For whatever reason, Twilight Sparkle has been horrible lately. One reason is that she is a really bad size – small enough to still slide under the gate in seconds, but big enough to jump onto the milking stand and eat the mamas’ rations while they are being milked. She has always slipped under the gate to terrorize the milking paddock while I am busy milking, but usually she limited herself to nibbling the peanut hay or finishing off Matilda’s leftovers. Occasionally she would come over and try to nurse on whoever was being milked and I would snap an udder rag in her direction and shoo her away.
But now she has been entirely underfoot. She crowds the milking stand and makes the mama goats kick, often ruining the milk. She gobbles up their expensive barley while a new goat is navigating her way in to the milking stand, and doesn’t stop. She stands on her hind feet and gobbles from the other side and it’s very hard to get rid of her. I was finding myself chasing her and shouting.
Then I realized what needed to happen. We needed the cage. Why chase the thing around that is faster and has infinitely more energy than I do, when I can put it in a cage? It’s made this week such a relief from torment. She gets to roam around and nibble Matilda’s leavings, but as soon as she goes for the goat milking stand, she gets picked up and put in the cage until I’m finished milking (only about 15 minutes). Then she is let out and we try to chase her out with the other goats.
Sometimes this isn’t possible, and the first part of this week we had to keep her separated with Nougat and Stripey. Most little goats her age would have been delighted to be in with their mother, but Nougat is not that kind of mother. As we were leaving, the fact that she had been left behind because of her inability to go through the gate (instead of going to the pasture with everyone else) was sinking in for Twilight Sparkle, and she was bleating miserably next to Nougat, who gave her a good shove with her horns. She is that kind of a mother.
Because she is a goat, she never learns from this, so it is becoming routine to put Firefly back out with the other goats, put new barley in the milking stand, walk to the gate, walk back and pick up Twilight Sparkle and put her in the cage, and continue on – un-pestered this time.