In the interest of self-preservation, goats firmly adhere to the premise that if it walks like a dog, it is probably a wolf, and if it walks like a cat there's a darned good chance it is a mountain lion. Therefore, it stands to reason that goats hit the panic button very quickly and rather often.
Joel had let me know that the girls were pushing heads under the fence in their pen to get to the weeds on his side. The girls have the better part of two acres covered in thick green grass right now, but every goat knows that grass on the other side is, in fact, greener and better. On my way to the barn yesterday I took a little detour to walk the fence line to see where the miscreants were pushing through. I hadn't realized that Frank, who never (as far as I know) goes into the goat pen, had accompanied me. Frank, to put it bluntly, is a big wuss. The sound of a plastic grocery bag sends him running. His sister Pearl can beat him with one paw tied behind her back. He even has a wimpy meow. Finished with my inspection, I went on to the barn, sure that Frank would go back out to join Bessie Anne to wait in the driveway.
Letting the girls out of their stalls, I put Sheila on the stand and set about the morning's chores. The herd went up to the corner for their alfalfa and all seemed well. Then I heard the warning snorts and saw the girls wheel as one and focus on the fence line. It seems that Frank had not yet left the pen, and we know how goats feel about felines. When Sheila was milked, I let her out and, with some effort, coaxed Tessie in. Frank, mad with his new-found power, had placed himself in the fork of the dead oak where the girls play Queen of the Hill, and took a royal pose to watch the fun. The goats huddled together in defensive posture and continued to snort the alarm. Tessie, trapped in the headstall, was sure she'd be the next victim and, in a panic, put her foot into the nearly full bucket. All that work for nothing, and drenched with milk to boot. As insurance against just such an event, I always use two buckets. Grabbing the clean pail and cussing the cat, I finished with Tess and turned her out. Everything took twice as long as it should have because I had to really work at convincing the rest of the girls to come in, especially Inga. At some point in time Frank got bored and wandered off, a well-satisfied smirk on his face, I'm sure.
If it walks like a mad wet hen, it's probably me.