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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Things I've learned since becoming a goat granny...

Spent some time this evening in the goat pen, which includes the chicken, duck and rabbit pens. I had a few things I needed to do on top of the normal feeding, watering and petting everyone. Doing anything extra is quite a feat with my three new "helpers" underfoot, even a simple thing as going in and out of the gate. I've never had goats before (my Daddy did though) so I've been learning a lot since getting the three amigos...learned some stuff today too! For example:

1. Goats like to stand on things. Now, I knew this already and had put some sycamore stumps, etc. in the pen for them before they arrived. However, I've also discovered that they will get in ANYTHING. One day I had the wheelbarrow loaded with fresh hay for their house. I raked out the old hay, turned around and Obi was standing IN the wheelbarrow munching hay. I managed to get her out, put the hay in the house, turned around and Kenobi was standing in the wheelbarrow! She did NOT want to get out and we had a serious discussion about how she could tip the wheelbarrow over and fall. I finally convinced her to get out and let me go about my business.

2. If you lean said wheelbarrow on the fence the goats will have to go behind it to see what's back there. If you lay it on its side so they can't knock the wheelbarrow over, they will put their front hooves up on it to see if they can knock it over (they can).

3. Even male goats think they are boss. Juan is pretty sure he is king of the hill and, although he's to shy to let me touch him, he has NO problem butting in (literally) on what the girls are doing.  Juan is always kicking up his heels and pushing the girls out of the way at dinner time. He's quite a little rascal with them, which is funny considering how scared he is of me! He was also scared of the dogs at first, which makes me think Juan is just all bluff and bluster.

4. Goats are picky...sort of in a strange way. They have loved munching on the small elm tree, the hedges and various other vegetation in their pen. They haven't touched the grass. I have discovered that if I pick a blade of grass and offer it to Kenobi she will eat it and ask for more. Of course, once Obi realized what was going on she had to come over and eat some grass too. Kenobi took offense to that and there was quite a little tussle going on despite the fact that I tried to explain to them there was grass all over the ground and plenty to go around. I do believe goats are hard more ways than one!

The thrilling part of this little fight over being hand fed blades of grass is that Juan came up to me yesterday to see what all the fuss was about and even took a blade from me! I'll win that handsome guy over one way or the other.

Yesterday I was going to put up a tarp (actually a cheap plastic tablecloth with flannel backing I found at the Goodwill Outlet) to provide the ducks some extra shade. That didn't happen since Obi decided the red tablecloth was food and every place I attached it to the fence she attempted to eat it off. So today I executed Plan B...their leaky kiddie pool is now upside down on four sticks I pounded into the ground. I put it up in one corner of their pen and ran a longer stick catty-corner through the fence across the top of the pool to keep the wind from blowing it off. It's a temporary fix until I can come up with a Plan C.

Today I discovered that I can NOT set a bag of feed down in the goat pen while opening the gate to the chicken pen. The three stooges almost had that bag of scratch chewed open in the few seconds I had my back turned to them! I guess it's partly my fault...I give them bits of corn out of the chicken scratch and they probably thought I'd brought them a 50 pound bag of treats!

5. There's a reason you need good fences for goats and it is not because they'll jump over them. No, the reason you need good fences is because goats like to rub on the fence...and rub...and rub...and rub. Now my goat fence bows out all the way around the pen. 

6. Goats are affectionate, fun and good company. Until I got Obi, Juan and Kenobi I didn't realize just how companionable goats could be. I know my Daddy's goat, Junior, followed him around like a dog. As soon as Daddy walked outside in the morning Junior would jump the fence and follow him all day long. In the evening Daddy would tell Junior to go back to the barn and the goat would jump back over the fence into his pen for the night.

Obi, Juan and Kenobi start calling to me as soon as I round the corner of the back yard in the evenings, or if they see me in the front yard. The two girls follow me everywhere in the pen (with Juan doing the same at a distance) and they love to be petted, to have their ears and bellies scratched, their heads patted and their ears rubbed. They listen when you talk to them and they will jump up on you to get your attention. When you leave the pen they will cry after you (unless they're still busy munching on something yummy like sweet gum branches).

7. Last, but certainly not least, I've learned that I really REALLY like having goats and I love Obi, Juan and Kenobi with all my heart!

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