Since it was the first breeding season for my new little herd, I was thinking about planning for the future, and needing more genetic diversity in the herd, as Reason and Fancy are full sisters. I had been talking with
Amanda Harmon at Marmalade Farms about purchasing a little doe who caught my eye,
Marmalade Spice, after Renegade went back home, as I didn't think it was
ethical to introduce a new doe while leasing a buck. So, Renegade went
back home, and the next weekend I planned to pick up Spice.
Spice was acting a little skittish at her breeder's, but I
figured that this was due to her having been in heat the day before, and having been on lockdown as a result of hopping the fence to have an illicit liaison with a grade buckling. While less than ideal, as I want to breed registered Nubians, Spice could have registered kids other years. So, we get her loaded in, drive
the two hours back home, Spice is starting to get comfortable in the car, and I go to get
Reason, Fancy, and Renegade were a piece of
cake, so Spice would be easy, right? Not so much. I get a collar on
Spice and start bringing her out, Spice gets spooked, turns a flip in
midair, I lose my grip as my hand is being twisted in the collar, Spice
hits the ground, pops up, takes off down the driveway, detours into the
orchard, hits the orchard fence, bounces off, tries again, keeps working
her way down the fence. I am walking up, as you can't run after a
fleeing animal, as they they just run faster, hoping that she will get
hung up in the fence, as if she does, I figure I can get there in time
before she kills herself. But no, Spice keeps working her way down, and
soars over the orchard fence like a bird, white tail flying. I get to
the corner of the orchard fence, where I am stopped, but think, hooray,
she will be stopped by the creek, goats hate water.
But alas, the creek
is dry, and I have an excellent view to see Spice take the fence by the
road like a steeplechaser, walk out in the middle of the gravel road,
turn to look at Ben, my husband, who is walking up, and then bound into the woods
and disappear like a deer. Ben looks at me, says "She's gone", which I
agreed with, goes into the woods after her, and then we spend the rest
of the afternoon fruitlessly looking for the vanished goat. We figure
that she will be eaten by coyotes that night, and there is no hope for
her return, although I personally was also betting on hung up on a fence
and dying, then being eaten by coyotes.
A week passes,
and no sign of the wayward Spice-goat, though I keep looking out toward
the orchard whenever I go out. Then, our neighbor brings Spice back.
He had gone out to his hunting blind, and this goat pops out of it. He
chased her down on his four-wheeler, lassoed her, and brought her
back. She was skinny, but healthy, and not too much worse for her ordeal. I then spent the next week
getting her used to Reason and Fancy and fattening her up, and now she
is a happy and trustworthy addition to the herd.
Spice's great escape seems to have been pretty uncharacteristic for her- not only had she come into heat, but her mother, who was her closest herdmate had left the herd, and the buddy that she was on lockdown with left the barn, so Spice had been all alone for a couple hours before we showed up, and her sense of being a goat with a herd was pretty much shattered. So all's well that ends well,
but it was quite the ordeal for poor Spice. She is a sweet little
goat, and I am very pleased with her, especially as she's the only one of my goats who will eat from my hand, and it's great fun finding little tidbits of leaves and brush to feed to her.