Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Got Cut Out

I came home yesterday to goats in the front yard being chased around by Maggie.  I got out of the car and the goats followed me back to area 4 where I put them for a few hours before bed.  Even though there's nothing for them to eat, area 4 is electrified, so it held them in.  I've heard that goats aren't hard to keep in, as long as they've got good stuff to eat, but I was pushing the boundaries anyway.  They're eating faster, and although I gave them new areas on Tuesday and Thursday, it still wasn't enough.

I remember the first time the goats got out, back in the misty ages of a month ago.  I was a little terrified and ran to put Maggie in the house, ran to get the leashes, etc.  (Actually I walked fast.  There's not much that will make me run.)  Now I'm an old hand at loose goats. At least these loose goats, here, far away from traffic.  I don't have to put the dogs in the house any more.  They don't bother me and the goats.  And the goats follow me!  That is SO cool!

I've been contemplating where to put the goats next.  There are a few areas that are farther away from the house, on a steep hill and VERY brambly.  I'm putting off enclosing one of them because I don't especially like setting up fence in steep bramble.  This morning I gave myself a break, took the half-fence and put it north of the house. 
The "gave myself a break" part comes because the entire fenceline of this area is on grass.  Sigh of relief.  Bought myself another day before I have to break through bramble.  This is really giving me an idea of how much work would be required if the herd were bigger.  Like next year when both girls have twins and I have a herd of six.  Then I would be a single, full-time working engineer practicing to have a weed-eating herd of goats, while milking two and making cheese.  Oh My!  I'm having a hard enough time of it now!  Maybe I should only breed one of them, or none, or breed both and sell the kids.

Here's a bouquet of what I cut out before allowing the goats in.  I cut out two areas of dogbane and a bunch of milkweed, but not all of it.  A little milkweed will be OK as long as there is other stuff for them to eat.  Here's hoping that I found everything poisonous!


  1. I'll be breeding two does next year rather than one mainly as a back up should anything go wrong with one doe and I'm left without milk. To save on time, I'll only be milking one doe or may alternate milking each doe every other day. Also, I milk only once per day as long as the kids are nursing buy locking the doe up at night and milking her in the morning then leaving her with the kids during the day. I too work a full-time job so little tricks like this save a lot of time. Have you tried feeding your goats a treat or a little grain everyday in a milking stand? If not, you'll want to think about starting sometime to get them used to standing in a milking stand as a precursor to being milked. I found my milking stand (a sturdy metal one) on . . . Craig's List . . . of course!

  2. Yay craigslist! I just looked there, and various other places. It doesn't look too hard to build one. Thanks to your advice, I'll build one earlier than I would have otherwise - probably at the same time I build them a hay feeder, in the next few months.