Life With Goats ON The Hobby Farm

goat and dog

If you have followed my writings you may have noticed that not everything that goes on around here, either on the farm or the post, is always strictly serious.  But then neither is my life and I like it that way!  I had to learn early on to be able to laugh at my own foolishness.  Had I not a lot of good laughs would have been missed and I may well have wasted a lot of  time being depressed over  the fact that I sometimes fall just short of perfect.

Oh well on with the story.  I’m pretty sure I have mentioned we moved here in 2004.  We had visited several times and knew we liked what we saw of the area but we had not bought anything.  We had family in the area and stayed with them while looking.  Our wants were not large.  Small acreage, ready to go, nice house, totally modernized of course, a great view in all directions and close but not to close to family.  Oh and did I mention that we had to be able to have livestock.  Well we found it.  Sort for!  Just under 9 acres.  Of course no one had touched the land in about ten years.  The house was just exactly what we wanted except we had to gut and modernize it our-self.  But the views were there.  Great views all around.  Of course they couldn’t be seen because of everything in the way.  But other than these few items it was exactly what we wanted except for the price.  Let’s just say it was more than Bob wanted to spend.  Well we bought it.  Four months later we had the house almost exactly the way we wanted it.  Come to think of it it is still almost exactly the way we want it.  Now I can start on the land.

I guess I can’t complain to much.  I wanted animals and we had them.  One dog we brought with us and one that adopted us even before we bought the place.  He is still with us to.  The Boxer we have had to replace.  But anyway  the house is done but there is not a chicken, a hog, or a cow on the place.  Something had to change.  Having animals was one of the biggies for me when considering a move.  Chickens!  It won’t take much to get ready for them.  That big old tobacco barn out there with nothing going on in it can surely spare one corner for a chicken coop.  Won’t take a lot of work either, for the coop or the fenced in yard outside so they can get out.  I may have underestimated that a little but we will save details of that for another story of Hobby Farm Life.  Hogs?  Well yeah you can just throw up a little pen and put one in it but that can be such a mess for the animal to live in and they have been know to smell on occasions.  Just about any occasion will do.  Cows are out of the question right now.  They require pasture or a lot of feed.  Feed cost money; we know how I am about spending money.  At best I have weeds brush and undergrowth for grazing.  GOATS!!!!!.

Goats will eat anything!  Or at least that is what I had always heard.  Might as well get it out in the open right here.  I you could take my knowledge about goats, make it into a ball and drop it into a thimble it would be like dropping a BB into a boxcar.  I knew nothing!  I have brush and weeds and undergrowth.  Low hanging branches on the nine million trees what more could a goat want.  Besides they are small and if I do have to buy some feed for them it won’t be much.  Fencing?  What they sell for Goat Fence they are proud of, believe me.  I have used hot wire before.  The charger, well that cost a little, some single strand wire and a few insulators and you have it made.  It does not even have to be a straight line.  Zigzag it in and around the trees will work fine.  And it did too, not quite as easy as I thought but it got there.  Time for the goats!!  Now we are getting somewhere.  A bucket for water another one for feed and we are ready.  RIGHT?????

Well we knew somebody that knew somebody that just happened to have some young ones she would let go right.  On that part we actually came out alright.  Good stock good prices.  Finally we are going to get some animals on the farm!  Can’t wait.  Saturday morning we are there at the appointed time to pick them up.  She had enough foresight to keep them in the barn stall to make it easier to catch them.  I had not thought about that part either.  OK about an 8×10 area 12 to 15 goats in there how hard can it be.  Not bad until you try to grab one.  The walls and floor suddenly become springboards for not just the one you want but the others as well.  It is like someone who knows how to hit a racket ball hitting one after the other just as hard as they can only these balls weight about 30 to 40 lbs. and have horns.  It was interesting for a while but we got it done.

Our daughter and her family came over to meet the new additions to the family and brought our son-in-law’s parents with them.  They visited us with the kids pretty regular and fit right in with the goings on around here. We had just arrived with the goats when they show up so everyone is present for the start .  Now Bob has given a lot of thought to this.  These are herd animals, they have been around each other since birth and should be more comfortable and not roam so much if they all go in the field at the same time.  But just to make sure.  How about I hitch one to something to keep it under control and the others will stay close to it.  Sounds good right?  Well I thought so to.  Not to heavy I want her to be able to move around to graze and get water when needed but restrict her movement somewhat.  Ok about 5′ of rope a 5 gallon plastic bucket about half full of water. with lid of course, and we should be ready.  I catch one before we let them out and attach the bucket to her.  Open the tailgate and they all come out no problem but when she comes out it jerks the bucket off.  Bucket hits the ground with a clatter, the lid flys off and she takes off running bucket bouncing behind her.  Goats gone in every direction and that hot wire has not even slowed them down.  My son-in-law after the one with the bucket I am after the Billy and John, my son-in-law’s 80 year old father after another one.  The fourth goat, I learn later, just eases up next to the ladies and grandkids to enjoy the show.  Three out of four is not bad I guess.  John’s made a beeline for a neighbor’s pasture several hundred yards away never to be seen again.  John gave up at the barbed wire fence thank goodness.

The other three and a couple of later additions taught me quite a lot about goats.  They are no respecters of fences.  Electric or otherwise.  They can jump and don’t mind doing it either.  Yes they can and do eat just about any kind of vegetation if hungry but so will most herbivores.  (Didn’t think I knew words like that did you?)  But they do have definite preferences.  And last but not least; a little good information and preparation makes things a lot easier.

If you want a little more information about goats check out http://hobbyfarmlife.com/goats-as-pets/

We hope you enjoy our follies we do.  Maybe not right at the moment but this instance made for a lot of good laugh around the dinner table that evening.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a note at paullyh12@gmail.com

See you soon

Bob

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