Ruthie is being retired (no party planned). She is now the oldest goat in the herd, and she's been giving less and less milk and I've decided to let her dry up entirely. She's past the age for breeding, so her job from now on will be as grazer and brush trimmer. As a kid, she was always getting into something, a real trouble maker. She's mellowed over the years, but evidently that leopard didn't change its spots.
When I went down to the pen at sundown last night, Ruth and Cindy were in a knock-down, drag-out fight, with Esther acting as referee. There is a vast difference between mock battles and a real "I'm gonna take you out!" fight, and the girls were definitely going at it. The clash of heads literally shook the ground on impact. It's scary when the goats become so single-minded, intent on winning. Poppy and Sheila dashed into their room when I opened that door, and Tessie and Inga said, "Get us out of here!" The combatants carried the fight down the hill toward the barn, and I had to move fast to get out of their way. I've learned that they have to settle whatever the problem is themselves; it's not wise to get in the middle (or anywhere near). Esther seemed to be watching for any foul, occasionally stepping in to bop one or the other as a reminder to fight fair. It was getting on toward full dark when Ruthie cried uncle and ran around and hid behind the barn, leaving Cindy panting and shaking, but willing to call it quits. She and Esther finally went into the big room together. Ruth peeked around the corner to make sure it was safe, then dashed back to her stall. I imagine there are some king-sized headaches this morning, but I sincerely hope that peace has been restored. I never know why these fights break out. It might be a change in the pecking order, or perhaps just some sideways glance taken wrong. I'm always glad when they're over. I don't like trouble in paradise.