Those Sure-Footed Goats

There are many ways in which our beautiful goats demonstrate their sure-footedness. They make death-defying leaps from four and five feet off the ground when their darling herd-mates shove them off the ramp leading to the milking parlor. They dance across the pallets that hold their large hay-bales without breaking their legs. They romp up and down the hills in their pastures, turning this way and that at a gallop.

But perhaps the most elegant demonstration of their deftness is the goat-eggs. We have about eight laying hens who have decided for whatever chickenish reason that they belong in the goat-barn rather than the hen-house. They sleep up in the rafters and peck and scratch through the hay on the floor and in the barnyard all day. We value their input as fly-control agents, by their amazing alchemy turning the grossest, most disgusting insects that exist into delicious eggs. They lay their eggs in the hay-bunks, about four or five feet off the ground.

The goats play Pachinko with the eggs (and sometimes with the hens themselves), carefully nibbling strands of hay from around them so that eventually the eggs drop to the floor, which is also soft hay. We have never figured out the intricacies of their Pachinko scoring system. There the eggs stay, all day, until we come in at milking time to retrieve them.

So here we have 25 goats dancing through the hay all day long. At this time of year, the does are going in and out of heat and our fine buck Andrew is checking them ten or twenty times a day and settling those who are in heat. So there is all this wild activity in the goat-barn all day and far into the night. But those eggs on the floor? they are whole and unhurt among the threats of a hundred dancing goat-hooves, until we come to remove them in the evening. We marvel at one more little miracle on the grounds of Longview Farm.

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