The goat who gave birth in the freeze – she’s my only “bad” goat. She is the only one who doesn’t respect fences. She is the first one to encourage mutiny through any gap she finds in a fence, gate, or barn door. Usually, she mutinies alone. So she is the “bad” goat, the others are the “good” goats.
Her baby is just like her. She slips away at will. Her poor mother mahs quietly, anxiously. Sometimes, she hears me at the barn door, and starts calling to me to come fetch her baby back to her. The baby doesn’t come when her mother calls.
Ha-ha, goat! Ha-ha! Now you know how we felt every time you slipped out. Now you know why we keep you in. Not for meanness, not to control, only to protect. We know there are no coyotes “in”, so we don’t want you to go “out”. We know you can’t poison yourself by overeating chicken feed “out” so we don’t let you go “in”. We care about your survival, you wretched wretch of a goat. And now you feel it, too. Ha!
On the other hand, she’s seeing us in a new light. We are no longer the evil overlords maintaining her captivity. We are the ones who keep bigger goats out, who bring baby back in. We are, for the period of bonding and baby indoctrination, her servants. Here’s your water, Miss Goat. Here’s your hay. Here’s your feed. Here’s your baby. Sometimes, helping a new mother goat helps her bond to us, too. This one, we’ll see.
We tried to reintegrate her with just one other goat sharing a stall. It didn’t work. As she ran, zigging and zagging through the stall, she found herself cornered. I was squatting inside the bonding enclosure. “Here,” I called, “come here.” She looked wildly around the stall, saw no escape, came to me. She never comes to me. I fetched her baby, latched the gate closed, and she finally saw that, sometimes, captivity is safety. Now she wants her baby to stay captive. Goat has become the evil overlord. Her poor little world has turned upside down. But her suffering is for joy, she has a new one to love, she loves it fiercely and I love her for that.