We are learning about goats. They have been here just over six weeks and seem settled and happy. This morning they were lying down beside the barn chewing the cud while staying out of the wind. We designed the barn with a wind break on the sun-deck next to the breakfast bar, so they could be out of the wind but not inside. With a cold southerly keeping temperatures down to about 12C/53F it looked like a good place to be.
I learn by reading, so when we started thinking about goats, I read everything I could find to make sure we set up the paddock and barn properly, and knew how to take care of them and ultimately milk them. So, we have an electric wire on our woven fence, sleeping platforms covered with their discarded hay for bedding, a high hay feeder accessible from inside and outside the barn, and, sand in the barn so it is easy to pick up the little goat “berries” with a giant cat litter pooper scooper.
Great resources included the websites from Fiasco Farm and Koonac Goats – where the goats came from. I also read many other goat blogs and 2 books, Storeys guide to raising Dairy Goats and Raising Goats for Dummies. But there were a whole range of things they didn’t cover. Because we are completely new to goats, I am discovering a range of things that I hadn’t read about or expected.
Goats fart – they seem so dainty I didn’t expect it;
Goats like to come and pee beside you;
Goats snort if they are unsure of something;
Goats can spread their hooves apart like the Vulcan’s “Live Long and Prosper” sign from Star Trek – I had never spent any time with a cloven hoofed animal before;
Goats say hello by sniffing noses – if you don’t bend down, they will stand up. I came home to find Mother in Law with 2 green hoof prints on her shoulders after she went to meet them. You can trick a horse by stretching out a hand, but it doesn’t work with goats.
and, it’s not just cashmere Goats with wool. Midge who is 75% Anglo Nubian and 25% Boer has a very luxurious double coat with long black guard hairs and a very thick wool layer, but Smudge who is 50% Anglo Nubian and 50% Saanen doesn’t.