Maisie was the first of our goats to give birth so we called her kids Adam and Eve.
One morning, when her kids were still very young, I came out the back door and noticed all the goats were gathered around Maisie, who seemed distressed. “What’s up, Maisie?” I called from the veranda.
As usual she bleated back, only this time her bleat sounded more like a terrible cry. I looked more closely and I noticed her kids were not with her. That wasn’t right, I thought. The kids were never far from their mum.
My husband was inside oblivious to all the commotion so I called out, “Going to see what is up with Maisie!” As I entered the paddock I said to Maisie, “Come on, let’s go find your kids.”
So off we and about 16 other goats went – through the long grass and over the paddocks. All the goats were trotting close beside me so I had to watch my footing.
The kids weren’t anywhere to be seen in the main field so we ventured down towards the dam that was about 20 minutes away.
I was almost ready to leave the dam when I noticed a brown and white patch hidden deep in the grass.
There they were – both sound asleep. Maisie was beside herself bleating away excitedly.
She gently nudged them awake bleating at them as if to say, “How could you scare Mummy like that?”
I think Adam and Eve fell asleep while Maisie was feeding.
She probably wandered away, which is what goats do when they are foraging.
I have since learnt that windy weather can make goats disorientated and Maisie must have become confused and ended up at our gate, agitated and without her kids.
We all headed home and as I was going through the gate back to the house, Maisie bleated as if to say, “Thank you!”
– Dianne Evans
Little Miss Chook and the Brush Turkey
The battle lines were drawn. In one corner was the black chicken with escapee tendencies; in the other corner was my frustrated husband.
In January last year, Little Miss Black Chook had been making like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, flying the coop around 8am each day (between her 7am feed and being let into the yard at 9am) then returning promptly at 1pm.
Initially, my husband, Rod, and I were worried. How did she get out? Had she managed to fly over the two-metre-high fence and where did she go to for five hours each day?
Ten metres of chicken wire and bird netting had been strung far and wide along the back fence from the roosting shed to the neighbour’s border; a huge project that had turned the back boundary into an impregnable barrier … or so we thought.
Being outwitted by a chook was too much for Rod so there was only one solution: Operation Keep Her In.
One rainy morning, three weeks after her first escape, donning an anorak and carting a camp-chair to a makeshift hideout amongst the bougainvillea, Rod spied the mystery exit in the furthest corner of the pen.
In a split second, one small section of the wooden lattice swung in the breeze, allowing a much larger opening.
Little Miss Black Chook sprang through the opening without so much as a single wing flap. She was gone in an instant! Rod sprang from the hideout like a fox in pursuit.
He couldn’t keep up but he did see the object of her affections – a handsome brush turkey in the nearby bush!
Rod met the challenge with even more netting and Little Miss Black Chook had to give up her daily jaunts across the way. Seems the chicken wasn’t the only one crossing the road and the brush turkey will have to find a new playmate.