One day last week, Sam texted me to tell me he would be late coming home from work. He said we should go ahead and eat without him. I was curious, as he goes in early and doesn't often need to stay late, but I just went ahead and ate dinner with the kids. As we were finishing up I got another text from Sam. This one said, "There's a surprise coming down our road." I answered back, "Should I send the kids outside?" and he said, "Yep, with boots on."
We made it outside just in time to see Sam pulling into the driveway in his little car. Behind him came our friend, pulling an animal trailer behind him.
In the trailer were six goats! We have been planning on getting goats for a while and even had plans to go to the livestock auction the following weekend, so I was definitely surprised that he brought some home early.
Turns out Sam had seen a sign offering 'goats for sale' up near where he works. He got a great deal on them, so he called his friend (since we don't own a livestock trailer) and had him help pick them up.
The goats were pretty scared of us that first night, so we just turned them out into the pasture to let them get acquainted with their new area. We left food out for them and had a shelter ready for them but they wouldn't come anywhere near us.
The next morning, Sam woke up early and headed out to check on the new goats. Instead of six, he found only four...coyotes had come in the night and killed the other two. In hindsight, we should have done everything we could to get them into their shelter for protection, but we didn't realize that the
demon dogs coyotes would find them so quickly.
Sam felt just awful about it. He took care of the dead goats and headed to work without saying much.
I called him later to see how he was doing and he was having a pretty rough day. When
I asked if there was anything I could do, he said, "Yes. Find me a donkey."
I didn't know this, but donkey are commonly used as guard animals. They have a fierce
hatred of coyotes and dogs and will kick them, bray at them and if they get close enough,
they will stomp on the coyote's head. The goat's natural tendency is to get behind the
donkey, so they make a pretty good team.
I searched craigslist (because where else does one find a donkey??) and found a number of donkeys
available. After emailing the links to Sam, there wasn't much else I could do.
Sam found a donkey and picked it up that same day. A lady in a small town up the road from us had a male,
a female and a baby. She said she wouldn't mind splitting them up and she
actually gave the donkey to us for free! Turns out she had recently taken
in a rescue horse and only had a certain amount of pasture grass for them
all. She just wanted to make sure it went to a good home. :)
So here is Scarlet "Sky", our new donkey! Isn't she the cutest?
She spent the first night just outside the goat pen all night long. Apparently she takes her new job seriously! :) She is really a great animal. The boys just love her and she thrives on attention. In fact whenever we walk away from her, she tries to call us back by braying...it is the funniest sound I've ever heard.
So as a few of my friends have pointed out, we are now running our own petting zoo. Cats and a dog, chickens, goats and a donkey....now we just need a sheep to supplement my friend Ingrid's knitting habit. :)