My little alpine doe, Tara, is surely a true Alpine. We find her in the strangest places. Like the back of the truck.
She’s been getting out of the barn and the small chicken pen, and we couldn’t see how. I thought she might be nosing the door open, and squeezing through the gap, but that wasn’t it. She will get out of the pen without doing any damage, and then she will get back in if we don’t catch her right away. She has discovered that the chickens have grain in their own pen, to which the door is shut if she is in the barn. During the day, when the goats are out, I leave the pen doors open so chickens are free to roam about the little fenced yard and back in for water. Tara has been taking advantage of that for a couple of days, as she has eluded me two days running, and had the freedom of the yard. She won’t travel far from the other goats, so I don’t worry if she slips the picket lead or breaks free. I am not risking my ankles chasing her around a rutted old field.
But yesterday and today she got back into the barn, and we couldn’t figure out how. At first we thought she had climbed the barricade between the garage and the stalls, but that was removed in the course of friends building a new, bigger stall in the garage part, and replaced with a high slatted gate which has no purchase for goat paws.
We now know her secret. She had been loose this morning, then back in the barn of her own volition. Having disposed of the chickens’ leftover grain, she must have wanted access to the clover in the field. When we went out to the barn to start closing in the chickens, there was Tara, balanced on one of the 2x4s that frame the top of the outdoor pen, four feet off the ground. She was balanced on her dainty little hooves on the not-quite 2″ rail. She has been scrambling up onto that and a crossbar, and jumping down into the pen where the barn door is open, or between the gaps in the netting stretched over the top.
I wasn’t able to get a photo this time, but she paused in her high wire act, looked at us with great surprise, and couldn’t quite decide what to do, whether to jump back into the pen or to take off into the field. A bucket of grain in my hand was the deal clincher, and she went graciously to her own pen.
I had laughed uproariously at the sight of this elegantly poised doe, while Nicholas hushed me. “Don’t give her the idea you find it funny!’ he said, “or she’ll keep doing it!”