Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Training Goats

Well, the goats are here to stay.
There was a time when I wondered if that statement would be true - the staying part. As a reminder, two severe thunderstorms right before the goats got here last week had knocked out the electric fence, allowing the goats to walk through the not so shocking fence.

Carla and I got the goat pen fenced with some welded wire, in yet another thunderstorm and the pouring rain in the early morning Friday. I then carried the girl goats and semi-rode the buck back into the original goat pen, now fortified with both the welded wire and the electric fencing. The goats figured out really quick that electric fencing is worth avoiding, and that lesson learned, attacked the brush, trees, and grass stems in their pens with gusto. Elm, oak, privett, poison ivy, ox-eyed daisies, and fescue seed heads are a hit. Wild strawberries are not .
The 4 goats have been a little shy, which is understandable given their unexpectedly traumatic first day. I've got the buck eating a little sweet mix/alfalfa out of my hand. The girls are slowly coming around - darting in for a nibble then running off to munch their treats and glare at me. I can't turn them free until I know for sure that they're not scared of me, and actually look forward to seeing me and getting treats. Our pasture is rugged and overgrown, so if the goats are scared of me, I may never see them again. Before I turn the herd out, I need them to at least be interested enough to pop their heads out of whatever rose thicket or cedar grove their in for check-ups. Hopefully, I'll get to turn them out next week sometime.

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