Eat! For the goats, it’s their most favorite part of the day and they know all the cues that lead up to the magic moment when they get their grain. Hay is pretty exciting, too, but not the same as the jingle of the sweet feed in the buckets!
There is a lot of jockeying for position at one of the 4 trough feeders. It’s quite entertaining to watch then run from one to the other, many times leaving a whole trough alone, full, with no one on that chow line. They tend to go to a feeder from the right and kind of move left, so some drop off that line, and run to another.
Sometimes we referee, if one goat is getting pushed out of each feeder in turn. Goat society is pretty ruthless, so most days we make sure to watch pretty closely. There is usually one goat that is at the bottom of the pecking order and needs a little protection. We see much the same behaviors in middle schoolers! Too bad the goats don’t ever grow out of it.
Ah those goaties! The numbers are going to be going down a bit now, and one goat is going to freezer camp in the next day or two. Sigh. SnowPea is getting old, and if I feel I cannot breed her any more, which is the case, then she may as well feed us while she still has good body condition.
And how! Even doing chores really early in the morning won’t get you out of it. We have had a breakneck weekend, with a friend visiting from NJ who is looking at a house not far from us. He is planning to retire up here in a few years, and a fantastic property came onto the market recently that is perfect for a single guy and his trusty black lab. Plus all his hit-and-miss engines and car toys!
And so it goes. The two youngest goat kids showed up with the scours a few days ago, but the heat and humidity don’t help that at all. They are coming around with the Di-Methox treatment, but I feel so bad for them in the meantime. They are as perky and interested in food as ever, so I think I caught it just at the right time. It’s always something on a farm.
As far as “it’s always something” goes, during our stay in NJ, our friend who was caring for the goats and the pigeons kept calling to say that our bucks were out of their paddock every time he turned around. When we returned, I beefed up all the fences in the boys’ paddock, and still Bagels the Buck was over and roaming about. (He was also luring Henry the Buck along with him, and Henry twisted his leg pretty badly jumping out, so he is a three-legged goat for now, but doing very well). I finally put Bagels into a pretty airtight pen, and there he stayed until I took him to the butcher last Tuesday. I would have kept him around for awhile, but only as a companion for whatever buck we get for the next few years. I couldn’t use him on all of his daughters, and having him breed the 3 moms would only result in more babies related to him. So, getting meat into the freezer is not the worst thing in the world, but I admit that I was not thinking about this for the moment. And I am keeping Henry around to be a short-term companion to the young buck that is still with his mom, Pippi, for weaning time. I won’t allow a buck to be alone, even with Jingle the Donkey, because goats are social animals and need another of their kind to pal around with. It’s the forever juggling act!
And tomorrow is Monday. The humidity is supposed to stay with us for a few more days, but it sounds like the temperatures will stay in the upper 70s, and not hover near 90F. Yay! There are a few things on my list for tomorrow, so I will see if I can get them done without too much trouble. I can’t stand the heat, so even though I am relieved not to have 5 feet of snow on the ground out there, the opposite is not very conducive to creativity or activity either!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!