Saturday, July 5, 2014

Just a handful of kids

"Four?  Is that all?" said a woman I met at a local picnic when I told her about our new goats.  Let me tell you what I have learned so far:
 Goats are very busy.  They may be just kids, but if there is a way to get into, turn over, jump onto, or generally get into mischief, they will find it.  Jellybean, the youngest and smallest of the girls, has already shown me that she can easily get into spaces with as little as six inches to squeeze herself through.  There's nothing like suddenly finding a small sweet face looking up at you as you quietly sit working in what you thought was a secure place in the barn office.
During a recent thunderstorm, we had brought the girls into the barn to be safe.  I carefully secured areas that I didn't want the girls to get into but otherwise let them explore their surroundings.  After locking them in, I hotfooted over to Chickenland to check up on our other girls and chicks, before running on to the house amidst the downpour.   About 30 minutes later the severe rains had passed allowing me to head back to the goat barn to check on things.
Bale?  What bale?
I was surprised to find that the girls had broken into the storage stall and helped themselves to the hay bales I had placed there.  Apparently a freshly broken open bale of hay is much more tasty than the new bale placed in their feeder just an hour or two prior.  Fortunately their pellet feed is not kept in the goat barn, else I suspect, I would have a bunch of kids to upset tummies.
There is a myth that we are working hard to put an end to.  That myth states that goats will eat anything.  This is very untrue.  Goats are particular about what they eat and can very easily be harmed by ingesting things that they shouldn't.  Each morning before taking the girls out to their pasture, I walk around checking to see that nothing has blown in that may not be good for them.  Although horses and cattle prefer grass and alfalfa, goats like a coarser feed.  Some of their favorites include invasives such as multiflora rose and wild blackberries.  We're hoping that as the girls get a little older we can take them out to different parts of the farm to help clear out areas currently over grown with brambles and poison ivy (another favorite).
mmmmmmmmm! Blackberry leaves! (Fluffy)
The twins: Dorothy and Franny
Meanwhile, every day is something new.  Every day brings new things to smile about.

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