Those of you following Lucky Glider Rescue & Sanctuary are familiar with Brady, the nearly two-year-old Pygmy wether that’s in with the sheep herd. He is a constant source of joy and interest owing to his little pranks and demands.
Brady loves to stick close to the 22-year-old mare Cowgirl who is the self-appointed shepherdess of the flock. Whenever Brady feels uneasy or is frightened by a loud sound, he will scoot under the legs of Cowgirl for protection.
He also pays close attention to whatever Cowgirl is doing. This includes eating, drinking, lounging, taking a dirt bath — whatever she’s doing. As you can imagine, during this time of the season there are various weeds and flowers, many of which produce burrs. These, of course, are a constant irritant because there’s a lot of combing and hand-pulling of these burrs to keep the animals (especially the equine variety) clean. Such is the case with Cowgirl who constantly rolls in burr-riddled grasses and comes up with hundreds of the pesky things all over her.
So out comes the brush and or shedder/scraper. Brady looks on as I brush Cowgirl from head to tail, pulling out burrs all the way. Of course, Brady is just Jonesing for his own brushing session when he sees Cowgirl getting all the attention. He will often gently butt my legs as I am working with her – impatiently letting me know it’s his turn!
The video here is a typical scene wherein I will brush Brady after Cowgirl is groomed. Note how Brady jumps up on me when he senses the fun is over. As you can see he is a bit demanding. But who can resist this pesky little goat?
Goats, in general, are quite gregarious. They display similar affection towards humans such as do dogs. They wag their tails when they are happy or excited. They run up to you and rub their heads on you to beg for petting. And like dogs, they will jostle with each other for the best position when it’s time for a brushing or some petting. In fact, they will often butt each other out of the way to get in line for attention. Animal behaviorists are quick to say this is not “jealousy,” but rather “contention for resources.” Hmm, I don’t know, feels like jealousy to me!
Sheep, on the other hand, are not as playful, nor as affectionate as goats. There are some sheep that like to be groomed and paid attention to, but percentage-wise many fewer behave this way. Most sheep are “sheepish” and tend to shy away from humans. The notable exception is when it’s feeding time. Then sheep behave just like goats – crowding one another to get their place at the feeding trough.
Since Brady is in fact a goat, his presence in the sheep herd is cause for funny observations from time to time. He was largely rejected by the goats when we tried to integrate him upon his debut here. Those of his kind were not in fact kind to him. They started chasing and butting him hard, so we figured he’d do better with the sheep. This ended up being a good decision because Brady gets along well with the more gentle sheep. They are all eight or so years older than Brady so they treat him like a little child. That is the sheep tolerate his chasing and jumping and head butting. Deep down they probably all love him as much as we humans.
Stay tuned for more of Brady’s hijinks – coming soon.