Have you ever had one of THOSE animals?

bcabrobin Posts: 251 ✭✭✭
edited February 2021 in Goats & Sheep

You know the kind, they can open any gate, any feed box, any latch, they get out of any fence, barn, holding pen. You name it, they can and will be on the other side when you come back.

Well we have Mary, well her real name is Mary had a Little (not so little any more) Lamb. Named by our 2 yrs granddaughter This will be the 3rd summer with Mary. She was a orphon , mother died giving birth. So she was in the kitchen in a dog crate till it warmed up and we moved her to the porch, then the barn. So she thinks she is a cat/dog/goat/chicken/duck but NOT a sheep. We had baby ducks and chicks in the kitchen at the same time. Yes, she gets into the outside cat feed anytime she can!

We have had the ones who can open gates before but nothing like Mary. There is NO way other than a chain and padlock that we have found to lock the gates that Mary has not be able to open. It may take 2-3 days for her to figure it out but we come home from work and she has opened the gate and is standing in the driveway waiting for us. Now it wouldn't be so bad but she lets everyone else out too. She opens the door to the feed shed (that told about 10 min). Opens totes with bungee straps on (that took 1 day). I saw her checking out the car door the other day, so I'm sure I'll come home one day it that being open also.

Oh the fun we have, life would be so boring if it wasn't for animals like Mary!


  • Amy
    Amy Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    We have the matriarch goat, Daisey Mae, who is way too smart and finds ways out of gates. I wonder if it is that their brain is more developed? Daisey is about 8 years old, has a bad leg, and a beller that lets you know she is there!

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    So interesting their personalities. It seems like every week we are modifying a gate or fence because someone ha decided they want to run free. We get one dog secure and the other dogs finds another way out. The goats are hilarious and impressive with their climbing...then there is the hens. If there is good breeze they sometimes get out.

    Never know what we may get home too :)

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a problem!

    You have to admire their brainpower while they are making your life harder.

    Do you have a conflict between wanting to laugh and to scream at the same time?

    **Just had a thought: could you maybe adapt those dog brain-teaser games to your big animals? They are made of wood, and the animal would have to move a panel or lever with their mouth/teeth to get at a treat beneath. Also, you maybe could construct a large version of a parrot foraging toy to keep your smart ones from getting bored.

  • Ah the joys! Yes, that was always the biggest challenge with the livestock. They could find ways out faster than I could fix the problems. I like your idea about activities to keep them out of trouble @shllnzl ! I've seen some really cute ideas for goats who tend to be wickedly smart about gates and fences lol. I had to make sure that whatever I used would take opposable thumbs to open lol.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,407 admin

    This post made me think way back. We had a Shetland pony that was the biggest escape artist ever. She could find the tiniest hole in a fence and make it big enough for her to squeeze through. I caught her one day, scraping out under a fence with a hoof much like a dog would scratch to get out under a fence. It wasn't as if she didn't have enough room. 10 acre paddock but she just couldn't stand being fenced in. When she would get out she would never go far. It just seemed to be a challenge for her to escape.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    We have had & have some of these stinkers too.

    We had a llama who wouldn't stay in no matter what we tried. Of course, when he would get out, his herd (the horse) would follow. They would go walking along the gravel roads together. We always had to bring them home as they enjoyed their freedom too much. Once, they decided to chase down a young couple & their baby as they walked by on the road. It scared the man so much...although all the animals wanted was to meet new "friends."

    This same horse came to us with major problems. We made her life as happy as we could until her dying day. This horse, near the end of her life, would not stay in the fence. She stood right in front if our largest window, being as close as she could to us. It was very endearing, except for all the road apples she left on my peonies...

    We had a cow that always got out. She would take everyone with her on field trips. Once we bought a milking shorthorn, there were no more escapees. She ensured they stayed put!

    Right now, we have a very fuzzy young luing heifer. We currently have snow...so she has not felt the shock of the fencer yet. She sleeps right outside of the fence, and until recently, would follow her bottle feeding "mom" around the yard and to the front door. Now that she is weaned, she stays closer to the pasture. Come spring, her adventures will cease.

    My FIL tells of a cow that would sit on a fence wire and let everyone out. I guess it happened often until they figured it out.

  • David
    David Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    Many years ago my father decided we were going to transition from cream to shipping fluid milk. He went to a farm auction and come home with a registered Holstein first calf heifer named Susan. This was memorable for two reasons. He hadn't discussed the business plan change with the CEO (Mother) and she flipped when she found out what he had paid for her and that made for a very chilly atmosphere for several months and there was no fence high enough to hold her. She was just like a helicopter! cleared fences like a deer, never even touched them.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have to admit that I admire these animals as they make your life way too "interesting."

    Boredom apparently hits farm animals too. I would suggest devising some kind of foraging brain game like they do for dogs and birds who get into so much trouble.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    An update on that lying heifer...the fencer does nothing. She is too wooly. At least the grass outside the fence needs trimming.

  • JessR
    JessR Posts: 5

    Yep! My horse used to always let us know when the fence charger wasn't working because we would find him grazing in the yard when we got up in the morning after he escaped overnight. One morning when I was in high school, I stuck my head out the back sliding glass door, looked to the right where his shed and pasture are, and called him like I always did. I immediately heard some banging to my left on the deck, looked over, and here he came up onto the deck. We still laugh about it to this day about how Cody load-tested the deck. Cody doesn't get out as much anymore. I think in his older age he's decided it's too much effort to go anywhere, although last year he decided to wander a couple miles away and someone called the sheriff's department about him.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    @JessR Welcome here! Animals keep our lives interesting.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,541 admin

    Oh this one just had me laughing and laughing. Hard to believe a sheep was the culprit! I thought you were going to say a raccoon or something...

    Livestock that is too smart is a problem. :)

  • erikawinterton
    erikawinterton Posts: 98 ✭✭✭

    ha ha just the title of this thread alone had me thinking it was about a goat. I suppose lambs are not far off from that. They are little escape artists. Lol. I do have a push pin lock, that I turn down so that it lays flat to the gate. I noticed if the there is any part that they can leverage it is over. But if it is tightly compacted where they cant get underneath it. It works great. Hope the pic uploaded. Overwise it might not make any scense.

  • marcy_northlightsfarm
    marcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    I once brought home a rescue from the auction. He was a little colt and as he grew we wondered how big he would get. Turned out he ended up being a sturdy built pony with a very calm temperament. He had one bad habit though, and that was squeezing out of any fence we had. I nicknamed him Houdini and he became a chunky Houdini. He always liked to break out of his pasture and eat the hay field or lawn next door. The lawn eating wasn't appreciated by the neighbor so eventually I had to sell him. A young trainer bought him and used him for lessons and cross country jumping. When I went to visit I asked if he ever got out. No was the answer, they had four strand electric, not the falling down old cattle fences I had. Funny that the other four horses never got out.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    Welcome here, @marcy_northlightsfarm! We've got a horse that is a troublemaker. She's not bad, just really sharp and likes to cause excitement when she gets bored.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Our current pet dog is one of those.. She's mellowed in the last few years, but for the first couple/three years, Athena was always finding a way out of the yard. Put up electric fence? She belly crawled through a puddle in a pathway depression under the wire. Put up standard fence & t-posts? She'd stand on her hind paws up against the fence and push on them in spring when the ground was soft, and keep pushing until she could climb up and over. She knows how to open the screen doors, so if the front door is open for a breeze, you have to lock the screen door, or she'll hop up and push the lever to open it. She's let herself in our bedroom as well.

    Her favorite game is "TAG", and we're always it...

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That would be Cigar. The nutty horse has figured out how to get out of his stall. He used to bump the door until it popped out from behind the bottom roller and then treated it like a doggie door. Once he got out, walked around the barn and through the man-door into the feedroom. He then popped open a couple of shoe boxes with premeasured feed for several other boarders, and opened the cat food and goat food buckets. They watched him for the next several hours to make sure he didn’t colic.

    Next occasion, he got out, spread 6 bales of hay all over the aisle way and found his way in to the tack room. There he left a nice pile of poop. When Bill came out to feed, he bee-lined for his stall. Couldn’t get back in. Sorry, Cigar; door will swing out, not in.

    He now has a different latch on his door and it chain clips so it won’t open .

  • shepherd-tish
    shepherd-tish Posts: 12 ✭✭✭

    Yes, had a dog that made one year a constant battle. He found ways under or over fences. I put extra strands of fencing on top of fence lines, and then I had to find ways to hold down any fencing that was not totally taut at the bottom. Thankfully, he eventually got it out of his system (knock on wood, ha!), and he's been content to stay on the right side of the fences the last year or so... but I don't think I'll take down the extra fencing just yet. ;-)

  • sallyhoward
    sallyhoward Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Great stories! I did have a goat who was a Houdini but that's to be expected. Often found dancing on the outdoor table.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was visiting my "sister" to help pack as her family is getting ready to move to OK. They are using PODS as the moving company that the new job chose has been nothing but trouble. Turns out that they saved BIL's company almost a third of the cost.

    Anyway, her ducks are a trip. They have to remember to close the garage door on the container, because Fussy (very appropriate name) will run in and start quacking. It echoes back at her and she gets so excited about the invisible other ducks that she starts flapping and poops in the container.

    Her ducks are so lazy or so easily bored that they don't sit on their own eggs. One mama duck from next door came over and took over incubation duties. Missy is leaving the 9 duckilings with the neighbors since their duck hatched them.

    Plus the neighbor's Indian Runner Mama has laid 7 eggs (have been candled, 6 are viable) next to Missy's chimney. Duckie blends in so well, she looks like a rock.