The Barnyard

Keeping Goats

Raising goats is a hoot! I raise mostly dairy goats here on our little farm. It’s kidding time and I’m impatiently waiting for them to come. One of my doelings that I recently sold just had her first kid, a lovely little tri colored buck.

While goats are pretty easy keepers there are some things I have found to be problematic. Fencing has been my main challenge. There are those that may argue that keeping goats in is not an issue, for them that may be true. For me it has been something of a nightmare. I made the horrible mistake last spring of buying a doe and her twins. She was an absolute beauty but it was her babies that I was really after. Cute polka dotted twin does. Well after the quarantine time, I put them out with the herd. That goat drove me bonkers!!! I could not keep her in the fence no matter what I did. Soon after not only was she jumping so was some of the younger does. I was pulling my hair out. I’d walk the fences trying to figure out where in the heck she was getting out. I’d stand out there and watch her. Conclusion, she would walk the fence until she found the lowest point and she would just jump. ARGHHH! And then there would go three more.  Let me just say, I no longer have her or the other jumpers and I am slowly converting to cattle panels for fencing.

My fences are the 4 foot cattle field fence, which until then had worked just fine for the most part. Now I have had to go and reinforce with more t stakes. I retightened the entire thing with the help of my husband. We used the old Farmal tractor to get it nice and tight, t- stakes like every 4-6 feet. It’s kind of ridiculous really. I have this fat resident diva of an Alpine cross that has learned through trial and error how to collapse a fence, no matter how tight the stupid thing it.  You know the old saying the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? Yeah even though it’s not!  Okay so sorry for the rant, but truly fencing can be a serious issue especially if you have a garden. Yes they found the garden, not once but four times. So needless to say last year’s harvest was a miserable joke. After the whole fiasco, we decided that seeing how they did not bother the cattle panel fencing that is the way we are going to go.

You may be asking why I didn’t just run a hot wire. Reasonable question and I know plenty of people who do just that. I was going to and bought some of the materials to do it. What it boiled down to was the electric bill and little kids running around. Yes there are solar fencers, and somewhere down the road I may pick one up, it is just not feasible at the moment. So in a nutshell find out if the goats you’re going to buy are jumpers or fat divas.  You can always tether them out too, which yes I did. But trying to tether out 15 goats is a nightmare in itself, did that, not doing it again.

Feeding time I have found is exasperating. I have two feed troughs, one like four foot and the other is closer to ten feet. They all have feed all the way across! I swear they are like little kids or something. Everybody wants in the very same exact spot! I’ve had to pull 3 of the goats from the main pen to feed, because they were being pushed out so badly they were not getting enough feed and it was becoming noticeable in their bodies. Mind you I have decreased the herd size down to my main 7. It is stupid ridiculous!  Solution, I can either attach ties to the feed troughs to tie all of them up which I will probably end up doing if this doesn’t sort out. When I am milking it isn’t so bad because those girls are fed separately while they are being milked.  It is just one of those aggravating things that seem to go on here and something to perhaps watch for in your goats. To clarify I do feed grain, hay and pasture. I know there are many that strictly pasture and hay. I am not one of them.

One other thing! As a word of caution to those with little kids. I’m one of those people who believe that the kids should be able to play in the barnyard with the critters, I did and I loved it no worse for the wear. My resident diva Scarlet is a wench when it comes to children.  She will hurt a child by head butting. If a child is her height or is smaller she will go after them. She will literally follow them trying to find a way to slam her head into them. Frankly she’s was more of a danger than the buck I had. So as a rule here on the farm no little kids in the fence with the girls unless one of the bigger kids is in there as well. The littlest are never allowed out there by themselves anyway.  While all my babies are pretty much grown up we have grandkids and lots family. So we’ve just made it a general rule for all to follow.

I am not by any means saying that this is all going to happen to you. Nor am I trying to scare anybody from having goats. Everyone should have a goat, lol. I do love my girls and I don’t really know what I would do without all their drama. These are just a few issues that I have run across raising goats on a small family farm.

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