AUTUMN 2007 NEWS OF THE GOATS

For many days in September it seemed that the goats had vanished from the Valley. However, later in the month, they reappeared as the rutting season approached. On the picture left one billy making romantic advances to one of the nannies. Another billy in the group of nannies and kids has an injured left front leg (you see the stiff non-flexed position, but despite this, he moves around with the group in the bracken and on the slopes. He is faster on three legs than the humans trying to catch him to examine his leg, but of course they all need a refresher course in lassoing. So he will be kept under observation by the grazier. One goat that was ill and in care of the grazier died, despite the efforts of the vet. The good news is that one of the older magnificent billies escaped the cull which occurred in May. The Town Hall is still refusing to issue details and costs of this cull..

If there is to be a round-up next year one would like to mark the horns so as to make them valueless as hunting trophies.

The cattle grids, installed according to the standards of Devon District Council have been modified to prevent the animals walking on the cement supporting beams below. So a few weeks later a nanny goat and a kid of c. 9 months were seen to trip faultlessly across the flat bars of this standard grid ! The grid does not work. The simple truth is that the goats can walk across the flat bars. This also has been observed with sheep on Countisbury Hill cattle grid. 20 billies were culled on the theory that they passed on this trick to the younger generation. It will take some five years to rectify this cull on age group distribution of the herd structure. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that Devon District Council can be persuaded to produce a non standard cattle grid with round bars up to British Standards designed specially to keep the goats from wandering into Town. The powers that be seem to insist on standardization.

So it seems the saga of the goats wandering into town and the cries for another cull will go on ad infinitum as it is difficult to find any other solution to the problem.