There’s a lot going on in this picture.
Most eyes will immediately go to Hogan, my neighbor’s heeler-Aussie mix pup, who, at 5 months of age, is showing the kind of aggressive herding instincts that I’ve sure never seen in any of the many Shelties I’ve owned or fostered. (Sorry, not even you, NEDster!). He’s also tough as a heeler should be, taking a head butt in stride and coming right back without a flinch.
He’s so tough that without an absolutely solid recall on board, he won’t be allowed around the livestock as an unleashed adult. I’ve already corrected him for gripping, as have the goats. They’ve sent him flying on a few occasions, but they won’t have that kind of leverage when he’s an adult. Fortunately, he won’t be here in “doggy daycare” much longer, and at Annie’s he doesn’t interact with her Percheron and mules.
Now, the goats. This is the “children’s table.” These are the three youngest goats, and the Mean Girls inside the stall won’t let them eat. So, I feed them separately. (A herd of goats seems awful lot like students at a junior high to me.)
Of the Mean Girls, the leadership role seems to shift fairly regularly now as pregnancies come to term. Trip (the gray one, who used to sit on the couch in the trailer) had been the top Mean Girl, but she’s a waddling barrel on stick legs at the mo, and she could not care less about any other goat. Mia took over the Boss Goat role, but now she’s also into the “I don’t care, just get these kids out of me” stage. Penelope is running the show, and Penelope is one loudmouth asshole goat. A lot of new rules to keep the young goats ostracized from the activities of the Mean Girls.
Of the youngsters, first freshener Twizzy (my fav goat, with her head up) is both head of the children’s table and the sentry goat for the entire herd.
To bring things full circle, Twizzy and Hogan have had at it a couple times, and neither is taking shit from the other.
In a couple of days, I’m taking Mia, Nicola and Penelope up to Redding, where my friend Jane, who owns these three will get them and take them the rest of the way to her home in Oregon. The remaining goats will sort things out again.
My bet’s on Twizzy to end up as the top Mean Girl, when all the dust settles.