Embryo Transfer –
The Adventure of the Runaway Goats

Step 5 of the embryo transfer report was supposed to start with the uneventful picking the goats up at Jeff Latham’s and end with cute little babies being born in August.

Somewhere along the way someone didn’t hear the word “uneventful.”

I do not recommend anyone follow our unintended Step 5 in their own embryo transfer program.

The weather was perfect – just what John Edwards suggested. Not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was in the mid 60s. A lovely spring day.

Since the truck had pulled so hard on the previous trip to Livingston, AL and since we were only hauling 5 goats, we decided to forego the trailer and just travel in the truck. First mistake.

We were well prepared. We had the cattle sideboards on; and, since Xenia is a jumper, we cut two cattle panels and affixed them, overlapping, to the top of the sideboards. And to keep the wind off the critters, we invested in a 12 by 14 foot heavy duty (expensive) tarpaulin to put on before making the trip north. We had plenty bungee cords and baling twine to keep the tarp secured to the sideboards. Second mistake.

We had an uneventful trip to the Lazy L. Catching and loading the goats wasn’t difficult (although they did take Jeff on a stroll around the pond). All was going so well we never dreamed of the adventure to come.

About 200 yards after we got onto I20/I59, the wind got underneath the tarpaulin, and suddenly the sideboards learned how to fly. Up, up and away – leaving five startled goats standing, untethered, in the back of the pickup truck. They stood very patiently – until the truck came to a stop on the side of the interstate. Sensing they weren’t supposed to be there and seeing lushious green brush in front of them, over the side of the truck they leaped, running up the hill into the woods. We managed to catch one.

We put a rope around her neck, and I held on for dear life while Ken backed the truck to where the sideboard-kite had landed. He rapidly took the tarp and cattle panels off the top and got the sideboards back on the truck – amazing himself that he could put them on in one piece.

A family of four who had been behind us stopped to help keep the goats off the highway. A teenage boy ran into the woods after the goats (with us just knowing he was going to chase them back to the traffic) and came back to report the goats were stopped by a fence, happily eating. About the time Ken returned with the truck, the family got bored and left. They missed all the fun to come!!

We got Xenia loaded onto the truck then went in search of the other four. There were all together in a tight bunch. Oh to have had a net. We couldn’t have used it, of course, because the brush was too thick. On our first try Ken managed to catch Matilda.

The other three started to follow Matilda back to the truck. A mixed blessing. Since we had no way to catch them in the open, we scared them back up the hill into the thicket. Probably mistake number three.

After Matilda was loaded, off we went after the other three. Again. A gentleman from Livingston stopped to help along with an extremely nice young lady. We never learned either of their names, so we offer this public THANK YOU!

We almost had Kattie when the other two decided to dash off in the opposite direction. They headed toward a storm draining ditch. Kattie alluded capture and headed for the interstate.

How she avoided being hit is still a mystery to us. God was apparently watching over her; and since He had his chuckle for the day watching a bunch of overaged, overweight fools chasing a goat, He took care of her. One car left the road to miss her. The 18-wheeler managed to stop as Kattie turned and calmly walked off the asphalt. As soon as she cleared the road, she darted back up the hill into the same thicket.

Our newfound friend (whose name we never learned) call in reinforcements. In no time at all (seemed like an eternity) a Livingston policeman arrived on the scene, and moments later a fireman joined in the chase.

Several attempts to corner Kattie failed, but we did manage to keep her off the highway by scaring her back up the hill into the brush, fallen trees, and briars every time she would make a run for the clearing beside the road. It took over an hour to finally trap her.

While we were loading Kattie, our able search party spread out to find the other two goats. The policeman spotted them about 200 yards away from the interstate, calmly browsing underneath an oak tree with a herd of cows. He thought it would be best if we moved off the highway, relocating to the general area of the goat sighting.

So with the blessings of the policeman, we backed the truck down the interstate to an “official vehicles only” turn-around, then we followed the policeman to the pasture where he had stopped the goats. The cows were still grazing; no goats were to be found.

We called the Lathams, and Jeff and children arrived, hauler in tow, to carry the goats back to his place. The search continued. After almost two hours, we finally gave up. The goats were last spotted about ½ mile from the Lazy L. There is a 2-in-a-million (because there are two goats) chance the goats will find their way to the Latham’s herd.

But if they don’t – and if you’re traveling along I20/I59 near Livingston, AL, please drive carefully. At last spotting, Dot and Koko were heading south!

Kattie, Xenia, and Matilda will vacation at the Lazy L Farm until May 1st when we go to 2nd Annual Heart of Dixie Boer Goat Field Day– WITH TRAILER.

Are we the only ones who have these things happen? We thought the adventure with Brandy was exciting. In hindsight, Brandy’s little adventure was just expensive; chasing goats along an extremely busy interstate on a sunny Sunday afternoon will definitely rank number one in excitement.

For step 6, click here.

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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