Honest parents tell their children early on that they will never out sneeze a goat. Sure, it seems cruel at the time. Dashing a kid’s hopes is never pleasant. But the sooner they accept the truth, the more time they have to adjust to the grim reality.
My goats sneeze at decibels that can deafen you faster than a heavy metal concert. Elvis is our loudest sneezer by far. At nearly two hundred pounds, he is a seriously big goat with a seriously big set of lungs. Every so often a long blade of grass goes up his nose while he’s grazing. He actually raises his head and slings it down as he sneezes.
“Loud” ain’t word enough to describe it. I don’t have the words to describe it other than to say an Elvis sneeze just about shakes the earth. No kidding, you can hear it from clear across the pasture.
A kid doesn’t stand a chance.
It might be wise to wait until the child is a little older, say early teens, to inform them that a goat will always – always – break wind louder than you, too. Your best efforts will pale in comparison. If my kids are any indication, this news will have a significantly bigger impact on the boys than the girls.
Elvis is no slouch on the back end of things, either. He gives it his all, Elvis does. He arches his back and squeezes mightily. The sound is what I imagine a hurricane through a trumpet would sound like. He enjoys it, too. His back from neck to tail literally quivers with delight when he is done. It is the goat equivalent of a victory lap.
The boy and I have done a bit of post-breakage quivering in our day, too, but Elvis is the king. Of course, Elvis has an unfair advantage. He doesn’t have a wife or mother in the house threatening to terminate his existence if he keeps it up.
If your child hopes to out run a chicken one day, you need to level with them about that, too. Chicken speeds can exceed 500 miles per hour. Anyone who says a chicken can’t run that fast has never been chased by a chicken. On several occasions I’ve witnessed my two daughters chase after their younger brother with homicide on their mind. They may have hit 200 to 300 miles per hour, tops, but that is a casual jog to a chicken.
Chickens can out whine a kid, too, although this may be hard for the parents of a teenaged daughter to believe. My daughters droned on about any number of things during their formative years, but they didn’t have a fraction of the whine staying power of a mad hen. After few hours, the girls tired and had to shut it down (at least long enough to rest up for the next bought of whining).
Not a chicken. A few hours is just the warm up.
I’ve listened to one hen, angry over another hen occupying the laying box she wants, go non-stop for the better part of a day. “Bok! Bok! Bok! Bo-aack!” Two hearbeats. “Bok! Bok! Bok! Bo-aack!”
Repeat twenty-seven thousand times.
As long as that no good little so and so was hogging that laying box, our girl was going to shout her complaint to the universe. And here’s the thing: there are nine empty laying boxes next to that one.
By any measurement, hen versus teenaged girl is a no contest.
Of course, I saved the hardest piece of advice for last. It is this: Never for a moment let your child even remotely entertain the idea that he or she can catch a fly in mid-flight better than a chicken. I’ve seen chicks that are little more than puff balls with one inch legs accelerate to the speed of light and catch flies. I had a cluster of chicks that was so good at it, I called the enclosure I kept them in “the pen of no return.” Flies flew in. Not a one flew out.
In the end, it is up to you. Tell your children the truth or not. They will find out regardless. At least they will if they spend any time around Elvis.