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Race Against the Goats
by on Tuesday, August 6, 2013  (4 comments)

Sunday morning I was just about to head out the door to go to church when the phone rang. It was the local police calling to inform me of 5 (FIVE) large goats in our yard. We live in town by the way. I went outside and saw 5 large shaggy goats with very large horns. Officer Mike and I decided that our only option on a Sunday morning was to call my Dad and have him bring the cattle trailer to town. We had no idea where the goats came from. While Dad was on his way I orchestrated a plan with my children and sleepy neighbors to herd the goats around the house and into the trailer. Our yard along with the neighbors is somewhat contained so I thought that if it did not work on the first shot we could circle the goats around and try again.

These were not tame goats. They herded quite well but were very wild and skittish. We had everyone in place and everything looked to be going to plan when the goats went totally crazy upon reaching the trailer and scattered. If you know anything about goats you know that they can jump up and over just about anything. For a few seconds the biggest of the billys was in the trailer but we were unable to shut the door before he charged at me and I scurried out of the way. I am brave but not that brave. 3 ran out the driveway and 2 jumped the back fence.

I chased the 3 down the street. I would say we were going about 10 miles per hour. I was wearing flip flops. I only stepped in goat poo once. I was able to run to the far side of the street and get ahead of them to turn them back towards my driveway. This was working well until they cut into a backyard and onto the railroad tracks. Dad and I were able to get them off the tracks and through a church parking lot. We chased them up a dead end street and they sought refuge in a playset. One goat chomped on a swing. We woke up that section of the neighborhood and with the help of Officer Mike again made a plan.

The plan was for Dad to back up the trailer between the two houses and we would herd them towards the trailer with volunteers from the fire department. You can all imagine how easy it is to again back up a 5th wheel cattle trailer all over a residential neighborhood. We managed to get 2 of the 3 goats into the trailer. The 3rd goat ran into a nearby shed.

We had her cornered and I thought with several of the largest members of the CFD that we would catch her for sure. I instructed them to corner her and grab her by the horns. Unfortunately they were not skilled goat catchers and she easily escaped. I followed her through the brush and back down onto the tracks and across several yards. A man on a bike was hot on her trail too and we searched for somewhere to corner her. She then swam across the river.

Officer Mike gave me a ride in the squad and we headed over with the Fire Dept and the cattle trailer to where she came out of the river. The firefighters had hoped to catch her there as it was a softball field and there was fencing to corner her with. She again evaded them and we chased her across about 10 yards until she took refuge in the local scrap yard. We called off the search for her then and decided that she could just live out her life there.

While all this was going on the hunt was going on in the local industrial park for the other two goats. My 10 year old daughter was in on this and one trailer loading attempt was made but failed. My dad told me that an employee of the plant where the goats were cornered decided to try to lasso Big Billy. Big Billy charged away and smacked into a office window full force. It did not break but did receive horn gouges. Dad said this event was quite humorous. Eventually the two goats made it into the 100 acre cornfield across the tracks. By this time we had firefighters radioing the goats positions and such but it was time to give up as it would be impossible to get them out of the corn.

Dad and I took the 2 goats to a nearby rescue farm. We rehashed with Officer Mike all the woulda shoulda couldas. In the end we just decided that wild goats are very hard to catch. The rescue farm did find a good home for the two captured goats.

Officer Matt did find out that the goats belonged to an infamous local farmer that all the other farmers hate due to how he treats his livestock and numerous shady business dealings. Once I knew who the owner was I understood why they were so wild and scared of people. He did not want the captured goats back at all. The two goats that escaped into the corn were spotted along hwy 151 that afternoon. The owner did go to retrieve those two goats by shooting them. I know that next to a busy 4 lane hwy that is what needed to be done but it still made me so sad that we did not safely capture them that morning. As frustrating as our wild goat chase was I did grow fond of them and they were really cool to watch when they were in my yard.

As of right now the 5th and final goat on the run is still chomping grass in the scrap yard. Even though it is a scrap yard it is quite woodsy and I suspect she will live out her life there as no one is ever going to catch her. Dad pegged her as the ring leader and one very smart goat.

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The things that happen in your town...I don't know what to say.

For the two goats that were caught and the one that was unintentionally herded into a safe haven, it's probably very fortunate for them that they ended up in your yard.

Sounds like quite the cross training workout. My Dad used to have goats when we would go see him in Colorado. They are quite stubborn, evasive and tough to handle even when cornered.

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That was a funny story and does sound a lot like the goats I know. Even tame goats can be difficult to pin down. We keep goats, but your description of "shaggy" does not sound like any of the breeds that we have.

I was really surprised when you wrote:

Charlene: She then swam across the river.

Our dairy goats take great pains to avoid stepping in puddles and will even walk around soggy ground to avoid wet hooves. They will sometimes walk from one shelter to another to get food. We also have Boer goats, a meat goat breed. They will stand in the rain and eat, but I never imagined a goat swimming.

Goats can be trying, but most of the time, they are pleasant and often make us laugh. It is especially fun each spring during kidding season.

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Here is a picture that the woman at the rescue farm took. As you can see they look just like Billy Goat Gruff.

KS runner You were not the only one surprised when mamma goat swam across the river. Due to a dam not far down river that area there has a thick mud/silt bottom, so just walking across was not an option for the goat. We were not really sure what would happen when she got to the river and I was hopeful it would turn her around. I had a goat for awhile when I was a small child but never knew that they hated water. We only had him for a summer though as he really liked to stand on cars and he bucked my sister off his back when I convinced her to try to ride him. Both that goat and another that lived on a dairy farm that I lived on as a young adult were never penned up (it was attempted) but just roamed the dooryard at will. I do not remember them ever wandering off but they were as tame as a pet cat or a dog.

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I'm late in seeing this but damn it made me laugh! Half the town trying to herd these goats! What a morning! Nothing like that happens in northern VA, that's for sure! Good job in rounding up some of them. Sorry 2 were killed. The naughty farmer should've been cited/fined. Shesh.

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