We started keeping brush goats about eight years ago. We bought a male and a female, and grew the herd up to nine goats. They are our pets, each has a name. We’ve used them to clear underbrush, and I use them to to work my English shepherd’s dogs.
Like any stock, there are regularly scheduled husbandry tasks to keep the goat herd healthy. Shots, wormings, etc. You would have got a kick out of watching my wife and I chase the quick little goats around their eight-acre enclosure back in the beginning. The memory of it makes me giggle. Rodeo clowns come to mind. Eventually we got smart and rigged up a smaller catch pen. But, chasing them around the catch pen was still pretty trying. My wife is a disabled veteran, so she is usually the one administering the dose while I chase and hold onto the animals one-by-one. She would try to help me corner them, but with her bad knee those little boogers could usually get around her without too much trouble.
A few months ago, life with the goats got a whole lot easier. To my great joy, I discovered Sugar would not only drive the goats, but she could also hold them. Just her presence in the same paddock keeps them calm and stationary. But here’s where it gets really amazing. I can point at a specific goat and say “Sugar”. She’ll head that exact goat off and impede it so I can grab it. My wife chuckles every time she does it, she is so amazed. Then, while the goat is getting a shot or an oral dose, Sugar stands nose-to-nose with the animal and stares it in the eye. The animal holds still for the duration. Sugar doesn’t stir things up, make noise or cause a commotion. She just exerts a quiet authority the goats seem to understand.
Sugar completely changes the game when it comes to managing the herd. Because of her, I can move the herd as frequently as I want and perform herd management tasks with confidence. Sugar enables me to live the lifestyle I want to live, which to me is priceless.