Thursday, May 3, 2012

Billy Bob the Evil

As many of you know, I grew up out in the country.  If we weren't on a working farm, we still had a lot of land, with a lot of animals that one would come to expect to be on a farm...  mostly horses.  But we had a stint with ducks before the coyotes ate them all, and a couple of runt pigs for a time, and we did have several months with a goat.  Billy Bob.  Billy Bob the Evil.

To be fair to Billy, I'm not sure that he came to us evil...  well, no, wait.  That's not right.  He was a naughty goat when he came to us.  We just made it worse.  

You see, he had curling horns, and it was fun to push on them to get him to "wrestle." We kids enjoyed doing that, and it really seemed like he was enjoying it too.  So it's not like we tortured him constantly.  But  the "wrestling" also made him mean, and I can see in hindsight that we really did him a disservice by encouraging that.  But.  We're back in the late 1980's, and we don't know any of that and don't have the benefit of hindsight.

We got him because our land was very brushy.  And the brush hid dangerous creatures, such as poisonous rattlesnakes and copperheads.  A farmer friend recommended that we get a goat, telling us that we could tether the goat to an old tire wherever we wanted to be eaten down, and that he'd do the job for us.  Just like a weed whacker, only better.

So, enter Billy Bob.  

Only, it didn't work that way.  The first day, we tethered him to an old tire, as recommended, and put him out on a brushy, rocky hillside with a bucket of water to drink out of.  When we got home that night, there was no goat.  There was also no tire.  And we got a phone call from the neighbor, who was bemused about why there was a goat eating her lawn grass while dragging a tire behind him.

This was just the first of a long string of mishaps surrounding Billy.  We kept a covered trashcan full of sweet molasses feed for the horses out in the yard near the fence.  He pushed it over one day and ate most of it.  That was a hell of a lot of sweet feed, and if my horses had been the ones that ate it all, it probably would have foundered them, possibly even killed them.  It didn't even phase the goat.  

Sweet feed isn't cheap, so when we refilled the trashcan, this time we kept it inside the screened in porch.  

And while we were eating dinner, heard a terrifying noise that I'll still hear in my sleep sometimes, "WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!"  The sound of a billy got running at the porch door and slamming his horns into it repeatedly.  Having a grand old temper-tantrum and desperate to get to the feed.

He wasn't easily intimidated by anything, not even the horses.  Even if they outweighed him so drastically.  One of them was sunbathing as only horses can do, sprawled out flat in the pasture, looking for all the world like he was dead.  Billy apparently needed to seek higher ground to spy out the next batch of trouble to get into, so he climbed on top of the horse, and stood there for all of the world like a look-out.  The horse gave him a very startled look, but did just lay there and not move.  

He also started turning on US, which was even more terrifying.  You would hear his "eh eh eh eh eh eh" bleating sound, surprisingly delicate, right before he charged you, his long, curling horns lowered.  And he WOULD attack you, and you wouldn't be able to easily fend him off.  Probably the worst of this was when he rushed on of my brother's friends, scooped him up by the crotch with his horns, and slammed the poor kid up against the house.

That might have been the day that the clock started ticking on Billy's stay with us, but the day that it really was over for him was when he saw my mother, bent over in the garden pulling weeds.  I think everyone knows where this is going...

We gave him to my aunt, who took him back to Colorado to her ranch.  I think within just a couple of weeks, he'd eaten the vinyl top off of her car, and butted her top stud horse in the head.  

Billy was given away, free of charge, to a goat farm at that point.  

Although we made him mean, we didn't push him that far in that direction; I think that he came pre-wired to be a terror.  And it has made me swear off goats from now on.  Now, I've met some nice goats since then, and petted some in petting zoos, and I do see that not every goat wants to see me dead, but I will never be able to hear a goat bleating again without interpreting it as a battle-cry.  


  1. Ha ha ha! Oh, this reminds me of some of our sheep stories! We had a ram named Fred. My mother was completely terrified of him! Ironically, while he went after both of my parents at different times, he never bothered me. Perhaps I was too little to be worth his trouble. I know that he finally pushed things too far and moved on to another pasture!

  2. In my opinion, all the Allreds and Billy Bobs of the world are going to all end up in the same place in the next life. ANd they will all be good and kind and loving and thier claws will be made of sugar and horns made of cotton candy.

    Yep, that is my opinion.

    Love the story of Billy Bob.

  3. Bert, you are the sweetest and kindest dog!
    The story of Billy makes me laugh too.

  4. Goodness, but this made me laugh. I love this story! We had a goat at our school called Lucky. For some inknown reason, the only place they could put him was in a paddock in the middle of the tiny childrens' playground. Well, Lucky used to regularly break down the fence and come charging. When you consider that the school was for kids who were deaf or blind, so half of them couldn't hear him coming and the other half couldn't get out of his way when he went into crazy mode, I think they called him Lucky purely because he was lucky he hadn't killed any of us yet!

    Tia and Millie say thank you for dropping by for Tia's gotcha day.