Royal Responsibilities

The herd has been going through a little bit of adjustment with Cuzco gone, but because Cuzco wisely passed leadership to Finn beforehand, there haven’t been too many ripples. There has been more head-butting between Finn and Sputnik, and the goats have been wilder on our walks lately, but no real disruptions.

But the power transition has not been completely seamless. The other day Phil and I watched through the window while a hilarious spectacle unfolded in our front pasture. Petunia (our herd queen) was really picking a fight with Jezebel (the lowest member of our herd). Jezebel looked like she’d rather not have any part of this altercation, but Petunia wouldn’t leave her alone (which is unusual–Petunia is typically one of the more laid-back personalities in our herd). Finn, feeling the burden of his new position as herd king, saw his clear duty to step in and break up the fight. Sadly for Finn, Petunia didn’t recognize her younger brother’s authority and refused to stand down. Finn kept running into the fray and trying run Petunia off, but she would turn and hit him back or circle around behind him and come at Jezebel from the other side.

Since Finn couldn’t run Petunia off, he instead tried to engage her in a fight with himself. That’s when Sputnik got involved. Petunia is Sputnik’s mother and the two of them have remained very close. Petunia keeps Sputnik on as a kind of bodyguard, and when Petunia is in trouble Sputnik is always the first to run to her aid. Finn was partially successful at drawing Petunia off to fight with himself until Sputnik came charging in to rescue his mommy.

Now all three goats were going hard at it until Petunia took off running full blast across the pasture and out of sight. Finn panicked. His herd was dispersed and he didn’t know what to do! He ran calling after Petunia, but about halfway across the field he stopped and looked back at the rest of the herd. Should he leave them? Were they safe without him? But what about Petunia?? The herd must not be separated! Finn began running back and forth between Petunia and the herd, calling and cavorting angrily. Eventually Sputnik went to retrieve Petunia, but Finn couldn’t let Sputnik act in a leadership capacity alone, so he continued racing back and forth between the two factions, brandishing his horns in frustration while the hair stood up on his back. He’s definitely taking his new leadership role very seriously!

Cuzco was usually more content to sit back and watch from a distance. If a fight needed breaking up the only thing he had to do was step toward the offending parties and give them a “look” and the fight was immediately over. Finn clearly has some proving up to do. Right now I think the herd is viewing him as a sort of Barney Fife, but luckily Finn does not usually overplay his hand so I think they’ll start taking him seriously before too long. There’s also a kind of dual kingship going on with Finn and Sputnik. Finn is undoubtedly the more dominant of the two, but they have become fast friends and are sharing a shed, sharing the feeder, and largely sharing responsibility for the herd. I think Finn is trying to avoid a direct confrontation with Sputnik because Sputnik is currently the bigger and heavier of the two and he also has the herd queen on his side. Finn seems to know that if he gets too pushy those two will rebel and dethrone him. Finn is a wise goat who I think will choose his battles carefully once he gets used to this new role of his.

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