OK, so clearly this is not a goat. For the last GotW post of 2019, I thought it would be fun to share a story from another herd member here. Out of all of the "non-goat" animals here, horses not included, none have quite as big a personality as Amelia does. She certainly leaves an impression on people! She also isn't what most people expect, which I love so much about her.
Amelia as she is called, is a 2yr old Irish Dexter heifer. I bought Amelia from a friend in the early spring of 2018 when she was just a baby. It was my intention to bring her home when I moved to the new farm. With more space it would be much easier to introduce a cow to my goats - most of which had never seen a cow, with the exception of the show goats. Due to a few delays I did not get to bring Amelia home until she was close to a year old. I had my work cut out for me, making friends with this one! She came with very pointy horns and a VERY big personality! She was quite shy, and had not been handled much, so we had a long way to go to bring her to the social butterfly she can be known as now. She was young though and I've worked with much more challenging critters than this one, so was confident she would work out.
Amelia was raised with a herd of goats, so I knew that she was going to be fine living with my goats. The biggest challenge would be how to convince my goats to willingly live with a cow. In the end it really didn't take much. The older goats were much more reserved and took longer to warm up to her, but the babies were quick to discover how much fun she was to climb and jump on top of. I am sure by now you are wondering why on earth would I want to add a cow to my goat herd? Turns out, these feisty little cows are incredibly protective! Where we live we also have a healthy coyote and wolf population. It never hurts to have back up in your herd - especially when you can't have a livestock guard dog, which I can't. So we use alternative protection animals. It turns out that Amelia is FIERCELY protective of her herd and she takes it very personally each and every time I remove any animal from the farm for any reason.... which happens a lot lol. I swear that she is telepathic and knows the day before we have an off farm event. Amelia has a bellow that could raise the roof off the barn in alarm when she chooses to use it - and she does choose to use it - often! We discovered Amelia's ability to launch and project her voice over vast miles when she first moved here and we would take the goats out for a hike. She would bellow and buck, ripping all around the pasture until we returned her goats. She would work herself into quite a tizzy actually that it became apparent that I was going to have to start bringing her with us, just so she'd calm down. That was great fun for a few weeks. Amelia was happy and having fun ripping around the fields, and was content to just follow along with us all. After a couple of weeks though, Amelia began to have ideas of her own. All of a sudden one day while on a walk with the herd, Amelia decided to go off on her own adventure... It happened a few times more... We trained her to walk on a lead after that. Chasing a belligerent bovine all over the Muskoka bush is not as much fun as it sounds. Oh the adventures Amelia has had!
On occasion, as does happen, gates may not be as secured as they appear, or Amelia has an incredible ability to open gates. She does get out somehow though, and when she does, she wants to ensure everyone knows it! We live on a very large property with the herd separated to a few places at different times of the year. She will run around to ALL members of the herd letting them know she's on an adventure. She also visits my front door and the barn monitors so that I will be sure to know she is out and about. She then likes to run down to the neighbours farm, to taunt and bellow at the cows that live there. It is quite the sight to see a miniature cow that is easily 1/3 the normal cow size, frolicking around owning her world. Such sass! I stopped chasing Amelia down after the third escape. I know she isn't going anywhere and she is safe. She might love an adventure, but believe me - only short ones. Amelia also loves food, water, napping, brushing, pampering, shade, etc, just as all pampered animals do. She also loves NOT running. So even though she gets out, I don't worry. Once she is done being naughty she is easy to catch and put where she belongs without much fuss.
Along with her huge personality came a set of very pointy horns that I knew we would have to deal with as well. With handling and "taming" of the wild beast that Amelia can be, I suffered many bruises and pokes from those horns and was well aware of how dangerous they could be. Even with the helpful use of pool noodles, there was no dulling the point of those horns when Amelia chose to use them against you. In order to protect all of us, our team, and our clients, for safety reasons the decision was made to have Amelia's horns surgically removed, which we did in March of 2019. The surgery went very well and she has fully recovered from the ordeal. Although she has a much different look about her now, and she still occasionally uses her phantom horns against me, we are all much safer for it.
Amelia literally now spends her days eating and sleeping, waiting for visitors to come admire her or maybe even to brush her. In the warmer months, she is out at pasture with her little sister Elsa who joined us in November 2018. She is no longer living with the goat herd, but spending her time looking after the mini donkeys we also have, and waiting for a time when we will have more of a job for her to do. During the winter months, Amelia is up at the big goat barn and makes up the loudest part of our welcoming committee there. Not a bad life for a cow on a therapeutic farm, even if it is only me who says so. :)