Let Go of the Goat and No One Gets Hurt – Being Safe Around Livestock

"Let go of the goat and no one gets hurt!" That's what I told one of the research techs who thought he should help me move my 35 does and all their babies from the birthing barn to their spring pen. It was a crisp afternoon, and they were hungry, so my plan was to lead them from one place to the next, shaking a feed bucket all the way. It was how I'd trained my research goat herd to move with me on the National Guard Base where they worked summers grazing firebreaks, and it had never failed me. I taught them to do this because it was easy and safe. But the research tech didn't listen. He had hold of the horns of a doe with one hand, and they were fighting it out. She won, giving him a broken finger in the process. I sent him off to take care of himself, and the goats and I finished our peaceful walk to their new home. This was back in the '90s when I was running my research project on goats grazing firebreaks to reduce fire danger for homeowners. Goats have horns, they're wily and fast on their feet, and it was clear in no time at all that chasing them, grabbing them by the horns, shoving and lifting them was a recipe for injury. So I learned to start every herd move by telling everyone involved, "It's just a goat project. There's no reason to get hurt." But sometimes we all forget that. Since I started publishing On Pasture 8 years ago, I've heard of many deaths or severe injury caused by a bull or cow attacking someone in its pasture. It turns out that cattle and h

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