Good Fences

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This is an illusion .

“Good fences make good neighbors” is a line from Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”. It’s about keeping a wall between neighbors in good repair. One of the men in the poem doesn’t think the wall is necessary and the other man believes a well-maintained barrier is the best way to stay good neighbors.

 Ziggy and Moses are like these two men.

Ziggy has chosen the wall and Moses would prefer a relationship without barrier.  

We’ve taken the donkey and the goat on a walk twice daily for almost ten days. Moses is always on a leash. The donkey and the goat have shared a large stall at night separated by a wire panel. They have had lots of time to get accustomed to each other.

So, this week I let them out into the big paddock together. They grazed peacefully for 10 minutes, and then unexpectedly Ziggy turned and tried to stomp Moses. I reacted simultaneously by rushing in and yelling and diverted Ziggy just before his front hooves smashed into the goat. Stomping is serious. It’s how a donkey attacks another animal with full intent to do harm. Stomping is a rapid, multiple pummeling of front hooves – drilling the attacked into the earth.

Moses the Cheerful was completely unprepared, and he seemed not to understand what was happening. It may be old age, or he may simply be innocent from living for years around other farm animals he has gotten along with. The dislike Ziggy has for the goat is inexplicable. Goat and donkey are both grazers. They are prey animals. Moses is quiet and gentle.

Often in life things don’t turn out the way we wish, because other factors than just our wishes are at play.

So be it- but Moses stays, and going forward the goat and the donkey can be near each other with a fence line in between. Good fences make good neighbors.



By A-Woven-Basket

6 replies on “Good Fences”

Very interesting. Animals’ personalities are so uniquely theirs and can change when certain circumstances call for a sudden and unexpected deviation.


Sher, you are really good at reading wildlife and the animal world. Don’t give up on Ziggy and Moses. Maybe more warm spring walks will help to turn the tide. Yes, the fence now is necessary. What about another goat for Moses?


Rymmel – I never really intended to get a goat, but my neighbor needed the help because her horse and other goat died in 2020, so we decided to give it a try. And, Moses is better off here, because we are here all the time, and we interact with him often. He is getting a lot of attention, and he seems to be thriving despite the dangers of donkey and crazy bird dogs. Bruce feels maybe with time, time, and more time–we can remove the fence. I am not so sure, but I think fences for now are a-okay.


I think the fence is a great idea. And much easier or the owners!
It takes a long time to adjust to other PEOPLE. Work in progress.


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