Buddy, Nanny, and the Bully Goats

At the fence, Buddy the Donkey and Bully Goat Senior are waiting to be fed. Bully Junior (brown goat with horns) and Nanny (white goat without horns) await their turn.
Better shot of Buddy and Bully Sr waiting for the food

In the village of Whitehall behind Wyant’s Country Store, lies a small farm where three goats and one donkey live in a hierarchy of bullies. Buddy, the donkey, is the largest and usually gets whatever he wants. Nanny is the mother of Bully Senior and Bully Junior. Both brothers regularly butt heads with Nanny, who suffers from arthritis as well as the bully goats. (The owner calls them Saphire, Amos, and Andy but we call them Nanny and the Bullies.)

It is entertaining to see how they navigate the world of bully or being bullied.

My husband and I usually feed them several times a week. He cooks sweet potatoes and carrots for them. They also like fruit–especially strawberries, apples, and bananas. They recognize us and come trotting over when they see us approach with food in our hands.

Buddy and Bully Sr usually line up against the fence. Sometimes Buddy is busy in the back pasture (I hear he has an eye on a jenny back there). If Buddy does not appear, then Bully Jr and even Nanny also try to stake out space along the fence line.

Bully Sr, is very quick to ensure that no other goat gets between him and the humans. He has been known to place his hooves on any of the fence railings (including the top) to ensure he gets the first crack at whatever is being offered. He has a long tongue that can easily detach almost anything being served. He’ll butt heads with Jr and poor hornless Nanny if he thinks they may get something he feels entitled to.

By splitting the food, sometimes one of us can concentrate on Senior, while the other one throws food to the other two goats. Sr. has caught on to this and will headbutt to enforce that he is large and in charge. He is always careful not to discourage the humans from feeding him.

My husband bought an apple-flavored salt lick for them. It was one of those days that Buddy sauntered in late. Nanny tasted the lick first but was soon pushed aside by Junior, who in turn was butted out of the war by Senior. When Buddy appeared, he nudged Senior aside. Senior eyed Buddy from the rear and lowered his head as if he were going to butt Buddy. He soon realized that charging a donkey’s hind legs would be a big mistake.

On a different occasion, we saw Buddy suddenly kick out with his hind legs when he sensed that one of the goats might be getting close to something he wanted for himself, so Senior may have been sent flying on one or more occasions.

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