Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Escape Artists at the Blueberry Farm

One thing we usually tell customers is that the fences are to keep the animals safe from people, not necessarily to keep the animals contained. In some cases, we've gone so far as to say that the animals can get out at will, so please don't provoke them to do so.

Now, in all reality, this usually only happens occasionally, or only with certain of the animals. This summer, however, there must have been Houdini lessons for the animals at Farmer Mac's because we don't seem to be able to contain anything except the horses.

The smallest of the goats have always had an escape hatch. Many of you may have seen the babies wandering around the parking lot. I got home from work two days ago and all the goats were out. I thought at the time that someone must have left the gate open because the daddy goat usually doesn't escape. Then yesterday when I got home, I realized my mistake.

All the goats were out except the daddy. I was over looking at the chicken pen and as I was walking back across the yard, I had to stop and watch the progress being made inside the pond area fence.

Mr. Goat stood up on that big rock we have leaning up against the inside corner of the fence. He put his front right hoof on the bottom wire of the fence, balanced himself and then put his left front hoof right beside it. He walked himself up the fence until he was at the second from the top wire. Then he carefully lifted his right foot over and put it right beside the left. He repeated this action with his left so that both of his front legs were on the outside of the fence and his hind legs were on the top of the rock. He gathered himself made a lunge over the fence. His back legs brushed the top wire but he made it to the ground on all 4 hoofs, his legs buckling a bit as he landed. Slickest thing I've seen him do all year.

You'd think that would be the end of the story, but no. The chickens have all managed to get themselves enough flying strength to escape the roost at will. The one that had the broken leg (BJ, our lab/retreiver who loves babies, carried it around in his mouth when it was a chick and accidentally crunched down too hard) doesn't do this as often as the other chickens, but they were all outside the enclosure this morning at feeding time.

So between ducks who were only contained until they grew large enough to escape the hawks, dogs who don't know the meaning of a fence, unconfined chickens, and escaping goats, we have a yard full of animals at any given time during the day. Good thing the dogs are used to living with chickens and ducks or it would be a difficult decision on which to decide between!

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