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  • Writer's pictureTina

That Billy Goat Must Go

I hope, dear reader, you had an opportunity to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather over the weekend. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine is good for a person. The Bean and I helped The Bibbed Wonder move hay bales yesterday. With the dryer conditions and warmer temperatures, Eric decided to put down a fresh, thick layer of bedding before the baby goats make their appearance in a few weeks. We spent the morning with the goats, who were also happy about the nice weather.

Yesterday, dear reader, I made up my mind that our billy goat, Abu, must go. If you know me and my love of our goat herd, you know this is not a decision I make lightly. However, after spending the morning with him rearing up at me, jumping at me, and giving me every indication he would like to hit me, I’ve decided Abu has gotten too big for his boots and isn’t safe to have here at the farm.

Abu has transitioned from a shy, almost feral youngster into a friendly, loveable billy goat and now turned into an aggressive, dominating, fearsome beast. He is currently a fully grown, good-sized buck with a full beard, a large mane covering his neck and chest, and titanium balls. The said balls are quite literally huge, old goat balls. However, his aggression toward his caregivers makes me comment on the size and strength of his cojones. He’s a very handsome boy, who throws beautiful youngsters, but he’s turned into a real jerk.

To make Abu’s aggressive behavior even more intimidating, he has a set of beautiful horns curling around his handsome head. These horns make me feel like my gorgeous boy is a real danger. Last spring, when we were chasing down the little boy with an abscess on his side, Abu showed us his aggressive side. As I ran past him in hot pursuit of the afflicted baby, he caught me off guard, reared up, and hit me. Fortunately, he merely grazed my hand. Although he didn’t make full-on contact, it really hurt. It hurt enough that it made me cry. The Bibbed Wonder and I chalked it up to him being protective of his herd and didn’t think much of it.

However, his aggression increased while he was in rut throughout the fall and winter. He was so aggressive that I couldn’t go into his pasture to catch my gimpy goose. As soon as I entered the gate, he ran at me, then he rose up on his back legs and threatened to hit me. Foolishly, I blew him off. After all, he’s my boy. As I walked deeper into the pasture, he showed me that he meant business, and with false bravado, I made my way out of his territory, trying to hide the fact that I was indeed afraid of him. Again, I made excuses for him. I told myself he was in rut, being protective, and frustrated that he was not with the girls. Being sexually frustrated does things to a fellow, or so says one bib overall wearing wonder buns…insert an eye roll.

I have given Abu a pretty wide circle until yesterday. I assumed that since all the girls were pregnant and the rut season was over, he would return to being a sweet, friendly boy. I was mistaken. My sweet, friendly boy is only sweet and friendly if a person has goat treats or feed. Once he has used us for self-gratifying food needs, he becomes a major jerk. I tried to walk the herd down to the pond to keep them away from the farm equipment, but Abu would not permit the girls to follow me. Instead, he charged at me, rose up on his hind legs, and tried to hit me multiple times. I avoided him until we got to the barn. I then grabbed an axe handle; yes, we have axe handles placed strategically around the farm because The Bean is still at war with the roosters, and I threatened to knock him on the head if he didn’t go away.

He grudgingly left me alone but kept his eye on me and would rear up periodically to show me he was in charge. It was not safe, fun, or therapeutic to be in with my goats. I will not have an animal on our farm that is dangerous to anyone’s well-being, especially not my bean. If Abu were to hit Jordan, he could seriously injure her. He could harm all of us, but my bean is so tiny he could do severe damage. It is time for Sir Abu to move on. With him showing strong signs of aggression, I can’t in good conscience sell him to another family. I’m not allowing myself to consider his demise.

Selling Abu is not a decision I make lightly, and unfortunately, it is just one more example of the hard choices farmers have to make. I told Eric yesterday that Abu needs to go under no uncertain terms. He already knew this, had a plan of action and had Abu’s replacement. Oliver, our little spotted Bauer baby, will be the next herd sire. Little Ollie is still too little to do his job, but he is a handsome little fellow. Ollie does not have horns. Hopefully, being without horns will make him less of a threat when he is older. However, I don’t believe the horns have anything to do with Abu’s aggression; they do, however, make him more of a threat.

And so, dear reader, we must close the chapter on Sir Abu and ready for the reign of Sir Ollie. I believe Abu has gotten more aggressive with age. Perhaps we will be lucky, and little Ollie will never become cantankerous or a threat. Hopefully, little Ollie will maintain a peaceable kingdom with his herd and his human caregivers. One can remain hopeful, but I’m not confident that it is simply not just the nature of the billy goat. Only time will tell.

On this beautiful February day, stay safe, be smart, and don’t get bullied by a billy goat. It’s also sound advice to hide objects around your house that can inflict blunt force trauma to the head of an aggressor; after all, one never knows when this may save one from injury from a rooster or a billy goat, and keep washing your hands.

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