Friday, January 13, 2012

Laverne and Shirley: The Continuing Saga

Today, because it was decent weather, I decided it was a good time to trim the goats' hooves.  The problem: Laverne didn't think it was a good time. (She never does.)

When they were kids--25, 30 pounds tops --trimming their hooves was relatively easy; now that they weigh close to 200 pound each, it's still relatively easy...with Shirley! She's an easy-going sweetheart who knows I would never do anything to hurt her.  I reckon that's the nature of Boer goats, because she has always been the sweet, easy-going one. She'll tuck her head into my shoulder or neck and let me pet her. When I was putting up the fence this summer, she followed me the whole way, "helping" me by putting her head between my arm and my body so I could pet her every few minutes.  It took longer to finish up that way, but it was waaaaayyyy more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise.  (I just love an appreciative "apprentice".)

But Laverne is a red goat--I swear she's at least half Kalahari goat, because I saw a photo of a Kalahari goat and she looks exactly like that one; her horns even curl the same way (differently than Shirley's).  Laverne is probably at least ten percent heavier than Shirley and half a hand taller.  And she has always been the comedienne of the two.  She figures out ways to make me laugh every day.  But she's a big problem when it comes to hoof trimming.

I can trim Shirley's hooves without putting a leash and collar on her. All I have to do is put apple slices or grain in her bucket and she lets me work on her because, let's face it, hoof trimming doesn't hurt one bit.

But I have to put a collar and leash on Laverne and then tie the leash to a heavy vertical beam because she'll drag me all over hell's half acre if I don't. She's just convinced I am about to amputate her foot at the knee.  Even as closely-tied as she is to the beam, she darts and ducks and spins and bolts and rears and crashes to the ground trying to avoid having me pick up her feet.  I have to cavort with her in this bucking bronco way for three or four minutes before she decides to let me pick up her feet.  Then, when I do, and I finally get her all taken care of she becomes as docile as a newborn lamb. She stands there regarding me with gentle eyes, allows me to pet her and run my fingers through her thick winter coat.  It's like she suddenly realizes what Shirley knows from the get-go:  Just because I pick up a pair of hoof clippers doesn't mean I have lost my mind and become Jack the Ripper.

Needless to say, by the time I get both goats' feet taken care of, I'm easily as worn out at Laverne is!  We both sit there (well, I sit; she stands) looking at each other. I'm laughing; she would, too, if she could.

I sometimes think she isn't half as scared as she's pretending to be. I think she just enjoys giving me a run for my money.  She doesn't pant or cry out at all; she just acts "flighty" -- as if I'm a coyote about to eviscerate her, even though she knows I won't.

It's just part of what makes her unique.  I don't know if all Kalahari goats share this trait, but I can say that I'm glad I only have to wrestle ONE of my goats to care for their hooves!

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