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That time I got schooled on the difference between goats and sheep

By now, you’re probably starting to work out I’m a bit of a sucker for animals, especially strays.

So it should come as no surprise that I ended up trying to find the home of a lost goat who took a ‘special’ liking to me, but ended up being thoroughly schooled on the difference between goats and exotic breeds of sheep!

It started well – as these adventures always seem to.

It was before the current COVID-19 lockdowns, and I was happily driving along our back dirt road in the truck on my way to lunch with my best mate who lives ‘just up the road’ in country terms – a mere 45 minutes drive away.

I was happily and badly singing along to the radio, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and blue skies when I rounded a bend and almost came bumper to bumper with my new mate, Rock, pictured below.

(Rock, as in Kid Rock – get it?!).

We occasionally come across stray farm animals on the roads around here, and they generally get a fright, give you a fright and bugger off pretty quickly.

Rock had other ideas.

He seemed especially interested in his new mate – the truck – proceeding to give it the once over which was pretty funny. Until he decided to start nibbling on the front tyre. I jumped out and quickly coaxed him to the side of the road.

Running late for lunch I decided I’d work out the problem with Rock on my way back if he hadn’t made his way home. Unfortunately, he had other ideas, which included chasing the truck down the road at a decent speed!

I managed to shake him (I can confirm goats will not make the list of fastest animals thankfully) and then found myself heading up the driveway of a farm I’d spied in my earlier travels which had some pretty looking ‘goats’ in their front paddock.

The owner met me at their front house gate, and listened patiently, at first, as I explained where Rock was and inquired if he’d maybe escaped from his paddock.

He quickly went from patient, to highly affronted, explaining to me that he had sheep – not goats.

I left as quickly as possible, hoping he hadn’t checked my number plate for a later running out of town party.

In my defence: Google “Hebridean sheep” and you’ll see why I was confused, especially from a distance!

I visited another nearby farm with my story and a more general inquiry about the stock they kept, to save face. The owner’s joke about goat stew convinced me I needed to go back and rescue poor Rock, stet.

Fortunately, by the time I’d returned with some gear to wrangle Rock for a holiday in the Tree Changer top paddock, he’d found himself a home on the right side of a fence on the backroad, with a bunch of cows for company.

That neighbour now has one of the best kept front paddocks on the road, and I like to think Rock gives me and the truck a nod and a knowing look every time we drive by.

Tree changer lessons learned?   

  • You’d be surprised at the number of varieties of sheep in Australia.
  • Keeping large animal wrangling gear in the car is a must if you insist on rescuing strays in the country.



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