Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unsupervised Goats

Hay.  We feed the goats hay.  Like 12 months out of the year.  Because we have no fenced pasture.

So, what does one do to cut down, if even a little bit, the hay bill when there is grass and green-goat-munchies all around but no way to keep the goats from 1) eating the garden and fruit trees 2) jumping on top of the car 3) eating all the chicken scratch and 4) wandering the countryside?

I've been putting them out on long leads to graze.  Where they will wind themselves around any stick, twig or rock sticking up more than 2" out of the ground.  In like thirty-four seconds.

Paul will occasionally make four cattle panels into a small enclosure and put them in there for the day.  We even tried putting up a small electric paddock, but Nettie just walked right through it.  Getting zapped is just something some goats will suffer through if it means being able to get to the "better" grass on the other side of the electric fence.

A few weeks ago, I started doing something irresponsible.  I've been letting them out, walking them to a particularly nice and yummy looking patch of greenery....and leaving them to roam "free".  Well, not for long.  And I do tie one of them up.  It seems that as long as one goat is semi-stationary, the others tend to hang around.

I've been setting a timer in the house for twenty minutes and will pop out there to make sure no one has wandered too far.  Or to make sure that no one has decided to bulldoze through the garden fence:
Yes, that's a goat in the garden.  Luckily she only managed to
defoliate the green bean plants and didn't find the blueberries.
I haven't let the new Boer kids out though as I don't trust them to hang around.  Not to mention the fact that I have to keep the male Boer kid separated from everyone else as he is most interested in the females.

And speaking of the new Boer kids, my Mom named the female Lily (since she was born on Easter) and when I told my sister,  she said that I should name the male "Herman" then.  She waited for a reply from me, but I just said, "Uh hugh."  I didn't get it.  She eventually told me her reasoning.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who didn't get why Christine picked "Herman".  Please.

20 comments:

  1. Anyone?...Anyone??? Does 1313 Mockingbird Lane give a big enough clue? My god, it's sooooo obvious!

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    1. Umm. I wouldn't have got it even with that clue. I'm hopeless.

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  2. I got it right away!! Love the Munsters

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    1. I like them too....but obviously not as much as you or my sister!

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  3. I got it! Wow, does that age me? The Munsters rock! And, if you use chains or ropes, try running them through a old garden hose (you can slit the hose and put the chain/rope through it for ease). The hose is hard to kink, wrap or twist. I've done the "check on the flock" thing. Last weekend, the sheep wouldn't cross the creek, so I assumed that they'd be content eating the blackberries in the 30' stretch. 15 minutes later they were 1/2 mile down the creek and had crossed the water no problem. Little pains! Luckily a bucket full of rocks that they thought was grain lured them back home.

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    1. So, guess sheep are just as much little stinkers as goats then, hugh?
      Thanks for the suggestion using the hose, I'll have to be on the lookout for some old garden hose to do that!

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  4. When my goats were little I would let them run wild (supervised) on the hill. Then they got too wild, so now we walk them on leads once a week! I wish I had my yard fenced the feed bill would be cut in half!!! I like the names of your new babies and your goats are cute, even in the garden ;)

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  5. I didn't get it, so don't feel badly. Years ago I grazed four horses belonging to a neighbor who neglected them at free will in my yard and pasture... I was lucky not to have suffered any losses, but probably would not do it again as the loss of one would have fallen on me.

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    1. That's the problem with taking on someone else's responsibilities, although I would have probably done the same.

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  6. Look at all your green stuff! I tried to take our doe for a walk once but she wouldn't have anything to do with leaving her kids behind.

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    1. I'm too lazy to walk the goats. You're much nicer than I am :)

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  7. I got Lily and Herman right away too! LOL!! Maybe you just aren't old enough! ;-)
    The panels sound like a good idea but using the timer works too! I have to set a timer for almost EVERYTHING or I get sidetracked and forget what I'm doing. It's hard getting old... (sigh)

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    1. That doesn't answer why my sister, who is 4 years younger than me, knew. But she's kind of a "strange" person anyhow.

      And yes, as I'm typing this, there is a timer next to me so I don't forget to stir what's on the stove!

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    2. Yeah, but wait until you get to the stage where the timer goes off and you have no idea what it's for. (Yes, it is sad.)

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  8. I didn't get it until I read Peggy's comment. But then, it wasn't a program we ever watched when I was a kid. :)

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    1. I remember watching it as a kid, but guess I wasn't that "in" to it like a certain sibling of mine is.

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  9. They look like they're enjoying themselves! Any future plans for fencing?

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    1. We're slowly, but surely working on it. Well, Paul is :)

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  10. You know you're a homesteader when you lust after fencing. (My idea of heaven would be if a Fairy Godmother appeared and said she would grant my wish of any kind of fencing anywhere on the property.)

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