Crofting: Goats Complaining

I can’t believe how much goats can complain. They hate rain, they hate drafts, they hate bugs, they hate having to eat herbs and grass and stuff when they know full well that there is grain in the house. So they are just outside my windows, baaing and moaning.

Tara discovered the shelf by the clothesline. I have a handy shelf for the laundry basket. The whole apparatus holding the clothesline needs to be straightened and adjusted, but there have been so many other things to do, that this is pretty far down the priorities list. The shelf has a slight downward tilt to it, but is sturdy enough to hold a basket of wet laundry, maybe 20-25 pounds. It will also hold a fifty-pound goat, who somehow clambered up onto it. She had to stand with all four feet together. I can’t imagine it was comfortable, but of the three goats, she is most definitely the climber. She lives up to the “alpine” definition.

looking for trouble - Tara

It is a beautiful day here. That is not quite good enough, but I am not waiting on goats hand and foot. It isn’t enough to make sure they have lots of clean, fresh water, a nice shady spot, clover, plantain, and timothy to eat – nor is it enough that I have to go outside to untangle a trapped foot or two goats who waltzed their leads into a snarl. I also must appear regularly with feedbuckets of cracked corn, oats, barley and molasses. These goats would be barrel-shaped if I listened to them.

If I could somehow set up barriers sufficient to keep them out of the neighbours’ flowers and away from the north neighbours’ dogs, I would let them roam. I did think of a line of fence and cattle guards on the road. This is not feasible,l I guess, as the province maintains and plows the road, and I doubt that they would agree to digging a pitch across the road and laying a slatted metal plate over it. I don’t know if goats would honour it anyway, or if they would blithely jump it. Some ranchers use false guards. They lay down a piece of plywood painted to look like a cattle guard, and the cattle are afraid to cross it. I doubt if that would fool goats for a second. I don’t know if they have better depth perception than cattle – I suspect they must – but they are certainly smarter.

But there is no way to completely fence the property cheaply and efficiently. So it looks like we will have to settle for expanding paddocks as time goes on.


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