There is nothing that smells quite as bad as a male goat in rut.
During the mating season, excited billy goats urinate on their own beards and front legs. An amazing feat, really, if one ignores the ickiness of it all and instead simply dwells on the sheer athleticism involved.
Female goats find these unique yoga poses of the bucks, and the malodorous aromas that ensue, simply irresistible. This time of year, the does’ tails are starting to flick, flick, flick, and they are spending inordinate amounts of time shamelessly positioning their rumps toward the billy goat’s pen.
I can’t explain why the does believe the heavy, musky smell of a buck is the hottest thing ever — someone recently described it to me as patchouli gone bad, and that will do well enough for a description — but then I’m not a doe, now am I?
My adventures started early one morning last week. Showered, appropriately deodorized and dressed for work, I stopped by the barn to feed the animals before driving to Waynesville to help put out the newspaper.
Boo the billy goat had broken out of his pen. He is a good-looking buck, with a fetching black and white pattern and a single horn that gives him a dashing, even rakish look.
That horn is becoming a problem. Boo has started hooking me with it when he’s feeling frisky and I’m not quick enough producing his rations. And these days, with fall in the air and a constant parade of sluttish does in front of his pen shooting him come-hither looks, Boo is getting very frisky indeed.
When he was a young thing, I could push and pull and bully him about, but no more.
At just a year and a half, Boo has filled out into a large, impressively muscular beast. He, thankfully, is not in the least bit mean or ill tempered. But Boo wants to do what Boo likes to do, and that certainly does not include being confined in a pen away from all those winsome lasses. He cares not a bit that four of the six are his own daughters.
I cursed when I saw Boo cavorting about the barnyard, kicking up his hooves while emitting an occasional fart, to the clear and obvious delight of the does. They managed to add to the mayhem by running around as if panicked by his presence. Actually, everyone involved was having a fantastic time. Including the guard dog, who was barking hysterically.
I glanced at Boo’s enclosure. He’d bent down the top of one of the stock panels with his bulk and scrambled over and out to freedom. I didn’t have time to repair the fence. Instead, I grabbed Boo by his collar and wrestled him into a stall, kicked the gate shut and latched it, spoiling the goats’ morning antics.
After feeding and helping some with the milking, I climbed into my car and started toward Waynesville. Boo’s scent was clinging to me, but I pretended it wasn’t that bad. No one will notice, I thought to myself.
Within minutes of arriving at work, I observed one of my co-workers looking at me with a funny look on her face.
“Do you smell something?” she asked me finally.
“Sorry,” I replied airily, “but I might smell a teensy, weensy bit like a billy goat. Boo broke out this morning and I had to put him up.”
No one said anything for a while. We worked on in silence.
Finally, Becky — who sits beside me in Waynesville — burst out, “would you change into another shirt if I got you one?”
“Why? Do I smell that bad?” I said, feigning surprise. “Can you really smell it that much?”
“Yes,” Becky, who is not known for subtlety, replied. “You really stink. I don’t think I can stand it.”
I felt slightly offended, but drawing in a deep breath in anticipation of delivering a cutting response, got a nose-full of billy goat odor. I thought for a minute, and remembered I had my running clothes in a duffle bag in the car. I got them and changed.
Even then, I could still smell Boo on me, and I’m sure everyone else could, too. But the odor was at least tolerable, if not enjoyable, and nothing else was said.