a week later the tape looks to be holding strong. So another lesson learned in goat keeping.

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