Dear Curiosity Journal,
Now that the landscape is penetrable, fencing is on the schedule for this weekend. It’s not a moment too soon because the goats (mostly Peter) need to be separated from the ewes as they get closer to lambing. On most days, Peter and I get along. He goes through his routine posturing and declaring his dominance. He rears up on his hind legs and almost headbutts the Babydolls while uttering a goblin bellow, but never follows through. He wags his head and herds Joy Jr and Pearly behind him. He places his head on their backs. He and his sister Franny coexisted with the Babydolls on our friend’s farm before they came here. They even survived the flood of 2018 together while the rest of the livestock perished. Therefore, they have a longstanding flock dynamic in which Peter is the boss. I observe him take on the role of both the protector (when he detects danger) and the enforcer of rank (when he detects food). The Babydoll ewes are docile by nature and mostly concede or ignore him. However, group dynamics are changing. Competing with three pregnant ewes with an increasing appetite and changing hormones is proving to be difficult for Peter. The larger ewes discount him entirely, flexing their superior size, and hockey checking him out of bounds with their wooly padding when it’s grain time. Upset by this, Peter chooses violence, so today I decided to tie him up while feeding the ewes. His rebuttal was to rage until he broke his collar, then run back and forth across the pasture until he wore himself out and had to lie down to pant for a bit. Needless to say, this is not a sustainable feeding practice and it’s time to finally separate the goats from the sheep, at least for a little while. I have no doubt Peter will make it more difficult than it needs to be.