We had a serious cold snap here in the midwest this past week. How cold was it? Cold enough that my heated water trough kept freezing over, which I found exceedingly annoying!
We have two angora goats–twins Zeus and Zannice–a guard llama named Pedro, an alpaca named Hazel, and our mini donkey, Ralphie. These are hardy animals with dense fleece (okay, Ralphie doesn’t have fleece, but he’s a tough one). I don’t worry about them in the cold overmuch, but dang, a windchill of -30 is seriously frigid and not exactly what they’re used to. These are the days when I think there ain’t nothin’ between us and the north pole but a couple of barbed wire fences. The wind howls out of the north like to wipe the earth clean.
Hazel, you need to know, is a drama queen. The goats, being butt heads, pick on her a little, especially when there’s food involved, and she and Ralphie have something going on between them that involves making faces at each other, the flattening of ears, and spitting. That is, Hazel spits. Ralphie dodges it. Pedro lords over them all with a benevolent eye, mostly keeping to himself and above their petty disagreements.
We have a large enough barn to accommodate all of them. It is bedded deep with fragrant straw. No one has to be outside in the weather or sleeping on the frozen ground. However, Hazel WILL NOT go in it. Doesn’t matter whether the goats or Ralphie are in or out or if Pedro is inside. Doesn’t matter how cold it is or if it’s raining. She stays out.
Which compelled me to build a windbreak out of square bales beneath the cedar trees for her. She and Pedro made use of it, I was glad to see when I went out to check them on Wednesday morning. In fact, everyone was outside at what had become the all-you-can-eat-hay buffet. As I once again broke the ice on the water trough, I noticed Zannice shivering. She’s the only one who occasionally gets cold, so we have a coat for her.
I went and got Zannice’s coat. By the time I got back, she was out in the pasture. I called her and she came running. Awwww, I thought, she wants her coat! What a good goat.
I was bundled up in my insulated bibs, neck gator, fur hat, etc., but my gloves had gotten a little wet when dealing with the water, so my fingers were numb, and I wanted to get back inside as quickly as possible. No problem! I knew I could slip the coat over her head, and get the part that goes over her chest down between her front legs Velcroed up the sides in a jiffy.
Silly human! Nope! Just kidding!! I do NOT want to put on my coat. Let’s wrestle! <Insert loud swearing from me>
My frozen fingers couldn’t hold her. She pranced off, flaps flapping, tripping over the part that wasn’t done up. I followed. She ran straight for Pedro. Pedro’s eyes bugged at her neon coat and flapping flaps. He skipped sideways. I could just hear him–Get away from me weirdo! I don’t know you.
Hazel’s head came up. Drama? I’m in! She came running to see what was going on. Pedro sidled away as Zannice butted at his legs. Zeus had to get in on the action, too, even though he clearly had no idea what was going on. Ralphie stayed out of it. Morons, he seemed to be thinking, we’re on the grass. Grass is good even when it’s frozen. Eat. Eating is what we do.
They ignored him.
Well, I thought as we made another circle around the pasture, at least we’re getting warm! Not my fingers though. Those were still dead to me. I tried to chase them toward the barn. Nope, not happening. I gave up, went inside and did what I should have done in the first place–got a small bucket of grain and shook it. Zeus and Zannice came running–gamboling–yes yes yes! We get candy because we’re so fun!!!
Once they both had their heads shoved in the bucket as if they don’t even know they have horns, I was able to secure Zannice’s coat flaps and release them back to the field.
We survived the cold snap!
I hope you’re staying warm (or cool, depending on which part of the world you’re in) and enjoying the ride.