Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Five things I do not like about goats.

You'll remember that I didn't know a lot about them when I got my first goats. All I knew was that they would eat poison ivy. When I drove up to meet that gal who was selling Nibbles and her annoying sister I asked a lot of questions. One of them was, "What are three things that surprised you about owning goats." I don't remember the other two but the point that I do recall was that she said, "How developed their personalities are."

Sure they start out little and cute....

"Humm.... " I thought to myself. How fun to have happy little creatures who have a lot of individuality and spunk.

Yeah.

Right.

After all this time what I can tell you that their "developed personalities" have still not won me over. Which brings us to this post which I will call..... Five things I don't like about goats.

This is how it starts. Just wait. They will start pushing and shoving soon.


1. The bellyaching. We like the La Mancha breed because they seem to be the quietest in the goat world. But I can tell you for a fact there is still a fair amount of bitchin' happening out there. I don't like it. For a lot of reasons we didn't breed Nibbles this year and I'm beginning to think it was a mistake. From time to time, when I'm trying to make her life better, she just stands there and screams. I think it's from the continuing heat she's been having.

Nibbles and her bad attitude. Every day. Every. Dang. Day.

2. They are destructive. During our last cold snap we tried putting the goats in the Turkey House which holds the heat better, would be easier to run a heat lamp out to (which we never had to), and is more protected form the wind. You'd think we sent them to the gulag with the way they acted. Instead of enjoying the snugly warmth they pretty much destroyed the inside of the Turkey House. I'll have some major fixing to do later this spring. I'll need to replace some of the wire mesh, fix the doors,  and all the latches. I could have grilled them all. So now they are mad that they can't go back over there. Tough too bads . And you'll remember that buck that jumped thru a glass window. We still need to fix that too.

Good thing you are pregnant, Daisy!

3. They get out of the fence. Normally we don't have many escapes from the goat yard but wow were we surprised the other day when we got home and all the goats where standing in the driveway. Thank heavens they didn't get into the garage and eat all the feed! Somehow they had gotten one of the gates opened. Other folks have more problems with escaping goats then we do - mostly because the dogs let me know if goats are out...and the goats know that the dogs mean business. But since we were gone most of the day - the goats just thought they should go on a walk about.

Lookin' ratty, Debbie, you are looking really ratty. Just eat the minerals and stop fooling around!

4. The require a certain amount of fiddling and upkeep. We are entering the time of year when Debbie starts to fall apart. After months of only eating hay she almost always gets a case of goat polio.... which is as bad as it sounds. We've been fixing her up lately.  People more experienced than you and me say that some goats are just more prone to it - so we are doing a lot of fixing and upkeep. Hopefully the weather will break and we can get her the best fix - which is to eat fresh browse and lots of blackberry leaves.
Every day. Every. Dang. Day.

5. The foolishness. I like order and discipline. Not tomfoolery and hijinks. Goats are chalk full of foolishness and it wears on my soul. Every day. Every stinkin' day we have to go thru the goat food dance and I'm about to lose my mind. The pushing, the shoveling, the wailing, and the stark ingratitude when those silly girls act like they have never been fed before and probably will never been fed again. Right now Dahlia is the worst. She has decided that she is the queen bee and is tormenting everyone including me. It's a good thing she is pregnant and has a history of being a good producer.

One of my blog pals recently decided to stick with cows and ... ahem.. ended their relationship with goats. I have to say that I'm leaning that way. They are a fair amount of work and I just really do not love them at all.

But then I think about how much money those goats actually save us. People ask me why we keep animals that I don't like. The hard answer is that the milk they produce makes it possible for us to keep the circle of life going here on our little farm. The goat milk feeds the chickens who produce the eggs that make our bacon.

When the goats are really producing we just keep pouring that milk on the entire barnyard - we think we save 30% at least on our feed costs by foregoing expensive layer mash and hog chow and sticking with feeding goat milk and corn. So the math works for us.

Good thing, goats, otherwise I might be handing out pink slips.

Happy Friday everyone! Are your goats gettin' your goat? How annoying are they? Do you love them? That's fine. Someone has to... not me. Harrumph.

9 comments:

Heavens Door Acres said...

We have a love/hate relationship here with the goats. I love them, while I am in the house.....then I remember about the fence I have to repair, or the gate that needs replaced, or the hay feeder I need to re-hang, and the countless buckets of warm water I have to haul out on these frigid days....then.... I hate the goats all over again. *sigh* I DO love the milk and cheese though...

Franny said...

I adore them, as well as my pigs.Sure, they are needy and noisy, but also very trainable, and working with the pig herd have cleared tons of bramble, multiflora rose, and goldenrod, opening up and fertilizing new acreage for vegetables and pasture. I love the milk, yogurt, and cheese, and the meat from the bucklings. Only livestock I'm not crazy about here are the chickens, I don't hate them but just find them uninteresting. But then again, I'm that nutty farmer lady riding her horse into my woods with 15 or so goats and about 8 pigs following me behind.

Vera said...

It is a relief that we no longer keep goats....but I would not say forever would we never have anymore. What I mean is, that it would not surprise me if we did decide to do goats again, but we would start off with two little ones, train them to the leash and tether straight off so that they do the work on the farm we need them to do. I miss goat milk and goat cheese, so maybe, at some point in the future, we might try again! But with only two females and a male. Maybe!......

buddeshepherd said...

They ate the key out of the ignition on my forklift. Now I have to start it with a pocket knife...

deborah harvey said...

is it possible to dehydrate blackberry leaves and store for the polio prone goat?

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Goats are something we might consider in the future when we have moved to New Zealand but cows might just be easier for us especially since we will be setting up from scratch and will only have electric fences.

The Weekend Homesteader said...

This is the second "goat hating" post I've read today. Where do I sign up? ;-)

the Goodwife said...

I love, love my goats! I did a blog post recently about how much and the top 10 reasons goats are better than cows.....lol!

I just adore them, and think they are even 10 times better than dogs....there I said it! I guess we've just been lucky as our aren't the least destructive, or hard to keep in with hot wire.

Franny said...

Love the Goodwife's comment! She's a goat sucker like me! Mine are needy, noisy, but only minimally destructive, and I have to say, their love and loyalty is heart melting. They are the only critters here, dog included, that will leave their food just to be with me. They are soul suckers, just by looking deep into my eyes which they do at every opportunity. How can you not love something that worships your every move, especially after they willingly come into the milking room, jump on the stanchion, and give all that milk, plus I take all their lovely sons for meat? Positively sacred to Biblical proportion animals, in my opinion. And, they cost me next to nothing to feed, as in the warmer months the herd is a hiking companion, clearing all the invasives in field and forest, in winter, eat the hay from our own fields.

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