Thursday, April 26, 2012

Civil Disobedience - Goat Style

Let me first preface this by saying that us goats are like some people, we won't do anything unless we think it was our idea first. There will be no forcing us to do what is wanted or needed. We must be asked nicely and then allowed proper time to decide whether or not the request should be honored.

So now we will go to where this story begins. The beginning began when the farmer made the milkstand many years ago. Her first milkstand was attached to the barn wall and we had to mount it from the left. This made us all left-hooved goats. If we have to do something over and over from the left then we will consider ourselves left-hooved and do most other things from the left. Last fall, the farmer's mom came to visit and was given the task of renovating the old milkstand. The FM (farmer's mom) made a beautiful free-standing milkstand with attached head stall and everything. Unfortunately the gorgeous new milkstand didn't fit in the same spot as the old milkstand so the farmer had to rearrange things. This is where we have a problem. The farmer moved around the milking area and now she expects us to mount the milkstand from the RIGHT!

If any of you have ever met a goat before, you will know that goats do not take change laying down. This is not to say that we are afraid of change (like those sissy sheep who turn tail and run at the slightest deviation from the normal order of things), but it is to say that we think change is not necessarily necessary in all cases. We enjoy the right to evaluate the necessity of the change and voice our opinions to its purposed plan. If we deem the change not favorable, we simply ignore the change and go right on doing things the way we have always done them. This is our greatest tool against the injustice of frivolous changes. If we herd together and continue to go about the routine as if no changes occurred, we stand great chance of being successful in getting things set back to the way they were. A stubborn goat is not stupid and incapable of learning a new rule. A stubborn goat is in fact simply exercising her right to protest by utilizing her greatest weapon -- civil disobedience.

Back to the story, the farmer changed the milkstand last fall which means that Gloria and Cookie were not currently using the milkstand because they were not making milk. This spring when Gloria and Cookie freshened, they were suddenly expected to become right-hooved goats on the new milkstand. A newly freshened goat doesn't want to do anything except eat and sleep so being thrown into the milking routine is about the last thing we want. On top of that, being thrown into a new milking routine with new changes is downright criminal. We have just pushed multiple kids out of our goaty-bits and now you want us to jump up onto a new milkstand while you mush and push our sore teats into submission?! PLEASE don't act shocked when there is an uprising in the herd due to this.

Gloria was first up to try the new right-hooved contraption. Being a huge lactator, she was eager to be milked and hungry for her milking time chow down, so she was a little more open to evaluating the change. She came out of her stall and went to the milkstand without prompting. The farmer thought smug thoughts at this point because all was going along as normal. Gloria took a quick minute to assess the situation and jumped on the stand as normal -- left-hooved. This created a problem because she was now facing backwards with her udder in complete juxtaposition away from the milk machine. The farmer wasn't so smug as she pushed and pulled Gloria into a U-turn and then man-handled her head into the head stall (did I mention that we hadn't used a head stall with the last milkstand?). Gloria was not too happy about being forced to do anything. That night she kidded a little plan to show the farmer exactly what she thought about the new milking routine. From then on, every single time the farmer opened Gloria's stall door for her to walk to the milk stand, Gloria would come out in the correct direction and then simply keep moving until she was out the barn door, down the yard, and standing at the pasture gate. This forced the farmer to run after Gloria and bring her all the way back to the barn. If the farmer let go of Gloria's collar for even just a second before she was on the milkstand, Gloria would seize the opportunity for a little non-violent protest and charge out the barn door and back to the pasture gate. So far Gloria has kept up the fight for the cause and charged out the barn door during every single milking time for a week and half.

Next up to learn about the changes was Cookie. Cookie is a Nubian (purebred, at that) and if anyone is not prepared to deal with a change, it would be a Nubian. Cookie came out of her stall the first time and wandered around aimlessly for a while as if to say she didn't understand what milking was about at all. The farmer brought her over to the new milkstand and tried to convince her that it was time to jump up there and get milked. Cookie first noticed that the new milkstand was brown and not green, then she saw it was 18" off the ground and not 20", then she saw that it was 1 3/4" shorter in length than the old stand, then she saw the head stall, then she saw the attached sitting bar, then she saw that it was right-hooved and not left! After noticing every detail that was different, Cookie decided that this would not be tolerated and simply refused to go any closer to it than 3 feet. She planted her hooves into the ground and refused to budge. The farmer pushed and pulled but to no avail. The farmer then picked Cookie up and crab walked her closer to the milkstand. Cookie reacted calmly to the abuse and channeled her inner Ghandi to go in a trance-like state. She wouldn't budge, she wouldn't move, she was a statue. A statue that weighs 150 lbs. The farmer finally was able to pick her up and push her onto the milkstand. Of course Cookie was able to subvert this effort by mounting the milkstand from the left, even when being pushed from the right. Cookie was on the stand but she was backwards. The farmer had to force her into a U-turn and then get her to put her head into the head stall (150 lbs Nubians do not do U-turns, in case you were wondering). When presented with the head stall, Cookie simply jumped over the top of it and wound up dangling off the front of the milkstand with her head stuffed into the corner of the barn. This required the farmer to pull Cookie backward. If any of you have ever tried to pull a goat backward, you will know that our strongest instinct is to push forward against the pull with all our might. This was a mighty battle of wills but finally the farmer won and Cookie was on the milkstand in the proper position to be milked.

After milking Cookie consulted with the rest of the herd and came up with an idea to protest the changes. From then on, every time the farmer brought Cookie to the milkstand, she would simply get to 3' from it and lay down. A laying down 150 lbs. Nubian is much harder to manhandle than a standing 150 lbs. Nubian, in case you were wondering. Also Cookie still mounts from the left no matter how hard the farmer pushes her from the right.

This is were we stand in our protest to milking routine changes. Gloria barges out of the barn and Cookie lays down. So far our resolve is strong. Perhaps with enough frustration the farmer will give in and change the stand back to the way it was. We will keep you posted on our progress.


  1. *giggle* *snort* *giggle* !! I'm SO glad I'm not alone in dealing with stubborn milking does! I'm pulling for the Farmer! :D