Art. XXXII.—Inherited Instincts and Anecdotes of Domestic Animals.
[Read before, the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 16th October, 1899.]
Owing to my residence in various parts of New Zealand in the early days of the settlement of the country, and my occupation as a pioneer sheep-farmer in the days when boundary-fences and subdivisions of properties were unknown, I have had opportunities to observe the habits of our various domesticated animals when placed amidst surroundings such as were probably nearly akin to those formerly occupied by their feral ancestors. In this paper I will endeavour to describe certain customs and peculiar actions which some animals exhibit when thus ranging over a large extent of land, seldom interfered with by the herdsman or shepherd, which habits are undoubtedly inherited from their one-time feral ancestors.
One of the most interesting sights of long ago would be the hackney or riding stallion in charge of his herd of mares. At any time during the year he would allow no males, whether entire or otherwise, to come within sight of his harem, and if any such came within view he would charge out at a gallop to meet and fiercely bite them, tearing and bruising away great patches of outer skin and hair the breadth of a man's hand, and I have seen a large-sized gelding fairly lifted up several inches from the ground by the skin of his back as if held in a vice. When the assaulted animal could break away, flying in grievous terror, he would be pursued, and every now and again overtaken and bitten by the cruel teeth, which on losing hold would clap together like castanets. It seemed to me that intense fear caused the fleeing animal to lose a portion of his strength and fleetness, and his follower by an extra spurt would come up to him.
A chestnut entire, bred in Australia and imported to New Zealand about the year 1858, was in my possession for ten years, and was running in freedom with his mares during that time. His name was Jersey, and he looked after his harem with the greatest jealousy, with the single exception of a small bay mare (Fanny), whom he drove away, and who had to associate with a distant mob of colts and geldings; nevertheless, she produced a foal each season.
The horse, when collecting and driving his herd, is a grand
sight. He travels at a swift trot, with ears laid back, head and neck bent down, and nose close to the ground, almost between his fore legs, in which attitude he fills his mates with terror. With much swishing of their tails and other signs of fear (each one closely accompanied by her foal, who keeps alongside its dam) they all start away in a mad gallop, urged forward by their driver, who is then galloping from side to side on their outskirts, threatening the laggards and stragglers of the mob.
A peculiar habit of the horse—evidently a custom inherited from a far-away ancestor—is that when he leaves his mares to make an excursion round about in order to find other mares to add to his mob he will establish large heaps of his droppings (dung) at certain places, so that any person seeing these heaps would at once know that a stallion was running free at that place. This remarkable instinct or sexual custom, like similar customs amongst other animals, is to our ideas entirely useless, but they may at one time have served some useful end—for instance, I have noticed that a stallion living at a distance would never extend his beat within the boundaries occupied by the other, possibly being in a measure warned by these heaps of ordure.
The exactitude with which the animal would measure his distance when making a deposit was remarkable. On first coming up he would for some time smell the heap, as if obtaining certain knowledge of those preceding him; then he would step across the required distance and leave his deposit thereon with the greatest exactitude. This was evidently done with a special purpose, and was at times varied by staling on the heap, the horse never requiring to look around to calculate the position. This anecdote to some may seem out of place and scarcely worthy of mention, but I venture to assume that in the study of nature all such are worthy of record.
I once tethered a quiet mare overnight, and the next morning, being young and active, I coiled the rope and jumped on the mare barebacked and rode about a mile, to where our riding-horses were feeding, for the purpose of driving them in and catching those required for the work in hand. To my surprise, the old mare I rode became quite unmanageable, and carried me forward at her best speed, keeping well in the centre of the scurrying mob. The land in those parts at that time had a great deal of spear-grass and the prickly shrub called “wild Irishman” spread about, and this, added to the fact that the mare only had a rope around her neck, increased my difficulty in keeping a seat on my hurrying steed. During this exciting gallop I became awarer of the fact that my favourite riding-horse (Ostrich) was closely attended by a small foal, a circumstance, which, so far as my
experience tended, should have been altogether an impossibility. When we arrived at the house (we then had no stockyard, but kept a small slab of wood for each horse, upon which on like occasions a small sprinkling of salt was placed to encourage their homing instincts, for this situation was ninety miles inland) I examined the new foal, and it gradually dawned on me that my mount (Creamy) was its mother, which accounted for her wild excitement during my ride. The remarkable fact of this anecdote was that the gelding and the foal had established a strong bond of friendship, and were inseparable. Ostrich bit and kicked at the other horses, and would not allow the mother to claim her foal. Ultimately I took Ostrich for a two days' ride, and left the foal, expecting it to starve to death, for it showed great fear of its own mother, but when I returned the foal was well, and had accepted the attentions of its anxious parent.
About the year 1860 I rode some distance for flour, and I took a second mare and a packsaddle with me. The following day, when returning with 1 cwt. of flour on either side of the pack-horse, I was met by a three-year-old stallion, who took up a position in front of my mares, with head down and ears laid back, and I was unable to urge them forward. I then dismounted and collected some stones, and, by a few skilful shots, succeeded in driving the animal behind me; but unfortunately the two mares began at the same time to move homeward, and the horse, noticing this, galloped round me and took possession. I had the satisfaction of seeing my mares and the then greatly valued flour disappear at a gallop, leaving me to follow on foot in a dejected and sorrowful state of mind.
As most people are aware, the horse will show fear or surprise by trotting around with a high pounding action, with head held high, and neck arched, and mane flowing in the breeze, occasionally stopping and intently gazing directly towards the object of anxiety, and snorting or loudly blowing through his nostrils. Our horses greatly feared even the smell of three she asses which were owned by a neighbour; so much so that without the donkeys being in sight it was difficult to ride them close to this person's abode, the small shrubs and hedge being evidently considered lurking-places for these dread animals. One time during my absence this neighbour thought it a favourable opportunity to secretly obtain the services of my horse Jersey to raise mules. He managed to get Jersey into the same stockyard with the donkeys, when he broke away, urged by intense fear, and, jumping the 7 ft. fence, took across country as hard as he could lay legs to the ground. This came to my knowledge years after the occurrence of the episode.
In the old days, when the whole country was unfenced, except in the vicinity of a town, horses frequently showed great homing instinct, and, when ridden long distances round about, would sometimes escape homeward in the night-time, always going in a direct line—I refer to the extensive Canterbury Plain, where the only obstacles were the swift-running rivers.
I remember starting from Christchurch in 1856, driving a two-horse dray (heavily laden), crossing the Waimakariri River, and making for the Oxford district. In the evening, when actually within sight of my destination, a thick mist came on, and I was only able to see ahead the length of my team. After proceeding some distance I became doubtful as to my position, the more so on account of my passing many toi-toi bushes—a tall grass (Arundo conspicua) resembling the pampas grass. Feeling convinced that something was wrong, on my next arriving at a toi-toi I broke down several of its tall seed-heads and drove on, and coming once more to a toi-toi bush and examining it in the dim light of departing day I again beheld the broken seed-stalks. On starting again the same thing took place. Finding from this that I was moving in a circle, I gave a “coo-ee,” and to my delight received an immediate answer, and at once started towards the sound, but I had not gone far before the call was repeated immediately behind me. This same thing occurred several times, and I determined to remain stationary, replying occasionally. Presently up came my elder brother (whom two days before I had left in Christchurch) on horseback. He said,” Where is the house, and what are you doing here?” when a call was heard, and my younger brother joined us, he having left the house to come to the rescue. My younger brother persisted that we were on the wrong side of the river-course (then a dry bed of shingle), but this I denied, as it was impossible to drive a dray over shingle without being aware of the fact. It was ultimately decided to take off the leading cart-mare, whose foal was following, and presumably occupying her attention, and trust to the shafter drawing the load in a homeward direction, although the darkness of night was now added to the confusing mist. This proved a success, and we soon arrived at home.
One day when herding sheep a dense snowstorm came on, and I left the flock and made for home, but soon found sheep in front of me, which proved to be those I had left. The same thing resulted several times, when, taking a wider bend, I came to a mob of horses, and decided to follow and drive them till they took me home. This plan succeeded admirably.
I have known horses to be snowed up in a mountain valley to a depth of 2 ft., with over 7 ft. in the drifts, and the river
frozen over and buried in snow; yet they kept in good condition for two months, scarcely moving, but pawing away the snow until coming to the 2 ft. length of snow-grass (Danthonia, sp.?), on which they fed. They seemingly required no water; certainly none was procurable during that time. And these horses had been brought from the north, and therefore had no previous knowledge of deep snow and the grass to be found beneath.
I was lately told by a reliable person of an old and favourite horse who was able to open all the gates, and the remedy found effective in stopping him was hanging bits of tin to the gate. He would stand blinking his eyes and shaking his head, but was completely checked by this simple device.
Mares will travel at times long distances to the place where they have received service of the horse, even to going through the centre of a considerable town and remaining pawing and forcing open the stable-door within which was their wished-for mate.
When I was a small boy in England we had a thoroughbred pony and a donkey kept in the same paddock, and one day I noticed quite a small crowd of persons standing in the roadway intently looking at something. The pony was carrying a large stick in his mouth, and was seemingly striking and poking the donkey to make him gallop around. The explanation of this would probably be found in the mischievous habits of the pony; it would sometimes run away with our jackets when laid on the grass whilst we were engaged in a game at cricket. This pony (Fireaway) was certainly very intelligent, and distinguished himself greatly when following the Rufford foxhounds, being very swift and a remarkable fencer.
A fierce duel between mares, when carried on with proper science, is very interesting. To present as small a point of danger to themselves as possible, each runs back so as to keep as near the other as possible, and thus prevent a lashing-out kick. To save their hind legs, as it were, they almost sit down on their tails, looking backward with head turned over the shoulder, squealing shrilly all the time, and jumping about in this singular attitude with great activity, and watching to catch the other at a disadvantage. I have only once seen this encounter in a lifetime.
I once saw two stallions fighting. They upreared themselves frequently, so as to seem surprisingly tall, actually wrestling, as it were, and biting each other on the crest of the neck and withers. Their stertorous breathing could be heard a long distance off. This fight between Jersey and an old cart-entire came off on a clear moonlight night, and roused me from a sound sleep. I rushed away with a long stockwhip and drove the two, still fighting madly, notwithstanding
my heavy cuts with the whip, backward through the gate of the stockyards, where I ultimately placed them on either side of the fence, and closed in; but Jersey jumped the tall fence and made off to his mob. There was thus no knowing what the final result of the fight would have been.
I knew a mare who would eat cooked meat, and on coming to a new place would always walk round and look for the pig's swill-tub, drinking the sour contents with great relish. One of our party once made a sea-pie for Sunday's dinner and placed it at the door of the house to cool, when this mare, happening to see it, ate it up. She probably had been hand-reared, but was four years old when I first made her acquaintance. She was afterwards sold to Mr. Freeman R. Jackson.
The horse bot-fly (Œstrus, sp.) has been brought to this country, and is becoming a great plague. Striking the horse chiefly about the forearm and under the chin, while on the wing it darts forward, and, by aid of its ovipositor, leaves an egg attached to the hair of the horse each time it stings (as the vulgar term describes this action). In Otago it is reported that horses at times die through the numerous botgrubs piercing the walls of the stomach.
In using the term “ox” as the heading to this paragraph I but follow the original usage, although we of the present time would more readily accept the word “cattle.” Formerly the bull and cow were spoken of as “large cattle,” and the sheep and goat as “small cattle”; for “cattle” and “chattel” were originally the one word, as denoting the property or wealth of the individual. Where cattle have the range of a large area of land, and the human inhabitants thereof are few, they readily relapse into a feral condition. Instances of domestic cattle becoming thoroughly feral have repeatedly occurred in many parts of New Zealand.
In the early “fifties” I remember hearing of a strong party of stockmen attempting to capture a considerable herd which were located to the north of the Ashley River, in Canterbury. One lot of these wild cattle was surprised on a moonlight night and forced from their usual haunts; but on arriving on the sea-beach they all took to the water as if crossing a river, and, swimming out to sea, were never heard of again.
In 1859 my brother John, myself, and a hired man drove nearly three hundred head of cattle from the neighbourhood of Christchurch through Otago to the south side of Lake Wakatipu—a considerable undertaking in those days, for we had to swim the Waitaki, Molyneux, and other rivers, and roads there were none. In the early morning, when breaking
camp on the Saddle Hill Range, near Dunedin, we, as was our custom, let the riding-horses and pack-horse go among the cattle, to save them for the more severe work of returning after any beast which might stray on the back-track during the night, and because, our rate of travelling being slow, we were as well on foot. There was snow on the ground, and during the day we passed a miniature snow-hut, where lately a man and woman, having their horses bogged, had managed to exist through a stormy night. In fact, some person had lately found the lady's horse (presumably dead), and placed the side-saddle on a cairn of stones, with a paper attached asking that we take it on to the first house at the foot of Saddle Hill. Many cairns of stones were erected to direct the traveller round the bogs, but in our own case we omitted to notice a cairn at an angle, and, making a straight line to the cairn beyond, went into the morass, and lost some hours extricating the pack-horse, &c.
But to return to my proper subject. The three of us commenced to collect the cattle and drive them forward, we being on foot, when one of us was chased some distance by a wild cow that had become separated from her calf. This cow returning to the herd, we got the cattle moving in the right direction, but soon were chased by other cows, I having to flee to a cairn of stones in great fear and haste. It became evident that about twenty wild cows and a large wild bull had got into our mob. Being unable to get our riding-horses from amongst the cattle on account of these fierce cows, we seemed to have quite lost command of the situation. Presently the bull galloped down the sloping ground towards the forest (possibly above Blueskin), followed by the other wild animals, and with some twenty of our biggest steers following madly after. I was, as you may suppose, transfixed with horror at the sight, but started my sheep-dog Maori after them, and he actually ran in behind the wild cattle and luckily succeeded in checking the leaders of our mob till we came to his assistance. This action of the dog surely showed his great sagacity, and is well worthy of record.
In the great forest extending, till lately, some seventy miles in unbroken line on the south of Hawke's Bay and northern part of the Wellington Province many wild cattle have been killed, and noting those which I have seen, which resembled shorthorn cattle, it was evident that many showed the inclination to breed a black colour. I saw among ordinary colours some black-and-white cows, and dark-red-brown and brindled bulls—one cow a beautiful light-yellow and white patches. On questioning others who have hunted these cattle, they all agree that they incline to a darker or black colour among individuals of those seen. These cattle
feed on the leaves of certain small trees and shrubs, and have the peculiar habit of forcing even those about 7 in. in diameter at the butt to the ground by use of their horns, but more especially by breasting them down. At one place I noticed several acres of an area having every small tree laid over and mostly on the ground, this being all done by wild bulls breasting them down.
Tame cattle escaping to the forest at once become exceedingly timid and cunning. At one time in Otago I lost for some time a pair of barren cows which were leaders in my team of working bullocks, and could not find them high or low; but one day, when looking across the mountain valley (some mile in width), something curious was noticed below a tree at the edge of a small birch forest (Fagus, sp.), which on examination with a glass proved to be the face of Chloe, the smaller of the two cows. The face was then withdrawn and seen no more, but on going to this place next day I saw evidence that the two cows had been in hiding actually within a mile of my house, but being cunning, and remaining among the trees, never coming out on the grass land, except possibly after dark, had remained undiscovered.
The deep-voiced bellowing of a wild bull in the forest is something quite tragic, the boo'a, boo'a, bo, sometimes beginning in deep bass and ending in a shrill trumpet-sound. With three companions I was once travelling through the forest when we heard these deep resounding calls, giving the information that an old bull on the war-path was ascending the sloping hillside and approaching our position. The younger of the party, whose turn it was for next shot, carried the carbine, and so was expected to keep valiantly to the front. I myself was bringing up the rear, and must confess that as these deep roarings came nearer, and seemed to vibrate along the ground from no particular direction, the idea of seeking a safe harbour became predominant, so, rushing off to a large rata-tree, and then peeping from behind the tree-butt to see how the battle waged, I was surprised to see nothing of my two friends, whilst the third was seen hanging to the bough of a tree, and the carbine had fallen to the ground. One of the others (a surveyor) ran for the carbine, and took a hurried shot, causing the bull to retreat hurriedly, without my seeing what sort of an animal he was.
One can well suppose on hearing such sounds that the name “bull” is compounded of bo, the call or sound, and the root-word of Latin ul-are, to howl—as we also see in Latin ul, ul, a, an owl; also in our words howl and owl—vulgar English, ullet, the screech-owl. The bellowing of some dozen steers or young oxen, heard at midnight when trampling round and pawing up the earth about a bullock-hide which.
was pegged out to dry, once gave me a start; the united concert was truly diabolical.
Cattle will also congregate about a spot where blood has been spilt, or an animal killed, becoming quite mad in actions and bellowings; they are also dangerous to the wounded of their own kind, or to cows when calving. A cow with freedom to roam will, when calving, wander to a distance, and then hide the young calf in some concealment, herself feeding apart, but coming at times slyly to attend to the calf. It is not exactly safe for any person to come accidentally on this hiding-place.
Where domestic cattle are allowed to roam in large herds the bulls for a part of the year will leave the herd, and then three or more bulls may be found amicably associated together, notwithstanding their deadly hatred of each other at other seasons. This habit of the males becoming a bachelor party is also common to the sheep and goat, and may be taken as a good instance or proof that all three animals are descended from the same far-away ancestors. In fighting bulls decide a battle mainly by pushing with their heads locked together, rather than by goring with the horn; yet the vanquished when in flight may receive stabs if too exhausted to make a speedy retreat. I once saw the hunted bull run into at a right angle, lifted completely off his feet, and hurled down a steep terrace, which terrace had prevented his escape in a direct line.
Old bulls kept in paddocks (fields) often become very expert in lifting gates from their hinges when they wish to roam about. I had three generations of white bulls, all of whom learned this trick in their third year, when I used them in the bullock team as “polers,” and so gave them more travelling than they desired. This would seem an instance of inherited instinct.
About the year 1860, when I was living near the headwaters of the Oreti, or New River, and the surrounding country was as yet unknown to the pioneer settler or surveyor, Messrs. David McKellar and Gunn, neighbouring sheep-farmers, came to my log-and-thatched dwelling and stayed the night with me. They proposed to endeavour to find a way through or over the mountains westward to Martin's Bay, between the Mavora Lakes and head-waters of the Greenstone River. As I had already found a way to the northern end of the Mavora Valley, I agreed to pilot them thus far, wishing to explore the valley in search of stray cattle. These gentlemen did not reach the West Coast, but their journey is recorded in our maps by the names of Lake McKellar and Lake Gunn. We camped the first night at the head of Mavora Valley, near a small lagoon. The following
morning we separated, I following down the valley in the direction of the lakes, where I found about fifteen head of mixed cattle and one small calf. These I captured, and journeyed on along the west side of the lakes, and presently found the steep hillsides covered with “wild Irishman” (Maori, tamatakoura) and thick layers of dead grasses, the accumulation of many years, for the white man's fire had not yet roared along the mountain-side. A narrow belt of small shingle by the edge of the lake gave me a fair road till well along the side of the second or lower lake, when I noticed a single birch-tree (beach) branching low over the water, and also that the cattle, on going further out to get beyond the lower branch, were swimming, having gone over the edge of a sunken terrace into deep water. (This sudden deepening of the lake in terraces is a common peculiarity of most New Zealand lakes.) Thinking that with great care I might steer my horse round the tree without slipping into deep water, I followed on, but soon had my horse swimming, and he would persist in going under the bough, which then came directly across my chest. Hanging on by one hand to the saddle I kept the horse from progressing, but was unable to turn him outward beyond the bough. Finding my efforts fruitless, the only alternative was for me to turn a half-somersault over his tail, and sink to the bottom, some 10 ft. On coming up I followed my horse under the bough, and went along some distance further, where the precipitous rocks of the mountains reached out to the deep water. Seeing this I sent my dog Maori to turn the cattle back, keeping out of the way myself by standing among the prickly shrubs; but instead of turning back the cattle swam out into the lake, where I at once lost sight of their bobbing heads, for it was now the dusk of the evening. For a time their hard breathing was heard, and then no sound. After a while they were heard again, and I congratulated myself, thinking they were swimming ashore again; but no, all again were lost to hearing, and, as it was now almost dark, I felt considerably dejected, thinking of my drowning cattle. This, if I am not mistaken, was in the month of May, and as the nights were liable to be frosty I did not know how I should pass the night. My matches were wet, as also my clothing and my one blanket. No food, no fire. Collecting a large heap of the grass that was lying around as it had died—perhaps years ago, for the living grass grew in a straggling way up through this hay-like substance—I took off my wet clothing, and with some excusable shrinking put on my waterproof overcoat and crawled under the pigs' bed of dead grass. In the morning frost was on my clothing, so I waited for the sun to warm things up a bit before donning the wet
clothes. I had a look across the lake—a distance of probably a mile—and could faintly discern cattle feeding on the hillside. How I followed my horse, carrying the saddle on my own back, until he was caught by my making a short cut across a promontory, and travelled round the lake, reaching the cattle about midday, and found my way through the belt of birch forest, reaching home that night, are memories of the past. These cattle were the same fifteen head, and even the calf was with them. This I should say is a record swim, taking into consideration that it was undertaken in the dim gloaming, and that the course could hardly have been a direct one under the circumstances.
The nature of the merino is very feral. They prefer the high mountain-range. When alarmed a blowing whistle is made through the nostrils, and the instinct is to make upwards. They also stamp with the fore foot. In mustering large flocks they are driven along the mountain-range by shepherds walking a distance apart, so making a line from top to bottom of the hill, and forcing the sheep in one direction for three to nine miles, thus massing them up to a suitable place to force them on the lower flats or valley-bottom, from whence they are driven to the yards.
Sometimes very large losses occur even in careful management, and when no person is within a considerable distance of the animals, who are “stringing” along in long lines, looking from a distance like many long snakes wriggling along the face of the hill. This may be called “the follow-my-leader instinct.” If the first sheep in a string should enter a creek-hollow at the wrong place, and be unable to climb the opposite side, those following may keep coming on and tread underfoot their leaders, who may be all smothered, and make a dying bridge for the remainder to pass over. It is a difficult matter to stop those following when the danger is observed, for even two or three men may not at first be able to “break the string” and direct those following into a safer course.
Rams, when the season is off, will collect together in parties of three to fifteen, and many, if fences allow, will come to the gate of the ram-paddock as to their proper home.
If black sheep are bred together their progeny is also black, or grey. The merino gives the more uniform black, often with forehead and tail white. I have a flock of eight hundred old sheep and some two hundred and fifty lambs, crossbred merino-Lincoln. Having started this flock eleven years ago, my returns for wool are below the average for white fleece. Many of these sheep have a small white spot under either eye, and in light-coloured ones the belly and thighs are
darker than other parts of the body, which I term the “water mark,” as though the animal had crossed a shallow stream. To what form of wild ovis do these peculiarities show an affinity?
CEstrus ovis, or sheep bot-fly, has been imported with the sheep. The young grub enters and climbs the nasal passage, and can follow an opening which leads to the horn-core of the merino. I have found as many as eight well-grown grubs in one horn. This connection from the horn to the nostril is seen on the breaking off a horn by accident, when the observer may notice that when the sheep coughs the blood on the head will be sprayed about by escaping wind.
The new-born lamb will follow its mother, and does not “plant.”
The goat is naturally wilder than most breeds of sheep, but when made a pet of is more of a companion than a sheep would be. Their note of alarm is, I think, made through the nose, but has a thick-lipped sound: the nearest I can write it is “purrup.”
The kid is hidden away, and the mother comes to it at long intervals. Even when well grown and following in the flock the kid is liable to “plant” or bolt away for hiding when the flock is mustered. They will even lay in hiding with closed eyes, the more readily to escape detection.
Goats when handled mostly cry out; they are not like sheep, “dumb before her shearers.” Angora goats shed or cast their wool so soon as the spring grass is eaten, the wool becoming matted and peeling off, which is a considerable drawback. It is remarkable to see that they strip the bark from some trees higher than 8 ft. from the ground, and also will bend a tall thin stem having foliage beyond their reach by taking the butt in their mouth and bending it over, continuing to pass the mouth along towards its extremity until the top is reached, which they cut off by the back teeth as if by a pair of scissors.
They soon become accustomed to be fastened by a tether-line, but, like all animals with which I have had experience, they wind their rope around the tether-peg. They require a swivel on the rope, otherwise by always going round the same way they unlay the strands of the rope. Why animals always persist in making the circle in one direction only, and never or rarely go in an opposite direction, is truly remarkable. This habit will cause a tethered animal to starve to death if not constantly attended to, for it will become wound up short by the neck or head. Why is this? Can it be because of rightor left-leggedness, as the leading off with one particular leg?
A circus-horse would require to lead with the outer fore-leg—that is, the leg further from the centre of the circle. In going the reverse way about the leading leg would require changing, but this mode of action more especially depends on cantering or galloping. I recommend the study of this theme to those who have time and methodical patience. If you take a dog, and fasten him to a stake a small distance from his kennel, allowing him room to get round it, you will soon see him wound short up and crying because he is unable to enter the kennel. He never by any chance sees the necessity of walking round the stake the opposite way, but will remain so shortened up until he dies, although food and water may be only the length of the chain away. Notice the chain is fitted with a swivel, and why? Because we know by experience (without understanding) that the dog will actually “go around himself,” and so, if there be no swivel, knot the chain short up. He never by any chance will turn the opposite way, and so take the turns out of the chain and benefit by its full length.
I have, unfortunately, never taken special note as to whether, say, one goat may go right about and another left about, or must they all go round the same way as the sun, as we are told to stir the pudding in the making.
After the manner of the rams and bulls, the buck goats associate together for half the year. This inherited instinct no doubt descends to them along the branches of the same ancestral tree.
I have no evidence of the goat suffering from Œstrus grubs, but have noticed them fight the fly by stamping on it, and by the goat rubbing its nose along the ground as if to clear away the insect or its eggs.