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Friday, December 21, 2012

Goats... crazy *randy* creatures afraid of 1st snow, new tales abound

Remember these guys? I haven't talked about our 2 male goats in a long time... many of you may remember that the goats came to our farm in March 2012 as tiny bottle-fed kids.

Here they are now, all grown up and lounging in their goat shelter inside the fenced goat pasture. These guys are really big now, their backs are almost even with my waist as far as height goes. And... I'm a bit scared of one of them. The boys hit 'maturity' this past fall and went into rut (smelly, goat mating season). They turned from snuggly babies into randy, smelly, amorous beasts!!! One in particular took to *ahem* jumping up on us & trying to have his way. If you think having a 150-pound goat with giant horns jumping on you sounds like fun... well, I can tell you it's not!

We tried to find another home for the goats but couldn't. So, we built them a shelter inside their electrified-fence pasture & I can feed and water them from MY side of the fence.  I haven't set foot inside their pasture for a month or two... really, I prefer to keep myself intact, and I find I actually *like* the goats again when I can feed, water, and pet their heads from MY side of the fence.

Well, this morning I wasn't so lucky.  I had to venture into their side of the pasture.  The blizzard that blew through yesterday left about 12" of snow here on the ground, and wind gusts reached over 50 miles per hour.  The goats were fine in their shelter, you can see in the picture that not a drop of snow blew inside their house (door is south facing).  But... they were completely freaked out by the snow.  They've never seen it before.  They wouldn't set foot into it!  They stood there inside their shelter, hours after the snow had finished falling.  Which wasn't good, because they wouldn't venture over to their water for a drink.  Being the crazy kind-hearted farmer that I am, I knew I had to get those goats inside a horse stall of our dry barn.  I had to venture in there with the goats.

I tried luring them out first, I tossed treats to them... they looked very interested, but after staring at me for a while & wistfully toward the treats, they glanced at each other and decided not to risk it.  I mean, after all, this snow would kill them.  Yeah, right.

So, I pulled out the big guns.  2 coffee cans full of goat pellets (we're experiencing a hay shortage here this winter due to the drought, so we just bought the goats their first bag of goat feed.... has some grain in it, but hey what can you do there is not much hay!  :-).

I walked slowly into their pasture, wielding my cell phone camera for all of you in one hand and 2 bins of goat feed in the other.  As you can see in the picture, they didn't venture out towards me until I got within 10 feet of them.  Thank goodness, once one came out toward the coffee can (oh, yes, believe me, he knew what was inside that coffee can)... the other, more *amorous* goat followed right behind.  He's the one that scares me most.  So, I'm wielding these coffee cans into their mouths, and walking backwards toward the barn..... oh, maybe 50-100 yards behind me.  It went fine.  No attempts on my person.  *Whew!*

The goats are now locked inside a large horse stall for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow will be warmer, and I hope to slowly introduce them to the fact that... really, it's okay to walk on the snow!  Jeesh... and here I thought goats were hardy creatures.  Our chickens are too scared to walk on the snow, either!  Maybe they're *wishful* for some warmer acreage?  :-)

Hope you're enjoying the winter season.  Happy Winter Solstice!


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