Sometimes I feel like a ranch hand except I have never ranched~unless you count taking care of pasture cats and wild life. But many times I have had to stop on the road and get a goat out of the fence and I felt like a real rancher woman. Reciently I had to do that job, I was on my way to San Angelo to see the tax man and do some banking business. The wind was blowing a gale, I didn’t have my head scarf so my hair got really big~ you know like having to walk through a door sideways. Not good at all. There is a trick to getting a goat out of a fence, they all want to stick their heads through the wire to eat the same stuff that is on their side, it works fine until they try to pull back, then their horns hang and they are stuck. They will bleat and fight all day until someone finds them. To help them get lose, you have to pull their head toward you as far as you can and twist it around and poke their nose back through (nose first~if you manage that, then the horns will follow). It looks like it would hurt and sometimes there is a little blood but you keep talking to them and telling them you like them and they are going to be fine. When they are finally free, they take off running. My ‘used to be neighbor Joe Max’ had Spanish goats and he solved the problem by cutting a broom stick wider than the head and wiring it across the horns, there was no way they could get that new head gear through the wire fence. I thought it was ingenious, it didn’t hurt the goat at all and it kept it out of trouble. I love goats, especially the little kids. They have boundless energy and are the most entertaining creatures, maybe something like the pasture kittens~ By the way, a man in a pickup stopped to help with the goat that day, that is usually what happens.
Guard llamas are used in goat and sheep ranching operations to protect the animals from predators~like coyotes, dogs foxes etc. They are not attack animals but fend off the intruder by making an alarm sound, then stalking or chasing it, kicking it or pawing it. It is usually scary enough that the intruder will leave. Predators can be a real problem with sheep and goats, especially when they are lambing or kidding. Llamas have been know to kill dogs while protecting the flock.The picture today shows a llama being clipped, the wooley hair is too hot in the summer and they need to be sheared, otherwise they will get in the water troughs to cool off and mess up the water. This one is in a squeeze chute with Claire sitting on top and shearing the hair. She told me you have to stay away from those back legs or they will kick the thunder out of you.