I will never forget the great goat air rescue of 2015…



We have certainly had an interesting month of December! The above average temperatures have been a blessing not only to our oil bill, but to our chicken feed bill as well!

The chickens are still scratching up wet leaves, and snatching up the creepy crawlies they find underneath. The lack of snow on the ground makes it certain that the seeds spilled at the bird feeders don’t go to waste either. The chickens have scratched and pecked under all of them, to the point that the little ground sparrows that brave cat attacks to sample the buffet end up leaving disappointed.

The wet soggy ground has created some unexpected nuisances, especially with the heavy rains we had in the last week.

Yeah, I had to call in for a rescue of the goats. It was touch and go there for a while, but thankfully everything worked out well.

The first day of wet weather was really more of an inconvenience. The goats stood in the breeze way of their little barn pleading with me to bring them a handful of grain, or a flake of hay. Ordinarily I would have been happy to try to accommodate them, but past experience suggested that I would have been a puppet to a group of ungrateful thugs!  So I stayed inside where it was dry.

The next day things got a little worse, and I decided I better do something before it got a lot worse. I selected a moment where the rain had gone from a steady wall of water, to more of heavy mist. I put on a heavy coat, pulled on my muckers, grabbed a scoop of grain, and headed across the goat pen.

As I reached the midway point the goats realized what was happening, and charged. I tried to turn back, but it was too late. It turns out goat hooves are much more suited to slippery conditions than my trusty old muck boots. They were on me like goats on a pile of grain!

And by on me, I mean I was face down in the mud, and goat poop, with a goat on my back, and one on either side of me, greedily gobbling the pile of grain I had spilled in my attempt to flee.

Once the grain was gone, the goat on my back, who turned out to be Smeck, jabbed a hoof onto the back of my head, forcing my face down into the muck. He leaned in close and whispered into my ear, “OK Fat Boy! Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to let you up, and you are going to go back over to the grain bin, and you are just going to pick up the whole thing, and bring it into the barn…Right?”

“Hmph, *choke* hmsclurf glurt!” was all I could manage.

Kramer weighed in with, “Hey, ah Smeck? I don’t think he can breathe.”

“Ah yes! Terribly sorry Fat Boy.” came his reply as he lifted his foot from the back of my head.

I lifted my head, and gulped in air until the world stopped spinning, and was about to cave into their demands when the sun popped out, and the goats realized they could make it over to the hay crib without drowning and trotted over there to feast as though nothing had ever happened.

I stood up, soggy, and sore, and made my way back to the back door. I was really looking forward to a hot shower. Smeck looked back at me, and said with his mouth full of hay, “Don’t forget Fat Boy! Grain. In the barn! ALL of it!”

I told him he’d be lucky if he ever saw gain again, after the way he had treated me. “WHAT’S THAT?” came the reply from Billy, as all three goats turned to glare at me.

I ran into the house, and slammed the door, and locked it behind me. You might think I was acting like a coward….Well, maybe I was…but, have YOU ever been face down in muddy goat poop, with a goat on your back? Yeah, I think not!

Anyway. I jumped in the shower, and rinsed all the filth away, dried off, and put on some warm comfy clothes. That was when I heard them…

The goats…They were pleading.

“Help us!”

“There’s so much water!”

“Fat Boy! We need you!”

“DUDE! I really don’t think this is the time to be calling him ‘Fat Boy’!”

“Oh yeah, right….Um…HEY CHUBBY! Goats are in trouble out here!”

I looked out the back window, and saw that the rain was coming down sideways. The goats were trapped at the hay crib, and the only part of the hay crib that is covered, is the part where there is hay! The goats were standing in a 10×2 foot space between a wall of hay, and the fence, and the paddock was now a swamp, with about 6 inches of standing water on top of the muck.

The goats stood there trembling, and soggy. Their pitiful cries for help just about broke my heart. But I was warm, and dry, and I had just gotten out of the shower!

So I called the fire department. They in turn called in a rescue chopper from the National Guard. A half hour or so later, I stood on my back porch watching as the helicopter was hovering over the paddock, and a rescuer was lowered down on a cable. The goats stood in line patiently, and one by one they were assisted into the harness, and ferried back over to the barn.

what an air rescue of my goats could have looked like... (source www.rebrn.com)

what an air rescue of my goats could have looked like… (source www.rebrn.com)

Once all three goats were back to the barn, the rescuer disconnected from the rescue line, and stood in the breeze way, and asked them if they had everything they needed. Smeck told him that since the rain started they had been stuck in the barn, and I never once brought them any food or water the whole time. Billy told him that I had even stood in the window looking at them, and laughing while I ate raw carrots, apples, and lettuce from a big bowl.

The rescuer looked over at me as my 3 little goats told their stories.

“They’re lying!” I shouted over to him. “Not more than an hour before I had to call you guys, I was taking them some grain, and they all attacked me! They had me face down in the mud, and I nearly drowned!”

The rescuer just glared at me, and petted Kramer on his bony little head.  He gently wiped a tear from Kramer’s eye. Through his tears I heard him say, “All we ever get to eat is hay. He never feeds us anything else!”

The rescuer told them not to worry, and that he would be back. He was raised back up into the chopper, and it took off towards the east. A short time later the chopper returned with a big basket on the rescue line full of pumpkins and squash, left over from a nearby farm. The chopper landed in the backyard, and the pilot stepped out. Turns out during the week, he was ordinarily the head of some goat council. He told me he was going to be keeping an eye on me, and if he found out I was mistreating my goats, I would answer for it.

This afternoon, I was out along the fence of the paddock holding a pumpkin for the goats to eat…They wont eat them, unless I hold them. I’ve tried breaking them open and leaving them on the ground, I’ve tried sticking them on a post, I even tried cutting them up, and putting the chunks in a bowl, but nope, I have to hold them while they nibble, squabble, and bite, and as I am standing there, all of a sudden a chopper is hovering over me. The pilot looked down at me, and I looked up and waved. That’s when Billy bit my finger HARD.   Then Smeck said…”Hey Fat Boy…I noticed that grain bin was never moved into our barn!  I will assume you just forgot…That’s right…Keep waving.  Don’t forget to smile!”

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.