As I type this we have one new goat on the farm and another nanny in labor, probably giving birth to twins. We rigged up a webcam in the barn so you can watch live! See the top of sidebar on this web page to the right.
Here is a clip from yesterday:
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It’s been a little over six weeks since we brought goats to our farm. All in all, it has been very smooth. I was expecting a lot of fence-breaking and otherwise mischievous tomfoolery, but that hasn’t been the case at all. It took a few weeks to establish routine, but since then it has been uneventful. Just the way I like it.
The goats have lived up to their species’ reputation by making quick work of a weedy forest. Once they figured out there was no more hay in the trough, they really started mowing down the undergrowth in our woods. I ended up moving the fence to add an extra few hundred square feet and within 2 days I had to move the fence again. In the last 3 weeks the progress has been so effective that I no longer have to mow certain areas around the barn and cabin.
Ivar has been a great farm-hand. I’ll find him hanging out with Darcy and Precious on many occasions. They’ve warmed up to their new owners and are quite friendly now, scaling the pen walls to get a pet on the neck (but what they really want is more corn).
The electric fencing has been fantastic. After the first shock or two, they never test it again. And before you get overly concerned, the shock isn’t bad. Its about the same as rubbing your socks on carpet and touching something metal. More startling than painful. Pictured above I have two strands covering about an acre of woods. The goats are quite resourceful at finding interesting forage, but they never test the electric fence.
It’s been a good six weeks with the goats. Besides the brush control and friendly demeanor, they put on quite a show. It’s not uncommon to find a peanut gallery watching the local entertainment.
We welcomed the newest members of the Grovestead family to the farm this week, a nursing pair of goats! Mother and daughter (properly, nanny and kid) are settling in doing well. Ivar has named the kid Precious and there’s still an ongoing debate for the nanny.
The goats’ arrival was a long time in coming. We had it in mind to bring goats in to clear the underbrush in our woods ever since moving here. But we knew that was going to be a huge responsibility so we started small with chickens, bees and the obligatory farm cats.
Last summer we tore down a collapsing shed and built a new barn in its place. Over the Winter I built stalls for animals. By Spring we were finally ready to welcome the new arrivals. When I asked the breeder what breed of goats these were, she said “Heinz 57″. A little bit of everything.
They are really sweet, though timid. Mother and kid are never more than a few paces apart. Other than the complete fiasco introducing them to the electric fence the first day, the experience has been uneventful. I let them out of the barn in the morning, and if it’s not raining they can forage for food all day. And the more they’re outside, the less litter for me to clean. Everybody wins.
For now, we’re just letting them get used to their new surroundings. We have a small fenced-in run outside the barn. The next step will be to gradually start enlarging the fenced-in area, introducing them to more an more wooded land we want them to clear.
All in all, it’s been a lot less work than I expected. Just make sure you have enough fence!