Yesterday, I was mystified when I checked on the goats for the night because Ely kept his head down even when I reached out to scratch his head. It was raining and cold and I had things to do so I left him alone to work it out. I laid in bed this morning, considering what I’d do if he were still in that state at breakfast time. I imagined a sprained muscle in his neck, maybe an ear infection, or who knows what.
When I went out to feed them this morning, I managed to get ahold of his head and try to tip it up. It turns out his beard had managed to freeze and mat up with the hair on his chest and he was effectively reined into that position. Poor guy! I went in for a scissors and after some chasing, managed to get him by the hair and hold him long enough to snip the connection and cut off some of the matting.
It seems like his brother, Eddy, could have helped out but while they are playmates they do not team up to help each other. In his constrained state, Ely could not eat out of the trough, pull hay from the rack, or perhaps even drink from the water bucket. The chickens were taking advantage of the situation and were all over the empty space at the goat food trough.
After I’d fixed him up, Ely hurried to the shed and began to chow down. I’m hoping he will also chase the chickens back to their own territory but it seems they have come to tolerate one another’s company pretty well. The goats are close to 100 pounds so I suspect they can stand up for themselves if necessary.
I am learning how to be a goat mom by trial and error and this is just one more lesson for me. Some things that make me want to step in are really not my business. For other problems, though, I am really the savior of the flocks. I think only first hand experience will teach me the difference.