Managing the Menagerie Part II: Goat Trouble

Today’s guest post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

January 19. Trouble Goat did it again…got his head stuck in the cattle panel fence…wouldn’t let me position it to get back out. So I got the hack saw and sawed off the tip of the troublesome horn. A bit bloody as I went too deep, but his head came out of that fence just fine and he went right to eating. Bleeding stopped quickly and maybe now he will be able to get his head out by himself…? But. he is a goat. And even though I call him “Buddy,” not “Trouble,” and even though there is nothing on the other side of the fence to eat, I suppose he will do it again.

Hardanger Fjord Norway Milking Goats Near Odde 1903 (from a Singley Keystone Stereoview)
Hardanger Fjord Norway Milking Goats Near Odde 1903 (from a Singley Keystone Stereoview)


February 21 The roof shed its winter load…in time for a new load. If you’re coming to visit me, bring a pick ax…or wear crampons.

April 5. Oh, and the barn pump is running water again…first time since February (or was it January). Hauling 8 gallons of water 2x a day for horses at an end. Now they say it might rain…and the melt…more water than I want to think about sloshing about barns and house.

May 17. Goats contained two days in a row…perhaps I did find the hole in the fence after all..

May 18. Smart goats…put them in the pasture, then they are in the yard. Put them in the pasture then they are in the yard. Third time they stopped a truck on the road and sweetly followed the young woman back to me. But they ain’t smart enough to not jump the fence in front of me so I know where they are escaping. Sagging fence fixed. aha!!!!

May 22. Trouble goat figured out he could jump out the barn window…Beretta did not follow. Barrier erected promptly, leaving a view for them to look out but not follow their yearning.

June 1. Trouble goat did a no-no yesterday, butted me on the pocket of my trousers that had eggs in it. Only one (egg) casualty. Oh, and a messy pocket.

Did you have a “Trouble” animal in your life?

60 thoughts on “Managing the Menagerie Part II: Goat Trouble”

  1. Morning! I love these stories, Cynthia!

    One of my Irish Setters, Tristan, was truly insane. Not just wildly energetic and stubborn, like most setters – insane. He was very tall and could get to almost any horizontal surface and was very food motivated. And like Anna’s basset hound Norma, Tristan could open any garbage can known to man. He even figured out how to open the one where you step on the pedal and the top pops open. That one took him just three days. In the yard he could not stop – if you were doing yardwork for two hours, he would be running about the whole time. Even if you called him over, made him lay down next to you, after a few minutes he’d be up and at it again. When you took him out on a walk, his only intention was to pull your arm out of its socket. Four training classes, three weeks at a “dog camp” a gentle leader and a shock collar (yes, a shock collar!) didn’t help.

    The flip side was that when he was calm (occasionally) he was very sweet, gentle and loving. But I think he burnt himself out early – he passed away when he was only 8, when his kidneys gave out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Norma was my troubled child – she was sweet and very stubborn as I have said. Besides her penchant for garbage, she came to me “almost housebroken” (read: sort of paper-trained…but not really) and it took me 2 moves and a couple years to really get her fully house broken. She also probably had separation anxiety and, as a puppy, would bark some days from roughly three minutes after I left the house until I returned – or so said the neighbors who called animal control. The animal control folks were sympathetic, offered some tips for training beyond what I was already doing (shock collar – yes, I was reduced to that too – future reference, basset skin is too thick for them…as well as classical music on the radio, kenneling, not kenneling, toys…). Chatted with an assortment of neighbors and narrowed down the complaints to one neighbor who everyone agreed was a bit of a pill (she complained about other neighbors being out on their porch having dinner with friends and “talking too loud” because she could hear their normal conversation level voices through her window). Everyone else said they sometimes heard Norma, but it wasn’t as constant as I had been lead to believe. Animal control came a second time, but shortly after that complain-y neighbor moved. And I never got another complaint about her noise. She got older and quieter, like we all do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I believe I may have mentioned at some point that I am in the service of cats……

    Our current challenge is our big marmelade tabby-boy. I am not entirely sure we are not to blame as he is commonly referred to as Kitten. He has no idea of how much space he actually fills nor the amount of weight he has to throw around.

    He is by inclination a barn cat I think, but would also do well in a minimalists loft.

    A tiny cluttered cottage? -bit trying for the boy. We should probably move…..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We have the same issue with the one we affectionately refer to as “baby kitty” although she is 3+ years old and far bigger than our other cat. But she also suffers from “naughty behavior-itis” and still delights in knocking over things, particularly glasses of liquid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kitten does not knock things over on purpose, he tends to climb onto something, realizes it is about to topple because he is too big and heavy for it, and solves the problem by launching himself off of it and send it crashing in the process.

        Deliberate naughty behavior is tearing at any available paper (except things I want shredded anyway, that I hopefully put out for him- those he ignores). He only does this when I am trying to sleep and he thinks my time would be better spent dishing out food or opening doors.

        Traffic in the area has gotten bad and the delinquents have been seen crossing the street, so they are now mostly indoor cats. This is not being taken well. I think we need to build them a climbing system that takes up the whole house, like the guy who was all over the social media awhile back.


        1. Worth a thought, anyway. I currently have all the windows wide open, which they seem to appreciate, but we also have bushes near the windows that the birds like, and Princess Beatrice tried throwing herself through the screen.

          For somebody who looks like they should sit on a velvet cushion on a Victorian loveseat all day, she is quite the mighty hunter.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I’ve also seen an apartment where a narrow shelf (maybe 4″ wide) surrounded the whole room, sloped upward kind of like an extended “onramp” in a sort of spiral. The cats loved it. I also had a floor to ceiling bookshelf to which I attached a strip of carpeting, proved to be like a tree for the cats, who could sit up top and survey their domain – useful esp. when there were visiting dogs!

          Liked by 3 people

        1. there is a book store over in st paul that has a reading room with knit table and chair leggings that slide over and up. a great idea.knot to fit like the size of a bratwurst

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I leave my window open so my cats can enjoy the out of doors. They have a 6PM curfew and always come in by that time. Having had 17 cats over 20 years and always allowed them time outside, I’ve never had a fat or restless cat. It seems like torture to me to use different methods for them to be near outside without being able to actually experience being there.


  4. Rise and Find Mischief Baboons!

    Well, my story yesterday was about more trouble than smarts, however, both dogs were plenty smart. I will try to log on this afternoon and talk more about Trouble (I believe there is an EmmyLou, Linda, Dolly song called Trouble) and animals. There is plenty of that!

    Thanks Cynthia for great animal stories. James Herriot proved that there is an endless appetite for animal tales (tails) of every kind.

    I should re-read those….

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We had a Shetland pony that was purchased from a farm south of where we lived. That horse could never be ridden north. South toward her home was a wild galloping ride. Going north? Forget about it! Drag that carcass home on foot!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Good morning. Yesterday I heard someone say “he is an idiot” as she took her dog across the street to keep him from going crazy as he passed another dog that was taking a walk with it’s owner. Our dog is also an idiot. I have crossed the street many times to prevent him from making trouble for other people who are walking their dogs.

    Last night at the block party many people brought their dogs with them and the the dogs didn’t cause any big problems. We didn’t bring our dog. We knew he would not be able to contain himself and there would be trouble. Given enough time, he would calmed down. However, I am sure he would cause trouble that we are not willing to tolerate before calming down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My big boy Thorin was enraptured with other dogs. When out walking if he saw another dog, even a block away (and even going in the opposite direction) he would start to whine and pull. He just wanted to play with every dog out there!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Love the photo – looks like something out of Heidi.

    I guess I haven’t had enough animals – no one I could call “Trouble.” But my friends on the farm outside Winona had finally let a cat in the house one season, ended up calling him PA* Rodney Underfoot. (PA for Punk-A**).

    Liked by 3 people

  8. We had a dog for one winter. It was always escaping the house and never coming when called. But he loved teasing his pursuers by making high speed passes at the human target. It was as though he was counting coup. I took to standing in snow just deep enough to slow him down allowing a tackle.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. From online dictionary:

        1. a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

        2. (among the Plains Indians of North America) a brave or reckless deed performed in battle by a single warrior, as touching or striking an enemy warrior without sustaining injury oneself.

        3. coup d’état.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Great stories and photos, Cynthia. You’re made of sturdier stuff than I am. Can’t imagine dealing with sawing off the tip of goat’s horn.

    No Trouble animal in my life that I can think of. But there is this:

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I used to have one favorite place to sit in my home when reading or watching TV. Specifically, I sat in one spot on a quilt covering an old sofa. We had a black and white cat called Furball (species domestic longhair pain-in-the-ass). One day I found Furbie peeing on the quilt, exactly on the spot where I sat. I shooed him away and threw the quilt in the washing machine. Hours later, I put the washed and dried quilt back on the sofa. When I turned around, Furbie was peeing on that same spot again. I howled something unprintable and whacked Furbie with a pillow. He was lucky that the first weapon that my hand could find was so soft.

    Three days later, Furball made his third strike. He clearly was sending me a message. I sent one back to him: three strikes, and yer out! We gave Furbie to friends who had a farm, so he pissed away his cushy life with us and became a barn cat. These weren’t his only offenses, and to tell the truth I never liked Furball.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t know about Furball, but when my daughter began her 18 years as a horse boarding ranch owner, it came with a cat named Furball. This cat slept on top of particular horses. He even kneaded their backs. When he was about 25, Mary found him dead on top of one of these horses.


    2. IWe had a domestic rabbit we (specifically me ex) had saved by bottle feeding through the winter in the house after her mother died. In addition when she aspirated too much milk, he would give her mouth to mouth. She rewarded him by peeing in his shoes, attacking his face when he set down an armful of wood, spraying on his legs whenever he was near after we put her outside in the spring. Just establishing territory,Steve. Just establishing territory.


  11. OT- Dear Baboons, please tell me why it has taken over 3 months for me to take care of a necessary little repair that took maybe 15 minutes to do.

    And thanks for the Craftsman drill, Steve. Worked a treat doing pilot holes for the 2 screws I needed to set.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha – I’m a member of that club. I put off a task (that I promised for someone else – some calligraphy) for weeks. Finally said to myself that I HAD to do it by Monday night because I didn’t want it hanging over my head on my birthday. Took only 35 minutes. Sheesh!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh no, the knitting machine is work, so it is taken care of at once.

        This was a matter of replacing 2 screws that hold the hook on the ladder for the s&h’s loft.

        He’s big enough now to just climb the frame if he has to, but the cats need the ladder 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

    2. My guess is that you are a no-account useless lazy bum. Or you are very busy, full of life, have many interests and have a wonderful son to tend to. One or tother.

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Our orange cat who recently died was real trouble. I sympathized with LJB when she was talking about her distressed and spraying cat. Our Ginger peed on throw rugs and bathmats and in laundry baskets full of clean clothes and on any clothes or other things left on the floor. He had stomach issues and had to have minced, grain-free canned cat food or else he would hurl, sometimes more than once a day. We put up with him for 12 years. We tried pheromone sprays (which LJB may wish to try with her cat) but they didn’t work because it wasn’t an anxiety problelm. It was something he learned from his mother cat, as she did the same thing. He was so sweet and had the loudest purr and a loving but dopey look on his face. While I was sad to see him die, I told husband it was sort of and answer to prayer when the vet said we should put him down. It is nice to have a clean house again. He was such a dirty cat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is so distressing when cats start spraying – whatever the reason. We had a big orange cat, Freuchen, who, for no reason that we could discern, started spraying. We had one of my cousins living with us the time, and unbeknownst to us, he’d go in her room and spray her futon mattress from below. I couldn’t figure out where the worsening stench came from. I cleaned and cleaned, but nothing helped. Once I discovered what was happening, the problem was easily addressed, but that sure was a trying time.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No, Freuchen was actually very fond of Carina and she of him. She stayed with us a whole year. Turned out Freuchen had a bladder infection, and once we got that cleared up, he stopped spraying. We had two other cats at the time, and it took a while to figure out which one was the problem.


  13. Cannot think of any of all the animals we had that was troubled. Many quirky ones, many funny ones, ones who knew how to push buttons.
    On topic comment: I mentioned the book The Shepherds Life as a book i wanted to read. Tim ordered it, sent it to me to send back when I have read it. It came yesterday. Do I recommend it? You decide: We had a quiet evening after
    the party, son and family over at daughters house. I read 2/3 of the book last night. A book tailored for me. A very fine writer we engrains sheep into much more than the fells. All you animal folks, go for it now. Cynthia, this is number one on your must read.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I heard the author interviewed a couple times and am definitely interested in reading it., thanks for the reminder and recommendation, Clyde.


  14. Off topic update: yesterday’s Mankato party went very well. About 30 came. Then my niece and her three children stayed for a steak cookout on the patio off the community room we rented. Good for cousins to catch up. Today daughters family and sons family and we did a New Ulm brewery tour. Tomorrow we drive to Two harbors for second party Friday for about 35 people in the church in Castle Danger. Our CA two year old grandson is a delight. Loves me a great deal. Friday’s blog is from me.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Our latest foster baby is really no trouble at all, but extremely shy and easily spooked.

    Turns out she will happily sit on your lap or shoulder and be petted, but the minute she is in open space will run for cover. She is tiny and all black and I have yet to hear her meow, so finding her is not something I want to attempt.

    She stays behind a closed door in the bathroom when not being held. Every time I open the door, she is far back in her carrier, hiding and looking up through the top slats apprehensively.

    I’d feel bad about this except I can hear her through the door, playing with a sparkle ball when nobody is looking.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Son’s tortie is nothing but trouble. She was pretty aggressive but has become very lovey to son and DIL after they installed the pheromone dispensers. She views me as “the squirty lady” from times in the past when i have got her with the spray bottle. She gets into everything, wakes up son at 4 am to be fed, and is generally a nuisance.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. my problem animals are fish. the goldfish are easy but i like cichlids which are exotic i guess. they get big and beautiful and if you have 3 in the tank they each have personalities. they each need space so you need to build caves and hiding places. there are few other fish that can live with them so it is all kind of a king of the hill routine. my son had a 10 year old plecostomus and his tanks was super boring so i bought a couple of cichlids and a couple of danios wich are super fast and the cichlids cant catch them to eat them. . every now and again you get a rouge fish and one of the cichlids was an agressive fish who chewed on everything in his territory and the entire tank was his territory.
    there are ways to deal with this but i am so sad and need to find a place to get the jerk fish away from the others.
    fish live in a confined territory and while dogs work it out and the pecking order is established and the non alphas are permitted to slink in subserviant roles in fish world they get chewed and killed. i keep trying to get the hang of creating a world where it is all joy with no carnage but it is a non successful deal so far, but i have only been doing fish for 15 years or so. salt water is beautiful and the rules are even more strict than fresh water. coral is beautiful but many fish eat it so you choose your combinations carefully. fish and wives, they are worth the effort but certain to be far from perfect. i can see why people steer clear of them but i have never been accused of being one to choose the smart way to do things . i am an emotional basket case with family, fish and politics. my dogs and cats are my sanctions of sanity. daughter number 3 (kid 5) wants bunnies and goats guinea pigs hampsters and other odd critters but i hate guinea pigs and hamsters. think bunnies would be the end of dog indifference about what is behind closed doors and so i am the jerk dad as far as that goes. so far fish are the only bad pets of recent memories. thanks for helping me remember why i dont like guinea pigs and hampsters ( i had e and then didnt and i liked not having to deal with them better. we had tortise twins for 3 or 4 years . boring… like snakes and iguanas but then again….. birds are dirty and while canaries sing beautifully the seeds arent worth the trade off to me. i could be talked into it but its not a high chart topper on my pleasure list.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I viewed an Australian guy who’d trained his cat to dance from left to right, back up to a wall so far that the cat’s backend walked up the wall, skate board, jump from one big dog’s back to another, and ultimately sit on a toilet then flush the toilet. An amazing video! I also learned that, although cats sleep 22 out of 24 hours, they’re capable of going 30mph!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Two days of fun discussions, folks! thanks!

    Colorado weather report: hot and humid along the front range — Denver was 90 and humid yesterday. A bit less humid today, but stuffy hot east of Loveland.


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